April 30

The Problem With Generic Job Boards for Restaurant Hiring


A Quick Review of the Most Commonly Used Job Boards for Restaurant Hiring And Why They’re Not Always the Best Option

Considering the unique challenges of hiring in the hospitality industry, like no-show interviews, quick turnover, and the desperate need to fill roles as soon as they’re available—it’s essential for hiring managers to be strategic when entering the hiring process, starting with where you’re posting your jobs.

At this point, you’re spending money to get the most applicants possible and, more importantly, the skilled candidates for your open roles.

Too often, employers use generic job boards for restaurant hiring, such as Indeed, ZipRecruiter, or Craigslist. While these sites can attract applicants, they are ginormous and cover many industries, with features and functionality that aren’t always suited to hospitality recruitment.

To better understand why generic job boards aren’t the most strategic move, here are the main reasons we created Poached—an employment site specifically for hospitality recruitment.

Payment Plans Don’t Work For Restaurant Hiring

The most critical aspect of using a restaurant recruitment site is pricing. If you don’t have an extensive hiring budget, spending each dollar wisely is essential.

The pricing and payment models of popular sites like Craigslist, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter should be the first red flag that these generic job boards are unsuitable for restaurant hiring. So, let’s break it down.

Craigslist’s Pricing:

Okay, we’ll admit Craigslist can seem cheap. Depending on your location, you’ll pay anywhere from $0 to $75.

Craigslist is suitable for posting your job. It’s straightforward, and people will see it. Unfortunately, that’s only half the equation. Without a dedicated place to collect applications or tools to help you organize the hiring process, you will spend a lot of time organizing that mess. Time is money, so tack the invisible productivity cost on the tab of doing business with Craigslist.

Each application comes through your email. So, you have to structure a solid plan for managing the applications and spam that come through—not to mention the ongoing communications with the applicants you’d like to move forward to the interview process.

If you’re posting multiple jobs on Craigslist, you’ll need to grab some aspirin.

Craigslist isn’t a site dedicated to hiring, and they haven’t changed much since they launched in 1995, so they’re not necessarily invested in streamlining this process for you.

In our digital era, there are far superior hiring sites with more straightforward and tangible costs.

Indeed’s Pricing:

Indeed claims that job postings are free, but there’s a catch. Your job will quickly lose visibility as new jobs are added and sponsored ads are prioritized. Given that Indeed is a prevalent job board, you can expect that to happen within the first day or two.

Your other option is to promote your job—which allows you to set a daily budget (minimum $5/day) that’s chipped away as people interact with your job post, even if they click to read the description.

As you might imagine, this can get expensive. The cost per action can fluctuate depending on the location of your job and how challenging it is to get people to apply for your role.

Considering how many candidates are no-shows at the interview, this pay-per-action model isn’t realistic for restaurant hiring.

We’ve heard from our clients that some have paid upwards of $600 on Indeed but don’t end up hiring anyone. These single-door independent operators don’t have the budget to waste money on a hiring site that doesn’t cater to them.

ZipRecruiter’s Pricing:

ZipRecruiter doesn’t want you to know how much it costs to post with them. Their site shows three subscription-based plans, with the option to join with a free trial. Even after registering an account under one of these plans, they don’t tell you how much it will cost when the trial is up until you post your first job.

I turned to the internet to learn about their pricing. According to Forbes, after a four-day free trial, ZipRecruiter will charge $16 per job post under the Standard plan and $24 a day under the Premium plan. They then bill the card you have on file once your bill reaches $500 or when you cancel.

They also offer a monthly discounted rate if you think your job will take longer. The Standard plan starts at $299 per job, and the Premium plan at $419 per job.

Like Indeed, this is just too expensive for how hiring works in the restaurant industry. You’ll be throwing money at a situation that doesn’t get you the best results or candidates for the roles you need quickly filled.

The Applicant Pool is a Mixed Bag

When using a large hiring platform that caters to every industry, people with zero experience in your hiring role will apply. You’re shooting for a quantity of applicants rather than quality.

Don’t get me wrong—this isn’t always a bad thing! You might be looking for someone with the potential to be trained rather than someone with years of experience, and for some roles, that’s preferable.

But you’ll also run into people who aren’t serious about working in hospitality.

There is a common term called “resume spamming.” Much like it sounds, people spam apply to multiple positions without interest in the job or a fit for the role, in addition to regular old spam that also comes through.

This not only makes it much harder to find qualified and seriously interested candidates, but it can also cost you a lot of money if you’re using a job board that requires you to pay per action taken by applicants (aka Indeed).

You Deserve a Better Way to Hire

Generic job boards are trying to cover a wide range of industries, and the tools they offer are one-size-fits-all solutions (unless you’re using Craigslist, which doesn’t provide tools).

Still, hiring in the restaurant industry isn’t the same as other industries—a one-size-fits-all solution isn’t going to cut it most of the time. And when you’re paying an arm and leg, you need a platform that will understand your needs and tailor to get your roles filled quickly.

That’s why we created Poached, a platform dedicated to the hiring needs of the hospitality industry.

With a focused approach to hospitality hiring, you can rest assured that your jobs are promoted to people in your area who are specifically looking for hospitality jobs because they won’t find anything else on our site.

Additionally, we built our entire platform with tools to streamline the hiring process and provide more control and flexibility in hospitality hiring. Our top features include:

  • Affordable 30-day job posts
  • Applicant tracking tools to organize your top candidates
  • Messaging and interview scheduling software with the ability to mark no-shows for quick reference.
  • Multi-location account management to oversee hiring across locations and hiring managers.
  • On-demand staffing tools to fill last-minute hiring needs with skilled and vetted hospitality professionals.

Beyond having a tailored platform to address your hiring needs, we also kept pricing straightforward. Job listings last 30 days and are $59 each—that’s it. There are no contracts or limitations on the number of applicants you can receive.

The next time you hire, consider where best to advertise your job, weighing the pros and cons of using a generic job board and whether it’s worth your time and money. Don’t be afraid to get a little strategic!

About the author


Ashley McNally likes to cook, loves to bake, and is always dreaming of her next meal. With over 13 years of experience working in various roles within a restaurant — McNally has made a home in hospitality.


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