Many people, including recruiters, do not think of Craigslist as a job board. However, it is now considered one of the top three places to post jobs for fast hiring, just behind Indeed and Glassdoor. In fact, it’s estimated that 70 percent of their more than $1.03B revenue in 2018 came from recruitment advertising.

At Joveo, we power over 15 million job postings every single day on our job advertising platform, with Craigslist among the job sites available to our customers. Our data shows that Craigslist generates not only quality applications, but also leads to faster and lower-cost hires than many other sources. Based on this data, it’s important to ask two questions: 1) why aren’t more recruiters posting jobs on Craigslist, and 2) how can they use it more successfully?

In today’s blog post (part 1 of 2), we’re going to address question #1 – why more recruiters don’t adopt Craigslist. A follow-up post will speak to how it can be used more successfully.


If, as mentioned above, Craigslist provides fast, quality applications at a lower cost-per-hire, why is it that more recruiters aren’t using it as a key job posting site? One reason is that they don’t have the internal resources to drive the best results when using the site as a recruitment tool. But there are several other challenges that come in to play, as outlined below:

1. Time-consuming, manual-processes: Craigslist, like other duration-based posting sources, drives the most traffic when the job posting appears on the first page of the search results. Unfortunately, Craigslist does not accept an XML feed, so posting jobs is a manual process. And, if these postings are to appear anywhere near the top of the page, they must be refreshed and renewed, also manually, on a regular and frequent schedule.

2. Difficult to customize templates: Craigslist does not offer customizable templates. Therefore, there is limited opportunity to promote a company’s brand on the job page. Users can create their own branded templates, but that requires knowledge of HTML, time to design, and of course, rigorous testing.

3. Ghosting: While Craigslist accepts paid postings, the postings can still be flagged by the user community or ghosted — without you knowing — by Craigslist itself.

4. Difficult to track impressions: Craigslist makes it difficult to track job ad impressions. This is a problem because tracking impressions is essential to determine which job ads have the most impact. It also makes A/B testing of content and visuals useless.

5. Hard to measure ROI:  Craigslist rarely tracks a click all the way to an application, and does not track to a hire. This makes it difficult — often impossible — to measure ROI.

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Unlike job board visitors who are actively trying to find a job, Craigslist visitors might stumble on one. Job boards also often have an “easy-apply” feature in the interest of converting as many clicks into applications as possible. They also will promote similar jobs to the applicant with the intent of increasing application conversions. As a result, job boards tend to have a much higher volume of applications than Craigslist. Because these features drive volume, i.e., more clicks and more applications, they result in job boards having lower cost-per-click (CPC) and lower cost-per-apply (CPA) rates.

In comparison, Craigslist invariably attracts passive job seekers who apply to a single job that catches their eye. This leads to lower overall volume of clicks and applies, which results in much higher CPC and CPA rates than traditional job boards.

CPC & CPA comparison Craigslist vs other job boards

But here’s the thing: for specific types of jobs, while the CPC and CPA may be higher than the job boards, Craigslist actually has a significantly lower cost-per-hire (CPH). After analyzing hundreds of thousands of applications processed by the Joveo platform, we saw some stunning results:

Average cost per hire Craigslist vs other job boards


So far, we have listed challenges that discourage some recruiters from posting jobs on Craigslist. Because of these challenges and lack of visibility, many recruiters prefer to buy media from job boards that offer an easier job posting method while providing a larger number of clicks and applications.

However, in businesses where supply and demand are most acute and where hiring is not a support function but core to the business, recruiting teams have found that dedicating resources to Craigslist helps them reach that ever-elusive passive job seeker.

Some examples of these types of businesses include:

1. Gig jobs: Craigslist is the #1 destination for the gig segment, driving the greatest number of hires with CPH 20% – 40% lower vs. other sources.

2. Customer service roles: The hire ratio for customer service is better vs. other sources, and becomes evident starting with a 25%+ click-to-apply conversion rate.

3. Food/Beverage/Hospitality roles: This is another successful segment on Craigslist with click-to-apply conversion rates ranging from 24% – 32%.

4. Part-time jobs: Craigslist is a prime destination for part-time jobs, showing a 15% – 23% click-to-apply conversion rate.


In part 2 of this series, we share examples of how some forward-thinking recruiters are working with Craigslist to see awesome results. What’s more, we talk about exactly how they’re doing it. Want great results on your end? Then read Craigslist Part 2: Unlocking the Power of the Sleeping Recruitment Giant!


Joveo® delivers the most relevant hires in the shortest time to companies around the world. Providing real-time insights at every step of the job seeker journey from click to hire, our AI-powered job advertising platform dynamically manages and optimizes sourcing and applications across all online channels. Powering 15M+ job postings every day, our machine learning continuously identifies success, learns and improves to reach the talent you need, when you need it.

Built for ease of use, Joveo replaces the guesswork, complexity and inefficiency of today’s recruiting with intelligence, transparency and efficiency, delivering more relevant candidates, more certainty, more success.