Job Board Shootout: Indeed vs. SimplyHired

While technologies come and go like the wind in most fields, it seems as if the scenery has barely changed in the “published job board” landscape over these past five years or so.  For years now, I’ve been advocating to clients that they primarily rely on three websites for finding published/advertised job leads: SimplyHired, LinkedIn, and Craigslist.

What, you say?  I shouldn’t check other job sites like Monster.com, CareerBuilder, or TheLadders?  No, because the SimplyHired.com website is an “aggregator” site that already scrapes the leads off these other sites, plus thousands more, giving you one-stop-shopping capability when it comes to finding advertised opportunities.  It’s roughly the equivalent of searching the web using a search engine like Google or Bing — versus hunting information down one website at a time.  The efficiency you gain is off the charts.

And yet, SimplyHired has a very worthwhile (and arguably more well-known) competitor, which is Indeed.com.  Over the past few years I’ve had quite a people express surprise when I’ve recommended using SimplyHired in lieu of Indeed — for the set of reasons I outlined in an article of mine here from a few years back.  Things change, though.  So I decided it was time to conduct a little updated research on this topic to make sure my advice was still accurate and appropriate, since, after all, searching for published job openings continues to be an important step involved in finding work these days!

How did I go about this?  I set up automatic “alerts” to track the number of leads found by each site in the Seattle area, over the last 10 days, related to five common professional job titles: Project Manager, Receptionist, HR Generalist/Business Partner, Marketing Director/VP, and Chief Financial Officer.  This seemed like a good way to get a baseline reading on how effective each site was in turning up opportunities.  And while I’ll spare you the full boring details, I ensured that each of the searches conducted was identical and accounted for all closely-related titles/abbreviations related to the roles in question.

The results of 10 days of tracking?

Receptionist Jobs: Indeed found 32 openings, SimplyHired found 65
Project Manager Jobs: Indeed found 112 openings, SimplyHired found over 200
Human Resources Jobs: Indeed found 12 openings, SimplyHired found 35
Marketing Executive Jobs: Indeed found 15 openings, SimplyHired found 55
CFO Jobs: Indeed found 0 openings, SimplyHired found 12

These results are consistent with what I’ve observed for years, which is that SimplyHired tends to find almost twice as many leads as Indeed.com.  It wins the “quantity” trophy hands-down, which I’m assuming is due to simply having a better technology or methodology for extracting leads from the far reaches of the web.  This being said, however, some folks might argue that the leads on SimplyHired aren’t quite of the same “quality” found on the other sites.  That the bigger numbers might be due to repeated listings or allowing more fishy-sounding opportunities to creep into the database.  Frankly, there may be some tiny grain of truth to this, but even after watching closely for this possibility I didn’t see any compelling evidence that the jobs on SimplyHired tend to be any less “real” or less legitimate, for the most part, than the ones found on Indeed.com.

So here’s where this leaves us.  If you want to run an absolutely thorough search for every possible job opening that gets published on the Internet, and are willing to fight through an enormous amount of overlap between listings, I’d set up daily search alerts on both Indeed and SimplyHired.  This way, you’ll be guaranteed not to miss a single opportunity that might be found on one site, but not the other.  This will also ensure less “lag” in terms of hearing about a particular opening, since it’s entirely possible that one of these sites will pick up a particular listing a day or two faster than the other one.

For most job hunters, however, my historical recommendation still stands.  If you’re looking for maximum time efficiency, I’d only run a search on SimplyHired and wouldn’t worry about Indeed and other aggregator sites, since while you might miss a few advertised openings every now and then, you’ll still find 95% of what’s out there — in half the time or less.  That’s pretty useful, especially when you consider that pursuing published ads is only one small part of effective job hunting — and you don’t want to spend all day on this activity at the expense of networking and other important lead-generation methods.

As always, I welcome your thoughts on this issue, especially from those of you who have been running searches/alerts on the above sites for a while now.  Do the results of my “experiment” seem consistent with your own observations?  Have you had more luck with one site versus another?  Any other tips or tricks for getting the most of these sites?

P.S.  One other significant thing I noticed in my efforts above.  It appears that SimplyHired has now started to pick up jobs from the LinkedIn jobs database once again, which it had stopped doing a year or two ago.  This is important, since LinkedIn is one of the top places employers post leads these days.  So while for now, I’d suggest you continue running a separate alert on LinkedIn to be 100% sure you don’t miss anything, the day may come when SimplyHired once again covers that base — allowing for one less daily alert to worry about!

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22 Responses to “Job Board Shootout: Indeed vs. SimplyHired”

  1. Raymond: Thanks a ton for chiming in and while I’ll confess, I don’t have the technology chops to track/index things the way you’re referencing above — and rely mostly on manual testing and day-to-day experience using these sites — your observations don’t surprise me in the least and align with my own anecdotal findings. It definitely seems like Indeed has absorbed a lot of market share from SimplyHired and other aggregators and that’s good to know that a formal policy Indeed has instituted is what’s cutting down on the duplicate listings that plague so many other job boards. So to me, overall, we’re seeing a landscape emerge where Indeed is king of the heap, LinkedIn’s Jobs page is the #2 site, and Craigslist clips along in 3rd place sponging up a lot of leads from small-to-mid-sized businesses and non-profits. If you uncover any other insights about this space, however, definitely let me know since I’m impressed by how thoroughly you’ve been analyzing the issue!

  2. I have been indexing jobs to Indeed and Simplyhired since 2007/2008. I have noticed recently on Goggle Analytics a severe drop in traffic from Simplyhired. At the highest Simplyhired for us was never more than 20% of Indeed traffic. Simplyhired looks like it is just dying out. I have seen for some time where they pulled out Indeed from Referrals to Campaigns on Goggle. Why? Also Indeed put in some restrictions on duplicate postings which Simplyhired does not. This really hurts free placement for small niche sites such as us. Any updated intelligence on them.
    I have seen some older reports on Monster and Careerbuilder where their traffic is dropping. Still going on? Monster for quite some time sent out cut price deals. Not as much lately. How has LinkedIn effected the over all job board market?
    Last year we started indexing to a new start up http://www.jobinventory.com. They have not been able to really get anywhere.

  3. Part of the answer to this question is Indeed only allows job postings that are less than 30 days old. Simply Hired is either 45 or 60 days (I can’t remember what they told me). That would seemingly help explain why there are many more positions show up in a search on Simply Hired vs. Indeed.

  4. Shichard (ha ha – love your alias!): Yeah, not a surprise that Indeed is ranked much higher, since it’s a far better-known site and much more aggressive about marketing itself. Don’t get me wrong, either. Many people would say that Indeed actually IS the better site since they appear to have a little more quality control about the leads they led in. This being said, as my article indicates, Simplyhired will almost always have MORE jobs for a given niche than Indeed will. So I’d continue encouraging people to compare them to one another — or use both — to maximize their chances of hearing about appropriate leads. Thanks for chiming in…

  5. If you look up Indeed and SimplyHired on Alexa.com, Indeed is the 186th most popular site and SimplyHired is 1853rd. Ironic that SimplyHired is so much less used if its better. Interesting thought.

  6. Shanett: Thanks for the comment and yes, I believe the resume searching feature is only available on Indeed.com, versus Simplyhired. Given how long it’s been since I wrote that post, I can’t remember if Simplyhired USED to have this functionality and got rid of it — or never had it to begin with — but no question, Indeed is the place you’d want to go for the “resume searching” aspect of things.

  7. I do not see where Simply Hired allows you to view resumes – I only see job listings. Am I missing this or is this a feature for Indeed.com only

  8. Indeed has a great feature – the ability to “save jobs” to a list for later review and application. Combining that with their android App and daily job email alerts and it makes it easy to use spare time to find more job postings. Just need to find time now to actually apply!

    I think Simplhired has the ability to save jobs in their android app, but I can’t figure out how to register and save jobs on their main site.

  9. Rick:

    Many thanks for your comment — it seems like this one article I wrote, months ago, is experiencing quite a long shelf life — and even though my posting didn’t speak extensively about this issue, you’re absolutely right, the quality of Indeed listings is definitely superior to SimplyHired listings. SimplyHired’s search algorhythm seems to pull in a much higher percentage of duplicate ads, and listings from questionable or fee-based sites, which should be taken into consideration when making any final conclusions about the usefulness (or not) of each resource.

    As you said, however, to analyze the “quality” issue effectively somebody (ideally, an active job hunter) would have to spend a considerable amount of time, each day, comparing the results of each site and drilling down deeply into each and every listing to see which ones are legitimate — and which ones are shaky. Alas, I just wasn’t able to go to that extent in my above experiment, although I did point out in paragraph 5 of my article that SimplyHired definitely was known to have more issues, in terms of lead quality, than Indeed. Are these issues so significant that they neutralize the massive difference in quantity between the sites? Can we simply write off the 2x or 3x more openings that SimplyHired typically generates on a search — and assume they’re bogus? Boy, I’m not sure I’m willing to go that far, even with the additional evidence you’ve shared, since that’s a LOT of job ads to simply write off and disregard. But again, your points are definitely well taken. And I fully agree that on every measure besides volume alone, Indeed is the superior tool of the two.

    Again, I greatly appreciate you sharing this thoughtful input — based on your experience with both sites — and I’ll make sure to share it with people going forward, in addition to possibly blogging further about it at some point down the road. All the best in your ongoing search!

  10. You provide a thorough and quantifiable study; however, the study does miss one of the most important criteria—quality.

    I have been using both services side-by-side for several months. There is no doubt that the quantity of jobs listed is greater for Simply Hired than that of Indeed. However, when one looks at the quality, the relationship is inverse.

    It might be easier to look at the following in reviewing these. 1) How recent the jobs were posted. 2) Whether the job is gathered directly from the company/agency or from a “third party” site.

    Simply Hired ads are stale. Some ads that are on the “past 24 hour” page even are stated as being listed as 20 days old or 60 days old. Most of these jobs have been filled. The ones that are stated to be x hours old are ones that I have already received from Indeed over a week ago. If I go to the website from the companies, they were frequently listed many weeks ago or are already closed. I have no idea how they date these, but there seems to be no accuracy. So by adding “stale” and repeat ads, the quantity can be increased.

    Indeed does have some “older” ads, but relatively few.

    Simply Hired also lists ads from many other “commercial jobs boards.” These seem to come in waves (perhaps those who are advertising this week). These boards (Job Hat or Zip Recruiter or JobsinRetailer, etc. all require registration. They have scraped the same jobs that are listed and already listed separately on Simply Hired. So the same job is listed two or three times—once by Simply Hired and then by each additional Job Board. And once you register with these boards, you will get all kinds of spam and requests to sign up with new recruiters and offers for franchises and inappropriate emails.

    Indeed does not list these. The links go directly to the company involved. There ARE three advertised jobs at the top of each page which are clearly identified and easily ignored.

    The Indeed ads arrive at midnight and the Simply Hired ads come at various times during the day. So far, I have not found a single Simply Hired job that has not already appeared on Indeed several days (or weeks) before, or was not just a come-on ad to sign up for some sort of web site.

    So maybe there are more ads, but they are late and filled with repeats and suspicious commercial links. I still do spend the time—hope springs eternal, but if I don’t have the time, I won’t even bother to open their emails.

    Quality does count. Lots of poor quality leads is a waste of time. You did a tremendous job in your quantitative research. Since you were not in the position of needing to track down the jobs, you did not notice the quality of the leads, which is certainly understandable.

    LinkedIn and Glassdoor have chosen Simply Hired. So one might also think that searching where others aren’t is a good strategy. I’d never tell anyone to ignore a major search engine. But if they keep their eyes open and discover the same pattern that I have, they may want to adjust their time and energy. And perhaps Simply Hired may want to review the way they produce their leads or they will lose their customers!

  11. Steve: Appreciate the comment — although in my analysis of both Indeed and SimplyHired, they both seem to routinely pick up all the job leads from both Dice.com and the various sources that Linkup.com pulls from. So I don’t usually recommend checking those extra sites since you’d largely be duplicating efforts. Have you seen a number of leads on either of those sites that WEREN’T on one or both of the other big aggregators? My initial testing didn’t seem to turn many things up in that regard…

  12. I’ve been looking for a job for a few months and have been all over the place. I am in IT so things are a bit different. Dice.com seems to be one of the better boards for searching for tech jobs. I mainly use Simplyhired.com for most of my alerts and the other one that I really like is Linkup.com because it only searches real job postings on company websites, so it does give a different angle on the whole thing.

  13. Richard: Thanks for sharing that search data — although I’m not quite sure if you reached a “conclusion” around it or not. Were you implying that the results on SimplyHired were better or worse than what you’d been seeing on Indeed? If the latter, you might need to tighten up your search parameters a bit to avoid some of the more random jobs like bank teller that might mention your keyword, audiovisual, in passing…

  14. I still find SimplyHired to be hit-and-miss with Idealist.com listings. If nonprofits are among your target organizations, I’d continue with a targeted Idealist feed.

  15. Matt:

    Seems I have been getting relevant, qualified leads from Indeed.com. After your recommendation I tried simplyhired.com.

    Using the keyword audiovisual with 98101 zip code here are results of first ten:
    • Bell Harbor – AV Event Supervisor
    • Delivery Driver – 13450 1st Ave S. – Store 07135
    • Teller Part-Time ( 30 Hours ) 401 23rd Ave S ( Jackson & 23rd)
    • Audiovisual Lead Technician
    • Teller Part – Time 401 23rd Ave S
    • AV Project Design Manager (Moonraker)
    • 40 hr. Teller Rainier Ave
    • Delivery Driver – 8345 15th Ave NW, Suite A – Store 07148
    • Teller Part-Time ( 20 Hours ) 150 Logan Ave

    Using same keywords, here are results from indeed.com
    • Audiovisual Lead Technician
    • Event Technology Professionals (Audio Visual)
    • Assistant Director of Event Technology I
    • Assistant Director of Event Technology I
    • Part-Time Event Technology Specialist III
    • Part-Time Event Technology Specialist III
    • administrative assistant, Channel Development – Seattle, WA
    • Account Executive
    • MEDIA CENTER LIBRARY TECHNICIAN 3
    • Event Technology Specialist II – Audio Visual

  16. Matt, this is interesting! I’ve often wondered the difference when I was a job seeker I used both as you mentioned. Now I’m on the other side of the table as a recruiter (part of my HR Manager duties), I want to know which is “best”. So I did a search first just on our company name to see what I find…Simply Hired did have more listings than Indeed, HOWEVER there were 3 identical listings for the same job on Simply Hired…Indeed eliminated those (there was a note on the bottom “We have removed 2 job postings very similar to those already shown.”). I then did a search for “production worker”, a position I’m often hiring for and noticed Simply Hired and 4 pages of postings to Indeed’s 1 page…but 3 of the 4 pages came from the employment department website. Like you said, need to have booth!

  17. Hi Matt,

    Upon further review and doing the same analysis that you did, I’d have to give the edge to SimplyHired.

    I experienced the crossover of some jobs posted on Indeed a few years ago on the SimplyHired site and the results came up as Indeed.come postings. However, I did not find that to be the case and am glad I follow your blog to see that I may be missing an opportunity by using Indeed.com solely!

    Thanks Mat for a great post!

    Jack

  18. Jay: You’re right, that is not only the unanswered question, but is also largely unanswerable — since there isn’t any consistent pattern in that regard, it appears, and neither site publishes a complete list of the sources they track for finding listings. Indeed scrapes the jobs off one big bunch of sites, and SimplyHired scrapes the job off another big bunch of sites, with no real rhyme or reason (best I can tell) in terms of the difference. As my article points out, though, the vast majority of Indeed.com jobs DO seem to be picked up by SimplyHired, so you’ll tend to find many more “exclusive” or “jobs on the margin” on SimplyHired. Again, to be absolutely thorough you’ll need to check both sites religiously. But if you want to get 90% of the same results with 50% of the effort, I’d only track SimplyHired. All comes down to a person’s situation and how much time they’re willing to devote to this component of the job-sleuthing process…

  19. The unanswered question is: what jobs are found on one site but not another? After the overlap in reporting the same job is removed. are there some jobs that one site contains but not another site? These jobs “at the margin” may help to distinguish one site from another in terms of desirability and “performance”.

  20. Jack: Thanks for your comment — although if SimplyHired DOES pull in some Indeed listings, I’ll confess, I see very little visible evidence of this — and ths site certainly can’t be finding ALL Indeed listings or there wouldn’t be the big discrepancy between the result sets on the two sites. Can you share more about this issue and what you know about it? Sounds like you’ve tracked these sites pretty closely, yourself…

  21. SimplyHired also pulls in Indeed listings as well.

  22. Thanks for re-checking this. I really appreciate how you back up your positions with solid analysis!

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