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Cut the fat. Expired job ads should not be displayed

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 7:00pm Sunday 15 November 2009    Print Article

Have you ever wondered why some job boards display expired (or archived) job ads online? I have always been a believer that expired job ads SHOULD NOT be displayed, but others may have you believe that expired job ads are good for your SEO.

Yes, it may increase the number of pages available for search engines to index. But this black hat SEO trick will only discredit your site in the long run. It can also have the reverse effect on your search engine performance - expired job ads may show higher than your active content.

Have you ever stopped to think about the problems this causes for job seekers, and not to mention your brand? Expired job ads should not be displayed because...
  • It wastes the job seekers time
  • It gives the job seeker a false sense of hope
  • Could be used against the advertiser/job board for 'misleading advertising'
  • Provides evidence of clients old job ads

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Article Tags: online recruitment job boards expired job ads expired job advertisements job ads seo search engine misleading advertising job seekers

Comments Hide Comments (18)

Feel free to join in on the conversation. All comments are moderated before publishing. Comments posted by subscribers don't necessarily reflect the views of Recruitment Directory.

 Peter (11:32am Monday 16 November 2009)

Some good points Thomas, however, there is a positive to leaving jobs up after they have been filled. Call it the glass half full perspective.

The glass half-full
+ Can be used as good research material for the jobseeker:
- Indication to see if the company has high staff turnover (Same job being re-advertised 1 month later)
- Indication how fast the company is growing (Number of jobs offered and filled in the past)
- The jobseeker can use filled positions to compare breadth of other identical jobs and pay from other companies

Other benefits are not related to the jobseeker directly.

+ Can be good industry research for media houses reporting on number of jobs and job rate uptake. If SEEK left every job on their site then given they cover such a large part of the Australian market you could get some great stats on uptake by industry, position and location.


I think it is important to say that job boards would have to be upfront and ensure that the filled jobs were clearly marked in their own separate section of the site. This would go along way to making sure that the boards don't count filled jobs as 'live' jobs on their site. If this isn't done then the negatives outweigh the positives.

Get real

Let's get real though, the likelihood of any of the majors doing this is slim as most use this type of information to generate PR articles they release to press or in some cases they charge their customers for this information. More often than not they use this information to direct their own strategic direction in finding more advertisers.

Interesting topic.....

 Industry Observer (1:40pm Monday 16 November 2009)

Well done Thomas, nice to see you are keeping it real with the big boys. The end result... no one wins by leaving expired job ads online. The negatives out way the positives. Take the ads down.

Is that comment from Peter aka thedidge?

 Mark (2:05pm Monday 16 November 2009)

Good points Peter - although I believe there is validity for taking them down - PS who is industry observer???

 Peter (2:08pm Monday 16 November 2009)

Industry Observer,

Will you ever add a comment to any blog that contributes positively to the industry as a whole, rather than write blanket statements like "No one wins by leaving expired ads" and "keeping it real with the big boys"? What do those statements actually mean?

I did work at JJJ, not that anyone actually cares, not the didge so get you facts straight. So who are you again?

 Thomas Shaw (2:23pm Monday 16 November 2009)

Hi Peter, you bring up some good points re: job ad research. The only good example of expired jobs ads I can remember is at Unfortunately you need to be a registered advertiser to view the archive.

Industry Observer.. always a pleasure to have your input.

Mark... long story. I'm sure someone will be able to fill you in. You should be able to find some cached pages on Google.

 Peter (2:40pm Monday 16 November 2009)

Thanks Thomas it is a good topic. Probably worth noting that before the age of the online job board you could get copies of past ads by getting old papers or magazines (if you could be bothered). So really it should not be an issue, it is more about how the online advertisers treat the past ads (make sure they don't include them in with the live ads etc..)

 Carey Eaton (2:49pm Monday 16 November 2009)

Its pretty simple. Jobseekers HATE ads that aren't for real jobs.

So does the ACCC.

 Peter (3:47pm Monday 16 November 2009)

Carey could not agree more if you place your expired ads in the current listings section and allow people to assume they can still apply. As I stated however, If they are clearly marked as past ads (and placed in a different section) the ACCC would not care because they would not be considered "misleading or deceptive" in this format. In fact if you look at the ACCC website (a link I got from it does not have a specific section on job advertising it only refers to it within the general treatment of any ads being seen by the recipient as "misleading and deceptive".

 Peter (5:03pm Tuesday 17 November 2009)

Thomas maybe what we should be discussing is not those job boards that leave filled ads up but those that allow trawling ads to remain on their websites? It would be fair to say that all the job boards do it to some degree.

So what strategies do they have in place to control these advertisers and do they actually remove trawling ads once identified or leave them there so they get the revenue?

Taking previous points further - I think job hunters hate trawling ads as much as, if not more, than expired ads.

 Mark (5:23pm Tuesday 17 November 2009)

Good point Peter. Trawling ads are a bigger problem and anger job hunters far more. Generally speaking, I'd say trawling ads are allowed to slip under the radar by most jobs boards.

 Thomas Shaw (5:37pm Tuesday 17 November 2009)

My understanding, from discussions with all major job boards is the matter is taken very seriously. Advertisers are warned, and most job ads are screened by humans before being displayed. There are "report job" functions available on some job boards if the job seeker believes the there are problems with the ad.

"Expired job ads" vs "Trawling ads" are different. Job boards can control how/if they display expired job ads. On the other hand, it is not up to the Job Board to police each individual job advert being provided by the advertiser.

FYI, here is a email extract from one of the job boards last month...

"We do have a very strictly enforced set of rules that underwrite our promise to jobseekers. We use these rules to remove ad content and advertiser accounts. We have more than one team of people dedicated to enforcing compliance with our advertising standards. We remove hundreds, sometimes thousands, of ads per week for non-compliance with terms and conditions, ACCC guidelines and our jobseeker commitments."

 Bob (3:12am Wednesday 18 November 2009)

There is no ethical excuse for advertising a vacancy that has already been filled. I think it's actually illegal in the UK to do so. However hard job boards try, some recruiters persist in this kind of practice.

 Christina (8:50am Wednesday 18 November 2009)

I'm sorry, I don't mean to be a negative nancy but I have to share my feelings about Peter's comment on Monday and here is why:

I’m sorry I don’t see the glass half-full situation here and here is why:

“The glass half-full"

-Can be used as good research material for the jobseeker:
I don’t see how “filled” jobs are going to help be good research for a job seeker that they can’t find out through other means, networking, and good old fashion research. But leaving closed jobs open I don’t see how that helps a person searching for job.

-Indication to see if the company has high staff turnover (Same job being re-advertised 1 month later)
If a position is going to have high turn over that is probably an internal problem and needs to be addressed internally and not through a job board posting. That is better networking with the hiring team and recruiting team.

- Indication how fast the company is growing (Number of jobs offered and filled in the past)
Again, number of jobs, and growth can be found in other area’s verse leaving a closed job open.

-The jobseeker can use filled positions to compare breadth of other identical jobs and pay from other companies”
And the last comment I’m totally lost, because 90% job online job postings do not put salaries, so that is not good research, again and last time I will bring this up (WINK) there are other ways to research a company and other ways to learn about cost of living in an area and salaries based on that business line, etc….

 Peter (10:57am Wednesday 18 November 2009)


Eveyone is entitled to their comments and I respect your point of view. However, I would really appreciate if you read my comments again becuase I DO NOT advocate leaving filled jobs within live listings as you state. I quite specifically state they need to be classified into their own SEPRATE section and clearly marked. I do not advocate leaving the functionality to apply for these old jobs. So given you have not read my comments correctly this pretty much discounts your first point. Please, please read the comments before you draw a opinion aboput what is written.

I do not understand your second point. As a job hunter if there is a job that has been advertised regularly, internal problem or not I would be cautious about working there. Further on this if this highlights an internal problem within a company then that is enourmously valuable to those who are looking for employment in that company. At the very least it prompts the job hunter to ask the question in the interview process. In my opinion this is a valuable and worthwhile question to ask and be aware of. Most employers would perceive anyone asking this question as well researched. It would seem to me this is one of the very limited ways of finding both these bits of information out, sources on this information about a company are very very limited.

Next point is similar. Please please read my comments thoroughly. I do not advocate leaving closed jobs open (repeat). I am also not saying that you should only rely on this type of information, however to say it is not valuable in understanding growth in a company is a little naive. It is also not full proof but it certainly lets you know which company (and even department) is growing strongly. Again it certainly prompts you to ask the right question in an interview process. If a company has been employing a whole range of marketing jobs i=over the last 3 months (in otherwords an entire marketing department) you are immediately prompted to ask questions such as;

(1) Is the company marketing lead?
(2) Does the company value marketing?
(3) Is there an issue with the company valuing marketing as a function etc..

I actually agree with you on the last point, there are other ways to establish salaries. There are already a myriad of research tools and online tools that can give you this information, but here is a thought. None of those studies tell you what the level of responsibilities, level of staff management and culture etc. are associated to that specific job. These tools give you the Avergae Salary and nothing more than a job title to evaluate it against. An example: A marketing manager at BHP has completely different responsibilities and accountability than one at say, Seven Eleven. The current tools would tell you they are both the same salary level.

Now if consider that more an more job boards are placing salary band functionality on their websites, then it becomes easier to get a gauge of the salary level and now, as you have the old job description in front of you for that company, you can match the functions, responsibility and accountability of the job more closely.

Again, I would never rely on one bit of information for anything and I have not said that in anything I have written. All I said was there is some merit (glass half full) in having filled jobs, classified separately, on a job board. As you don't read my comments I guess what I am saying is while there are definitely some negatives I simply don't see it all negative which is what you are saying. I am an optimist and firmly believe there is value in everything its just a matter of perspective.

 Christina (12:22am Thursday 19 November 2009)

Peter, lets just say I see your point, I do, and yes I read your posting, both of them! However, to think there is going to be some system that will let you go look at closed jobs vs open jobs on a internet job board, I just don't see that ever happening. It boils down to the recruiters and management to remove the jobs from the internet in a timely manner once a position is filled. Oh and trust me, I am a very "positive" person, but currently being on both sides of the fence, a contract recruiter trying to attract talent, and losing her job shortly, searching DAILY for work, yes I am 'frustrated" or "negative nancy" when it comes to seeing jobs that have been up for weeks and months and no responses and seeing them be refreshed, etc....Boy that might have been one run on sentence, but on that note, I must get back to the job I have currently! Happy Wednesday! C

 Steve Wilson (11:29am Monday 23 November 2009)


I first noticed this with mycareer – they have been displaying old adverts with the recruiter contact details taken off - thus increasing traffic and SEO to the site - the surfer is then redirected to click relevant / similar jobs on the website.

This is an interesting concept - as you can still have old adverts 'archived’ then redirect the user to similar live roles – thus negating some of the issues listed above.

We implemented a similar process on our own website – we archive old adverts according to date then use a Similar / Related Posts function to display adverts that are only 0-2 months old next to the old adverts. Related posts are only displayed next to our ‘Jobs Listings’ and are keyword matched – thus allowing a user to see related new adverts even if they happen to be browsing the old adverts. If they happen to find an advert from 6 months ago via Google – they can still view that advert – as well as see related adverts that are newer. On all our pages we also list the recent jobs (0-30 days) (none-related).

I think old adverts are fine if the job post ‘date’ is obvious – in a similar way to old news stories archived on SMH and the BBC News – as long as the user ‘knows’ how old the post is they can make an educated guess that it is an old job post – yet still find similar roles that are current.

Furthermore many News websites display related (new) stories next to the old news stories – and this is what we have attempted to do at CITI Recruitment.

Finally – we aligned Google analytics to every job post on the website (old and new) – and can quickly see if anyone has visited the (archived) old job posts – and where they went from there.
From a business perspective this is great as we know where people are coming from, what they are searching for and more importantly the exit rate – so we can better align our website and adverts to the most number of unique visitors. This also allows us to remove the adverts (old and new) that are not working or attracting the wrong traffic.

 Peter (1:47pm Monday 23 November 2009)


It is a sensible use of using old jobs. It certainly is a lot better than sticking your head in the sand about the concept of old jobs being useful like some boards do. I am sure you have peaked the interest of a whole lot of job boards who have had a limited view on the use of old jobs. Wouldn't be surprised if you get a few boards following/copying your strategy.

 butterfly (3:01pm Saturday 26 December 2009)

Hi Steve,

Recently I spoke with a representative from a company called Apply Direct who was exceptionally helpful in the search for my latest job. The extra information that their site provided made navigating and searching really straight forward with the job searches actually giving me results that matched my search criteria. You apply direct to the company without having to go through an agency.

The results were fast and I had email alerts sent through about jobs daily to keep me up to date on what employers are hiring directly. There are no fake jobs or pyramid schemes. I also noticed during the time that I was looking for this role as jobs expired they were removed from the site, nothing worse than applying when someone is already in the role!! Good luck!

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