Remote job board performance: Best job boards and their ROI

Philip Seifi
5 min readOct 6, 2021


New job boards are springing up like mushrooms after a rain, and startups are left wondering where to post their JDs, and which add-ons to pay for.

By the time you 📌 pin your posting for 24h, ⭐ highlight it in yellow, or better yet, your brand colour 🌈, include it in the monthly newsletter 💌, and donate to the protection of endangered species 🦄, your bill can easily run into the thousands.

Photo by Tim Mossholder

Large companies use enterprise-grade Applicant Tracking Systems to analyze their multi-channel hiring strategies to the penny… or, simply expend their limitless recruiting budgets on a spray-and-pray strategy.

Neither is an option for a small, frugal startup, but we refused to throw money at this problem at random, and after searching far and wide for existing open data, we collected our own.

The results were… shocking.

Job boards we tested

We published the a Senior Full Stack Engineer posting on ten different job boards:

Below is a short analysis of of the number and quality of applicants, and the ROI of each posting.

The job description

For reference, this is the job description we published. Needless to say, your performance may vary depending on the exact position you’re trying to fill.

Senior Full Stack Engineer

Colabra’s mission is to increase the world’s scientific output.

We’re backed by top investors including Village Global, Builders, Inovia, Jude Gomila, the Technical Director of OpenAI, and founders of several biotech startups.

We’re now hiring an experienced full stack web developer to join Colabra as the 4th member of our engineering team.

About us
We’re a small team optimising for impact — not headcount.
We’re using a single programming language — TypeScript.
We’re using Vue.js for our front-end on both web and mobile (via Capacitor), and Hasura for our back-end.

Develop, maintain and optimize the Colabra web and mobile ELN
Monitor server usage, optimize relevant sites as necessary
Liaise and coordinate with other team members
Participate in team discussions about product development

2+ years in senior engineering positions and experience working in a remote-first team.
Strong experience with modern technology stacks (Vue.js, Hasura, GCP, Capacitor).
Relentless resourcefulness, ownership mindset, and a proven record of single-handedly taking ideas from conception to live.
Passion for the promotion of science, and experience working on B2B SaaS a plus

🧪 Opportunity for outsized impact, working to accelerate world-changing scientific research.
🌏 Work in an async, remote-first startup where work-life balance is celebrated and promoted.
💰 $40,000–80,000
🌄 Unlimited PTO
🏢 Co-working, ☕️ Coffee, 🧹 Cleaning, 📚 Books and 🏃‍♀️ Fitness allowance.
🏥 If you don’t have public health insurance in your country of residence, SafetyWing Remote Health insurance with coverage across the world (stays of 30 days maximum in the US, Hong Kong, UAE and Singapore).


I posted the exact same job offer on each site, with basic add-ons (yellow highlight, company logo) where available.

All applications were processed through Wrk, a fantastic new startup ATS — the Superhuman of recruiting, if you will.

I then exported our applicant data into CSV format, cleaned it up, and normalized where necessary, and finally visualized the results with Python on Deepnote.


VueJobs led to the largest number of applicants (25+), followed by Remote OK and Remotive (20+).

Remote OK, however, had a much higher quality of applicants, and most of the applicants who reached the Pair Programming stage came from there.

Jobspesso only led to a single interview, and WorkingNomads, StartupJobs led to practically no applicants, and no interviews.

Discord attracted quite a few applicants, some through our Wrk application form, and some through direct messages (not included here), but none were qualified enough to make it to the interview stage. As such, this channel appears to be a waste of time (particularly as it takes a lot of effort to triage applicants on a separate platform, and there’s no way to stop them from spamming your DM).

Return on investment

VueJobs had the lowest price per applicant ($17), closely followed by Remotive ($18), and RemoteOK ($28). Other job boards were more than $49/applicant.

VueJobs also had the lowest price per interview ($64), followed by RemoteOK ($66) and Remotive ($80). Jobspresso stood at a much higher $349. No applicants made it to the interview stage from any of the other platforms.

Remotive had the lowest price per interview ($133), followed by RemoteOK ($149) and VueJobs ($224).

The only offer we made through a job board came from Remotive, but the sample size is too small to make any conclusions on that front.

Application timelines

Applicants from the more performant job boards like RemoteOK, and especially VueJobs and Remotive, continued to drip in throughout the month that the posting were up.

On all others, applications petered out after 1–2 weeks.

What are your results?

Quality data is sorely lacking in this space, and hundreds of thousand of dollars must be wasted by startups randomly paying for postings and fancily named add-ons on job boards across the web.

If you just raised a fresh round of funding, and plan to actively recruit over the coming quarters, I encourage you to do your own analysis — and share it with the world, and in the comments below!

I’d love to see further experiments across different types of positions, or on the effects of individual add-ons (is highlighting your posting in your brand’s colour, as opposed to the soothing yellow, really worth $349 on RemoteOK?!)



Philip Seifi

Founder | Cross-pollinating between industries and cultures. | Nomad entrepreneur 🌎 designer 🌸 hacker 💻 |