Over the last few years, the global workforce has seen some drastic changes. Technology has revolutionized the ways in which people can work. And in many cultures, even the employee/employer relationship has evolved into a more casual, short-term exchange.

Despite all these changes, one area that has evolved much slower is the process of acquiring great employees. Long ago it was a “now hiring” sign in the window. Following that era was the classified section of the newspapers. Then, with the rise of the internet came online job boards. Not long after came websites like LinkedIn, which focused in on bridging the employment gap. Finally, other social media sites became mediums for finding talent as well.

Job boards have maintained their position in the spotlight of the hiring community throughout the years. Yet, the overwhelming majority of hires still come from other sources such as referrals. Because of this and several other reasons, job board as we know them may soon be a thing of the past.

Job boards became so popular because they were a place where anyone could look for almost any job. But lately that’s become the problem – anyone can apply. Employers usually know what type of people they want. But the vast majority of job board audiences don’t fit their description.

Employers are fed up with paying big fees, only to get an inbox full of applications from candidates who have few, if any, relevant qualifications.

The average job board listing can attract well over 100 applications. And if you’ve ever had to sort through them, you’ll quickly realize why most people only spend a few seconds reviewing each one. It should be fair to say that well over half of online job applications are less than satisfactory.

It’s unfortunate because most people are never educated on other ways to go about getting a job. Applying on the big job boards like Monster and Indeed is often the only way they know how to get a job.

It doesn’t help that many employers aren’t aware of the other options for hiring staff either. Job boards seem to be the go-to almost every time. Recruitment is another option. But it can be slow and prohibitively expensive.

This lack of awareness on both sides is the cause of a rather large gap in the employment market. It’s a tragedy for both job seekers and companies alike.

Fortunately, it seems the talent sourcing game is changing once again. 2016 may be the year that employment gap really starts to close.

Job boards are still popping up constantly, but they are starting to adapt and transform into something else. As the global workforce becomes more connected, the big location-based job boards are in trouble.

Job boards are becoming much more specific. Sometimes even specific to only one type of job. Coffeejobs.com, HigherEdJobs.com, and Lawjobs.com are just a few self-explanatory examples of niche job sites.

On these niche websites, candidates only see jobs relevant to them. And employers only hear from highly targeted candidates. It’s a win-win for everyone, except for the big job boards.

Another threat to the job board industry is the growing trend of fully remote workforces.

Companies like Sidekicker, Expert360, CloudPeeps, and Upwork let employers post jobs and receive applications just like they’re used to. The difference is that all the jobs can be done remotely.

Applicants must build up a reputation or portfolio to get the attention of employers. Then they can apply with their whole profile and not just a resume. Employers can then see past work and reviews of applicants. Thus, reducing or eliminating the need for a traditional face-to-face interview.

The idea of working remotely is not new by today’s standards. Though, it’s still relatively uncommon. Working remotely is an amazing opportunity for individuals to get their work done with only a computer and a decent internet connection. Of course, that’s assuming the job can be done on a computer. It allows employers to reach beyond the local market to find talent across the globe.

As more jobs become remote, there will be less and less need for the big job boards. At least in their current location-based form.

In the future, job location won’t matter nearly as much as it does now. That will even further increase the demand for niche job sites over location-based sites. Thus, drawing traffic away from big job boards.

It looks like job boards may have a bleak future. For the time being, they aren’t going anywhere. But it’s tough to say what they will inevitably evolve into next.

With this uncertainty in mind, if companies want to keep up, they should seriously consider shifting their focus towards other hiring strategies. Niche sites will be a solution for now. But nobody knows how long they will last.

Some hiring strategies take longer than others, so employers shouldn’t wait to get started if they want to remain competitive in the hiring game.

Social recruiting and inbound are two other viable options for acquiring great talent that can be found anywhere in the world.

Social recruiting allows employers to tap into their networks and the networks of their team. Allowing them to find the most common type of hire – referrals. Inbound talent acquisition is a slower process, but involves drawing candidates in with a great brand. Whatever online strategy companies use to attract top talent, they should put more focus on attracting passive candidates, which are generally the best candidates.

On the topic of hiring passive candidates, there is one other threat to job boards as we know them. It’s a solution for the companies that just can’t be bothered to hire on their own and don’t want to use recruitment agencies.

This solution is to bring staff from another company onto your own internal team. Sometimes even remotely. These “guns for hire” have already been vetted, so you can be confident they know what they’re doing. And that they have the motivation to do it. But they come without the hefty fees normally associated with recruitment.

In the software development space, X-Team is a leader in hiring out top developers to companies that need the best talent on demand. X-Team developers are part of a cohesive team that works remotely from around the world on some of the toughest tech projects. They are playing a part in the inevitable revolution of how companies will staff their businesses in the digital age.

As the global workforce continues to change, the war for talent is only getting started. It’s extremely important for companies to take a serious look at their hiring strategies. Job boards may still be the source of a few good hires for now, but they shouldn’t be relied on too heavily in the future.

Job boards will not go down without a fight, but they may be yet another industry that won’t survive in the digital age.