Used for the purposes of recruiting new employees, a career/recruitment website tailors itself to employers and prospective employees alike by acting as a middle man in bringing people with relevant skill sets to employment that they find desirable. The methods used and the thoroughness of this service is dependent on the nature of the website itself and its clientele.

Most recruitment websites operate on a simple but effective format. An employer will purchase space on the website's servers to distribute their job posts and recruitment messages, including relevant information such as location of work, wage, nature of work, and other required fields that the website's search engine will be able to use. This commercial is then stored and will be displayed as a 'hit' when similar search criteria are entered by a user searching the website for work. In this way, a prospective employee can discover the vacancy needing to be filled by an employer.

This is the function of most commercial recruitment websites that gear themselves to providing operational or tactical level employment. In the case of filling more specialist roles, however, some websites will either specialise in providing service to a selected demographic, for instance university graduates, or to the employer's specific requirements for their potential applicant. Head-hunting is a process that is the reversal of the aforementioned recruitment site in that it is people and their qualifications that are stored within a database rather than job postings. When a match is found for a vacancy, the potential employer and employee are notified.

In some cases, recruitment sites will store both and attempt to match people to jobs as well as providing job postings for clients to browse through.