You can post a job ad, but it will cost you

It’s the beginning of the year and I am already disappointed.

I thought 2010 was going to be the year where significantly less job ads, print or online, were going to include phrases like:

– ‘leading multinational’ to refer to the hiring company
– ‘high calibre individual’ to refer to the candidate they want to attract
– ‘challenging and dynamic environment’ to describe work conditions

What’s the real chance to get who you really want for this role with ‘details’ like those above?

I understand the anonymity has been used to protect clients from ambulance chasers, unsolicited CV’s etc. Those protection costs though are extremely high. It will cost real money to process unsuitable applicants – for example.

You might find the right individual in that hay stack you are generating. But just in case, get your calculator out and do your numbers; your job ads might be making your advertising/sourcing process more expensive than what you imagine.

Come on, be social :)

Social Tools – The worst that could’ve happened to Recruitment?

Maybe…

In a recent post, @greg_savage reported that he had asked attendees of an RCSA event/roadshow for a quick show of hands about social tools usage. The results:

a) 80% of recruiters have a LinkedIn account, whilst only 20% were using it ‘actively’
b) there was a very low take up of twitter (5-10% have a handle)

You know what? If there were more ‘active’ recruiters on LinkedIn, or more consultants moving into twitter, the ‘damage’ might be even bigger.

What damage?

I went to @coffeemornings last Friday; I spoke to four peeps that had been approached by recruiters on LinkedIn that they had not heard from – let alone met – before; these peeps ranted about these recruiters effectively cold calling them, to either connect and then be referred to other LinkedIn members, or do the usual tyre-kicking (you happy in your job? kinda thing).

Some recruiters are using new(er) tools and combining them with old practices and old thinking. Big risk.

And big opportunities.

Recruiters that notice that LinkedIn is not a resume database or a Yellow Pages for candidates, will score; they will give themselves room to develop their brand as individual professionals and that of the firms the happen to be working for.

Recruiters that feel the disconnect between social tools and the ‘let’s put bums on seats’ way of recruitment, and are courageous enough to re-energise their practices in the eyes of clients and job seekers, will come on top.

Big risk. Big opportunities.

Come on, be social :)

The Merovingian said: for every action there is a reaction

Recruitment agencies are receiving less assignments from their clients

Recruiters – like all or most of us – need to stay busy or else. They start chasing ads

If they chase ads, they might as well have a candidates that can fill the role

In lieu of/addition to looking at their own databases, recruiters chasing ads opt to create their own sourcing/trawling posts

The incremental cost of posting the trawling job ads is negligible; recruiters may have already paid for them as part of their monthly contracts

Applications per ad are already up given our context

Candidates won’t get much attention, because the recruiter’s interest in them is contingent on the ad-chasing success ratio (which I would say is low)

Hiring companies are getting peeved with cold-calling consultants, which leads them to (if possible) write more and more generic ads so that they are not identified by ad-chasers

What’s in the horizon?

As contracts with job boards get renewed maybe there will be less ads (both good and bad, but proportionally less bad ones)

Reduced confidence on recruiters will lead job seekers to going back to job seeking via people you can trust, which can also include hand-picked recruiters, but also colleagues, friends, family.

Referrals based on trawling ads will not produce results.

Niche sites that have the inclination and capacity to monitor the quality of job ads could also get the thumbs up. Issue here is: what’s quality? An ad for a work-from-home scheme? The fifth version of the same ad? A suspicious looking/fake one? The more judgment you apply the more labor-intensive / costly the exercise.

Hiring organisations have an opportunity to work on their employer brand during this time, A ‘grey’ recruitment practice does not necessarily imply low candidate quality.

Thank you @jobadder for your comments re. niche sites

Hope your week finishes very well

Come on, be social :)

shooting the (job) messenger

A few days back @gapingvoid twitted a link to a WJS article series describing the experience of recently made-unemployed US-based MBAs. In it, there was a sort of side-piece written by one of the individuals profiled, which touched on online job boards.. He says:

External job boards have certainly helped me with the search process, no doubt. They are great sources of information for discovering which companies are hiring for what. But when it comes to actually securing a position, my efforts in this area have been completely fruitless. In my conscious recollection, any resume that I have sent off into the oblivion of the Internet has never garnered a response of interest. In fact, a very small percentage returned any response whatsoever.

He then moves onto saying the following about vertical search engines (aggregators)

The job search sites that have been most beneficial are SimplyHired and Indeed, which aggregate job content from all around the web. These aggregator sites don’t necessarily provide the answers, they simply strengthen the cornerstone of daily searches by providing breadth and depth that other external boards don’t. I’ve also found that most of these job listings are linked to internal career Web sites so I can apply directly and even see other opportunities of interest. Best of all, these sites don’t require job seekers to have an account, or post their resume.

Apples to oranges, isn’t it

People use job boards and job search engines differently, driving significantly different expectations. A response is expected for a job application sent through a job board. From an aggregator, visitors expect depth/coverage (more job ads sources, better data slicing).

On the job board, people are job seekers, on the aggregator they turn into job researchers.

You will know that job boards are not the ones who are ignoring applications. It’s the consultant or the hiring manager – that is, advertisers – who would decide that there’s no point in getting in touch with unsuitable applicants, at least on a timely basis.

Meantime, you as a job board owner/manager and your brand are taking the heat.

So, how do you make the job board experience better for a job seeker?

– Do you follow up the advertiser and then ‘get in the middle’ and let applicants know of your efforts to ensure they get some sort of response?

– Do you let job seekers know that there is nothing you can do?

I reckon that job board owners/managers will be more inclined to do nothing if they think they are in the advertising industry. Conversely, if they see their organisation inscribed in the recruitment industry, they might be prone to make something to contribute to the recruitment experience.

Either way, it will come back to them.

Have a great week

Come on, be social :)

Prices are up, costs might be down

Recently, Geoff Jennings reported a price increase in the C1 product which, correction notwithstanding, still took home the message that noone likes a price hike. Fair enough.

Even though nominal prices per ad were to go up for advertisers can I suggest the acquisition cost of acquiring candidates/job applicants may be going down?

This would be the obvious result of having more applications per ad (in turn due to more people looking for work altogether and, to a lesser extent, reduced ad re-posting). This argument assumes similar ‘quality’ of applicants, which is a can of worms I will open for the next inauguration, if ok with you.

Last time I checked, at 185 USD, a LinkedIn ad looked pretty unaffordable, in the words of a few recruiters I spoke to. But, what if that ad delivers more ‘quality’ candidates, or even the candidate that ends up being placed, earning the fees to the consultant?

I made this point in a previous post, Advertisers pay for an ad, but expect more than posting; they expect distribution and targeting. So if C1 is nominally more expensive than Seek for some of its ad packages. they might want to get ready to justify it in terms of application volumes (post note: turns out they’re not more expensive than Seek which puts the universe in balance again).

This tight period may prompt advertisers to pick up a pencil and review the source of their candidates; nominal per-ad prices might be misleading.

Come on, be social :)

Job ads slump in Oz: rants

Belated happy new ’09. Nice to be back

A bit of a rant and/or speculations re. the news on job ads

a) The 50% + decline in newspaper ads includes the economic slow down factor and the migration to online factor which, if you have seen the Seek investor presentations, is BIG

b) The almost 30% decline in online ads includes the slow down factor, the ‘less-reposting’ factor and to a still small extent, to a ‘migration off classifieds’ factor.

c) If you take a) and b), then the corollary is that the decline in the actual job openings is less dramatic that the ad statistics.

d) There will be more applicants per job ad, but possibly less applications overall (due to lesser volumes of ads). But if you accepted a) and b) then it will not be 50 or even 30% harder to get a job, ceteris paribus

John Sumser wrote about how the media loves the bad news. I encourage everyone not to make our own gloom.

Come on, be social :)

Monster news: afterthoughts

– What is the current theoretical value of 50% of career one? Any guesses?
– Sounds like this is take 2 of ‘feed the monster’ strategy (with resumes, that is) which might just put another local resume database product out there
– I guess the product and tech guys at C1 if any, are now gone / redeployed to other properties? Therefore, only local sales teams? Any local systems support people? Hope they ensure the service does not deteriorate
– Will there be a s**t fight for the revenue of the proposed offline/online product bundle
– Careermonster – or Monsterone – might go back in rankings before it gets back to number 2 or better
– The new site might be cheaper to run, therefore more profitable operation

Come on, be social :)

The interactive job seeker – Part 1

Over the past couple of years I have seen recruiters getting significantly wiser as to how to use web-based products, services, techniques; to source the talent they need to deliver to their clients. The majority of the tier-one players have made serious investments in skills (adoption / training) and products (e.g. subscriptions) in order to create what I call a multi-channel sourcing platform using generalist sites, niche sites, search, search marketing, professional/social networks, referral systems, etc. I’d love to think that LatinOcean had something to do with that.

This multi-pronged approach to candidate engagement – I am also happy to report – hast lost its novelty value and is now imbedded in the recruiters’ workflow, which is where it makes a difference. It is now part of the day to day for a material number of agencies and internal recruitment teams. This is not going away; we’re not going to just post classifieds anymore, is my bet.

Concomitant to this evolution, job seekers need to think now (more than ever) as to how to nurture a multi-channel job hunting platform online. Which employers do you want to be targeted by? Who do you want to meet? What is the first search result you want to appear when someone Googles your name? What is the best platform to research a company or agency or individual recruitment consultant?

What I am pointing to is that we, as job seekers / professionals in constant career flux, need to understand that it is our responsibility to determine/influence our reputation online and to use the channel other than just clicking the ‘apply online’ button to get the job you want. We are empowered and able to do so without the need for technical wizardry or expensive/cumbersome overheads.

Given this, I thought I would start a bit of a list as to what you can/should do/consider when refining your ‘interactive job seeker’ self. Hopefully the list and the points outlined can be enriched with adds / edits from the readers.

1. Reports of the demise of the standard word/text/PDF resume have been greatly exaggerated. This is still the document that recruiters work with when it comes to the crunch. So if you are going to post one of this mothers online, ensure it is a current one and it reflects your agenda/interests pretty much up to the minute.

2. The resume format of choice might be the same but possibly there are smarter ways to manage its distribution/broadcasting. Give emurse a try to keep multiple versions of your resume, and a fairly clear trail of who you’ve sent it to. If you believe a fancier CV format will contribute, register with VisualCV and give it a crack

3. If you want to be seen and approached at an early stage of the recruitment process or as recruiters conduct their sourcing activities, work on your online profile. LinkedIn is still very much the place to go for this (XING is not playing in Australia and has no plans to do so – in any English-speaking nation, for that matter). Beef up your profile with work experience, academic pedigree and associations; all of this gives the system a chance to connect you with (arguably) solid connections.

4. Avoid things that create churn for the recruiter. Serial/batch job applications to classified ads are as counter-productive as multiple postings of the same advertisement. In both cases you as the job seeker are on the receiving end. If your name crops up multiple times for a large variety of roles, you may not be considered as a serious applicant. I know this is a broad generalization and a perception that maybe overridden in case you happen to be a good candidate for any of the roles, but I think it’s a reasonable rule of thumb.

5. Google yourself, and have a look; which result comes first? If you have a common name (you know what I mean, so don’t take offence) narrow down your search to your profession or company. Are your results showing within the first 10-15 results? Are you happy with the results that point to you as an individual / professional? I spend a bit of time on my LinkedIn profile and it appears that LinkedIn corresponds by investing in SEO on my behalf (and theirs, of course)

6. Search yourself on Zoominfo. This engine crawls the net to work out a profile extracted from the info accessed. You can actually register and ‘claim’ the profile the system works out and update it with current information

7. If LinkedIn appears too slanted to networking as opposed to to-the-point job hunting you can keep an eye for the LinkedIn job ads. Alternatively you can have a look at resume databases like LinkMe, which is more a job-seeker ready environment with some social features. Remember also that you have the option on several job boards to make your profile and CV visible to recruiters

8. Use Google, LinkedIn, Zoominfo and Facebook to research a company of a specific individual recruiter. If you want to check out a company, also check their careers site; further to this, create a Google email alert so you can receive news or blog postings about the company you are interested in (you want to hear from people that have actual experience with the company, not with their PR machine). While you are at it, create an email alert for yourself (e.g. enter your name as a search key)

9. Publish (this is a bit of a big one to elaborate) may tackle on part 2

Just run out of time, I am sure there are good/better ones to add for job hunters to consider; send your comments and adds to keep building this up over the next few days.

Send me an email if you need further help on this, I might be able to tailor a few things for your specific situation as a job seeker (jorge at latinocean.com).

Have a great rest of the week

Come on, be social :)

SWIFT: a model for web content development

Recently, I had the chance to review a recruitment website. I thought it was appropriate to include in that report some recommendations regarding the nature of the content that needs to be created and published to have a good go at getting people to come back to the site, interact, refer, etc.

So I pulled out a little framework that might make a bit more sense that just saying ‘this content is/is not engaging/appealing’; the acronym for it is SWIFT (self, work, influences, fans, transaction) and is built to be used for all types of websites, but I elaborate a bit on it below thinking about recruiment websites, specifically.

Self

Describe your company, your offering, the value that you intend to provide your candidate and customer base. The majority of websites in the HR and recruitment vertical you will come across, dedicate all their time and pages to this area.

Work

Show case studies that demonstrate how your expertise has helped your customers. This helps materialise the claims made in the Self section to your readers.

Influences

This is a very important section for artists and freelancers (see the MySpace profile for indie bands, because it offers their readers and followers an insight into their craft, whilst also creating a bond founded on compatibility and identification with one another.

For a company website the influences section can translate to Links page showing who the company follows from a business philosophy or operations perspectives, as well as including recommendations to their readers

Fans

This is the testimonials component of your website; this element of content is effectively produced by clients, candidates, suppliers and partners; and it is intended to confirm that the claims made in the Self section are accurate. The unadulterated content from Fans and friends is very powerful when developing online word of mouth. The ‘to-do’ for the publisher/owner is to enable function that enables this interaction.

Transaction

These are the dynamic content sections that will allow publishers to interact with its web audience. The range of services is vast, but the commonality is that they permit the website visitors make an exchange online. Apply online, call for help, self-assess, register are all transactions need to create relationship depth with the website’s constituents.

That’s it! I guess you can also use this approach to evaluate sites and assess if there are any gaps to address. Let me know if you can build further or see glaring omissions, etc.

Have a great week

Come on, be social :)