Thursday, 3 November 2011

How is Your Online Recruitment Strategy Working for You? By Scott Keenan

Do you recruit online? Welcome to the bandwagon. Everyone recruits online so you can go ahead and stop feeling special about how technologically advanced you are because you were able to maneuver… no one even goes there anymore. If you’re having trouble attracting qualified candidates, it could be due to the ineffectiveness of your recruitment strategy and not that you’re a horrible employer.

Most companies will post their job ads on the company website and a few other choice job sites and call it good. This is certainly effective for attracting the attention of active candidates, but neglects a much larger pool of qualified candidates.

Some Definitions:
Active Candidates – These people are currently looking for jobs. They can be unemployed or working in a position they’re unhappy with. They habitually check online job sites, newspapers, etc., for new job ads.

Passive Candidates – These people are not actively looking for work, but could still be swayed to apply if something caught their eye.

Step 1: Make it Easy
The first step is to create the ad itself. Break it down into parts and be specific about what you’re looking for. Clearly note your “Must Haves,” your “Nice to Haves” and your job description in separate paragraphs (bullets would be even better). No one wants to read a short novel about a position they’re not currently working in, nor do they want to go through line by line and decipher what is essential for the position, and what are just assets. Being clear about what someone “Must” have in order to be considered will allow the applicants to self-screen.  This means your administrative assistant will not have to go through quite as many resumes for candidates who clearly do not qualify for the position, and s/he might stop having daydreams where s/he cuts your brakes. Also, candidates will not waste their time applying with no chance of employment. If you have a pay range for the position, put it in the advertisement. This eliminates the additional time you spend reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates who wouldn’t work for the salary you’re offering.

Job applications are time consuming by nature. Try not to make it worse. Some companies require you to fill out an extensive profile on their website, and then submit a resume and cover letter anyway. Why would you WANT to make applying for a job MORE of a pain in the ass? Further, if I filled out a profile on your website when I was looking for work a few years ago and I heard nothing back, I will be reluctant to take the time to update it now. Unless you’re getting a large volume of applicants and can afford to lose candidates who aren’t interested in filling out another form and getting another password, lay off the online system.

Step 2: Make it Sexy
A colleague recently sent me a job ad simply because of how creative it was. It was forwarded to her by a former co-worker, who found it on a blog that discusses innovative graphic design. Did someone say free marketing? This company posted their job ad on their website and it made its way to me on its own, free of charge.

A new trend in job advertisements is a short description of the type of person the company is looking for. Listing suggested personality traits reduces the risk of hiring someone with no personality. If you have an amazing corporate culture and a positive work environment, why would you keep it a secret? Sprinkle some of your personality in your job ad. If it’s entertaining enough, it will get “Liked,” tweeted and reposted reaching exponentially more active and passive candidates than traditional job postings.

Want to make it easier to share your job ad? Work it into your social media strategy. Posting and tweeting capitalizes on all of your current clients and followers, who are already somewhat familiar with your services. It also makes it much easier for them to share it with their friends and clients increasing the number of views your ad gets.

Step 3: Make it Personal
My favorite response to a job application was an email I received letting me know that I would not be considered for the position. The Human Resources Coordinator took the time to read my resume and wished me luck on the job hunt and on moving forward with my CHRP designation. She took a PFO and turned it into an electronic hug. Do you know who wins in this scenario? That’s right, the company that just told me to go pound sand.

Obviously, it’s not feasible for most companies to go to this degree of personalization for each applicant, but it is certainly appreciated when the applicant is kept up to speed on the competition, even if it is just an automated email that says “your application has been received” and “the competition has been closed.” Not sending them anything is the equivalent to receiving an acknowledgement email that says “sucks to be you loser.”


  1. Great writing, Scott! You've very succinctly brought out the nuances in online recruiting through very meticulous analysis! Quite the expert opinion!

  2. Thanks Vini. Your opinion is always appreciated :P

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