THE TECHNACIOUS RECRUITER NEWSLETTER

July 1, 2004   view past issues

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Feature: Align Venus and Mars in Your Job Postings

If you’ve ever looked for a job on the Web, you can appreciate the enormous challenge it presents to job seekers. First, they have to find the specific site where your ad is posted. Then, they have to pick your specific ad-sight unseen-out of a database of thousands or even tens of thousands of other jobs. And finally, they have to select your specific opening out of all the others that come back from their search of the database. It’s a demanding and often frustrating experience that all too often drives off all but the most determined (i.e. active) job seekers. And there’s the rub. We want our postings to be so easy to spot that even the most passive prospects will stop and take a look at them.

Almost since its inception in the mid-1990s, online recruiting has been positioned as an alternative to traditional print advertising. Those who ran the early job boards argued that using the Web was cheaper, faster and more effective than using newspapers and other print publications, while newspapers and the rest of the print community saw job boards as a threat to their historically unchallenged franchise among advertisers. For the most part, people’s habits didn’t change-they visited job boards and read the newspaper-but the recruitment advertising in those two venues was never linked or integrated. You might say that job boards were from Venus, and newspapers were from Mars.

Each venue, however, has important strengths that the other does not. For example, when a job seeker opens the print classifieds, they can actually see the jobs arrayed before them on the printed page. They don’t have to pull invisible jobs out of a database using a computer, but can actually look at what’s available and even draw circles around those of interest to them. The problem, of course, is that the space on the printed page is limited, which makes it expensive, and that, in turn, precludes the recruiter from fully detailing the opening or their organization’s value proposition as an employer.

In contrast, when a job seeker visits a job board and pulls up a posting, they see an advertisement that is expansive enough to provide a full and complete description of the opening and the employer. The average job board will accept a posting of up to 1,400 words-the equivalent of two typed pages of content-enabling employers to compose a compelling self-portrait that will both differentiate and sell them to passive as well as active prospects. The downside is that these postings are buried in a database that must be searched by job seekers, many of whom lack the skills to do so effectively. As a consequence, they can miss jobs in which they might be interested and/or find so many jobs that they are simply overwhelmed and ignore all but those on the first page of search results.

Each medium, then, is not only powerful, but imperfect. So, here’s my question: why are we accepting this one-or-the-other approach to advertising? This mutual exclusion is not the expression of some natural law and thus beyond our ability to influence. Whatever job boards and newspapers may think about each other, it’s in the interest of recruiters to see them as compatible and mutually supportive. In order for us to optimize our results, we must be able to link them together in an integrated advertising strategy. That’s the only way we can both capture the particular strengths of each venue and overcome their individual shortcomings.

Here’s what such an integrated strategy might look like:

Step #1: Place a “vector ad” in an appropriate print publication (e.g., your local newspaper, a professional association’s journal) which points to the site where your opening is posted. This ad should include:

  • the title of your job posting. As I’ve discussed in previous newsletters, job posting titles are a critical part of your sales effort. They have three key elements: the job’s location (just use the postal code abbreviation for the state where the job is located), the principle skill involved in performing the job (not the job’s title on your internal organization chart) and some sizzle that will motivate even passive prospects to take note (make sure that you do the homework necessary to identify the right “influencers” for each of your target demographics).
  • the URL of the Web-site where your ad is posted.
  • brief directions for finding your specific ad in the site’s database (e.g., To retrieve this ad from the site database, enter 12345WE in the search engine.).
  • Now, I know that some newspapers refuse to print these vector ads, unless they point to their own Web-site. I suspect, however, that they would come around if we recruiters exercised our consumer power and demanded more flexibility on their part. At this point, they need us more than we need them. Moreover, this integrated strategy is actually in their best interests as it offers them a way to recapture some of the classified advertising that they’ve already lost to the Web.

    Step #2: Write a complete and compelling job posting on a job board that is visited frequently by the best and brightest in your target demographic. This ad should include:

  • a four line summary of the key elements in your value proposition. These elements are: a powerful statement about why your opening is a dream job, an equally as powerful statement about why your employer is a dream employer, the salary range of the position in numbers, and an unequivocal statement about your organization’s commitment to protecting candidate privacy.
  • a detailed description of what the opening offers to the prospective employee (i.e., not your Requirements or the position’s Responsibilities, but its Advantages and Benefits for the job seeker).
  • a summary that provides the individual with multiple ways to apply, a chance to refer someone else if they’re not interested, and an offer to opt-into a program of occasional messages about your employer and its opportunities.
  • This multimedia approach to advertising uses the inherent advantages of each medium-print and online-to overcome the inherent disadvantages of the other medium. As a consequence, the sum of the recruitment advertising power that we recruiters achieve is greater than what’s provided by its separate parts. It may not be the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, but it is a way to align Venus and Mars in your job postings.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    A Final Note I hope you’re finding your WEDDLE’s newsletter to be thought-provoking, helpful and informative. If that’s the case, please tell a colleague about it and encourage them to subscribe, as well. I’d be very grateful for your support.


    This Issue’s Sponsor: Dice

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Dice.

    Give Dice a try with our FREE job posting offer!

    Dice is where you will find the best tech candidates available.

    But don’t just take our word for it …. Try Dice for yourself – at no risk. Click here today!

    The Free Job Posting offer is available to first time customers only, posting jobs by July 31, 2004.


    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    Korn/Ferry International released a survey of 3,003 executives that probed their career plans as the economy improves. A startling 96% of the respondents said they did not expect to stay with their current company for the rest of their career. How will they look for their next job? Over two-thirds (68%) said they would likely find their next position online. What can we take away from this study? First, we must not assume that employee attrition (stimulated by an improving job market) will be confined to non-managerial ranks in our organizations. And second, if that’s so, we must do the succession planning necessary to ensure that we aren’t caught short should a senior level departure occur.

    Meta Group revealed an interesting new version of outsourcing in its latest Staffing and Compensation Guide, a survey of 650 companies. For anyone who doubts that outsourcing can be a threat to HR, consider this: the study found that a growing number of IT Departments in large enterprises are now hiring their own HR specialists “to direct the various programs that affect IT human capital and to act as a resource for IT managers in mapping skill sets to the inventory of projects in the IT portfolio.” Although the person is supposed to liaise with the HR Department, they report to and are paid by the folks in IT. The next thing you know, CFOs will be hiring their own HR staff to do compensation and benefits management in the Finance Department.

    Sibson Consulting announced the results of a study entitled At the Table: The Strategic Effectiveness of Human Resources. It compared responses from 9 high performing HR Departments with 32 other units and found that 60% of the top-tier group have effective workforce forecasting capabilities compared to only 23% among the other group. Further, 90% of the high performing group rated themselves as effective in sourcing and selecting needed talent in a timely fashion while just 55% of the other group gave themselves that grade. In other words, the most important investment an organization can make in recruiting top talent is time; we must develop and use the policies, process and procedures that will provide recruiters with the requisite lead time to find, develop relationships with and sell top talent.

    Wanted Technologies completed a survey of job postings at 300 employment sites in five large metropolitan statistical areas. In New York, it found that CareerBuilder.com had 14% of the market, Monster.com had 13%, HotJobs.com had 10%, and the rest-63%-went to niche sites. Similarly, in Los Angeles, Monster.com had 20% of the market, CareerBuilder.com had 14%, HotJobs.com had 12%, and niche sites had the remaining 54%. Does this mean that the “Big Three” are no longer important? Of course not. Instead, it suggests that the best strategy for using job boards is 2+3n. To optimize your reach into the candidate population, you should use 2 of the major boards (because they still dominate the market and research shows there is very little overlap in their respective visitor traffic) and at least 3 niche sites (one that specializes in the career field for which you are recruiting, one that specializes in your employer’s industry, and one that focuses on the geographic area where your facility is located).

    Yahoo! Hot Jobs released the results of its latest poll of job seekers, adding yet another data point that underscores the restlessness of today’s employees. Over half of the respondents to the survey indicated that they are now looking for a new position or plan to in the next 12 months. Why are they leaving? Better pay and more career growth. In contrast, among those who said they were staying with their current employer, the number one reason for their loyalty was a good benefits package. So, if you’re looking for a place to start in retention building, focus on your benefits. First, review your package to make sure it’s tailored to the needs of your workforce, and second, educate-educate-educate your workforce on the benefits available to them in that package.


    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?

    1. If your environmental engineering company needs an experienced geologist fast, which of the following sites would be a mother lode of candidates?

  • Eco.org
  • eJobs.org
  • ePeople.com
  • NatureJobs.com
  • 2. Your company is searching for a seasoned compliance professional to oversee its reporting for the Federal Government. Which of the following sites might not be up to standard?

  • Complinet.com
  • JobsintheMoney.com
  • BenefitsLink.com
  • TopCom.com
  • 3. Your CIO has just quit, right in the middle of a major system installation, so you need to find a replacement fast. Which of the following sites might upgrade your chances for success?

  • ExecuNet.com
  • CIO.com
  • HundredK.com
  • aCIO.com
  • (answers below)

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2004 Guides and Directories

    Monster.com

    www.monster.com

    A WEDDLE’s 2004 User’s Choice Award Winner

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes – All

    Distribution of jobs: National: USA

    Fee to post a job: $301+/posting

    Posting period: 60 days

    Can posting be linked to your site: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    Number of resumes: 29,000,000

    Source of resumes: Direct from candidates

    Top occupations among resumes: Administrative, Information technology/systems, sales and marketing

    Other services for employers: Auto-notification of a resume-job match, Banner advertising, Special area for HR professionals, Status reports: banners, postings

    Answers to Site Insite

    1. eJobs.org.

    2. TopCom.com, a site offering services for small businesses.

    3. All but aCIO.com, the site of a media services company.


    This Issue’s Sponsor: Dice

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Dice.

    Give Dice a try with our FREE job posting offer!

    Dice is where you will find the best tech candidates available.

    But don’t just take our word for it …. Try Dice for yourself – at no risk. Click here today!

    The Free Job Posting offer is available to first time customers only, posting jobs by July 31, 2004.