THE TECHNACIOUS RECRUITER NEWSLETTER

June 1, 2004   view past issues

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Feature: Follow the Footsteps of Prospects to Get Ahead of Them

The key to winning the War for the Best Talent is superior marketing and selling, and the key to those two activities is customer knowledge. In other words, if we can determine the online behavior of top talent-where they’re going and what they’re doing on the Internet-then, we can tailor our online recruiting strategy so that optimizes our ability to reach them with our employment message and sell them on it.

How can we acquire such information about job seekers? Each year since 1966, we at WEDDLE’s have been conducting online surveys of both job seekers and recruiters and reporting the results. (Please see the Online Poll at www.weddles.com.) We ask them what they do online, what they find most helpful, what is a waste of time, and why. Our latest analysis covers data collected from over 1,000 job seekers during the period November, 2002 to May, 2003. It revealed a startling (but absolutely logical) shift in their online behavior.

As all of us know, corporate downsizing during the last recession forced out millions of workers and thinned the ranks of middle managers. What we may not have realized is that these actions effectively eliminated the career coaches and mentors that most people traditionally found among their co-workers. So, where are they turning now for advice and support? Increasingly, the answer is their favorite job board(s). Although much has been written about the allegedly low levels of hiring at job boards, our poll found a very high level of satisfaction among job seekers using their services. Finding a new or better job clearly remained a difficult challenge during the study period, yet 75% of the respondents reported that the Internet was very helpful in their job search efforts, while just 1% said it wasn’t helpful.

What’s behind this solid base of support for job boards? The study found that it was largely driven by job seekers’ familiarity with an ever larger population of job boards and the alternative pathways they provide into the labor market. As a consequence, they have apparently now made the regular use of multiple employment sites an integral part of their workaday lives. Consider this:

  • Over a third of respondents (37%) visited employment sites more that 3 times per week, while over half (57%) visited these sites more than twice a week.
  • Almost half of respondents (45%) visited five or more employment sites, while 41% visited 2-to-5 sites.
  • A third of respondents spent 6-to-10 minutes on each of the employment sites they visited, while another third spent 21 minutes or more. Only 8% spent 1-to-5 minutes at the sites.
  • Their decision to visit one job board rather than another is based on a number of factors that reveal a growing level of sophistication about the range of career management services that are now available online. According to the survey’s respondents:

  • Niche sites, particularly those that specialize in their career field or industry, are most helpful. Almost two-thirds (64%) prefer niche sites, while 24% prefer general purpose employment sites (i.e., those that post jobs in all or most professions, crafts and trades). Does this mean you shouldn’t post jobs on general purpose boards? Of course not. What it tells us is that the secret to effective sourcing is to use both. Normally, I recommend a strategy of 2 + n, or two general purpose boards and several (at least three) niche boards chosen for their appeal to each open position’s target demographic. You should use two general purpose boards because the research shows that visitors to one site (e.g., Yahoo! HotJobs) are unlikely to go to another (e.g., Monster.com), and you should use at least three niche sites in order to cover the career field, industry and geographic location of your employer’s opening. That’s the only way you can ensure that you have sufficient and appropriate reach into the prospect population.
  • Employment options count most. Notwithstanding the low level of hiring that reportedly occurs at job boards, most respondents select a job board based on the number and quality of job postings on the site. Does that mean you should follow the herd and post your jobs where every other employer is posting theirs? Absolutely not. It suggests, instead, that we must invest the time to write job postings that describe our opportunities as “dream jobs” and our organizations as “employers of choice” and then, post them on the sites where the top talent we want to recruit hangs out. In other words, what constitutes a quality posting is not in the eye of the beholder, but in the pen-or, more accurately, the keyboard-of the recruiter. We have to be both effective marketers-determining what value proposition will best differentiate our employer-and great sales people-expressing that proposition in a posting that is so powerful, it will leave even the most passive prospects unable to resist it.
  • The other employment support and resources provided on job boards also significantly influence a job seeker’s selection of sites. The quality of a job board’s career and job search information was a key factor for many of the respondents, while the ability to network with one’s peers on the site is fast becoming a key differentiator among boards. What does this mean for recruiters? That we should focus both our job postings and our button and banner ads (for branding) on those recruitment sites that operate as career portals, rather than on those that act simply as the electronic equivalent of print classified ads. The richer the content that surrounds our postings and the more engaging its presentation, the higher the probability that a site will attract and (no less important) engage the top prospects we want to sell.
  • Winning the War for the Best Talent requires that we know where top talent is going on the Internet and why they are going there. We must follow their footsteps, to be sure, but also get out in front of them. We must use our knowledge to be there when they arrive and to articulate a message that will set our employer and its openings apart.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter


    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 June 30, 2004.


    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    Ajilon reported the results of a survey of job changing habits among workers. Contrary to the Free Agent mythology we read so much about these days, the poll found that most employees (39%) would prefer to stay with an employer ten or more years. An additional 11% would like to stay up to 10 years. Just 8% said that they would prefer to leave after a year, while 10% would hit the bricks after two years. How can we capitalize on this yearning for stability among our workers? Find out what motivates them to stay. Encourage every manager to meet with each employee who reports to them every year (but not during their performance appraisal) and in that meeting, discuss three subjects: (1) what most satisfies them about their work for your employer, (2) whether those motivating factors are still present, and (3) if not, what they (the manager, working with the HR Department) can do to reinvigorate them.

    The Chubb Group of Insurance Companies released the results of its 2004 Private Company Risk Survey. According to respondents, one-in-four privately-held companies has been sued by an employee or former employee in the past several years. Ominously, half the respondents said it was likely that an employee would sue them or their board of directors or lodge a complaint with Federal or state authorities this year. And, nearly one-third believe that an allegation or actual case of wrongful termination, discrimination or harassment has the potential to inflict financial or other serious damage on them. For Chubb, the answer is purchasing fiduciary liability insurance. While that may help, it is not a solution. To avoid such problems in the first place, use the Chubb data to sell your CEO on the importance of installing a rigorous training program for front-line supervisors, to make sure they know what they should and should not be doing. Then, hold them accountable to those standards in your performance appraisal system.

    Experience, Inc. has surveyed college graduates in the Class of 2004 and found that 64% will have participated in at least one internship, up 12% from a year ago. Even more impressive, the number of college graduates who have held at least three internships doubled from 2003. Internships, of course, are a proven strategy for “trying out” employment prospects on-the-job. They enable both the college student and the employer to determine just how good the fit is likely to be, thereby reducing expensive departures and performance shortfalls. For that reason, it makes good sense to post your internship positions on your corporate career site and to promote them just as aggressively as you do your full time openings. In fact, you might even set up a special channel on the site just for college students seeking an intern experience with your organization. It’s a modest investment with a big potential upside.

    GetEducated.com released the findings of its survey of online learners. According to the poll, the top ten most popular online business majors are: business administration, management, leadership, project management, information systems management, finance, technology management, entrepreneurship, human resources, and international business. What majors have fallen out of the top 10? According to the site, those associated with the late dot.com boom-Internet and e-commerce-and even some in traditional fields, such as marketing. Why is this important information for you? Because online degree programs-and there are now hundreds of them offered by some of the most prestigious educational institutions in the country-offer a non-intrusive way for workers to keep themselves up-to-date in their current field (business or otherwise) and to re-skill themselves for future opportunities with your organization in other fields. Make sure they know that by promoting online learning on your corporate intranet and in regular employee communications.

    rhinomite.com announced that it has teamed with NBC 10 and the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce to offer online recruitment advertising to the Providence, Rhode Island metro area. Traffic to the Web-site is generated, in part, through a Job of the Day feature during the television station’s Sunrise News program. In addition, employers can purchase packages that include multiple 30 second recruitment commercials on NBC 10. The openings, themselves, are actually posted on three sites: rhinomite.com, turnto10.com and provchamber.com.


    Section Three: Site Profiles

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

    1. If you need lifeguards for your hotel chain along the eastern seaboard of the U.S., which of the following sites might be an undertow on your hiring?

  • ClubSwim.com
  • LifeguardingJobs.com
  • SwimOutlet.com
  • Hcareers.com
  • 2. Your division in Colorado needs a software engineer right away. Which of the follow sites would put a bug in your sourcing?

  • Dice.com
  • Engen.com
  • SoftwareEngineer.copm
  • SoftPros.com
  • 3. You have a pressing need for a communication systems analyst with a U.S. Government security clearance. Which of the following sites would help you crack the code on finding top candidates?

  • TAOnline.com
  • AboveTopSecret.com
  • VetJobs.com
  • ClearanceJobs.com
  • Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2004 Guides and Directories

    CareerBuilder.com

    www.careerbuilder.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: Varies; not specified

    Posting period: 30 days

    Can posting be linked to your site: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    Number of resumes: 7,000,000

    Source of resumes: Direct from candidates

    Top occupations among resumes: Sales & Marketing, Healthcare, Retail

    Other services for employers: Banner advertising, Special area for HR professionals, Status reports: banners, postings

    Answers to Site Insite

    1. ClubSwim.com, the Web-site of a swim apparel company.

    2. SoftPros.com, the Web-site of a software development company.

    3. All but AboveTopSecret.com, a Web-site about government conspiracies and cover-ups.


    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 June 30, 2004.