THE TECHNACIOUS RECRUITER NEWSLETTER

February 17, 2005   view past issues

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Feature: Information Literacy is the Key to Online Recruiting Effectiveness

Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist at Stanford University, has recently called attention to the differences between computer literacy and information literacy on the Internet. Both are important, of course, but recent research reveals that the latter-the ability to identify the best information online-is the secret to effective use of the medium. For students, information literacy means being able to differentiate between fact and fiction and wild speculation at potential sources for a term paper; for recruiters, it’s the challenge of determining which recruiting Web-sites have the kind of information that will attract the best prospects for a specific opening.

Almost any recruiter knows how to find and use a job board these days. That makes them computer literate, according to Nunberg. The goal, however, is not only to reach the sites and use their functionality; we also want to achieve the greatest possible benefit from that activity. There are more than 40,000 job boards in operation, so each recruiter must be able to evaluate the alternatives and identify those that will maximize the return on their investment of time, effort and organizational money. And, the key to making that determination, Nunberg’s research would suggest, is the caliber of information provided at the site.

Many recruiters, however, use a different criterion. They select a job board based on its brand. In essence, they select the site because it is well known or is among the first to come to mind. We all know the handful of sites that have such strong brands, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using them. In fact, they are among the best employment sites now operating online, at least according to the most recent User’s Choice Awards that were announced in my last newsletter. Brand-building and marketing prowess, however, do not necessarily equate to recruiting value. That’s why we use job boards: to provide access to the kinds of candidates that maximize our recruiting effectiveness. And, the caliber of candidates is not determined by the brand of the job board. Oh sure, advertising and promotional campaigns may bring them to a job board once, but recruiting value depends upon the best candidates (for your requirements) coming back over and over again. What makes that happen? The value of the information the job board provides for the job seeker.

But how do we measure that value? How do we know if the information on a site is of a caliber to attract the kinds of candidates we most want to recruit?

  • Some say that the best measure of merit is a site’s traffic, the number of people who visit the site in a given period. All of the dueling press releases and breathless commentary about which job board is #1 in visitors is a direct response to this view. While traffic can be generated by good content, however, it can also be the product of good marketing. More importantly, traffic defines recruiting value in quantitative, not qualitative terms. While candidate flow is definitely important to good recruiting, “largest” or “busiest” does not necessarily equate to “best.” In fact, it often doesn’t. Why? Because undifferentiated candidate flow is not the same as useful candidate flow-the flow of truly superior candidates in the specific career field for which you are recruiting.
  • Another common criteria used, at least implicitly, to evaluate a job board is an organization’s own brand. Here, of course, the job board to which I’m referring is your own corporate career site. If you’re lucky enough to be recruiting for a company with a world class consumer brand, then there’s no better source of recruiting value than your company’s own Web-site. At least, that’s the mantra these days, and it is certainly a possibility. All but a very small handful of company career sites, however, never make that possibility a reality. Why? Because the information that’s typically provided at corporate career sites-all those job postings and benefits descriptions and smiley pictures of happy employees-has value to only one kind of prospect-active job seekers. And, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, they account for just 16% of the workforce. The other 84% of the workforce that isn’t looking for a job-the prospects we call passive job seekers and “A” level performers-is not only uninterested in such information but often goes out of their way to avoid it.
  • The best recruiting value is not achieved by sites that fashion themselves as the electronic equivalent of either the classified ad section in newspapers or the old fashioned employment application. The sites that will give you consistent access to qualitatively superior prospects in the career fields for which you recruit use different information differently. In the process, they provide an entirely different (i.e., more rewarding) experience for prospects and, as a consequence, generate a better yield for the recruiter.

  • Different information. The site provides information that is helpful to prospects when they aren’t looking for a job as well as when they are. It enables them to change jobs and manage their careers. Sure, they can check out the job postings, but they can also expand their knowledge in their field, get exposed to new developments and issues in their industry, learn about the work of others and even share the results of their own work.
  • Used differently. The site offers information in more than one way. It engages prospects by giving them the opportunity to read and to do. In other words, the site provides great content and great interactive, information-based activities (e.g., listservs, chats). These activities enable prospects to meet their peers online and develop relationships with them. They can read about the state-of-the-art in their field, and they can converse with others to find a mentor, hear about work someone else is doing that may be similar to their own, and even to point out a great opportunity that has just opened up with their employer.

    The different experience that occurs at sites that use different information differently is a sensibility, an aura that emerges among visitors. Such sites have recruiting value because they create a place where non-job seekers feel welcome and valued. They attract the passive job seeker and the “A” level performer because they build a bond-a “unitness”-between them and the site and between them and all of the others who visit the site. In a world that seems increasingly fragmented and disjointed, these sites create a virtual community or village-over-used words for a seldom realized creation, a Web-site that encourages anyone, but especially the most reluctant and most accomplished prospects among us, to feel at home and special.

    Sadly, such an experience is not the stock-in-trade at many job boards or corporate career sites today. There is absolutely no reason why that has to be the case, however. All that’s required is a change in the information that such sites provide, a change in the way in which they do so, and a change in the information literacy of recruiters. If we can accomplish our change, the other two will follow shortly.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    P.S. WEDDLE’s Newsletter grows only by word-of-mouth. So, please … tell a friend or colleague (or two) about the newsletter. We’d be very grateful, and they will be too.


    This Issue’s Sponsor: eFinancialCareers.com / jobsinthemoney.com

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of eFinancialCareers.com | jobsinthemoney.com.

    eFinancialCareers.comand jobsinthemoney.com have become the leading job and career Web-sites dedicated to finance, securities, accounting and insurance professionals around the world.

  • eFinancialCareers.com serves the global financial community as the leading network for jobs and career advice in securities, investment banking, asset management and the capital markets.
  • In the US, jobsinthemoney.com is the #1 job and career site for accounting and finance.
  • E-mail or call today for your FREE resume database preview.

    Contact: Brendan Cruickshank bcruickshank@jobsinthemoney.com

    212-370-8525


    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    HireVetsFirst.gov, conducted a recent survey of employers and found that many were unfamiliar with the abilities of veterans and the special qualities they bring to the workplace. In light of what these men and women are doing for the country, I think we owe them more consideration. And, HireVetsFirst.gov is a good place to start. It lists “10 Reasons to Hire Vets” and provides a “Skills Translator” to help you better understand what they can do for your organization. In addition, it provides a directory of One-Stop Career Centers where you can recruit vets around the country and a link to America’s Job Bank, where many vets have posted their resumes. There are, of course, a number of other job boards that specialize in veterans employment, including two that were recently named 2005 User’s Choice Award winners: VetJobs.com and Vets4Hire.com.

    Indeed.com launched a “job agent” that it has designed to scan the entire Web for job openings. Founded by the fellows behind jobsinthemoney.com (which they sold to eFinancialCareers.com in 2003), the site professes to search all commercial job boards and newspaper sites to provide a one-stop access point for some 22 million jobs now posted online. The service is free for job seekers; like Google, it will generate revenue by selling ad space on the site.

    IntelCareers.com launched its site for recruiters seeking to fill intelligence-related positions around the world. It is organized into a number of discussion forums on employment opportunities and intelligence topics.

    MEPatWork.com, a site that specializes it the mechanical, electrical and plumbing industries, announced that it has redesigned its Web-site to enhance its appeal to visitors. The redesigned Home Page provides separate entry points for employers and job seekers and targets the content in each area to those groups.

    U.S. Department of Labor reported that, since the mid-1990’s, “older people” have become the fastest growing portion of the workforce. It projects that workers over 55 will make up 19.1% of the labor force by 2012, up from 14.3% in 2002. What does that mean for your organization? First, survey your policies regarding work design and scheduling. While it’s important to make sure that you have the policy and educational programs in place to prevent age bias, it’s equally as important that you have the right work structures to tap this cohort of the workforce effectively. Second, make sure your organizational Web-site is “older worker friendly.” Set up a special section in the career area that addresses the issues and questions that this population is likely to have. And third, make sure you are aware of the job boards that specialize in such workers. They provide the focused access necessary to reach and recruit them effectively.

    WEDDLE’s announced the release of its 2005 print catalog. If you’d like to receive a free copy, please e-mail your name, company name, title and postal mailing address to us at corporate@weddles.com. The catalog will probably ship in mid January and list all of our publications for the new year. These books will not appear in book stores until March or April, but you’ll be able to order them right away with the catalog. You’ll have special, advanced access to our 2005 Guide to Employment Web Sites, our 2005 Directory of Employment-Related Internet Sites, and our completely updated Guide to Association Web Sites, as well as to several exciting, new titles. If you want to get ahead of the pack, sign up for WEDDLE’s 2005 Catalog today! Sorry-the catalog can be mailed to U.S. addresses only.


    Section Three: Site Profiles

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

    1. Your social service agency needs to hire a new counselor to help with its program for high school dropouts. Which of the following sites would put your search at risk?

  • SocialService.com
  • HScareers.com
  • SocialWorkJobBank.com
  • HelpPeople.com
  • 2. Your urban planning firm has just won a new contract, and you need to add a landscape architect to your staff. Which of the following sites would add dead wood to your candidate list?

  • ASLA.org
  • LandscapeArchitects.org
  • TreePeople.com
  • Nurseryman.com
  • 3. You need to find an experienced life scientist to join a team conducting phase 3 research on a new sleep aid drug. Which of the following sites would let you rest easy in your search?

  • HireHealth.com
  • SleepySearch.com
  • SleepPositions.com
  • GoodSleep.com
  • (answers below)

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2005 Guides and Directories

    Jobing.com

    www.jobing.com

    A WEDDLE’s 2005 User’s Choice Award Winner

    Post full time jobs: Yes

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

    Distribution of jobs: Regional/USA-AZ, NM, CO, FL, RI

    Fee to post a job: $149-249/posting

    Posting period: 30 days

    Can posting be linked to your site: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    Number of resumes: 400,000

    Source of resumes: Direct from candidates

    Top occupations among resumes: Administrative, Finance & Accounting, Information Systems, Management, Sales & Marketing

    Other services for employers: Auto resume agent, Banner ads, Status reports on banners & postings

    Answers to Site Insite

    1. HelpPeople.com, the site of an HR consulting firm.

    2. TreePeople.com, the site of an environmental service organization.

    3. Only HireHealth.com. SleepySearch.com is the site of a hotel reservations company, SleepPositions.com is a sleep information site, and GoodSleep.com is a fatigue management consulting firm.


    This Issue’s Sponsor: eFinancialCareers.com / jobs

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of eFinancialCareers.com | jobsinthemoney.com.

    eFinancialCareers.comand jobsinthemoney.com have become the leading job and career Web-sites dedicated to finance, securities, accounting and insurance professionals around the world.

  • eFinancialCareers.com serves the global financial community as the leading network for jobs and career advice in securities, investment banking, asset management and the capital markets.
  • In the US, jobsinthemoney.com is the #1 job and career site for accounting and finance.
  • E-mail or call today for your FREE resume database preview.

    Contact: Brendan Cruickshank bcruickshank@jobsinthemoney.com

    212-370-8525