March 15, 2007   view past issues

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Feature: WEDDLE’s Research Factoid

WEDDLE’s continuously conducts both primary and secondary research on Best Practices in employment excellence and HR leadership. Among the issues we’ve regularly probed is the frequency with which recruiters post new vacancies online. Basically, we wanted to know how many times per month they post jobs outside the career area on their own site.

The responses below were posted between January 1 and April 1, 2007 for the following question: How many times per month do you post jobs on a job board or career portal?.

  • 3% said 0 times per month;
  • 8% said 1 time per month;
  • 15% said 5-8 times per month;
  • 18% said 9-12 times per month;
  • 20% said 2-4 times per month; and
  • 36% said 13 or more times per month.
  • What the Findings Mean

    Employers continue to use a range of strategies-networking, print advertising, career fairs, employee referrals, to name just a few-to search for talent, and central to that mix is posting open jobs on commercial employment sites. Their repetitive use of job boards is a strong indication that they recognize the potential value of advertising online and actually achieve that value on a regular basis. This finding seems to run counter to a recent Towers Perrin survey of senior HR executives in which over two-thirds of the respondents reported that their departments lacked the skills necessary to evaluate the return on workforce-related investments. Or, does it?

  • The upside of the findings. More than a third of the respondents to our poll are posting jobs at commercial employment sites better than 3 times per week, on average. Over half (54%), post jobs 9 or more times per month or better than 2 times per week, on average. While such intensity can certainly be a reflection of a robust overall job market, the size of that latter cohort-it is almost three times larger than the next group (the 20% of the respondents who said they post 2-4 times per month)-indicates that recruiters believe they achieve a satisfactory or better return on their investment in advertising at job boards.
  • The downside of the findings. There is a flip side to this high rate of posting, however. The respondents to our poll are typically corporate and third party recruiters, so their posting frequency is, in all probability, a measure of their own individual workload. While it is certainly possible to write 13 or more powerful and compelling job postings in a given month, doing so over and over again can be a challenging task. So, what happens? I suspect that posting at that frequency degrades the quality of the advertising that’s used, which in turn, degrades the quality of the applicants that are sold on a given position. It’s all fine and good to do more with less, but at some point, productivity gains run out and you do less with less. To maximize your organization’s return on Internet advertising, therefore, monitor and manage the number of job postings-which is a surrogate for the number of requisitions-each recruiter is expected to administer.
  • What’s inside the findings. Just 3% of our respondents don’t post any jobs online, in a given month, and fewer than 1-out-of-10 post only 1 position. In effect, posting jobs online is now a core competency for all professional recruiters. To do their jobs well, they have to know how to write a posting that will sell even the most passive of prospects and they have to know where to place that posting among the 40,000 job boards now operating online in order to reach a critical mass of those prospects. Both of these tasks must be accomplished expertly or the quantity and quality of their yield of talent-the only measure of return on investment that actually counts-will be insufficient to meet the needs of their employers.
  • Please Note: As a part of our ongoing research, WEDDLE’s has been surveying both job seekers and recruiters on the Web since 1996. We’ve amassed hundreds of thousands of data elements probing:

  • what they do and what they don’t do,
  • what they like and what they don’t like,
  • and most importantly,

  • what they think works best.
  • To add your insights and opinions to our research, please visit the Polling Station at the WEDDLE’s Web-site.

    This Issue’s Sponsor: RES

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    Section Two: For Your Consideration

    Peter Weddle has been writing columns for his own newsletter and for the Interactive Edition of The Wall Street Journal since 1999. The following column has been drawn from that work and updated for 2007. For a complete collection of Peter’s writing, please see our book Postcards From Space.

    Know Thy (Irrational) Customers

    As many of you know, I’ve long advocated that we recruiters should think more like our colleagues in sales and marketing. Now, in a perfect world, that means we would go out and survey a group of top performers representing each of the career fields for which we recruit and ask them a very simple question:

    What do you want in an employer?

    Armed with that knowledge, we could then design and create the perfect workplace. We would deliver exactly what our top prospects want. After that, selling our employer to those prospects-what we call recruiting-would be a simple matter of letting people know what we have wrought, and they would knock down the doors trying to buy in.

    It’s a wonderfully simple and logical paradigm … if you live in a perfect world. Unfortunately, most of us don’t. Indeed, most of us struggle with employers that are far from perfect. They don’t pay enough. They are run by leaders with the human relations skills of a brick. They are located in places only a cockroach would enjoy. And, they create jobs that are more like nightmares than dreams.

    So, what should you do? I think you have to figure out what constitutes the perfectly imperfect employer for the select group of candidates you want to recruit. In other words, you have to determine which “A” level performers will kiss a frog. Because they’re out there-the frog kissers, I mean-and we can recruit them.

    How do I know that? Look around you. If your organization isn’t a complete financial disaster (i.e., it’s a viable, going concern), then undoubtedly there are at least some of your coworkers who are among the top performers in their field. A normal distribution would mean that one-in-five fit that definition. It might be a few less; it could even be a few more. But they’re there, sitting all around you. They may (or may not) be imperfect in other ways-they may not have the best personality or be the most socially adept or the most physically attractive-but they know their stuff, and they deliver it on-the-job every day.

    Your success as a recruiter, therefore, depends upon your knowing them. They’re the “A” level performers who bought your employer, despite all its imperfections, and if you can figure out why and then replicate that formula, you’re in the money. Marketers call this the “wallet test.” Basically, you have to determine what it was that induced these candidates to make what even you might consider an irrational choice. They bought an imperfect employer. The kissed the frog.

    How do you do that? Well, certainly not by taking to hiring managers. They don’t have a clue. No, the only way to get the information you need is to ask the satisfied customer, him or herself. Conduct a focus group with the “irrational” candidates who are top performers and have the skills and knowledge you want to recruit. Now, don’t be put off by that term “focus group.” It’s simply marketing talk for a small group survey that is conducted face-to-face.

    For example, if you’re recruiting a pediatric nurse for a hospital that is located in a run down area of town and offers below market salaries, then:

  • identify which pediatric nurses now on staff are considered the “A” level performers; while the head of the Nursing Department will have her or his view and you should take it into account, also check with other members of the staff who regularly work with nurses on the floor and the patients they serve.
  • invite these top performers to meet with you over lunch (or at some other convenient time) for an informal brainstorming session; keep it light and explain that you simply want their counsel in figuring out how to recruit other elite nurses just like them to join the hospital staff. (A little ego stroking can go a long way in starting a dialogue.)
  • open the session by restating the goal: to give them more co-workers who can perform as their peers. (Positioning your inquiry as a way to help them will go a long way toward getting them engaged and motivated to help you out.)
  • then ask them a simple question: “What induced them-great performers who presumably had other options-to say “yes,” to accept the hospital’s offer. (Personalizing your search for answers will go a long way toward stimulating the candor and insight you need to uncover key common themes.)
  • The top two or three of these common themes are your “wallet factors.” They are the motivators that transform your most talented prospects into customers. They induce your perfect candidates to buy your imperfect employer.

    Use them everywhere you can. Build them into your employment brand and promote that brand wherever your target talent population is likely to see it, highlight them in your job postings on those sites where your top performers hang out, and emphasize them in the career area on your corporate site and in your e-mail communications with prospects. Make them the sales proposition you offer to the labor market or at least to that special subset of the labor market that is willing to kiss a frog.

    Of course, the best way to recruit the best talent is to transform your frog into a prince or princess. For many of us, however, that’s as likely to happen as a fairy tale. We live in the real world, and to recruit successfully there, you need to know what will make your imperfect employer look like a prince or princess, at least to some perfect candidates.

    Thanks for reading,


    P.S. Remember what you learned in kindergarten: It’s nice to share. Don’t keep WEDDLE’s to yourself. If you like our newsletter, please tell your friends and colleagues about it. They’ll appreciate your thinking of them. And, we will too!

    Section 3: News You Can Use released the results of its recent survey of college students and their views of various job search techniques. Among the respondents, 59% said the Internet was the best source of employment information, besting such traditional standbys as job fairs, college placement centers and referrals from classmates. While most college students are a uniquely passive cohort of job seekers-until the spring of their graduating year-it is possible to reach out to them and start building relationships even before they actively start their hunt for employment. To do that, you’ll have to set up a special channel in the career area on your corporate Web-site and tailor it to the college population. Similarly, you might build a special micro-site that offers a look and feel especially suited for college students and answers the questions they are likely to have. For example, Federated Department Stores launched such a site called that has enabled it to entice top graduates into a career in the retail field. What makes such initiatives work? Talk their language; talk with, not at them; and give them a chance to talk back.

    Monster announced a partnership with Adicio, Inc., a provider of interactive classified advertising software for media companies. As a result of the agreement, Adicio’s 250+ clients-ranging from from The Wall Street Journal to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers-will be able to offer employers access to Monster services and Monster’s customers will be able to purchase print advertising with Adicio-powered media outlets via its upcoming “click to print” service. Why is that important? As my longtime readers know, I have always felt that an integrated, multimedia ad-one that begins the communication of an organization’s employment opportunity in print (which continues to have relatively high penetration among passive prospects) and concludes it online (which offers all of the space necessary to sell a passive prospect)-has the best prospects of reaching and selling the best talent. This rarely used form of advertising enables you to articulate a linked, multistage message that has extraordinary focus and power, and that’s what it takes to break through the advertising clutter in today’s labor market.

    The Society for Human Resource Management published an article in its Legal Report series that focused on the issue of when and how to translate employment handbooks into another language. As more and more employers find themselves relying on nonnative workers who speak English as a second language or speak little English at all, it’s an important question that can impact on-the-job performance and safety and even play a role in litigation. Although the concerns are different, it’s no less important to think about when you should be translating the career area on your Web-site. If your organization is located in an area where there are a large number of potential employees who do not speak English well, failure to provide that content in a second, appropriate language could be viewed as discriminatory or, at least, as an indication that you are not making a good faith effort at equal employment opportunity and affirmative action. And, if you do decide to offer a translation, the advice in the SHRM article for employee handbooks also applies to your Web-site. Make sure you have the translation done professionally and add a prominent disclaimer in the foreign language that the English version of the content is the controlling version.

    WEDDLE’s announced its 2007 Spring-Summer Training Series. It includes six different programs all of which are delivered via toll-free audio conference. You get the PowerPoint slides for each program in advance, and on the day of the training, you simply dial in and have the presentation delivered right to you. All of the programs, which are presented by WEDDLE’s Publisher Peter Weddle, are listed below:

  • April 3, 2007: Best Practices in Sourcing Passive Prospects Online
  • April 24, 2007: Building a Corporate Career Site that Will Attract Top Talent
  • May 15, 2007: The Sum & Substance of a Great Employment Brand
  • May 29, 2007: Blink Recruiting-Getting to “Yes” Fast With Passive Prospects
  • June 11, 2007: Transforming Your Resume Database into a Candidate Gold Mine
  • June 21, 2007: A-to-Z in Best Practices for Online Recruitment Advertising
  • These are great learning opportunities that are within the reach of everyone’s budget. Even better, if you:

  • Sign up for two programs, you get a discount.
  • Sign up for four or more programs, you get an even bigger discount.
  • Registrations are limited, so reserve your seats now. To get pricing information and sign up, please call WEDDLE’s at 317.916.9424.

    Please Support Our Sponsor: RES

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

    Request Your Complimentary Staffing Scorecard

    Do you have a World Class Staffing Function?

    There are five (5) cornerstones of Human Resources and Staffing that when fully optimized will create a world class staffing organization.

    RES has developed a unique scorecard that will enable you to see where your strengths and areas of opportunities exist.

    By analyzing the results from this scorecard, you will see what areas your company performs well and where initial focus is needed to drive the organization towards becoming world class.

    To request your complimentary staffing scorecard, click on RES.