THE TECHNACIOUS RECRUITER NEWSLETTER

August 24, 2006   view past issues

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WEDDLE’s Research Factoid

We recently asked the visitors to the WEDDLE’s Web-site to tell us how much time they normally spend on a job board. It’s an important metric because the longer a person remains on a site, the better the chances that they will see your job posting or brand ad.

A total of 750 people participated in our survey. Here’s what they reported:

  • Almost a third (29.1%) spend more than 30 minutes on each job board they visit;
  • Another quarter (24.5%) spend 11-20 minutes on such sites;
  • Almost as many (22.3%) spend 21-30 minutes on job boards;
  • About a fifth (18.9%) spend 6-10 minutes; and
  • A minuscule 5.2% blow in-and-out in 5 minutes or less.
  • What the Findings Mean

    Job seekers are willing to invest the time when they find job boards with good content. Indeed, more than half of the respondents (51.4%) spend more than 20 minutes on the sites they visit. In today’s era of gnat-like attention spans, that’s an extraordinary level of interest and involvement.

    What kind of content attracts them?

    For active job seekers, it’s the:

  • focus of the site (the career field, industry, location and/or affinity group it serves);
  • number and caliber of jobs that are posted; and
  • the quality of the supporting job search content it offers. For example, the directions that some sites provide for writing a resume are so boring they would put a brick to sleep while others offer advice that is both helpful and engaging.
  • Those three features, plus pricing, are the criteria you should use when determining which job boards are likely to deliver the best return on your investment in online recruitment and/or brand advertising.

    For passive job seekers, in contrast, job postings and job search content have less allure. These prospects are more interested in content that will advance them in their profession, craft or trade. That content might include:

  • news and information about their industry or career field;
  • developmental programs for acquiring advanced skills and certifications;
  • blogs that enable them to access and comment on the views of thought leaders in the workplace; and
  • discussion boards that provide a way for them to network with their peers.
  • Those features are the criteria you should use in determining which job boards will best enable you to reach the highest quality candidates, whether they are looking for a job or not.

    Bottom Line: Making optimum use of job boards requires good consumer habits.

  • There’s the trial-and-error approach which is not only expensive, but can leave you without the candidates you need to fill the openings you have within the time specified by hiring managers.
  • and

  • There’s the research-based approach which takes a little more time up front to assess the features at alternative sites, but provides a much higher probability that you’ll post your openings and brand message exactly where they’ll be seen by the talent you want to recruit.
  • Since 1996, WEDDLE’s has been surveying both job seekers and recruiters on the Web. 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: IAEWS

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of IAEWS–the International Association of Employment Web Sites.

    The International Association of Employment Web Sites (IAEWS) is the trade organization for job boards and career portals. Its members include over 500 sites operated by stand-alone enterprises, newspapers and professional journals, associations, radio stations and affinity groups. Their services cover every profession, craft and trade, every industry and virtually every location around the world.

    Why is it important to you? Because it will help you to be a smart consumer on the Web.

    There are over 40,000 employment sites, and not all of them operate according to accepted business standards. How can you tell the difference? Look for the Association’s logo on Web-site home pages. It’s the “good housekeeping seal” you can count on when you make buying decisions among job boards and career portals.


    Section Two: From WEDDLE’s Archive

    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 2006. For a complete collection of Peter’s writing, please see our book Postcards From Space.

    What’s in a Title?

    A couple of years ago, I put on my job seeker hat and visited one of the more popular recruitment sites on the Web. As any good employment candidate will do, I searched the site’s job database to see what kind of opportunities it had available. The database search engine was easy to use, with clear directions that were written in English, not techno-babble. Basically, all I had to do was identify the search criteria or keywords that were important to me and then designate my industry, desired location and salary objective.

    I entered the term “Manager” in the keyword area and selected the Telecommunications industry, a salary objective of $50-75,000 and any location in the United States. I hit the search button, and ten seconds later, I had 26 pages of search results, listing 648 jobs. Unlike with a print publication, however, I could not actually see the descriptions of the jobs. Instead, each was summarized with a posting title that typically included its internal or organizational name, location, employer, and date posted. And that’s the problem. There was insufficient information about the jobs for me (or any other job seeker) to determine which of the 648 postings were best aligned with my skills and goals.

    Among the first 15 titles listed from my search, there were openings for:

  • 2 Product Managers,
  • 2 Area Managers,
  • 3 Account Managers,
  • 3 Marketing Managers, and
  • 4 Sales Managers.
  • Although the employers and locations varied, the position names had obviously been drawn from internal job descriptions or HR Department designations. They were standard institutional references, offering no context or sizzle that would help to differentiate them in the eyes of job seekers. As a result, all of the postings looked alike, leaving me with one option when trying to determine which ones to open and read: I flipped a coin.

    Such is the nature of online recruitment advertising. Unlike with print ads, where you can quickly scan the text beneath the title to see what an opening is all about, the search engine in most online job databases forces job seekers to select jobs based solely on their titles. And while a rose by any other name may still be a rose, a job title in a list of 647 other titles needs some color and fragrance to help it stand out. Indeed, creating an original, entertaining, enticing title for each of your job postings is a key factor in maximizing your return on investment in online advertising.

    What sets a title apart? First, remember that these titles are not going to determine a position’s size or level of accountability. They will not appear on an organization chart or be used to assign salary levels. Instead, their purpose is to sell your opportunity to prospective candidates. Second, these titles are not simply the electronic version of copy developed for a print ad. They are not immediately followed by nor do they lead seamlessly to a text description of a job. Rather, they act as one-line billboards that must quickly capture the interest or pique the curiosity of readers as they scan through a (sometimes very long) list of similar (and competitive) openings. Said another way, good titles tempt talent.

    What makes for a tempting tile? I think it has three elements:

  • Location. Most candidates would prefer not to uproot their family to take a new position so indicating the location of your opening is a critical first step. Start the title of your posting with the city and state of the opening’s location or, if you’re posting on a site with limited space for titles, simply the postal code for the state.
  • For example: Stamford, CT

  • Skill. Most candidates search a job database with keywords that describe their professional skill or workplace capabilities. They do not use organizational position titles such as Sales Associate III or Program Manager – Level 1. To reach the greatest number of candidates for a particular opening, therefore, incorporate the phrase or term you would use to indicate the key skill required for effective job performance and they would use to indicate the kind of work they are capable of doing in the workplace. If you need help identifying that descriptor, ask several of the best performers who are already working for your employer in a position similar to the one you are trying to fill.
  • For example: Stamford, CT-Pharmaceutical Area Sales Manager

  • Sizzle. Most candidates, but especially top performers, want to be sold on the opening they are considering. They respond best to the employer that differentiates an offer by highlighting its unique and/or most attractive aspects. That could be the compensation level of the position, the opportunity it offers to do something special, the culture of the organization or the quality and/or significance of its products and services. Once again, if you have any doubts about what aspect would be most compelling to your target demographic, ask their peers who have already been sold on employment with your organization.

    For example: Stamford, CT-Pharmaceutical Area Sales Manager-Eager team with hot product

    A job posting is neither an employment announcement nor a job description. It’s an electronic sales brochure. And, the hook that gets the best talent interested enough to open and read the brochure is its title. Write a powerful and compelling title, and you’ll increase not only the quantity but the quality of your yield.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    P.S. 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

    Shockwave.com, a producer of online video games, released the results of its analysis of player demographics. According to the study:

  • the audience is relatively gender-balanced-48% of the players are male, 52% female;
  • age is also relatively balanced-13% of players are 18-24, 18% are 25-34, 27% are 35-44, 25% are 45-54, and 17% are 55 or older;
  • Most players have incomes over $50,000 and a college degree (or at least some college education); and
  • Most players are online at least three times a week.
  • These attributes nicely describe a high caliber candidate pool on the Internet. It’s probably not surprising, therefore, that job boards have already started to deploy online games to reach these prospects. For an example, see the employment area at the Dayton Daily News site. So too, however, have employers. Take a look at the Career area at Enterprise Rent-a-Car. “Entertising” or entertainment-based advertising is certainly out on the cutting edge, but it just may be an idea whose time has come in online recruiting.

    Staffing firm Spherion surveyed employers on their training and development programs and, as with many studies, found good news and bad. The good news is that many employers recognize the importance of investing in workforce development, both to improve performance and reinforce retention. The bad news, however, is that many employees are clueless about the training programs their employers offer. For example, 92% of the employers in the study offered funding to attend seminars and trade shows, yet just 28% of their employees knew that. Almost as depressing, 91% of the employers provided internal training sessions, yet more than half of their employees (54%) claimed not to know about them. What’s to be done? Make the business case for implementing an internal marketing program that you design with input from your colleagues in the Marketing Department and Corporate Communications. The program should be funded at a level to touch every employee at least once a month for a year and then be repeated on a quarterly basis for at least another two years. That’s the best way to ensure that your employer gets the worker response it needs to generate a meaningful return on its investment in training and development.

    The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that benefits now account for more than one-third (33.1%) of the total compensation provide by private sector employers with more than 500 employees. Where’s the money going? According to the study, with employees’ average total compensation now equal to $24.06/hour:

  • $3.15/hour covers paid time off,
  • $2.72/hour is spent on health insurance,
  • $2.65/hour goes to other legally required benefits,
  • $1.92/hour is contributed to retirement,
  • $1.21/hour goes into “supplemental pay,” and
  • $0.24/hour pays for other forms of insurance.
  • Now, it’s not a new idea to market this considerable investment made by employers to the workers they employ. What may be new is how effective the Web can be in helping to get the word out. Create a Family Information Center on your organization’s intranet and post your employer’s benefit costs for spouses and significant others to see. In today’s world, it’s far more likely they’ll notice it there than on that flyer you’ve been inserting in their pay envelopes.


    Support Our Sponsor: IAEWS

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of IAEWS–the International Association of Employment Web Sites.

    The International Association of Employment Web Sites (IAEWS) is the trade organization for job boards and career portals. Its members include over 500 sites operated by stand-alone enterprises, newspapers and professional journals, associations, radio stations and affinity groups. Their services cover every profession, craft and trade, every industry and virtually every location around the world.

    Why is it important to you? Because it will help you to be a smart consumer on the Web.

    There are over 40,000 employment sites, and not all of them operate according to accepted business standards. How can you tell the difference? Look for the Association’s logo on Web-site home pages. It’s the “good housekeeping seal” you can count on when you make buying decisions among job boards and career portals.