September 21, 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 many times per month they visit an employment site on the Internet. A total of 1,063 people participated in our survey. Here’s how they described their job board usage patterns:

  • 35% visited a job board 13+ times/month,
  • 20% visited such sites 5-8 times/month,
  • 18% visited them 2-4 times/month,
  • 17% visited job boards 9-12 times/month,
  • 8% visited these sites 1 time/month, and
  • 2% said they visited job boards 0 times/month.
  • What the Findings Mean

    As you might expect, when someone is engaged in an active job search, they visit employment sites frequently. Over half of our respondents stopped by a job board at least twice a week, and a third visited these sites at least three times a week. If most people spend at least twenty minutes per visit (see WEDDLE’s newsletter dated August 24, 2006), then they are normally devoting more than an hour per week to searching job postings and posting their resumes at job boards.

    Is that a lot? Probably not in comparison to the time at least some people spend on social networking sites. However, consider this: the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, at any point in time, about 16% of the U.S. population is actively looking for a job. Job boards are visited more than 13 times per month by more than twice that many people. And just 2% never go to a job board, while a much greater percentage of the population is unlikely ever to post a profile or look for a friend at MySpace or Friendster.

    There are, of course, many different kinds of job boards. Some are general purpose sites-providing recruitment support in a wide array of career fields, industries and locations-while others focus on a specific niche of the workforce or workplace. As a consequence, all of that traffic to job boards is spread across a large constellation of sites that is also growing in size and diversity.

    Bottom line: online employment sites reach deeply into the workforce on a regular basis. Sure, they attract active job seekers, but many also attract what is undoubtedly a sizeable cohort of the so-called passive job seeker population. How can you recruit these high caliber potential applicants? As a minimum, it’s important to:

  • Pinpoint the specific job boards that routinely attract the largest percentage of the kinds of candidates you are trying to recruit and invest your time, effort and money on those sites;
  • Write job postings that are electronic sales brochures with the depth of information and the persuasive power to convince even the most reluctant prospect;
  • Use job boards that offer a privacy feature in their resume database as most passive prospects-people who are likely to be employed already-won’t take the risk of posting their resume online without it; and
  • Use sites that also provide a networking capability-a discussion forum or bulletin board-as that feature will enable you to build relationships with a large number of job seekers and passive prospects efficiently.
  • 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:

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

    Diversity is an important component of any online recruiting campaign. Achieving a diverse workplace is not merely a destination, but an ongoing process. offers a variety of diversity job posting, resume database and branding packages to meet your online diversity recruitment needs. For more information please contact or call us today at (973) 992 7311.

    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.

    Brand, Brand on the Wall, What Will Attract the Best of All?

    Let’s begin with a rash statement: You can’t win the War for the Best Talent with the highest quality candidates. That’s right; simply going out and recruiting the best and brightest in each career field is not likely to get the performance gains your customers-those pesky hiring managers-really want. Why not? Because only the right quality hires will actually work well in your organization. In other words, the goal of your efforts should be to find and hire the best and brightest who exactly fit both the specifications of your openings and the culture of your organization. They must not only be at the top of their field, but they must be challenged by the work that needs to be done and fit in with the team, department and company where they will do it.

    While assessment enables you to make such distinctions among candidates once they have applied, it is your employment brand that ensures you have the right quality candidates to evaluate, in the first place. In other words, assessment is useful only if your organization can (1) attract the top talent who will fit in and (2) persuade them to apply. Fail at those two tasks, and assessment is a waste of your time and effort. You are simply picking the best credentialed person who likely won’t perform as required or stay around very long.

    How does an employment brand accomplish those tasks? It must address the issues that matter most to the people you most want to hire. It must focus on the key motivators for the unique cohort of the workforce that is right for your organization. In essence, it must answer two questions:

  • What will induce the right talent to leave whatever they are doing and accept employment with your organization? Top talent is almost always employed someplace else. Therefore, the outward facing aspect of your brand’s value proposition must be so compelling that it will overcome the inertia of staying where they are and induce them to take on the risk of moving to a new organization-yours.
  • What will incent them to resist offers from other organizations and continue their employment with yours? The top talent of your organization is almost always being recruited by your competitors. For that reason, the inward facing aspect of your brand’s value proposition must be so powerful that it will blunt the (often formidable) inducements offered by other employers and encourage your best and brightest to stay right where they are.
  • Answering both of those questions is central to an effective employment brand. However, if you don’t get the second one right, working on the first is an exercise in futility.

    To put it another way, recruiting and retention are inextricably linked through the operation of your employment brand. The external facing aspect of the brand is the promise your organization offers to the right talent during the recruiting process; the internal facing aspect of the brand is how well the organization delivers on that promise. In other words, how much of your employment brand message actually comes true on the shop floor and among the office cubicles? And, how much of it is hype or wishful thinking? Sure, there are other issues that impact on retention, but the alignment between what you say about your organization in your brand and what is real on-the-job and in-the-culture is the key to winning the War for the Best Talent. It sets the tone, or more precisely, becomes the lens through which all other factors (e.g., an employee’s relationship with their supervisor, a revision to the benefits program) are viewed.

    This alignment is accomplished by ensuring that your employment brand has four key attributes:

  • Articulate meaningful norms The brand must describe the norms of employment-the workplace values-that are most important to the right quality talent for your organization.
  • Hype free The brand must be accurate, free of jargon and precisely describe what’s important to the organization as an employer, rather than what it takes to sell it to prospects.
  • Honest The brand must be a true expression of the organization’s value proposition for right quality talent.
  • Appeal to all The brand must engage and resonate with the right quality talent among all cohorts of the organization’s workforce, not just to those in a specific career field or to managers and executives.
  • Build a brand with those 4 attributes, and you’ll elicit exactly the response you want from the talent you most want to hire … AH HA.

    How can you create such a brand? I suggest you use the following 4-step methodology:

    Step 1: Ask the experts. Conduct a series of focus groups with the best performers in your organization in each of the career fields for which you recruit. To the greatest extent possible, these sessions should be candid, uninhibited and unconstrained. If necessary, have a third party conduct the meetings. The goal is to get highly precise answers to those two key questions I noted above: Why did your organization’s best employees decide to join the organization and what keeps them there? Capture the exact words and phrases they use as well as their caveats and reservations.

    Step 2: Describe what you heard. Using the insights captured in Step 1, draft several versions of your brand message. It’s fine to use outside help in this creative effort, but the themes should be based, as closely as possible, on the key ideas expressed by the focus groups. The goal is to leverage their views into no more than two or three key employment values that will resonate with your target demographics. To do that, look for words and phrases that “have legs” (i.e., they have meaning and impact across the spectrum of high performing employees) and avoid the issues that may create dissonance (i.e., they were identified as one of their caveats or reservations).

    Step 3: Test your drafts and select the best. Reconvene the focus groups and ask them to evaluate the various drafts. If possible, pick a consensus winner (i.e., one that is compelling to all). Don’t force fit a choice, however; if none of the drafts attracts general support among the group participants, repeat Step 2 and try again. Continue the creative effort until you find a message that produces an AH HA among your best and brightest in every career field for which you recruit.

    Step 4: Use the message everywhere. All too often, employers go to great effort to devise an employment brand message and then use it only sporadically in their recruiting or not at all. To avoid this mistake, make your organization’s brand a mandatory component of every job posting and every classified ad. In addition, make sure that the content in the career area of your organization’s Web-site highlights the brand message. In other words, that message should determine what topics are included and which are not and how each topic is addressed on the site. Similarly, the brand should shape the content of any sites you operate for your employee referral and alumni programs as well as for employee communications and your internal mobility system (to address the internal facing aspect of the brand).

    Employment brands are often misunderstood. They are not a public relations strategy or solely a communications initiative. They are, instead, an exercise in asset formation. Indeed, a powerful employment brand is as important to an organization as capital and good will, for it alone enables that organization to attract the top talent that’s right for its workforce.

    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

    Management Recruiters International released the results of a survey that determined who gets the most credit in corporate America: the early bird or the night owl. It turns out that those who arrive early and put in extra hours before the workday officially begins get less recognition for their diligence than those who stay late and toil on after the workday has ended. While doing extra work at any time may help to advance your career, early birds received fewer promotions, raises and other benefits from their efforts than did the night owls. So, if you are going to put in some extra hours, do so later in the day when your contribution is more likely to get the recognition it deserves.

    The book, Naked Conversations: how blogs are changing the way businesses talk with customers, offers a number of tips that can be useful to those of us thinking about blogging for candidates. It urges that you:

  • talk, don’t sell-my interpretation: focus your blog on providing useful information that differentiates your employer from its competitors;
  • post often and be interesting-my interpretation: as one person has put it, writing a blog is like getting a puppy for the Holidays … the initial pleasure it brings is accompanied by an ongoing responsibility to be a good friend to your readers;
  • write about what you know and care about-my interpretation: avoid jargon and corporate-speak and put some passion and flair in what you write; and
  • listen to what your readers tell you-my interpretation: the best source of information about what top talent is looking for in an employer is the commentary they add to your blog about the information you provide.
  • Blogging is probably not right for employers that are faint of heart-they are only effective if they are unfailingly honest and candid-but they can put a human face on an institution and help to build relationships with prospects who might otherwise never even stop and listen.

    Right Management published the results of a study of the most common mistakes organizations make in managing managers and executives. The most prevalent shortcoming it found-reported by more than 40% of the responding employers-was the failure to define the specific roles that were most important to individual success and to evaluate individual performance according to those parameters. In addition, the corporate self-assessment found:

  • insufficient coaching, mentoring and training for high potential employees;
  • subjective evaluations and the use of unreliable assessment instruments for performance appraisal; and
  • an over-emphasis on numerical measures and inadequate consideration of key leadership skills such as team building and the development of esprit de corps.
  • While much has been written about the need to address workers who intend to switch employers in the next 12-18 months, the same attention should be applied to a no less real corporate vulnerability among dissatisfied supervisors and managers. Make sure you keep your finger on the pulse of your leadership ranks and offer them the support, feedback and resources they need to develop and advance.

    WEDDLE’s announced the topics and dates for its Fall/Winter Training Series. These training programs are widely recognized for their innovation and helpfulness. Delivered by WEDDLE’s Publisher, Peter Weddle, they will engage, entertain and educate you … all from the comfort of your own office or conference room.

    The Fall/Winter topics and dates are:

    A-to-Z in Best Practices for Online Recruitment Advertising

    October 5, 2005

    Googling, Blogging & Other Sourcing Techniques for Passive Prospects

    October 19, 2006

    Transforming Your Resume Database into a Candidate Gold Mine

    November 2, 2006

    Staffing Metrics That Count in the Corner Officer

    November 16, 2006

    Employment Branding-Creating the Image That Sells Top Talent

    November 30, 2006

    Blink Recruiting-Getting to “Yes” Fast With Passive Prospects

    December 14, 2006

    All programs begin at 11:00 a.m. EST, 8:00 a.m. PST and last for one hour.

    WEDDLE’s training programs are an effective way to hone your use of Best Practices in recruiting AND do more with less.

  • You can listen to each audio-based program (with accompanying PowerPoint course materials) by yourself or invite your entire staffing team.
  • Regardless of how many listen in, you pay only $179 per program.
  • Now, that’s the way to maximize your ROI!

    But, wait, there’s more:

  • If you sign up for two programs, the fee drops to just $165 per program.
  • And if you sign up for four or more programs, the fee drops to an unbelievable $150 per program.
  • These are great learning opportunities presented by one of our industry’s most highly rated speakers. In addition, you can’t beat the price; it’s hundreds, even thousands, of dollars less than comparable programs elsewhere.

    Registrations are limited, so reserve your seats right away. To sign up, please call WEDDLE’s at 317.916.9424 today.

    Note: Sessions are not recorded and reservations are final and binding.

    Please Support Our Sponsor:

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

    Diversity is an important component of any online recruiting campaign. Achieving a diverse workplace is not merely a destination, but an ongoing process. offers a variety of diversity job posting, resume database and branding packages to meet your online diversity recruitment needs. For more information please contact or call us today at (973) 992 7311.