Online Candidate Marketing - Beyond Mainstream Job Boards.
Written by Paul Quinn, Founder
and Director of Quinntessential Marketing.
article first appeared in Recruitment Extra Magazine, August 2009.
SEEK.com.au, where else do candidates (the good ones!) visit online? And more
importantly, how can I capture their interest?"
the last two years the frequency at which I have been asked this question has
The fact is
SEEK is a fantastic online avenue to attract great candidates. Yet to predominantly
rely on SEEK advertising to attract candidates is a strategy fraught with danger;
non-existent differentiation over your competition (who doesn't advertise on SEEK
these days?) and the sheer volume of competing adverts are just two dangers of
the opportunities to tap into additional talent pools online are many if you're
prepared to give some new (and some old!) ideas a go.
are some practical tips and ideas to help steer a typical recruitment agency's
online candidate attraction strategy in the right direction:
met with the owner of a small recruiter (under 10 staff) and within the first
5 minutes he told me that he thought it was a total waste of money investing in
any more than a 2-3 page brochureware website. In his opinion 'no one's ever going
to bother to visit the website of a small agency anyway'. Such a defeatist attitude!
To me that's akin to saying 'I won't wear deodorant because I don't think people
can smell me'. That's fine if you don't care what people think of you. But in
business if we don't service customers well we don't get paid so it's important
to take some interest in what they think of us. Your customer's impression of
you starts with the basics - which in today's business world includes your website.
this attitude is becoming far less common and many recruitment agencies' websites
have come a long way over the past few years. As the use of the Internet has become
ingrained in our daily lives, recruiters have started to focus on delivering a
richer visitor experience. While there are many components to a successful website,
some of the 'Must Have' elements for any web savvy recruitment agency include:
Easy to find and apply for jobs - All available jobs should be listed and
searchable by keyword at a minimum. Job listings should also be refreshed daily
to ensure newly filled jobs are removed swiftly.
Search-engine friendly job listings - Preferably each job needs to be displayed
on a unique page in a search engine friendly format (if unsure let the experts
be the guide).
c. Offer Job Alerts to
candidates - If you don't have a suitable job for candidates today, make sure
job preferences are collected via a 'job alert' registration before they leave
the website. That way you gain their permission to send them relevant jobs in
d. Engaging content - interesting
articles, expert 'rants', visitor polls, research results
add content that
will engage candidates, educate them and inspire them to return. Don't be afraid
to experiment with video either to add some personality to your site. Check out
the homepage of this small NZ recruiter for an example: www.trn.org.nz.
e. Build an opt-in subscriber list - Once candidates are at your site, why
let them quietly slip away unnoticed? Offer them an incentive to sign up to your
mailing list. A good practical example I've seen that relates to e-mail-based
candidate communications comes from the specialist PR arm of Randstad (formally
known as TPA - The Publicity Agency). Over many years TPA built a large opt-in
e-mail-based 'network' of candidates. Quite simply, when a new role comes in,
they e-mail a 'Network Callout' to all registered candidates to ask them if they
know of anyone interested in the listed roles and advising the referral fee payable
for each role (normally around 10% of the recruitment fee). It works on three
fronts - (a) the agency is in constant contact with their candidates, building
strong 'Top of Mind' awareness for their brand. Secondly, it utilises the power
of referrals. And finally, this unique sourcing channel provides any potential
client with a tangible example of the value the agency delivers by utilising a
sourcing strategy that reaches beyond the well worn 'job on Seek' path. Imagine
the power of telling your client that 'we have an opt-in referral network of 15,000
executives that I'll send your job to tomorrow'.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) & Search Engine Optimisation (SEO):
Search engine marketing (SEM): Ever heard of Google Adwords? It's an advertising
program that lets you place highly targeted text adverts next to relevant searches
performed on Google, and only pay if someone clicks on your advert. While most
recruiters aren't yet using services such as Google Adwords for candidate marketing,
I believe that will slowly change. For example, some recruiters use Google Adwords
very effectively to target passive job seekers with hard to find skills. If you
know that anyone with experience in the software 'Cognos' is highly placeable,
then use Google Adwords to display your advert/value proposition to anyone that
visits Google Australia and searches for 'Cognos'. It's a simple, affordable and
very cost effective form of targeted advertising.
engine optimisation (SEO): It's said that up to 80% of all Internet sessions
start at a search engine, so if you don't know what search engine optimisation
is you should make it a priority to find out. Otherwise your website may be in
danger from suffering from 'Billboard in your basement' syndrome (you build a
great billboard but place it in your basement where no one can see it). The bottom
line is you need to optimise your website and make it easy for people to find
Once your own website is optimised,
another very effective SEO strategy is to develop a number of separate 'Themed
microsites'. Say you specialise in legal recruitment, and specifically want to
attract legal temps to register with your business. A great strategy is to develop
a keyword specific themed microsite - say legaltemps.com.au. For just a few thousand
dollars you can create a 6-10 page mini site devoted to delivering useful articles,
tips and ideas for anyone interested in temping in the legal profession. On each
page include a subtle reference to your agency and your available temp roles.
Focus on good content, optimise each page, link to it from your main website,
and typically within a matter of weeks Google will have found the site and list
it high up on search results for any 'legal temp' searches.
Trial Niche Job boards and Publications:
said that you could only advertise on one job board? That's crazy! There are some
great generalist and niche job boards out there, and you need to find the mix
and balance that's right for you. Don't get stuck in the rut of thinking you can
only afford to advertise on one site - there are some excellent niche job boards
that offer fantastic rates, and even some free job boards that are worthy of your
attention (check out NowHiring.com.au for example). There's no harm in trialling
them to measure your results relative to spend and establish what works for you.
you use a multi job posting service such as JobAdder.com.au or Adlogic.com.au,
then tapping into the range of specialist job boards available is easy. If you
specialise in mining roles, why not try www.miningjobs.com.au? If you often fill
SAP jobs, why not post to www.SAPcareers.com? While the volume of applicants you
receive might be lower than the major job boards, you might be pleasantly surprised
by the quality you find.
are also some great industry-specific trade magazines that have strong website
followings that recruiters could do a better job of tapping into. Do you recruit
marketing professionals? Then why not check out the marketingmag.com.au website and job board? Or perhaps Engineering recruitment is your thing? Why not
check out the job board at engineersaustralia.org.au?
Irrespective of your specialty there are some great advertising deals to be had
right now in trade-specific magazines and websites if you ask the right questions!
trialling a new job board or trade publication bear in mind two things:
sure you're satisfied that they are marketing and sourcing candidates in areas
that you are not! Don't be afraid to ask them about their marketing plan.
measure your results! Statistics on the number of times your job was viewed and
the number of applications you receive should all be readily available, so make
an informed decision on the outcome of your trial for the sake of your business
and in fairness to the job board you're trialling.
The Social Media Phenomenon:
you've been hiding under a rock for the last 18 months, you would have probably
heard about the social media phenomenon: MySpace, Facebook, and more recently
- Twitter - are the most commonly used sites. Whilst a whole article could be
devoted to the topic of social media opportunities for recruiters I have space
for one practical example. If you specialise in Marketing, set up a marketing
careers profile on Twitter (it's free) and let your candidates know about it via
your website, your e-mail signature and your job ad template. Then post a 'Marketing
Job Of The Day' to your 'followers'. One new job gets posted each day. Offer an
incentive for people to refer their friends and encourage fellow Twitter users
to forward the job on (or 'ReTweet') to their own network of followers. Companies
such as Dell are employing similar strategies to promote their special offers
and are reporting a great ROI as a result. Did I mention this tactic is free?
Online Resume Search Engines:
until now online resume search engines have held much promise but delivered little
to Australian recruiters. However that's slowly changing. A great example is LinkedIn.com
- more and more recruiters are reporting excellent results from this business-focused
networking site. On LinkedIn, all users have detailed professional profiles that
clearly outline their career progression. You can elect to search profiles and
pay a small fee to contact the user directly. Some recruiters elect to use Google
first to search for candidates on LinkedIn with a specific job title or for candidates
who may have worked for a specific company.
test for yourself, let's assume you are looking to fill a Sydney-based 'Client
Relationship Manager' role. Simply go to Google.com and type:
"Client Relationship Manager" Sydney -intitle:directory
performing the search above you'll find nearly 500 freely available career profiles
of LinkedIn members. Worth checking out if you're not already doing this.
User Generated Content:
the online World people have short attention spans - you need to quickly gain
and maintain their interest for long enough to open a dialogue with them. One
great way of doing this is to attract candidates to a website owned by your firm
that delivers visitors clear benefits in return for their active involvement and
participation. Below are two practical examples:
Salary Portal: Early this year regional recruitment
firm - Forsythes Recruitment - engaged Quinntessential (sorry - shameless plug)
to roll out a region-specific salary portal. Quinntessential utilised its LiveSalary.com.au
product to create a re-brandable salary portal for Forsythes that utilises salary
data provided by candidates themselves to help them benchmark their salary against
their peers and establish their true market worth. Data is continually updated
by candidates all throughout the year, with minimal ongoing involvement required
from Forsythes. And the results? Over 1500 salaries entered and over 17,800 page
views since March 09. Recent media coverage after releasing the most recent results
included a TV appearance on Channel 9 affiliate NBN, six radio interviews, four
newspaper and journal articles and a number of website articles. Check out the
site yourself at: www.forsythessalaries.com.au ... and contact us if you'd like to set up something similar.
Competitions: Marketing and Design recruitment specialist Aquent used to run
an "interactive online talent competition" in the USA called 'Studio
Smackdown'. The competition had its own website and let peers judge and vote on
their favourite graphic designers. Designed as a weekly elimination contest, five
graphic designers competed for creative supremacy in an online public forum by
responding to different design challenges. Candidates could view each designer's
solution and mark up samples of the contestant's work, post and read comments,
as well as cast elimination votes (reality TV style). This is a fantastic example
of a marketing tactic that aims to attract and engage quality candidates and help
entrench the Aquent brand amongst the graphic design community.
Online Reward And Recognition Programs:
from a great job and being paid on time, what do your contractors and temps want
from an agency? Like any employee (or child for that matter!) they want to be
recognised for their efforts and rewarded from time to time. The Internet has
made the task of running reward and recognition programs a far easier process
to set up and manage. Online point-based reward programs can be an effective way
to complement your existing reward and recognition initiatives. A well run program
can help you to (a) improve contract renewal rates, (b) attract new contractors
and temps to register with your business, and (c) encourage new business via the
referrals generated from the program. Often your clients will also value your
efforts to look after your contractors and temps too.
what behaviours should you reward? A rewards program that encourages any profit
generating behaviours can't help but pay for itself many times over. For example,
offer an incentive for role commencement, for learning a new hard to find skill,
for re-signing a new contract or temp assignment, for successfully referring a
friend. Melbourne-based recruiter Regent Recruitment, for example, has used the
Cloud 9 Rewards online platform for the last 4 years to recognise their temp base
and reward them with bonuses for referrals and 'Temp of the Month' awards. This
is a great way to differentiate your offer and maintain regular lines of communication
with your candidate base.
Measure Your Results:
old adage that 'you can't manage what you don't measure' definitely holds true
when it comes to analysing your online marketing spend. One of the many great
things about the Internet is that almost everything can be measured. If you need
convincing add the 'Google Analytics' tracking code to your website (it's free)
to see how much data and insight can be gained from one visitor to your site.
If you are upset about
the latest price increase from your favoured job board then the only way to test
if there's a better option for you is to trial some alternative advertising channels
and measure the results. You should all know, for example, your average cost per
candidate and your average cost per placement for each advertising medium you
marketing is less about 'who spends the most money' and more about who's being
smart and investing their marketing spend wisely on those activities proven to
yield the best possible return for their business.
bottom line is that a well thought out and well executed online marketing strategy
will deliver a steady stream of quality candidate (and client) traffic for many
years to come for minimal cost when compared to most other marketing options.
Paul Quinn is Managing
Director of employment marketing firm Quinntessential. For the last 11 years Paul
has specialised in helping Australian recruitment firms with their marketing efforts.
Today Paul's main focus lies in two online products: PeoplePulse (online survey
LiveSalary (an online salary comparison portal that recruiters can re-brand for
use on their own website). You can contact Paul on ph +61 2 9232 0172 or by using
the contact form on this website.
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