Online recruiting has come a long way from the days of bulletin board systems, résumé uploads, jobs via email, and candidate matching tools. There’s a whole world of recruiting solutions that are just surfacing, and most HR and recruiting professionals aren’t even aware of them.
In this article I discuss the movement from offline to online recruiting and a range of new recruiting tools that are influencing the future, plus some simple things you can do to make your own job listings easier to find online.
Let’s start with a brief retrospective. In the not too distant past, if you wanted to hire someone, you’d sort through recent unsolicited résumés, run a classified ad in the local paper, post a referral notice on the company bulletin board, and call it a day. If you had an executive-level candidate, perhaps you spent $5,000 to place a display ad in the local daily or weekly business rag or a couple of national trades. If you were really desperate, you probably dialed a headhunter and prepared the boss for the bad news – the headhunter’s commission.
But with the advent of the Internet, recruiters learned how to upload their job listings and ship them off to the niche and mega job boards. These tools gave recruiters access to a national bank of résumés – and broadcast a job posting to both passive and active job seekers. Résumé scanning technologies provided a way for recruiters to build their own candidate pools based on keyword searches.
Online Recruiting–Take Two
Then something happened. Résumés started getting stale, jobs that got posted were bottom of the barrel, and the buzz about online job searches began to quiet.
The Internet is all about creating a WOW experience, so when something Internet starts to flat line, the Internet gurus rethink the game and reengineer business models. The same is true of online recruiting, an industry with its own evolutionary cycle.
Take a simple example that’s close to home. In many companies, the HR and recruiting group has won its own space on the corporate Internet. Your corporate recruiting site allows you to post jobs, email candidates and collect resumes. Ostensibly, candidate could find your jobs when they looked for them.
Then along came Google to change all of that.
On Google, the top 20 job and/or career keywords represent 10 million searches each month alone. If your job listing doesn’t come up in a search result, fewer candidates are going to find you. So how do you get around this?
Optimize Your Job Listings
Job Content Optimization can help you increase the effectiveness of your own online recruiting Website by making your job listings more relevant to big search engines. Optimizing your job listings isn’t brain surgery. Once you know a few simple tricks, you’re well on your way to creating search-engine-friendly job postings.
Search engines zoom in on keywords, but how those keywords are presented in your job listing makes all the difference. Simply put, you have to make sure that your job listings are well written. There are a number of ways to optimize them:
Use common words, instead of your corporate code words.
You have to use words that people will search on. If you post a job for a Mechanical D/D Engineer, how is anyone going to find you? Better to use plane English, i.e., Mechanical Design and Drafting Engineer.
Expand and define your acronyms.
Many managers and recruiters will use acronyms to describe their requirements, assuming that everyone will use them when searching for jobs on the major sites. Terms such as “DBA”, “SOX”, “VOIP”, and “PM” are common amongst recruiters, but candidates will also search for the expanded terms – and you don’t want to miss your chance to get in their results.
Remember – don’t avoid using acronyms, but always include the associated definitions to enhance your chances. Examples would be “We need an Oracle DBA (Database Analyst), to assist us with our SOX (Sarbanes Oxley) project, who will serve as the PM (Project Manager).” This would insure that all your acronyms would have expanded terms that will be indexed in the job search engines.
Use multiple job titles to describe the same job.
One company may call a person an account manager, but another company may have a different label for the same job, such as account executive, sales representative, inside sales rep, or the like. Explore how other companies label similar jobs by doing searches on the major job boards, then include those job titles in your job listings with a simple phrase, such as: “This job is similar to an account executive or a sales representative.” That way someone searching for any one of the three job titles has a better chance of finding you.
Not Monster … indeed
If your jobs make it into Google searches, they’ll probably make it to some of the new job search engines, such as indeed, SimplyHired.com, or Google Base.
This new breed of job search engine aggregates the job listings from independent niche sites, company sites, classified job listings, and mega boards. The search results are broad and deep, encapsulating in one search what 12 or more searches across different job boards might produce.
Although getting listed in the search results is free for many of these job search engines, some offer sponsored job listings and keyword advertising. The downside is that the branding is new, so many job seekers don’t know the sites exist.
Social Networking Anyone?
Another innovation is a thing called “social networking.” Simply put, social networking is like a Rolodex on steroids. This pumped-up Rolodex connects you to all the Rolodexes that are connected to other ones. For HR professionals and recruiters, social networking “technofies” the old fashioned method of networking candidates into a job. The recruiter announces a job, and word spreads to everyone in the network.
LinkedIn, perhaps the most popular example of social networking tools, lets a recruiter broadcast a job through a network of linked contacts.
For example, if you have four people in your immediate network, you might expand your broader network to 24 people at 15 companies. Then if someone on your network knows someone else who is interested in the job, you get a direct introduction via email to that person. The downside is that it takes time and persistence to connect yourself, and recruit your contacts into the system.
These recruiting advancements represent the continued evolution of our profession. While awareness is the first step towards modifying your habits as a recruiter or HR group, taking initiative is how you enhance your staffing results. The key is to continually learn and adapt so that in the future you can proudly look back and nod your head knowingly when someone mentions Google, optimization, indeed, and Social Network Marketing. Ah, those were the days.