Job Aggregators – Fad or Future?

A few months ago I did a presentation to a group of global recruitment professionals on social recruiting tools and sourcing channels. The group comprised of HR leaders and many “seasoned’ Recruiters; some of which had been in the industry for more than 15 years. As I started showing the breakdown of hire yield by sourcing channel, a single hand went up and delicately asked “What’s a job aggregator?” As the question was asked I could see heads bobbing in unison relieved that someone had the courage to ask the question. I have to admit, that with all the traction job aggregators have made over the last 5 years I was surprised that it was still such a mystery to Recruiters. So before I go any further I thought I would do a quick recap of what a job aggregator is.

Image

In its simplest form job aggregators are true “job search engines” that collect job postings from other sites across the web (including employer career sites and paid job boards) and store them in a very large database where they are searchable by job seekers. It’s appealing because jobs can be found in one place rather than spending time trying to find every possible place a job would be posted.[1]

Over the last decade job aggregators have evolved from just a central job repository to a sophisticated multi-dimensional digital advertising platform. It’s taken the traditional post and prey model and turned it upside down. So much so that sites like Indeed.com boast job seeker traffic to the tune of 140M+ global visitors each month[2]. In my opinion job aggregators are changing the sourcing game by:

  •  Aggregating job postings at no cost to the employer or job seeker. In other words it’s FREE. Employers don’t have to pay to post their jobs and candidates don’t have to pay to access job postings unlike the pay to post model of Imagetraditional job boards around the world.
  •   Being search engine optimized. If start your search on Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. Job results returned are indexed to the aggregator first, often ahead of the employer site and job board sites. Their high search engine ranking means traffic is directed back to the aggregator site even if the job is advertised on a paid job board!
  • Introducing a Pay per Click (PPC) model for jobs. This brilliant idea piggy backs on internet advertising. Basically it provides employers the ability to sponsor jobs so they can rank higher in search results and be presented to candidates ahead of other jobs that appear for free. Costs are only incurred when a job seeker clicks on the link. Meaning you only pay for results.
  • Enabling employers to set their own budget. Employers are no longer required to pay huge lump sum, upfront, costs for postings. Instead they can set a monthly or one time budget and choose to use it as it suits them.
  • Being mobile optimized. As mobile has evolved, so have the aggregators. Their minimalist approach enables an easy and seamless user experience. Indeed.com has confirmed that about 49 % of global traffic to their site (69M+ monthly visitors) comes from mobile devices[3].

This approach has developed into a model that is fast becoming an industry standard. Employers are paying more attention as aggregators have slowly amassed hire yield away from traditional job boards and staffing agencies. I personally saw this shift in my own organization. The chart below is a simple metric I used (and communicated to the HR Team) to gain insight into our sourcing channel trends. It revealed the decline of job boards and agencies and the rise of social media and job aggregators. I wasn’t alone in seeing this trend. Many large, global employers I spoke to have also seen this trend and like me,  started taking their budgets reserved for job boards and investing them in job aggregator and search engine campaigns. Leveraging the pay per click model. It’s a clear and tangible indicator that job aggregators have disrupted the industry standard for job postings.

Image

It’s this kind of employer insight that has forced job board vendors to rethink how they offer their products and services to remain competitive. The impact is material. In October Canadian job board giant Workopolis launched Social Job Share (SJS), a job distribution product that shares jobs on their website to social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. In May 2014, Monster Worldwide announced its move to a job aggregator, pay for performance model.

spj_facebookJob Aggregators haven’t only challenged job board vendors. Their disruption has also extended to social networking platforms. Facebook launched its Social Job Partnership (SJP) job posting site in 2012. They chose to aggregate job postings instead of asking employers to pay to post. Even LinkedIn has not been immune to its influence. In June 2014, they announced they would be aggregating job postings to their active job seeker population in the US. A strategy shift from its paid job slot offering.

Despite the higher yield of candidate hires and lower ROI, many employers struggle to completely relinquish their use of job boards to aggregators siteing low brand awareness. Recruitment functions complain Manager’s seem to have little or no awareness of brands like Indeed or Simply Hired compared to well known brands like Monster, Naukri, CareerBuilder, Workopolis, etc. The success of aggregators should be a signal to recruitment functions that it’s more important to invest where the candidates are. Manager awareness should not be the driver of a sourcing strategy. Recruiters should be using metrics such as source of hire to educate Managers and build awareness. It certainly doesn’t hurt aggregators to invest in building brand awareness either.

There’s no doubt job aggregators have become a game changer. Their simple, yet effective model has transformed the concept of paid job postings. This forward thinking approach will continue to chart the way we think of sourcing and applicants.

ROIYou may wonder; if aggregators are posting jobs for free, why should employers invest? I love this question because I answer it the way any savvy business person would. If free is yielding a good ROI, imagine what would happen with a real investment?

I’d love to hear your stories/experiences about how job aggregators have impacted your sourcing strategy. Contact me @annzaliebarrett or through LinkedIn.

 

[1] http://www.job-hunt.org/findingjobs/findingjobs_job_aggregators.shtml

[2] Indeed Interactive Conference – 2014

[3] Indeed Interactive Conference- June 2014

Career Product Marketing- What Are You Selling?

In my last blog post I talked about how organizations are using crowdsourcing to improve marketing messages to make products more appealing. I spoke about how HR functions can also utilize this rich data to improve its employee value proposition and employment brand. As Recruitment functions start to climb out of a 2.0 model attention is being directed to use social media platforms for recruiting. In a quest to increase reach, many companies continue to push out long, traditional, wordy job postings that serve to instruct the reader rather than entice them. It looks something like this:

old_jd

If product marketing took this approach it would be the equivalent of pushing out a product specification to attract buyers. Sounds absurd right? Marketing knows they have to develop compelling messages to entice the reader to at least find out more about the product. Messages are developed into visual ads where social media acts as a forum to engage and interact with consumers. The difference looks something like this:

samsung_spec       samsung_product_ad

What if recruitment took a business approach and treated “careers” as products they’re trying to sell? Each vacancy would represent an individual product marketed through a job ad. The marketing approach would centre on crafting key messages to attract relevant prospects for the product. Job postings would be more marketing friendly focused on key communities to interact and engage in a meaningful way.

For companies who have embraced this type of thinking the outcomes are creative and concise ads geared at soliciting relevant prospects with links where the reader can learn more.

ASCPUN201006237Ad00701

1234807_10151794314309346_1163308203_n  microsoft_jobad

Think about what is attracting you to these ads. What makes you linger? Visual and emotional cues make you want to read more. Visual content marketing has a higher impact on social media because it’s easier to consume and share.

Some companies such as Salesforce.com have taken this even one step further by extending career marketing to a video format. This approach is far beyond recruitment 2.0, and actually moves into the realm of recruitment 4.0. Here, the Manager takes an active role in the recruitment process. The video is short, engaging and easily downloadable so it can be viewed on the go. Prospects are also offered the opportunity to engage with the Manager via social media (in this case Twitter) for more information. This creates the opportunity for real interaction instead of a one way push.

salesforce_pic

A forward thinking approach.

I know many of you reading this may think this is a huge amount of work that requires a lot of money. Not to mention, Managers would never do a video. To that I would say, start small. Do you have a few key roles you can start with that you can pilot? Start to create the foundation by shifting the mindset. Many companies have fantastic in-house creative, brand, communication and digital teams. Partner with them. Learn from them. Small successes pave the way for larger successes.

To help you get started, I’ve mapped out how recruitment can craft career marketing messages using the same thought process as a product marketer. Product marketing essentially has to answer three main questions for consumers:

Business Product Marketing Messages Career Product Marketing Messages
1- What will this product do for me if I buy it? (What’s In It For Me- WIFM?) 1- How will this job utilize and/or enhance my skills and develop my career? (WIFM?)
2- What are the main/exciting features of this product? What does it do? 2- What are the main/attractive features of this job? What would I do? (Keep it concise)
3- How is this product different from its competitors? 3- Why should I work for your company instead of your competitors?

I hope this blog post has energized you to think of your job postings in a new way! I would love to hear about your success stories.

 

By Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

Is Your Organization Ready for Social Recruiting?

It’s hard to believe that less than five years ago many companies were still contemplating whether social platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter could be used as sourcing channels. Fast forward to 2013. The landscape of recruitment has significantly changed. The industry is in the midst of shifting away from traditional recruitment practices to what is now called “Social Recruiting”. Social recruiting is a model focusing on pro-active sourcing, brand marketing, engagement and metrics on social and mobile platforms. In a 2011 Jobvite survey, more than 80% of companies indicated they were using social media as part of their recruitment efforts.

So how are companies successfully using social media to assist with recruiting? Here are a couple of key suggestions to help you move to a social recruiting model:

  • Don’t treat social media as an add-on to your existing recruitment process – Social recruiting is an interactive, candidate centric model. It means socialinteractionthinking about sourcing in a drastically different way. Traditional recruitment focuses on a requisition centric approach. Recruiters spend administrative time screening out applicants to get to a qualified pool. Social recruiting turns this process upside down focusing on pro-actively finding qualified individuals and engaging them to market job opportunities. Instead of recruiters narrowing the applicant pool, they’re generating a qualified candidate pool through engagement. Successful companies have realized that social recruiting should focus on engagement, marketing and proactive sourcing. So, if you’re using social media as a job posting board it’s like using a smart phone to only make phone calls. If you don’t use the other options you won’t truly yield all the benefits.
  • Focus on engagement to build talent pools– Social media provides potential candidates with the opportunity to learn about your organization in an open and transparent way. Platforms such as Glassdoor and Indeed allow people to anonymously provide feedback about their experience with New-Rules-of-Recruiting-Promocompanies. In the social world, opinions carry a lot of clout. Most people will take feedback into consideration to help them form an opinion about a company. Candidate behavior is also shifting as social media becomes more commonplace and accessible. More than 60% of candidates expect to use a social media platform to engage with recruiting. Successful companies have realized that having a social media presence means providing a forum for people to interact. Candidates need to have an avenue to ask questions, provide comments or talk to someone if they want more information. What channels are available for your potential candidates to connect and communicate with you?
  • Really Proactively Source– Many companies buy into the concept of proactive sourcing but have trouble successfully executing. The shift from traditional post and pray to proactively searching can be a huge change for recruiters. It requires a thorough jobseekers_statsintake conversation to understand the search criteria. Most of all, it requires patience and perseverance. Statics show that 88% of all job seekers have at least one social networking profile. Successful companies have realized that they need to invest in training to ensure recruiters have the necessary skill set to execute. Consider partnering with a third party vendor with expertise in boolean search. If recruiters understand the basic concepts of online searching they will feel more confident executing.
  • Use metrics to anchor your strategy– Like any good strategy, metrics should be a core element.  Successful companies have realized that metrics can be used to tie their strategy together:
    • Measure to anchor accountabilities: Develop guidelines around what will be measured. Set expectations around ROI, and anchor accountabilities by creating benchmarks and frequently measuring against them. Hold people accountable for their performance.
    • Expand what you measure:  Traditional measures such as source of hire and cost per hire only tell part of the social recruiting story. Consider adding engagement and branding measures such as #followers, InMail acceptance % and talent reach to your dashboard to show the broader picture.
    • Refine your strategy based on results:  What is the data telling you? What are the accomplishments and gaps? What are the trends? As you consider your strategy for the next year let the data help you make the correct decisions. Make sure you communicate and share the your findings so there is transparency into the model.

These are just a few suggestions you can use to help build your social recruitment strategy. What tips would you suggest?

Working The MacGyver Way

Have you ever found yourself trying to come up with a strategy or meet a deliverable with no budget or resources? Many of us may be feeling the pressure to achieve our goals under these conditions. While this may seem impossible, many of us have taken on the challenge to do more with less. I’ve labeled this approach working the “MacGyver” way.

MacGyver was a T.V. show that ran in the late 80’s- early 90’s about a secret, highly resourceful agent (MacGyver), who had to solve complex problems with every day materials, duct tape and his Swiss army knife. Although I wasn’t an avid watcher of the show, when I did watch, I was always impressed with how MacGyver could makeshift solutions to problem solve his way out of dire situations using only what was available to him. For those of you who watched the show, you will know what I’m talking about!

In the workplace many of us are working the “MacGyver” way without even realizing it. We have found ourselves having to think outside the box to achieve our goals. The result is we are seeing people develop innovative, creative, solutions to business issues using resources and materials at hand. So what MacGyver tactics are people using that you may benefit from?

Be Collaborative. While MacGyver came up with some ingenious solutions, he did so by learning and taking in information from those around him. In an increasingly social world there are many avenues available for us to connect with others who may have expertise or experience in a subject area we need. LinkedIn groups are a great resource to connect with people in an industry or career stream to collaborate.  Working together will help you achieve your goals faster and more efficiently, for free!

Start internally. Many times we explore using third-party vendors to seek out resources or start new projects.  Tap into your internal resources first. You will be pleasantly surprised at the rich expertise and consultation your employees have across the organization.

Think outside the box. MacGyver had to use the materials around him in unconventional ways to develop solutions. Similarly, we may need think about a project or work task from a different perspective to achieve results. I recently had a project which was put on the shelf. I had to take a step back and think about it from a different perspective using only the tools and resources internally available. By doing so I came up with an even better approach which was easier to implement. By working collaboratively with internal resources we were able to launch the project, achieving the deliverable.

Challenge yourself to learn something new. Like MacGyver, we may have to create the solution. That may mean learning something new to get us there. I was asked a few months ago to edit some raw video footage to use for a career video. I had never edited video footage before and felt anxious I couldn’t deliver. I contacted an internal colleague and asked her if she could point me in the right direction. And she did. I found out our company already had a license for a software I could use to accomplish my task. After I got the license I went onto the web to research how to use the tool supplemented by some YouTube tutorials. After some trial and error I soon started to get the hang of it and was able to not only edit the video, but also add some of our branding in the intro as well. Not only did I build my own skill set, but by doing the work myself with the resources at hand, I avoided having to pay a vendor to do the work.

Research to find inexpensive options or alternative solutions. MacGyver didn’t have the benefit of social media or Google to find a solution. But we do. Social tools are a fantastic way to get information. Here are just a few ways you can use social media and the internet to assist with your research:

  • Use your social networking tools (Collaboration, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn, etc.) to post questions to your network for help, guidance and suggestions. You may be amazed at how many referrals and feedback you will get that can help you.
  • Research Blogs.  Blogs have become the new credible way to find information from people who want to share their own experiences. They often provide good detail and most Bloggers are happy to connect and talk to you. A great example of this is travel blogs. More people visit travel blogs to research and plan trips than visiting informational websites. They provide a genuine account of people’s experiences, tips and what to avoid.

Research the internet to find articles or papers about your topic. Has your project been done before? What were the insights? Sites like Wikipedia are a great place to start often providing additional resources and websites you can use for your research.

I am sure I’ve just scratched the tip of the iceberg of what can be done when we are motivated to get the task done. What are some of your MacGyver success stories?

by Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy