- Toby Conibear
Recruiter–candidate interaction has changed fundamentally in recent years.
The diverse ways in which recruiters can now reach out to candidates – from social media to job boards, web searches to email – are both exciting and, to be fair, daunting.
While recruiters clearly need to explore and utilise all the tools available to maximise the chances of placing the best candidates, it is essential to create a business model that supports this diversity. From carefully recording candidate communications across multiple channels, to making it easy for candidates to find job posts via multiple routes and assessing the value of one specialist job board over a social network, a streamlined end-to-end recruitment process has never been more important.
There is little doubt that the recruiter’s life has become significantly more complex in recent years. While the job market is booming – over a quarter of office workers have looked for a job in the last six months, according to research carried out on behalf of Bond International Software – 38% of employers worldwide are struggling to fill positions and in the UK, 13% of job postings stay open for 60 days or longer.
As the pressure on recruiters to meet client requirements continues to rise, it is increasingly important to understand how individuals are approaching a job change and how their expectations of the recruitment process are evolving. Certainly, the ways in which candidates and recruiters can interact have also expanded significantly. From the rise in social media to the development of job/skill/market-specific job boards, recruiters have new choices to make regarding job placement.
In addition, with 72% of individuals having looked for a job in the past three years, growing numbers are clearly taking a far more proactive approach to career change. With a well-publicised rise in direct to organisation activity, how can recruitment agencies ensure they are always front of mind?
Make it easy
Given the rise in social media usage generally, it is interesting to discover that social (media) actually lags far behind other channels when it comes to finding job vacancies, with just 25% of individuals using social to find a job in the past year, and only 14% finding social the most helpful. In contrast, 81% of office workers who have looked for a job in the last year have used online job sites; with 94% saying this would be their preferred route for any future job search.
Of course, attitudes towards social media do vary between demographics, but it appears that the gap is clearer between management and non-management roles than between the age groups. Half (50%) of executive directors are very likely to use LinkedIn to search for job vacancies, compared to just 15% of those earning less than £25,000.
For recruiters, this divergence in attitude without doubt creates new levels of complexity. It is therefore essential to create a business model that supports diversity. How can a recruiter record and track candidate communications across multiple channels? How easy is it for a candidate to find a job post via multiple routes or to find the agency via a Google search? And how can a recruiter assess the value of one job board over another, the use of trade press or social media, especially given the variance by job role and target demographic?
One of the biggest challenges associated with the rise in communication routes is the potential to lose track of candidates. Recruiters need to be able to match a LinkedIn message to an application via a job board; a mobile phone message to an email. Without capturing every candidate interaction within a central CRM, recruiters risk missing essential candidate communication.
In addition, with candidates’ preferences continually evolving, it is essential that the job application process is as easy, fast and efficient for the candidate as possible – and reflects the diversity in communication/application preference. Whether a candidate wants to find a job via Twitter, a job board or to approach the agency directly, the job post must be highly visible and the application process simple.
Indeed, with 58% of those that have used a recruitment agency in the past to help with a job search using an online search to find the right company, the onus is also on agencies to look closely at search engine optimisation (SEO) strategies. With potential candidates no longer heading straight to generic job boards but leveraging online search to find a new career, agencies need to ensure the right words are in both the job title and opening paragraph of job descriptions. This is increasingly a two-way communication process and recruitment agencies need to make every potential interaction as seamless and effective as possible.
The other key benefit of a central source of all candidate interactions is the ability to assess and track the performance and value of each route to market. As recruiters become increasingly sophisticated and look to reflect the clear differentiation in attitudes between candidates, from regional differences to age, experience and sector-specific requirements, it is important to actively measure the sources of legitimate candidates to understand how candidate behaviour is evolving and then continually refine strategy.
Clearly, given candidates’ preference, job boards should figure strongly in any strategy. But with the rise in job/role-specific boards, recruiters will need to determine the value of different options. Similarly, with social media, senior figures may confirm a preference for using social, but is LinkedIn delivering the right quality candidates? With a single source of information within the CRM, recruiters can attain a far deeper understanding of market change and how to locate the best-quality candidates.
The rapid development of diverse recruitment tools has without doubt enabled recruiters to reach out to new candidates, but it has also created significant challenges. Indeed, for many recruiters, the sheer volume of job placement choice and the diversity in candidate preference can be daunting.
In today’s market, it is simply not enough to post a job, receive CVs and, hopefully, place a candidate. Agencies need to ensure that every possible candidate touchpoint is easy to use; that each interaction is captured within the CRM and that the performance is continually evaluated to maximise the ongoing chances of locating and placing the right people.
Toby Conibear is Group Sales Director, Bond International Software
To read more about Bond’s report mentioned in this article, please see