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Ian Richardson

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New Media in Recruitment

Seven or eight years ago the common view among many senior recruitment consultants was that online recruitment would never be an effective tool for sourcing top level candidates. A quick look at national newspapers today demonstrates how flawed this view was – whereas the Sunday Times would once have had 10 to 12 pages of senior vacancies, the Appointments section is now typically 4 or 5 pages long. Of course, the recession has played its part in constraining newspaper advertising, but this alone does not explain the shortfall. Rather, the changes are systemic – the recruitment advertising market has shifted.

For those wishing to supplement targeted search activity with an approach to a wider audience, online advertising now offers a genuine alternative, and at a fraction of the price previously paid for national newspaper advertising. For the last 5 years, Wickland Westcott has been using selective online advertising, coupled with innovative search campaigns through platforms such as LinkedIn, to generate high quality candidates. Just one example;  we recently used these techniques to fill three Finance Director roles – the advertising costs came to £1200 per vacancy – approximately one fifth of what it would have cost in the traditional printed media.

As with any emerging marketplace there are many pitfalls and dead-ends to be avoided. Here we share the benefits of our experience, in the form of 7 tips for online candidate sourcing.

  1. You can broadly categorise online recruitment media into two camps: job boards which advertise jobs, and networking media which can be used to identify and approach potential candidates.  Establish the objectives for your recruitment campaign, and then determine which of these options (possibly both) you want to utilise.
  2. There are hundreds of job boards, databases and packages available. Ensure you understand exactly which audience(s) each targets, and that this audience is applicable to the target role.
  3. Also evaluate how ‘response-conscious’ each particular site is – some sites sift using quite sophisticated criteria, others are much less granular, for example searching only by job title. Ensure you select a site, or combination of sites, that will access a manageable number of the right people.
  4. The volume issue: a carelessly placed online advert can yield several thousand responses, most from entirely inappropriate candidates. Someone has to work through these responses, and if you value your employer brand, respond to them. Better to target the right people in the first place. Think through your response-handling process before embarking on the campaign.
  5. Soup to nuts: plan in advance what the subsequent stages of the recruitment process will be. Who is to do the interviewing and have their diaries been booked? Online advertising can bring an immediate response – you need to be ready to handle it and appear professional and organised.
  6. Ensure your own organisation’s website is current and candidate-friendly. It is almost certain that candidates sourced through online media (indeed, through any media) will spend at least a few minutes on your website. This needs to turn them on, or at least not turn them off.
  7. Monitor what works: at the end of the recruitment process, review it to identify which media yielded the best quality candidates. Capture this learning for next time.

Of course, using a consultancy like Wickland Westcott that really understands this marketplace is a quick and cost-effective shortcut.

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