confused Chris RockIf you’re looking for a series of confused and questioning glances from sourcing and recruiting professionals, tell them you’re starting a search on a job board. After their initial glares, you’ll find that whether recruiters will admit it publicly or not, most of them start their search on  job boards and I actually believe that in most situations, this should still be the case. Yes, even as a social recruitment trainer, I still believe this to be true. The proof lies in this recent survey published by the International Association of Employment Web Sites which suggests job boards are still the largest contributor to people finding new jobs.

The reason for the looks from recruiters is because regardless of rebranding, job boards are the “old school” in a world where new, now, and next are best, even if we don’t have big data and dashboards to prove their value. We’re giving all the credit to social recruiting and every other “next big thing” in hiring, and job boards have been getting a bad rap as the red-headed step child of recruiting; unfair judgement if you ask me, especially considering that’s where most candidates start their search and ignoring candidate behavior comes at a cost to you.

Bad Board News: Behavior of Top Talent

bad news The same survey also highlighted that although job boards remain the most effective source of new employment opportunities, their impact has significantly declined. That means more eyes, less applies. And it’s our fault.

I can hear that “what did I do’s” and here’s the deal. While job boards are great if someone is actively seeking a new role, in today’s talent-short markets, good candidates aren’t openly active. They don’t post their resumes before the recruiter gives them a call, a friend refers them to get that sweet hiring bonus or, most importantly, the thought ever crosses their mind that they should search for a new role.

So we source, now that our traditional go-to marketing strategy isn’t delivering the elusive purple squirrel. But, while sourcing is very effective, marketers would say it has an achilles heel; sourcing is compeltely reliant on one-to-one contact. And paying attention to particulars so you can source, when compared to posting a job board ad, is time intensive even for the most skilled sourcers and recruiters.

Consumer Career Marketing

leadsConsumer-focused marketers, on the other hand, are reliant mostly on campaigns with broad reach rather than one-to-one contact. From the tops of buildings down to branded t-shirts and spinning signs on street corners, these traditional marketers are constantly looking at ways to hit a more broad audience on a day-to-day basis and become part of their consumer’s psyche – sneaking into your browser history by buying a site wrap on your favorite blog or placing an ad on your Spotify dashboard.

The good news for recruiters is that these marketers have paved the way and measured the results to figure out what channels can be effectively utilized to promote anything, including your employment brands, job opportunities and the perks, reaching people irrelevant of their job search status and managing advertising costs that are based solely on campaign performance.

Conversion Considerations

Now, building out a consumer marketing strategy for candidate conversion requires leveraging some key considerations marketers have mastered but we recruiters don’t typically ponder.

  1. target audience recruitingAudience Analysis: This is the most important part of any marketing project. Without a detailed understanding of your audience demographics, everything else will be purely based on beginner’s luck. Once you have a clear idea of your audience demographics, identifying this groups’ typical interests, hobbies and social activities helps to further refine your approach and choose the right channels. Which leads me to my next point..
  2. Marketing Channels: You have plenty of options when it comes to marketing channels, however, you need to avoid the bandwagon options and rely on the data. Use the information you collect from an audience analysis to match your typical hiring profile. For example, if most successful candidates for your banking role are male and between the ages of 35 and 50, you shouldn’t be using Pinterest.
  3. Marketing Content: Having an account means nothing if you’re not using it (or using it incorrectly). This includes now only knowing how to use the various advertising platforms, but more crucially the type of content that is likely to work best. Often content that works on one platform will fail on another because unlike traditional job boards and advertisements where the sole purpose is to get people to apply to a job, marketing channels don’t have one utility to a candidate.
  4. Landing Page: If you have ever clicked an online advertisement, you’ve seen a landing page. The point, of course, is to convert your interest into a sale or to capture your details; they’re trying to drive action. These are the most important tools in a marketers proverbial toolbox yet for recruiters, it’s typically the weak link, due to most job pages being text heavy content that also requires a significant amount of user information in order to apply. Model your own apply pages after marketing templates – streamline!

About The Author

Chris SouthChris South is a Social Recruitment Trainer and Recruitment Marketing Consultant with and has been fortunate enough to spend considerable time getting to know the inner workings of three very different recruitment sectors in two equally different countries.

Most recently, whilst recruiting high-end oil and gas roles Texas, Chris was exposed to one of the most challenging labour markets in the world. The sourcing solutions he learnt to apply were far ahead of those that he had previously been exposed to in New Zealand. On returning to New Zealand he established Prominence with the objective of sharing these insights with the local recruitment marketplace. Although always a recruiter at heart, Chris now considers himself to primarily be a marketer, consulting and actively speaking about a wide range of social recruitment techniques and the use of online media for marketing purposes.

Chris can be found on Twitter @findsouth.