image by Oscar Mager

I’ve been thinking quite a lot recently about where jobs fit in with content and content strategy. I crystalized this thinking last week at #truLondon. We know from all the research from the likes of Evenbase, that what potential  applicants want before they hit the apply button is more information on the company and the job. What we are seeing is that job seekers are just bored of the application process, spending time filling in questions and answers. The average time I’m seeing it takes to complete a first time application with a corporate client is 2 hours. That’s right, you read it correctly, 2 hours, and a minimum of 50 clicks and 50 screens. It’s hard and it’s horrible to apply for a job, then what happens next?

The feedback from the Candees (Candidate Experience Awards) delivered by Gerry Crispin at #truLondon is not a lot really. Very little feedback and a never hear again attitude. The upshot of this is that potential applicants want to be 100% sure of 2 things before they hit apply and go in to the process:

1: They have a good chance of getting the job

2: They really want the job

This means that you need to provide enough information to answer both of these questions before they will go through the pain of an application. The traditional copy writers will jump in and say that this is all down to poorly crafted job descriptions that describe nothing but a list of duties. There is a little bit of merit in this argument, but a text document is really one-dimensional and quite boring. Doesn’t matter how well you write it. It’s often not enough to elicit the type of response you really want and need. The ones left in the funnel are the desperate and the unemployable who have the time and the desire to stick with the process. It is a frightening thought. It also reminds me of the track by John Sumser, where he made the point that the talent shortage is actually caused by over-supply. There is so many people in the job market that it becomes hard to reach or find the ones who are right.

My feeling is that the more we think of jobs as content rather than postings, the more likely we are to solve both of these problems. Increasingly I’m seeing that the real benefit of social recruiting is that you lower the volume of response, but increase the quality of those who apply. People who better fit the company and the job, share your values and have chosen to apply for your job rather than any job. This will also help to solve the Sumser theory by reaching the people who are the right fit. Great content also makes it easy for applicants to see if they fit, encouraging them to apply.

In this post I have been speaking about applicants. I took this from Paul Maxin of Unilever’s track where he spoke about separating applicants and candidates, and having a different strategy and approach for each. Applicants are those people who apply, where as candidates are those people who have got past the application stage and are in the recruitment process at any stage. This means thinking about applicant experience and candidate experience as two different things.I hear the old chestnut often that applying for a job shouldn’t be easy. I accept that getting a job shouldn’t be a walk in the park, but should applying for a job really be that hard? My thinking is that being an applicant should be easy. It is really a matter of giving a recruiter access to your details to tell you if you should be proceeding in to the tough job of becoming a candidate or join the talent network for another opportunity. That has got to offer a better applicant experience, rather than treating applicants and candidates when they are clearly not qualified to be one.

From a content point of view this means having different content streams for applicants around the job and the company, and around the candidate process about what happens next, and more detailed specific content the further the candidate goes through the process. I recently looked at the CERN progress chart that enables any candidate to log in at any time and see where they are up to in the process at any time. This is brilliant for the candidate experience.

Applicant content needs to be around the job, the culture and the values. If we view jobs as content, then you can build a content strategy around the job. I’m thinking job spec, video, pictures on a pin board related to the job, blog post and social connections with the people who do the job. I also see a place for a Jobgram type infographic here that shows the job in a different way. All of this content can be used to populate a culture site (as opposed to a career site) that enables people to properly understand the culture and values of the business from the people who work there.

These are some of my thoughts after an excellent #truLondon. Thanks everyone who contributed,

Bill