#TruLondon platinum sponsor, and good friend to #tru, Jobsite UK, have just released their latest results from candidate and recruiter research, that tells an interesting story. I always value this research published each quarter, because it is conducted by an independent research company.  HPI,  conduct on-line research of 500 job seekers and 200 Recruiters, (split between corporate and agency.) The survey was conducted between October and November 2011. This post is my interpretation of the report, and some thoughts of my own. You can download the research on the link at the end of this post. The report is detailed and thought-provoking, and provides plenty of opportunity for discussion.

Thanks again Jobsite for sharing!

The Quarterly Recruitment Review.

Before going in to what the data tells us, I think it is worth noting that the research is taken from active job seekers who are being proactive in their job search. My experience of the businesses I’m working with is that an important part of attraction strategy needs to be targeted at those candidates labelled passive. Those that are probably still employed, (due to their skills being in demand), and it is this target group that is best approached through engagement and a social approach. I make this point not to discredit or rubbish the results, because I think they are important, but because it would be easy to underestimate the importance of a social approach based on the results. That said, the results illustrate why a balanced approach to recruiting is still important, to attract the passive (reached through social), and the active (reached through more traditional means.).
50% of the candidates who responded declared themselves as active in the job market, and 50% declared themselves as not active, but would consider a move over the next 12 months. I think that there is a third important category for recruiters to consider. That is those people who are not considering a move, and are content in their jobs. In my opinion, this is an important part of the market, given that hiring managers are increasingly looking for 100% fit. We also need to consider that many of the new jobs in the “knowledge” economy have not previously existed, and working people have evolved in to these roles in line with the changing demands of their employers, both in terms of skills and knowledge. Because these people are moving forward in their careers with their existing employers, they are less likely to be active, and in particular looking at job boards or advertising. This section of the talent pool are only likely to be reached through a strategy of direct sourcing or social engagement, to tempt them in to looking. They will also have very different needs in terms of content or relationship, perhaps taking an even longer term view. This section of the talent pool are not covered by the research, that said, this is only my opinion and i have no data to support it.
Equally, I think it is easy to underestimate the importance of employer branding, as an extension of corporate brand, and reputation in attracting talent now and in the future. There is nothing in the report to say why candidates choose one employer over another, other than the impact of one ad over another, and where the candidates have formed their opinions on employers. This may be much less important to candidates who are actively looking for a job, including those who are unemployed and driven by different needs, but it is an important consideration none the less, and central to a social recruiting strategy. What the report does tell us is that the number of candidates incorporating social in to their active job search is up to nearly 50% of those surveyed. This tells me that whilst this is not the principle approach to job seeking, there is an increasing appetite for social, and I don’t see this diminishing. Of equal interest and importance is the increase in candidates using career sites as a means of choosing target employers, following job opportunities and applying. This should be the wake up call for many companies to take another look at their career site and its growing importance as more than just a notice board for jobs.
For the first time since the research began in 2008, more advertisers are choosing job board advertising over printed media. This is not the story of job boards dying.

The key headlines:

> The mood among job seekers is continuing to look black, with a continued increase in the number of job seekers who feel less optimistic about their prospects looking forward. Only 23% of those asked felt more optimistic.
> S.M.E. businesses reported decreased hiring in the last quarter with a surprising growth in the S.O.H.O. (Small or home office environment) , now accounting for nearly 25% of hiring. That said, S.M.E.’s account for the highest % of hiring, narrowly ahead of corporate businesses.
> Employers are showing more confidence in the use of agencies for hiring, increasing by 4 points over the last quarter, though agencies have slipped from second to third choice behind on-line job boards and newspaper advertising. This is perhaps explained by the more pro-active approach taken by corporate recruiters, away from using agencies as a default setting. I would expect this trend to continue, along with a growth in social. Although the report shows minor use by employers, increased use by job seekers (up to nearly 50%), can only bring a growth in social recruiting by employers looking to capitalise.
> Recruiters are moving from using one job board to using multiple boards. This is perhaps explained by the reported increased difficulty in finding the right candidates. As talent gets harder to find, the recruiters are spreading the net, perhaps an indication of the need for recruiters to look at other methods of attraction including social recruiting, outside of the traditional newspaper/job board route.
> By contrast, job seekers are increasingly reducing the number of job boards they are using, with increasing numbers reporting using one board. The majority are still using multiple boards, but this is decreasing notably. As the report suggests, this is probably due to job seekers seeing repeat ads across a number of boards, leading to the decision to save time and just use one. The challenge for the job boards being the need to win unique advertisers and job seeker loyalty. This highlights the challenge the job boards face in providing the best candidate experience, and perhaps explains the increased spend by job boards on TV and similar advertising, and increased social media activity aimed at raising brand awareness and loyalty.
> The number one function for job seekers, as always, remains the opportunity to browse jobs in one place and environment. Ease of navigation and locating jobs is clearly the most important thing for job seekers, as it always has been, however, this is notably down this quarter to its second lowest ever figure. As the report suggests, this is probably due to the fact that job seekers are only interested in applying for jobs they know they can get. This is perhaps a symptom of job seekers getting worn down by rejection or lack of feedback, and choosing to concentrate only on jobs they are confident they can get. For recruiters this means being very specific about what you are looking for in job postings, making this easy to locate and catch the eye, with less attention to the “fluffy” detail favoured by many copy writers. This also perhaps marks the end of the practice of job seekers taking a “flyer.”
> Job notifications by e-mail are returning in popularity. There was a period of time where innumerable matching of offerings from many services amounted to spam,and this led to a decline in popularity of this service. perhaps the move to single job board use is also a factor in this. Using one job board only means less e-mails, but those received having greater relevance. What I take from this is the need for recruiters to ensure that any automated matching and filtering is accurate from a career site, leaning towards the talent network approach. This also means enough data needs to be collected and searchable at sign up. Any matching technology will only be as accurate as the data to match to. Recruiters should also be considering how they write and add jobs, with enough match points to ensure accuracy.Thekey point I take from this again is job seekers declaring “I want to hear about jobs I can get, rather than jobs I might want.”
> The 3 key factors in recruiters choosing which job board to use are price, as recruiters look to reduce cost per hire in any way they can,specialisation or reach to attract the harder to find candidates, and an active strategy to attract new candidates on to the board. This perhaps explains the increase in T.V. and social activity by the UK job boards, which is more than I can remember at any time. The research shows that this kind of activity is as important for client attraction, as candidate attraction, and is perhaps an important message for recruitment agencies that they need to maintain a high brand profile, aside from posting jobs.
> Regional profile also features highly, continuing the theme from previous research that local is the number one requirement for job seekers.This should be encouraging for regional boards and recruiters, and highlights the need to have a local brand, as well as a national or even global brand.
> Surprisingly, there has been a decreased desire for mobile or social features on job boards, despite significantly increased use of social channels by the world at large, witnessed by the significant growth in user accounts. Whilst engagement, mobile and interactivity is seen as important on career sites, and with individual recruiters, job seekers are less interested in these functions on job boards, perhaps related to the main attraction being the opportunity to browse, get jobs by e-mail and apply. Interestingly, this is in contrast to much of what the commentators are advising job boards need to do to avoid imminent death. I suspect the comments on mobile features relate to an assumption by job seekers that mobile compatibility, and ease of operation is standard now.For many, accessing job boards by mobile is the normal route to access, not considered any different to P.C. access, and only noticed when it is not possible.
> Recruiters report that the most important feature of any job board is a searchable C.V. database, preferring to pro-actively search for candidates, rather than advertise and wait. This again highlights the potential for developing sourcing skills outside of the job boards, and explains the increase in popularity of sites like LinkedIn, and in the U.K, C.V.Library. Despite the continuing rise in unemployment, the right candidates are still hard to find. The match needs to be 100% for both the job seeker and the hiring manager. With job seekers only applying for jobs they feel they are qualified for, and recruiter requirements in many cases being less defined, its easy to see the benefit to recruiters of taking the job to the candidate. This starts with the obvious places, like the C.V. database, and expand from there. Direct sourcing is becoming increasingly important for recruiters and is a skill, both in terms of technique and approach that needs to be developed.

Felix Wetzel

Once again, Felix Wetzel, the recently promoted Strategy Development Director at Jobsite, will be discussing this and other data in a track at #truLondon. It is a great opportunity to discuss real data and ongoing research from the leading UK job board. Anyone who knows Felix, knows that this will be as entertaining as it is informative. I’m grateful to Felix and Jobsite for the very open approach they take to data and sharing knowledge. This approach can only make recruiting in general better informed and effective.

This post is my interpretation and opinion on the research as it is presented. I urge you to download the report yourself, it’s free and available every quarter, and let me know what you think.



Jobsite’s Quarterly Recruitment Review


Felix Wetzel