Tag Archive for on line recruiting

The Evenbase Quarterly Recruitment Review: My Thoughts

I’ve just received the Spring edition of the Quarterly Recruitment Review from Evenbase. I always value this research because it is conducted independently by HPI Research, who conduct on-line surveys of 500 job seekers and 200 decision makers within corporate companies. I have found this research to offer a very good reflection of the market in the past. It’s a valuable read that anyone in the sector should look out for. The research was conducted during January and February 2012.

My first observation is that the branding has switched from Jobsite to Evenbase, reflecting the new group. I would have liked to know a little more about how the job seekers and decision makers are sourced, because this will impact on the data. It’s fair to assume that they are users of Jobsite, and as such will be job board orientated in their method of job search or hiring,. If you conducted similar research about shopping habits, by questioning the users of on-line stores, you would get a definite leaning towards on-line retail, I don;t see this research as any different, and have considered this factor in my thinking. Using samples from job board candidates will also be skewed to active job seekers who are already in the job search and using job boards. Passive candidates are less likely to be attracted to job boards and will need a different approach, and their views may not be represented in this research. This is only my assumption, contradicted by the research which lists 52% of respondents as passive. It may be that I determine a passive candidate in a different way, being a person who has not made any job seeking effort, including uploading a CV.

Despite these considerations, the trends between one report and the last makes for interesting reading. and give a great insight in to what is happening Thin this section of the market, and should be reflected in your recruiting strategy.

The following are my thoughts and interpretation of the data and hiring trends, which may vary from the findings of the report. I recommend you download the report (its free), and draw your own conclusions. Thanks again to Evenbase for openly sharing this data.

Jobs for the quarter

Reflecting the market, the average jobs open reported by the companies surveyed fell from 7.87 in the last survey to 5.74 in this quarter, a drop of 27%, with jobs advertised on-line dropping by 25% in what is traditionally the busiest period for hiring. This reflects the depressed state of the market at the moment, with unemployment in the UK at its highest level for 16 years, with over 8% of the workforce out of work, and 22% of 16 – 22 year olds being out of work.

Job search methods 

The big headline was the drop in the use of social media by jobseekers, which dropped 10% from the last quarter from 45% to 35%. I think an explanation for this might be what jobseekers regard as social media and job search. I think that they may be referring to the channels they use to search for jobs and apply, rather than following and searching for company content in social channels. Job boards have one real purpose for job seekers, to find and apply for jobs, where as social places are about much more than that. It may mean that active or unemployed jobseekers are looking to the direct route for opportunities by going to job boards in increasing frequency, where as passive candidates are being reached in the social channels. Another explanation for this result might be that Facebook and Twitter in particular has become an integral part of life. Jobseekers come across opportunities and employer branding content without  consciously searching for it. On LinkedIn, approaches and jobs are likely to come directly from recruiters, recommendations or shares. It may be that jobseekers no longer feel the need to proactively search, when opportunities come to them based on their profile.

Interestingly, companies reported a slight increase in the use of social networking, although they also recorded a much greater reliance on personal networks for hiring. Personal networks are closely linked to social networks, in particular LinkedIn.

The number of candidates sending speculative CV’s direct to companies rose by  9%. Most corporate companies do not have a process for managing speculative applications resulting in good potential candidates falling through the cracks, with the applications falling through the cracks. This result indicates that now more than ever it is important to set up a process for connecting with people who are interested in you as a company, but have no specific job to apply for. I have seen career sites that offer 2 channels for applications, one going to the jobs open and a specific mailbox or talent network for connecting speculative candidates with companies they want to work for, with recruiters to review these applications as they come in. This also highlights the need for social employer branding content and culture, as well as career sites that create the desire for speculative applications to organisations.

Job Board Use

The number of jobseekers using 2 – 5  job boards rose by 14% to 63%, and the number using more than 5 boards almost halved to 8%, the gain fairly evenly split between those who have decided to increase opportunities by using more than 1 board, where as at the`other end of the scale candidates who have been using more than 5 are failing to see a benefit to this approach, possibly as a result of seeing the same jobs multiple times.

Employers by contrast are taking a different approach, with 69% of employers using only one board to advertise opportunities.This may be because employers have less to advertise, or because they are interested in generating less, but more specific response. Use of agencies by recruiting companies has fallen by 6% again to . I would expect this trend to continue as an increasing number of corporate companies look to bring recruiting in-house.

The inside information. 

Probably the most useful data that comes out of the report comes from Jobsite themselves because this can not be disputed and is less opinion based. The first of the headlines is that job seekers are notably returning to browsing jobs, spending more time looking. After a decline, this is back to normal levels, perhaps indicating that more people are starting to consider their options regardless of the economic conditions.

Candidates are looking for more information on companies beyond job descriptions, up from 36% to 45%. This highlights the need for social places and social features on the career site that give access to more information, and let job seekers see inside an organisation. It is likely that job seekers looking for additional or background information will go to Google to search for it. What you need to consider is what will come up in a search, and where the potential will land. The landing page needs simple navigation and content in mixed formats including video, pictures and text.

The report speculates that this, combined with the 5% increase from job seekers looking for more industry information could indicate that job seekers are looking to appear to be more informed, particularly given the increase in speculative C.V.’s being sent to employers. My own view is that this reflects the trend I’m seeing for job seekers to see more culture content in order to choose where they want to work.

Using Barclay’s Future Leaders data, visitors looked at more content and spent more time on individual pages, with visitor numbers significantly up. The result of looking at more content actually resulted in a decrease in applications. This is not a bad thing, as this has been marked by a significant increase in the efficiency of applications to interviews and interviews to hires. Potential candidates are looking for more information on culture, values and environment, and are more likely to opt out than opt in. This is being reflected in the data from this research, and shows why additional information sources are more important than ever.

The Mobile Surprise

Probably the most surprising data coming out of the research is that mobile compatibility as a feature when choosing job boards has decreased for the second month running, despite what you might read from other commentators. The reason for this could be that the mobile experience when                  leaving the job board and applying in to a company career page is poor, meaning job seekers are not seeing this as a viable option when applying for jobs, and as a result rank mobile low in their list of needs. This is made more surprising given the up lift in visiting accessing the job boards themselves by mobile. My suspicion is that as more companies improve their own mobile capability, then the link with job boards will become more important  as a feature of choice, at the moment, as most companies simply do not cater for mobile applications, the last thing companies want is candidates hitting a wall once they leave the job board environment.

Changing Recruiter Focus.

It is interesting to note that recruiters are continuing to change from passive “post and wait” sourcing and taking a proactive targeted approach to sourcing. This is evidenced by the fact that daily CV e-mail requests are down by a massive 50%, whilst access to the CV database is for search by recruiters is significantly up. I see this as reflecting a desire by recruiters to find candidates themselves, with less reliance on the candidates to determine what is the right fit. This way recruiters can set their own search parameters and change them as required. They can also target only the candidates who meet their requirements, controlling the suitability of applicants. The recruiters clearly see the job board CV database as more useful to them than other channels because people have indicated they are looking by placing their CV on a job board database. I see this trend continuing, with recruiters choosing to devote their time approaching people who fit their requirements and taking a targeted approach to those active job seekers who match their jobs. They have retained confidence in the job boards attracting talent, without wanting to spend time on response that doesn’t fit.


The interesting thing about these reports is the difference between the approach taken by job seekers to get hired, and the approach taken by recruiters to hire. This has long been the pattern, with job seekers adopting one course of action, and by the time the recruiters catch on and adjust, the job seekers change again. Recruiters need to attract talent in the way they want to be approached, rather than second guessing. Recruiters are relying on less job boards, (usually one), whilst job seekers are using more to find opportunities. the recruiters are more focussed on active CV search rather than passively advertising and waiting. Whilst mobile is not important to recruiters right now, this will change as other processes fall in line by necessity and demand. I think the 10% drop in social media use by job seekers reflects the full integration of social in to life.Having a LinkedIn profile, belonging to a group or visiting a fan page with career options or clicking a job link on twitter is no longer seen as conscious job seeking and searching, hence the result. The increased use of personal networks by recruiters, and the desire for more company and industry information all points to the important part social plays in job seeking and talent attraction. What is abundantly clear is that job boards, and more specifically the accompanying CV database play a key part in recruiting and job seeking.

Thanks again Evenbase for sharing this data. You can download it HERE

My Take On The @JobsiteUK Quarterly Recruitment Review #TruLondon

#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