Are You a Web 2.0 Wannabe?

Jan 23, 2009
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

If you don’t invest in finding tomorrow’s candidates today, you’ll become history.

This article is one component of a Web 2.0 and rich media demonstration. It consists of a variety of simple broad-reach tools including webinars, surveys, discussion walls, Twitters, and videos. The purpose of presenting the article this way is to demonstrate how an individual recruiter could expand his or her visibility using similar low-cost technology. As you read the article, click through to the links and take the action suggested. Then imagine how you could apply similar approaches to your job postings to expand both its visibility and interest.

As a example, start by texting the word “sourcing” to 96625 and take the instant survey. Then create your own survey like this and Tweet me at LouA with your quick take. Then create a similar process for hiring by asking your employees if they know a great person for a new hot job, or pinging your resume database asking prospects if they’d be interested in exploring a potential career move.

Now back to the article. It describes some of the latest Web 2.0 recruiting and sourcing tools and likely future trends.

You can rank yourself to figure out if you’re still a Neanderthal or a new ager. On this scale, if your still posting boring job descriptions on the major job boards you’d be considered a Web 1.0 stone-ager.

Those in the current Web 2.0 era are now successfully using search-engine-optimized talent hubs, and pushing jobs using teasers ads to targeted blogs and social sites. Integrating and automating all this stuff based on robust workforce planning and process control metrics is Web 3.0. Here’s an online survey you’ll want to take to more accurately benchmark your company on this sourcing evolutionary scale. You’ll also be able to see the instant results and figure out what you need to do to move up to a higher order of species. (We’re creating a survey like this to figure out the decision factors candidates use when selecting one job over another. Email me if you’d to participate. Also, comment on my recruiter’s blog.)

To start this benchmarking, consider how many of the following tools, techniques, and processes you’re now successfully using to source top performers. As you read the six categories, rank yourself on a 1 to 5 scale. Give yourself a 5 if you are training others or you’re now being interviewed by the mainstream media. Rank yourself a 4 if you’re a recognized leader in the recruiting industry. Give yourself 1 point if you’re thinking about doing these things. Assign yourself a big zero if you say it wouldn’t work at your company.

When you’re done, total your score. Less than 10 points qualifies you as a true Neanderthal. If you score more than 20 points you’ll probably get some type of award at ERE’s next Spring Expo. Regardless, whatever you score, figure out what you’d need to do in the next 12 months to get an additional 10 more points. Then focus on this to rebuild your recruiting department. It will be worth it.

Six Important Web 2.0 Plus Trends and Tools

An integrated social media engine: Facebook pages, LinkedIn networks, and pushing ads to appropriate blogs is fine, but not too automatic. A social media engine links all of your networks sites onto a common platform pushing teaser ads to sites most appropriate to your target candidate audience. For example, it makes sense to send compelling two-lines ads to power-engineering blogs rather than MySpace if you’re looking for people with heavy industry experience. MySpace and Facebook might be more appropriate if you’re looking for part-timers for your retail store or young adults just graduating. While many progressive companies are already doing these things, the automation piece is where the short-term action will be. Jobs2Web is the leading player here, so watch closely what these guys are doing.

Use of talent hubs and the phaseout of traditional job descriptions for advertising copy. I’ve made this prediction for years, and it’s finally coming true — the idea of posting individual job requisitions is archaic. The likelihood of the right person finding it is problematic, and even if they do, they’re so boring only the desperate will apply. Talent hubs represent the new thinking here. View a talent hub as a portal or micro-site for a group of jobs that’s marketed using the latest consumer advertising concepts and optimized to be easily found outside of the traditional career sites and job boards. The messaging needs to be compelling and access needs to be open, inviting, and warm, usually with some type of IM feature. While talent hubs are comparable to an integrated social media engine, they’re less robust and less costly to build and maintain. Shaker Recruitment Advertising seems to be one of the leading players in this area, with solid technology, combined with great messaging.

Developing a proprietary prospect database with automated CRM. On the surface this is a technology solution, but down deep it really has to do with involvement and interactivity. The strategy behind this is to build a personal prospect pool that is constantly nurtured using automated candidate management relationship tools. This is how you maintain the involvement. More advanced tools are on the way that allow you to create events which trigger some type of action, usually an email, but it could be a Tweet or text message. Prospects are notified when opportunities arise, and as long as the messaging is compelling, you’ll have a number of great candidates express interest. This concept is at the core of just-in-time sourcing.

Applying advanced consumer marketing tools for recruitment advertising. If you’re still posting boring ads, subtract 5 points from your total. Boring advertising especially on a job board is a waste of money. So if you want to continue to use job boards at least post ads that will attract someone’s attention. Here’s an ad that SimplyHired posted on their career site to give you a sense of how an ad should be written. Consumer marketing companies are the early adopters of this idea, since this is how they attract their customers. They know that targeted messages pushed to their audience creates interest. Here’s a big thing to think about on this point: don’t use your advertising to sell the job — use it to establish a connection. This is a paradigm shift in terms of where recruitment advertising is heading. Don’t sell your products first; create interest and demand first.

Reduce the time to find you. One of the most important competitive advantages a company or independent recruiter can have is getting the best candidates before everyone else. This is the driver of much of what’s described above involving the concept of “be found first!” When good people enter the job-hunting market they tend to call their close confidantes first. To tap into these early entrants a “call me first” strategy gives you a significant advantage especially if you have a great job available. After a week or so these people will start Googling for jobs or go to an aggregator like To get a sense of where you stand on this early-bird sourcing strategy, start asking your candidates how long they’ve been looking. Give yourself a high ranking if most of them say “less than a week.”

Continuous change and time warping. When you think about what’s happened in the past 10 years, you realize that the rate of change is increasing, not slowing down. So if you have trouble thinking about what solution is best to implement, you need to step it up a notch. Not only do you have to start changing how you source, but also implement flexible technology and business solutions that allow you to adapt and change faster than your competition.

The recruiting industry has gone through a number of inflection points over the past 10 years, and it seems that they’re coming faster than ever before. Web 2.0 has been here for two to three years and many companies are just starting to employ some of its enormous capability for sourcing. Automation, optimization, and integration are the next big waves, which only a brave few have ventured this far.

While all of this technology can help, it still needs involved hiring managers and effective recruiters to make it all work. For a top person, changing jobs is a big decision, and the position selected will largely be dependent on the leadership qualities of the hiring manager combined with the career counseling ability of the recruiter. Fully integrating these high-touch components with the high-tech still seems to be a way off. Regardless, there are plenty of tools available for the individual recruiter to get started trying it all out.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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