By: John Rossheim, Monster Senior Contributing Writer
While the principles of a well-written job posting remain relatively constant, recruiting technology is rapidly changing their distribution model. With that rapid evolution, recruiters who aren’t paying attention run the risk falling far behind, and quickly.
“The sourcing piece has changed tremendously with online developments,” says Irina Shamaeva, a partner with Brain Gain Recruiting. “Recruiters who understand online sourcing are ahead of the competition.”
What key changes are driving online sourcing and recruiting as we enter the second decade of the 21st century? Here’s a rundown of some key developments and recruiting strategies.
Targeted Advertising Boosts Job Postings
One recent innovation in online recruitment is the use of syndicated display advertising technologies (on-line media) to put job postings in front of more job candidates. These advertisements are generated dynamically and automatically distributed to a targeted audience across many web sites.
“Behavioral target networks use cookie-based targeting to look at behaviors that demonstrate an interest in a particular career,” says Joran Lawrence, senior product manager for Monster Career Ad Network® (CAN), which collects this anonymous data.
“Our customers want to address a select audience,” says Lawrence. “If they post a nursing job, they don’t need to get in front of all of the 68 Million Americans that Career Ad Network® reaches, but just those people in the targeted region who have an interest in nursing. The ad is presented to relevant seekers on whatever website they’re on,” from thematically related sites like Salary.com to geographically-oriented sites like Yellowpages.com.
This targeted advertising extends the reach of the job posting and can lure candidates who aren’t actively looking for an open position on a job board. Rather than investing substantial time and money to plan an advertising campaign, design ads, and buy media, the employer simply signs up to have the targeted ad generated from their job opening.
Behaviorally-targeted ads have proven effective in increasing views of job postings. Monster Career Ad Network® on average increases views of linked job postings by 40 percent to 100 percent for an ad that runs for 30 days.
What does the future hold for targeted advertising as a recruiting tool? “As we use semantic search to aid job seekers, we will use ontology [categorization] to make career advertising more powerful,” Lawrence says.
Reaching Mobile-Savvy Candidates
Another development in job posting distribution is the adoption of mobile phones to access the Internet, including the explosion of Apple and Android devices that now offer reasonably-priced 3G data. These devices are driving behavioral changes in today’s ever-connected workforce. Catering to this mobile audience is another way to extend the reach of job postings for recruiters looking to source candidates in the prime of their careers.
"Job searching is very ‘transactional,’” says Vasu Nagalingam, senior product director for Consumer at Monster. “Job seekers typically visit job boards at frequent intervals for new jobs. The mobile-savvy audience is discovering their mobile phone to be the perfect channel for this type of behavior.” Nagalingam sees Internet-connected mobile devices as changing seeker behavior. “Supporting these changes is critical to maintaining a healthy candidate pipeline.”
Monster created its job-seeking app for Apple’s iPhone and the iPod touch to help employers reach these savvy candidates. “The emerging workforce is a popular group of mobile Internet users,” says Nagalingam. “Employers who want to target this emergent workforce should review their recruitment plans and incorporate mobile recruitment strategies to increase their recruiting efficiency.”
Why Search Engines are often Fickle
While dedicated recruitment tools continue to advance, some recruiters still attempt to harness the ever-advancing power of general-purpose search engines to source candidates from every corner of the Internet. But there’s a catch. The sophistication of these search engines, the enormous knowledge base behind them, as well as the constantly changing rules of ranking among search engines all complicate their use for niche applications such as the recruitment process.
“General search engines remain difficult for recruiters, because they’re afraid of syntax,” says Shamaeva. “Search-engine syntax is kind of like English but you have to understand search-engine software, which uses very complex algorithms. It feels overwhelming for many recruiters.”
Even as most of the general-purpose search engines of the early 2000s fall by the wayside, the winning survivors all have their limitations for recruiters. “Bing is poorly documented, and Google is now blocking the majority of advanced searches, because it thinks you’re a robot,” says Shamaeva.
Meanwhile, pioneering semantic search technologies like Monster’s Power Resume Search promise to ease sophisticated searches of resume databases. “It’s time for recruiters to start incorporating the new semantic search tools into their strategies,” Shamaeva says.
Meeting Candidates Wherever They Are, Online
As professionals spend ever more time with more web resources, many employers are applying a convergence model of online sourcing that brings together many Internet genres, from social media to job boards. Candidates -- especially members of the millennial generation -- expect to find out about opportunities at a given employer, anywhere they happen to be on the web.
“You have to appeal to all those students who are trying to figure out how to stand out in a competitive market,” says Holly Paul, US recruiting leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers. “Candidates have told us they want us to be on Facebook, and to provide an individual to contact.”
And those candidates have particular expectations about the performance of job-search media, regardless of the platform. They assume information will be kept current, for example. “Firms wanting to reach mobile candidates will have to update them frequently on the status of their job applications, because that’s the persona of the mobile user,” says Nagalingam.