Here’s something I cobbled together for a pitch. Can’t tell you who for obviously. Be interested to know your thoughts.
The world is changing. Digital is important today and, in the near future, the “always connected” person will become ubiquitous. Digital will become the de-facto go-to resource for everything.
Don’t be confused that this means just the home PC: witness the rapid growth in mobile internet usage, fuelled by the accessible interface of the Apple iPhone, interactive services via digital TV and average internet usage overtaking traditional media such as TV and newspapers.
While digital offers more opportunities to target and measure more effectively than ever before, the way users consume digital has also changed the way brands need to behave in the digital space. Where traditional media (web 1.0) is shouting, web 2.0 is about conversations. Consumers expect to be involved, engaged and invited to collaborate. They have on-demand expectations; they expect real-time dialogue and want personalised experiences.
These changes apply equally to recruitment as it does to traditional brand advertising. Digital will never be about one piece of technology or ad format. It will never be about a destination site alone. Or just banners driving to it. Great digital strategy is and will continue to be delivered by utilising the world of digital marketing opportunities. Detaching it. And then having your brand advocates distributing the message, rippling it through their social network. We need to evolve beyond a placing opportunities on Monster and our corporate job board.
We think recruitment advertising will evolve in the following ways:
Leverage web 2.0
Web 2.0 technologies and sites enable brands to reach and influence new users without heavy investment in technology and IT. It also taps into the conversations and places where users are now searching for new roles. Digital has changed the mix where the recruitment ad is not the sole place people go to.
People now find jobs for each other. Building and leveraging networks on Linked In and using the professional services to seek out referrals, post jobs and build “expert status” through the Answers section is both low risk and differentiates you from the crowd and can highlight your comments and input to the network community.
Similar routes to market may be becoming a regular and insightful commentator on contextually appropriate blogs or social networking sites or a trusted source on Yahoo! Answers, which is becoming an increasingly powerful influencer. Both Linked In and Yahoo! Answers provide destinations for like-minded individuals to share interview strategies, job advice, salary negotiation strategies and “inside” information about working for certain employers.
Ensuring your company’s Wikipedia entry is current and reflects your employer brand is already expected, no longer an option.
Re-invent the job description
Traditional job descriptions are just brochureware. They don’t tell the story. They’re not transparent or authentic. Digital can make the job description live in full colour rather than black and white; give job seekers access to employees doing similar jobs through blogs (corporate or personal), podcasts that add personality and richness, live Q&A sessions in either discussion board or using new technologies such as Skype or Oovoo. This engenders trust, authenticity and provides more insight into the company than a one-liner on the recruitment ad.
Talk to them on their terms, in their place
Because of the fragmented nature of the web, your digital presence needs to reflect this fragmentation and not produce a “one size fits all” approach. A centralised place for job seekers to submit resumes and match to your needs is still relevant but not the only tactic you need to use. For example, Ernst & Young attracted high quality college graduates through Facebook. They sponsored a group, posted information on working at the company, had regular live Q&A sessions and promoted on-campus recruiting events. This not only distinguished them from other companies in their field but pre-qualified high-calibre applicants through an open, honest dialogue and targeting key campus’ to build relationships.
Activate your brand advocates
Your best source of new recruits is the ones you already have. Your employees can be the most persuasive (and also most destructive) advocates for your brand.
Identifying and empowering a small team of top performers who are already engaged in social media will raise awareness of the opportunities and as they are likely to be of positive persuasion to your brand, they will need little encouragement to spread the word about who they work for on their social media profiles and talk about their work.
This does come with a need for the company to shift from a natural protective stance over its brand and find a comfortable place between policing and releasing the brand.
Re-invent the print product
As recruiters shift budgets online, they will use print primarily to raise awareness of the company and direct people online to their corporate sites, instead of putting job listings in the newspaper. Newspapers should develop new branding products, such as allowing recruitment-focused ads to appear in the front section of the paper. They will also use editorial print content to draw passive job seekers to the recruitment section, just as they do in their real estate and automotive sections.
Do and learn
While digital can be measured to the nth degree, there is no pre-set formula as there may be in direct mail, for example. Technology is moving apace and consumer behaviour fragments and re-invents itself with alarming speed meaning that you need to constantly innovate, stay on top of trends and opportunities. It means you need to do and learn rather than the commonly accepted wisdom of today of learn and do. Build on what is working and change what is not.