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What’s Your Search Strategy? Go Beyond Getting Found


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Remember the Sunday newspaper’s classified job ads? Eagerly awaited by job seekers, they were the gateway to career opportunities and future employment. A paradigm shift occurred when companies stopped using local paper listings and migrated to the job boards, where their postings could reach a much wider talent pool.

For candidates, job boards were an incredible evolution in the employment search process. Rather than sorting through pages of newspaper ads listing jobs that didn’t match their skill sets, looking for the few positions that fit their background and experience, job board search functionality enabled job seekers to find more targeted positions in seconds – including jobs outside their local area.

As technology advanced, candidates began to bypass the job boards, using major search engines to look for job postings. Provided companies had optimized their job listings, candidates had access to information about all the available jobs in their field, regardless of where those jobs were posted.

Now the way candidates search for and learn about jobs is shifting once again. While search engine use remains one of the most popular ways to look for jobs, social and mobile now each play a prominent role, requiring organizations to rethink their search strategy and what it takes to be found in a mobile and digital world.

In today’s technology-enabled social environment, a company doesn’t bring candidates to the organization – they bring content to the candidates. Delivering value for candidates with every interaction can strengthen the employment brand, promote job opportunities and create talent pipelines for future success.

How can you go beyond getting found and deliver value to the target audience?

Master the basics – This means knowing how to write a detailed job description, using appropriate tags and ensuring jobs are properly optimized. When it comes to traditional search, have a plan that addresses the way people behave by including geographical and functional job role searches. Leveraging social networks is also critical because lots of content posted there is indexed by search engines.

Figure out what your audience wants – Activating an audience to serve as employment brand evangelists is only possible when you deliver content of interest to them. Think beyond being a message broadcaster and about how to really engage with your candidates. Pulse out interesting, consumable content that is not just appealing to your network of followers, but also to their connections. If you want your followers to carry your message forward, give them one of real value.

Find talent in the spaces where they live their life – Limiting your “findability” to job boards or your company career site won’t extend or enhance brand engagement. Don’t count on bringing people to where you are posting jobs. Rather, participate in places where the target audience is active – whether that’s Facebook, LinkedIn or a proprietary community.

Assume the role of social anthropologist – Whether it’s purchasing a product or procuring a new position, social involvement is powered by micro-interactions – liking a post, re-sharing a tweet, sending a link to a network. Think about what drives social dynamics and human behavior and don’t underestimate the value of third-party endorsements; when someone in your network says “check out this cool company or job,” you do.

Go beyond pinch and zoom – It’s time for organizations to put mobile search in a priority position. Smartphones are ubiquitous and mobile devices are action-oriented. Today, more than 15 percent of traffic to career sites is from mobile devices according to the latest from TMP Analytics. If you want to deliver value to candidates searching for jobs through their mobile device, make sure you give them a quality candidate experience.

Maximize your opportunity of being found – Not every candidate will be a right fit or ready to make a move, but if you deliver value and a good candidate experience, you’ve given them reason to be a brand ambassador and speak highly of the organization. If you don’t, you run the risk of creating brand detractors. It’s expensive to get mindshare, so when you have someone’s attention, work to keep it.

Candidates will come to you in many ways other than through the front door. Companies that want their content, job opportunities and employment brand messages found by active and passive candidates alike need to make their brands accessible and put content into streams with which the audience is already engaged. Make sure as many pathways as possible will lead them to your opportunities.

Splitting his time between London and New York, Steven Z. Ehrlich, Global VP of Client Development for TMP Worldwide works closely with agency teams and clients to explore, develop, and implement strategic initiatives leveraging social media, new technologies, and innovative employer brand delivery channels. Ehrlich has leveraged emerging tools and technologies to enhance both brand articulation and recruitment for a multitude of organizations including Deloitte, Capital One, Walmart, P&G, Areva, GlaxoSmithKline, Disney, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and Yale University. He currently holds a non-executive board seat at SIFE, serves as an Advisory Board member for the Collegiate Employment Research Institute (CERI), and is a member of The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE). Ehrlich was recently named one of HRMarketer’s “Top 25 Online Influencers in Recruiting,” and is a recipient of the 2010 SIFE Champion Award. You can connect with Steven on Twitter @99GR81 and LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevenzehrlich
  • Miamiadguy

    Great article and insight on search!  Thanks for the info!!