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Making Job Boards Work-II

Though disparaged of late in conference presentations and the blogosphere, job boards remain the #1 external source of new hires according to at least two major surveys. To achieve such success, however, recruiters must know both how to shop smart for job boards and how to use them well. Think of it as a two-step strategy for maximizing the return on your investment of time and money in online recruitment advertising.

Selecting the right job boards for each of your openings is not a trivial exercise. It requires both an awareness of the 100,000+ sites currently operating online and a selection formula that will enable you to probe the full range and depth of the talent population. I covered those two challenges in my last column. In this column, I'll explore how best to use the resources available to you at a job board.

Critics claim that job boards are nothing more than an online version of a newspaper. Their function is solely to post recruitment ads. That might have been true in 1999, but today, the best job boards - and frankly, those are the only sites you should be using - are more like talent portals. They offer content and features designed to attract individuals when they are looking for a job and, equally as important, when they aren't. For that reason, using these sites effectively requires a much more comprehensive sourcing strategy than simply posting an open job.

The best job boards use blogs and discussion forums to promote peer-to-peer dialogue and a sense of community. As with social media sites, these features enable recruiters to spot prospects who are passionate about their work and have skills and knowledge that might be perfect for a specific opening. These individuals are, in common parlance, "passive job seekers," and can be contacted directly from the job board.

In addition, many of these sites will also offer resume databases where individual records have been annotated with connections to individual LinkedIn profiles, Facebook pages and Twitter handles. When a recruiter finds a good potential candidate, therefore, they can immediately reach out and start networking with them on one or all of those social media sites.

And, as we all know, while job seekers may be passive, they are seldom locked into place. In fact, many are always on the lookout for career advancement opportunities. For that reason, they will often stop by the job database whenever they visit one of these talent portals. They will not, however, respond to a conventional job posting. Instead, they must be approached with a very different kind of communication.

A Job Posting for Passive Talent

A passive job seeker will not respond to a conventional recruitment ad because they do not think of themselves as a job seeker. They want to be recognized as different from those who are in transition. No less important, they expect recruiters to understand that they have choices. Typically, they have the option to stay right where they are - with their current employer - or to select a new position from among one or more other employment opportunities.

Given these unique attributes, the key to reaching passive job seekers on a job board is to transform the standard, old job posting into "an electronic sales brochure." This communication must inform and sell the prospect on the value proposition of an opening. And, it must do so within the extremely limited attention span of this population.

How does an electronic sales brochure pull off such a feat? It has four unique features:

  • A title with three elements: the opening's location, the principal skill it requires and some sizzle - something about the opportunity that will intrigue a passive person;

  • A hard hitting series of statements in the first five lines of the communication that describes the opening as an extraordinary career advancement opportunity and thus compels the passive person to read on;

  • A shift in the body of the communication from the employer's perspective which focuses on the opening's requirements and responsibilities to the passive person's perspective which focuses on its advantages, benefits and challenges; and

  • A format which acknowledges that people don't read on the Web, they scan. Hence, all of the content is delivered not in the pithy (and often lengthy) prose of printed media, but in headlines and bullets suitable for effective online messaging.

While some assert that job boards have lost their effectiveness, surveys among recruiters indicate exactly the opposite. Many are having considerable success. They are achieving those results because they leave nothing to chance and do everything they must to recruit top talent. They shop smart for job boards - carefully selecting those that will best support each of their openings - and then they use those sites effectively - implementing practices that connect with and sell even the most passive of prospects.

Thanks for reading,
Peter

Visit my blog at Weddles.com/WorkStrong.

September 2011
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