Recruiting successfully in the digital era

This excellent insight by recruitment professional Ariana Shahbazi looks at the opportunities for finding the right candidates for roles online, the candidates expectations of your brand and online experience and ultimately how to pull it all together in some very simple steps. It takes onboard some key digital principles and strategies (applied to recruitment specifically) and leveraging data and analytics to show you the opportunities and the risks. The following content is unedited and published as received.

Maybe Ariana, the next post could be from a candidates perspective? What makes individuals stand out in a highly competitive and increasingly noisy online space? What part does good old, first hand relationships play? What should we expect online profiles to achieve?

Enjoy!

Recruiting successfully in the digital era, by Ariana Shahbazi

I want you!Although we do see employers who still advertise jobs in regional newspapers, the majority realise that online is where the candidates are. After all, almost anyone under the age of 50 has at some point posted or applied to a job via a job board or LinkedIn.

Many companies we meet have tried to leverage the web for recruitment, but few succeed and finding quality employees remains one of the region’s biggest challenges. What are they doing wrong?

The recruitment mix

There is no silver bullet for finding and hiring the right people. Rather, it’s a mix of a few key elements: recruitment know-how, flexible technology and astute marketing.

Yes, marketing. It is actually one of the most overlooked aspects of recruitment.
You can have a great team of recruiters, powerful talent acquisition software and still get a lot of poor quality CVs. Maybe it’s because nobody knows you exist and even less people know you are hiring. Or maybe it’s because you are not sending out the right message to the individuals you are looking for. Either way, you need to examine this component of the mix more closely.

The online shopping analogy

In this digital age, it’s easy to reach a lot of different people in one go: marketing departments do it all the time. The key is to have a strategy and the tools to set it in motion. Think of recruitment as online shopping: you need to generate awareness of your product, engage potential customers on your website with compelling content, provide a good user experience and make sure they convert.

“Come out, wherever you are”

Look at all the places where potential applicants could be looking and advertise there. Get the attention of the right audience.

So if you are looking for an experienced individual who already has a job with the competitor, posting on a job board or participating in a career fair will probably not give you a very high return. However, targeted advertising on Linkedin and your own career site, posting on a professional forum where he/she might be looking or activating your employees’ networks will. Some employers do SEO and Adwords, others will use Facebook, it all depends on the target. Once you know who you are looking for and where to look for them, you roll out your candidate marketing plan and drive these people to your website.

Avoid the Bounce

What happens when candidates land on your website?

Simple, there are 4 things that a potential applicant can do:

  • Leave (the dreaded “Bounce”)
  • Apply (now or later)
  • Tell someone about a job
  • Subscribe to a job alert for future jobs

Here are some important tips to ensure the right people don’t bounce off your website:

Don’t send them to a website that says “send your CVs to recruiter@company.com”. That would be like doing an Adwords campaign and sending leads to a poorly designed website. Instead, put yourself in the shoes of the type of person you are looking for. Why would a top candidate send their valuable CV to a generic email address?

If you are thinking “We post vacancies on our website and have a little form with a CV-upload button, that should work,” think again. If Amazon had a list of books in alphabetical order and an “input your credit card number” form, what would happen? They would get a lot of “junk” transactions and discourage real buyers to complete their transaction. When applied to recruitment, this means you are making it far too easy for everyone to apply and you’re not making the process very relevant to the good candidates. And when you have too many applications, unless you have a sophisticated recruitment system, you will not be able to identify the good ones.

If you are serious about attracting top talent, show it. Get a proper career site where you actually promote what it’s like to be employed by your company. Use employee testimonials, talk about all the corporate events, show photos or a video of your company, talk about the benefits, show them what a great workplace your company is, and present a stream of job opportunities that are relevant to them. Remember, it’s like a shopping website: deliver compelling content. This is what ALL successful employers do.

Have a job alert functionality on your website. If you are an employed and experienced professional, you may go to the competitor’s career site once a year to check out opportunities. If you see no appropriate positions, you leave…unless you are encouraged to subscribe to a job alert. Ensure that all your vacancies pages are easy to share via email and social media.

Keep them engaged

Finally, when good individuals do apply, keep them engaged. Ask skill questions they can relate to, send an email when their application has been submitted, give them status updates, don’t make them feel like their CV has gone into an abyss. This and things like scheduling and conducting interviews are so easy to do online nowadays. There are so many good web-based solutions, employers really have no excuse. An organisation that masters all these digital tools will deliver a superior candidate experience and give top candidates a positive image of the company before they even walk through the door.

In a nutshell

The web is the best way to find candidates and build a talent database, regardless the geography and sector. However, it requires a very structured approach and the right tools, just like marketing and sales.

Unfortunately, most recruitment departments don’t have marketing expertise, nor do they have the time, because many still don’t have the proper tools to automatically screen and manage CVs – but that’s another problem. As for marketing departments, most don’t have recruitment on top of their priority list because they are too busy selling products and services. Add technology to the equation and you bring on further complexity because IT probably has a lot of other projects to handle.

Bringing these 3 functions together and making them work in tandem seems too challenging for the majority of organisations…yet digital recruitment cannot be successful without this. In the end, this is probably why so many companies still struggle to find the right people.

About the author:

ArianaAriana Shahbazi is the Marketing Communications Director at Cazar, the leading recruitment marketing and talent acquisition technology provider in the Middle East and Asia. She has 12 years of experience in the online space. At Cazar, she has the opportunity to see the impact digital marketing has on recruitment amongst top employers in the region. The company works with some of the biggest organisations in the Middle East, including Al Futtaim, Jumeirah Group, DP World and Alshaya. It helps organisations leverage technology and the web so they can autonomously recruit top talent when they need it. If you’d like to speak to her about how digital strategies and the right technology can help your recruitment function, email (Ariana@cazar.com) or connect  with her.

Editors Note: DigitalArabia provides the platform for any digital expert to have a go at creating original content, to share knowledge  and take part in the conversation. DigitalArabia (or associated parties) do not endorse any products or services supplied by the digital experts. If you would like to take part and share your expertise, please get in touch.
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