Talent attraction – what’s next?


Talent attraction is changing.

The status quo that we’ve been used to is gone, in a blink of an eye. And the speed of change is going to throw a lot of people. From a position of an extreme lack of talent available of which many during their recruiting or TA career have only known to suddenly a plethora of available people. We’re in for a bit of a feast after the famine, and if we’re not careful we’ll eat too much and get very bloated and sick! Job boards and recruiters are reporting a significant increase in applications to job advertising. Times have changed and so your talent attraction strategies will need to as well if you’re to maintain your brand that you worked so hard on in recent years.

Most had developed a strategy of advertising in as many places as possible, or working on a pay per performance model, or in some cases both. You used traditional job boards paying a fixed duration price – despite the cries of derision from the aggregators, these generally performed well for most jobs. You used the aforementioned Indeed type aggregators many of whom sprang up out of nowhere buying and selling the traffic and clicks you need. Both strategies work although there were various debates on fixed duration prices vs aggregators PPC over which was better, the aggregators probably won on theory but the fixed duration won on delivery, but the jury is still out here. Personally, I’ve always taken a horses for course approach and that this is more about how you pay for advertising rather than which ‘source’ is better. But we can have this debate another day.

More application more problems

In any case, this landscape is moving so quickly it might not matter anymore. Demand for jobs has increased, more applications per job will mean new challenges in managing the candidate experience. It’s fair to say that even in the ‘famine’ days, candidate experience and communications were a bit creaky. Horror stories of a rubbish 40 page ATS journey to apply for a part time job, or lack of recruitment consultant feedback filled (and still do) the feed of LinkedIn. If we thought it was bad then, unless we as an industry get it together – this will be even worse!

On average a job advert would produce 17 applications, narrow this down through each stage, and typically you’d be left with 1 candidate standing at the end, you had no choice but to hire that person, even if they didn’t quite match what you originally were looking for. This blunted some of the assessment that you’d do. It’s known that the current interview process is woefully inaccurate, assessment sessions being far more suited, I suspect we stuck to the interview process for fear of losing the candidate, or the candidate fearing they couldn’t do the job! Just hire them and figure it out along the way – who knows when someone that is 80% suitable will come along again. In today’s new world, expect 40-100 applications per job, so time to change up, and sharpen up your interview and assessment strategies – or you’ll be employing the wrong talent!

Use better copy to target talent

In the past, we’ve talked about the importance of job copy to attract the talent that you need, well I still think it’s just as important even at a time when there will be more candidates. It’s important to remember, that you’re still looking for the very best person for the job, just because there are more people available, you still need to attract that one superstar candidate. Selection may take longer but make sure you invest in your advert creation. Quantity doesn’t mean quality, so with less jobs being advertised use this time to craft your job ads. Do your research, know what works in terms of talent attraction – each industry responds slightly different to ad length, keywords, content. Remember the basics, clear job title, salary, location and key skills or experiences you’re expecting. Use a copywriter to sprinkle some star dust around the edges and you’re ready to go. Be authentic.

Lower advertising costs

Now for some more good news, your advertising costs just reduced by about 50-60%. With a killer ad, a buoyant candidate market, you no longer have to advertise on all 8 job boards you had access to. As an owner of a job distribution / multiposting tool, some people are often a bit surprised when I say we don’t want them posting to multi job channels. What I want recruiters to do is to advertise on the channel or channels that will work for them. There should be a great opportunity now to only post to one or two of the best channels and still get a quality response to your advertising. No more job board FOMO!

Intense competition

This will shake up the media landscape I’m sure. Is there space for every job board we have in the UK right now? Maybe, maybe not but you can sure the competitive for budgets will intensify beyond all belief. The traditional boards may move to a performance model quicker than they were planning. Some of the aggregators out there may be exposed in a bit of an emperor’s new clothes metaphor. It does seem crazy that there are some job aggregators that seem to simply make a living from buying one aggregators traffic and selling it to another for a quick buck. All’s fair in a capitalist world I suppose, I have no issue with someone seeing an opportunity and making a few quid, but it has to be said the candidate journey for some of these can be a bit of merry go round as they click on a job and they are forwarded from aggregator to aggregator…only sometimes to be told the job no longer exists. I think we’ll see some change here.

The new currency will be quality of candidate delivered, not applications, views or clicks. All media providers will have the traffic but we will need to get their matching and indexing right so recruiters get the right talent for the right opportunity. I’ve no doubt they’ll be doubling down their efforts to get you the best candidates they have. So that’s more good news for you. 

We’re in for some changes that’s for sure in the coming years. I remain confident that the rhetoric of quality in, quality out will stand firm, whether you’re a recruiter, a job board or an aggregator, if we focus on delivering a quality candidate experience from the ad to the job board marketing strategy to the ability for the aggregators to source quality traffic, we will all be in a good place!