The FIRM gets Technical – guest blog by Peter Hetherington


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In a change from my norm I am very fortunate to have Peter Hetherington (@phetherington1 on Twitter) create the first ever guest post on this blog.

Peter thank you so much and by way of introduction, Peter is Head of EMEA Recruitment at Corporate Executive Board, and is also a long-standing member of The FIRM, a volunteer police officer, a semi-obsessed swing dancer, and a committed boat-dweller, who firmly believes that when London finally floods, he’ll be the last one laughing.”

Thursday 23rd June saw The Forum for In-house Recruitment Managers (The FIRM) host the latest member conference in London, this time on the topic of Technical Recruiting. This is an umbrella subject, covering all manner of staple sourcing issues, right from the venerable subject of Social Media, to the young and thrusting newcomer Mobile Recruiting, flirting with the Hollywood glamour of Video, and getting uncontrollably techy on the topic of Search Engine Optimisation.

Whilst there were other elements like a talk from Avature’s CEO on how his CRM product can help you get ‘in the Zone’, and a rousing sermon from Recruitment 3.0 evangelist Matthew Jeffery on the future of recruitment, the areas that I will focus on are those of Mobile recruitment, use of Video and Search Engine Optimisation, as these all have some key takeaways that every member of The FIRM can benefit from immediately!

Mobile Recruitment

(Credit to key note speakers Dave Martin, MD of All The Top Bananas and Katie McNab, Head of Recruitment, UK & Ireland for PepsiCo)

As unlikely as it may seem to some, research shows that by 2013, more people will access the internet via a mobile device or smart phone than will access it by a traditional PC/worktop. Combine that stat with the fact that whilst it takes on average 72 hours to read an email after delivery, the average time for a SMS or push notification on a mobile is 30minutes, and suddenly email and PCs start to feel a little prehistoric…!

Leading thinkers on all things Recruitment believe that corporate career sites will more and more become a collection of content stored in multiple places and designed for multiple formats. Early adopters have already accelerated their ‘cloud’ recruitment presence, and during the conference, members of The FIRM were encouraged to consider doing the same.

Outside of recruitment, the world is already much changed. For example, today there are well over 175m users of Facebook, and over 50% of these users are more active on their mobiles than on a PC. The candidate landscape is equally beginning to change, with job boards now allowing mobile searching and applications from the device. If you truly want to engage with candidates, it makes good sense to allow candidates to apply for jobs in the manner and medium of their choice. 20 years ago we were receiving fax CVs and posted copies. The maturity of the mobile market has accelerated far quicker than the growth of the internet, and companies need to be ready for that change.

PepsiCo is an early adopter of Mobile Recruitment, and we heard from Katie McNab (a fellow member of The FIRM and @Recruitgal blogger extraordinaire) about her experience in developing PepsiCo’s mobile web pages and app, which was unveiled to us as a teaser prior to UK launch. It is a thing of beauty, and once the “oohs” and “aahs” subsided, we were treated to an objective view of the pitfalls and considerations each of us would need to be aware of if we were to follow her example. Katie, like many of us, is a natural cynic – so her own verdict was inevitably ‘we’ll wait and see’, but comforting to hear that 2 hires in the US have already been attributed to the mobile site, and 10 more candidates in process from it!

Key Takeaways

1. At the bare minimum you may need a mobile-enabled careers site. At the moment, any prospective candidate who navigates to your site through a mobile (conceivably from LinkedIn, Facebook, or your 3rd party job board postings) may not have an optimal experience.
2. Ideally you should have the ability to present jobs and allow applications through a mobile site.
3. An App would go a step further in allowing you the ability to engage candidates who opt in to push-notifications – providing them with job alerts and important company news

Use of Video in Recruitment

(Credit to CareerPlayer Director, Rob Wescott)

Scientific study has shown that the video impacts the mind of a viewer in a way unlike other forms of information does. Put simply, just like Heineken (but without the disciplinary consequences if used in the work place), video reaches the parts of a brain other recruitment media can’t reach. These parts are most associated with emotional impact and long term memory. Video is therefore a powerful element to a recruitment branding exercise.

A study of graduates have shown that, in order of preference, the elements they would most like to see on a graduate recruitment site are:
a. A Day in the Life video
b. A video showing current graduate trainees
c. A virtual office tour (video or flash)

Video can also be used to great effect in Onboarding, and messages from the CEO or senior leadership played over video, or other emotive information can help to build a stronger psychological contract with new employees and improve retention and discretionary effort.

Key Takeaways

1. It would be worth the investment to produce a ‘day in the life’ video and maybe some virtual office clips and stream through YouTube onto your careers site (and future mobile sites, Facebook page, etc.!)
2. It could be time to revisit how you use videos in Onboarding/Induction days.

Recruitment Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

(Credit to key note speaker Peter Gold, Director of Hire Strategies and all-round ATS, SEO and SEM guru)

Job boards rule. So do aggregators. You will never beat them at advertising things like ‘sales jobs’ or ‘java jobs’. What is important is what content or websites you have linking in to your jobs and career pages, how your job adverts are written, and how you measure, test and weed out your web content. Members of The FIRM should consider the following:

1. The longer and more specific a job title, the better it will rank.
2. Optimise your site for occurrences of ‘jobs at xyz’, ‘work at xyz’ and ‘careers at xyz’ – whilst you may have a good ranking in one or more, you may be at risk of having your ranking supplanted by a job board or even a site like Glassdoor.com!
3. Resistance is futile – you will be aggregated! No, it is not the Borg* – we’re talking about those troublesome sites that steal your job descriptions and aggregate them out to the world at large without so much as a please or thank you. Given the inexorability of falling victim to these sites, members of The FIRM are encouraged to work with Indeed.com, Workhound and SimplyHired to make sure the Right content is aggregated, not what they ‘spider’ from us without direction.
4. Create ‘Authority’ pages for recurring jobs. These are persistent pages that you then start to build content around, and link to. The best ranking web pages are those that have the most amount of relevant links going to them, and build up their relevance over time. (E.g. links from LinkedIn, Facebook, blogs, aggregators, job boards, other relevant websites).
5. Measure and test – use Google analytics to monitor traffic in to the careers site and Taleo job postings. It is very important to weed out pages that nobody visits, as these dilute the search ranking.
6. Make sure pages have proper meta title tags and H1 headings, as well as repetition of job titles in content
7. Have most relevant content highest on page – i.e. finish with ‘About xyz company’, rather than have it at start of job descriptions.

*obligatory geek reference. Every technical recruitment blog needs one..

The FIRM’s Technical Recruitment conference was much Tweeted about using hashtag #FIRMrectek – go see what people said on the day!

Peter

___________________

thank you Peter. Peter’s LinkedIn profile

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  1. Recruitment will evolve with technology, making use of the latest communicatrion devices, but it is always the worry that is the latest technology avenues just the fashion or a new more efficient way to recruit?
    Wading through job postings via a smart phone is still hard work due to the size of screen, an ipad is better and desktop monitor the ldeal, which means accessing job postings via a ‘tethered’ desktop machine.
    However, all avenues need exploering, otherwise, the recruitment industry may miss a trick.

  2. Great write up, nice work – you captured a lot of stats!

    I must add – my KEY takeaway I asked people to remember was “CHANGE” – the Internet consumption is CHANGING what we read, how we find it and what device we use is all CHANGING.

    Please, don’t repeat the 90s, don’t let corporate recruiters be the last to reach the online audience. See the CHANGE and DO SOMETHING.

    Obviously my company can help with that something.

    From: Dave Martin, MD Allthetopbananas.com & Editor MoRecNews.com
    Twitter: @Topbananas
    LinkedIN: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/mrdavemartin

  3. Yes, thank you Dave, and pardon the omission! It is definitely time for the corporate recruiter to be ahead of the curve, and I am pleased to see that happening in many companies. For those reading this, take a moment to ask yourself whether your firm is one of them…

    As a wise person once said:

    Change is inevitable (except from vending machines)!

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