Recruitment Marketing Platforms: Dead or Thriving?

A couple weeks ago ERE published two articles on the same day, with each article’s premise opposing the other:

  1. 10 Reasons Why Recruitment Marketing Platforms Are Dead By Tom Steele
  2. Recruitment Marketing Platforms Are Not Dead. Here’s Why By Chris Forman

 

Both articles raise interesting questions about what problems need solving in recruiting and how different technologies have tried to solve them. Below I’ll dig into both perspectives and sum up the broader questions that recruiters need to ask about not just recruitment marketing platforms, but about their whole process and all the tools involved.

 

Steele’s contention is that most solutions calling themselves “Recruitment Marketing Platforms” come with a series of inherent flaws which will determine their demise. In his experience, a recruitment marketing platform adds unnecessarily to a recruiter’s tech stack, and doesn’t solve the fundamental problems like candidate experience, which continue to plague recruiting:

“Yes, I’ve heard you all say your career site is mobile optimized. But after your 35-step application process on my mobile device, I have to disagree. Maybe the front of your career site is mobile optimized, but not certainly the application.”

It’s a fair point, considering how many job applicants still face the situation described above. Recruitment marketing in and of itself does not fix a problem caused by employers and recruiting agencies who still use tools and processes that are suited to their own bureaucracy instead of a positive candidate experience, which in turn positively impacts hiring. So if recruitment marketing platforms are simply a glossy veneer designed to lure candidates in without the infrastructure to capture and retain them, as the picture Steele clearly paints, it does sound like they’re a dead-end.

 

But that’s not the whole story.

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Pricing Your Job Board Services

Pricing Your Job Board Services

If you’re starting a new job board, you’ve hopefully been making use of Careerleaf’s resources for job boards, and now you’re starting to think about how you’ll price your services.

 

To do this, you’ll need to know your overall costs and your business model, including what products or services you’re selling, and any other sources of revenue.

 

Revenue Goals

Many entrepreneurs may start off with dollar signs in their eyes, dreaming of all the cash they’ll have once they get their new business off the ground. The reality is many businesses take the time to become really profitable, so it’s important to set milestone goals for you to meet along your journey.

 

  1. Your First Sale – The first goal is proving out your business idea by making a sale, or a few initial sales, and learning from those early customers. Was the price right? Did they get what they wanted? Will they recommend your services to other people? You might experiment a little during this early stage to find the prices that match the value your customers expect and experience.
  2. Break Even – The second milestone is making enough money to cover your costs. How much do you spend to operate your job board in the first place? What do your monthly costs for software, hosting, marketing tools, and hours of labour (yours or that of an employee or contractor) add up to?
  3. Make a Profit – The third goal is generating enough revenue to cover your operating costs and make a profit. Once you’re profitable, you may invest that profit into growing the business further.

 

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Recruiting and Job Search News - Spring Edition

Recruiting & Job Search News: Spring Edition

Job Search Bot Reveals Cracks in Recruiting Process

 

In January I wrote about the importance of having compassion for job seekers, both the highly sought-after “top talent” candidates and the ones who don’t even make it to your shortlist. Even if job seekers follow every bit of wise advice, it’s still so often a frustrating and unrewarding process.

 

Well, one man decided to build a bot that would apply to thousands of jobs for him as a kind of experiment while he searched for jobs. His thinking was he might be able to A/B test different cover letters and email subject lines. In theory, he would have been able to refine the content based on the results. But he was disturbed to discover that most large companies using Applicant Tracking Software rarely even viewed his applications, and fewer still returned any response, automatically generated or otherwise.

 

While his experiment confirmed that applying to jobs en mass (sometimes called the “spray and pray” method) isn’t effective, it also underlines how often employers and recruiters can miss out on great talent due to the systems and processes they use. There are many factors at play here, but Robert Coombs’ experiment illustrates how important it is for employers and recruiters to look closely at their candidate experience, and whether they are losing out on great talent because of their processes and tools, or assumptions and attitudes that may shape them.

 

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Attracting Millennials Memberships with Association Job Boards

Attracting Millennial Memberships with Association Job Boards

Many professional associations have found their membership growth stagnating when it comes to young professionals. The so-called “millennial” generation, who in 2017 are now roughly between ages 20-36*, may perceive membership-based organizations as “old school”, as well as being too expensive, having low value, and lacking in technology and curation.

 

Some context that may explain their views on associations is that most millennials have had a rough start to their lives as adults. Many began their careers during the Great Recession, facing periods of unemployment or underemployment, low wages and wage stagnation. Add to that the unprecedented weight of student loan debt most young professionals are carrying, and it’s not hard to see why millennials are reluctant to spend money to join organizations if they don’t see an obvious return on investment.

 

But millennial professionals are highly educated and accustomed to using digital technology, and while they earn less money than previous generations, they do want opportunities to network, to further develop their skills and training, and to discover new job opportunities. Due to the lack of economic stability during their adult lives thus far, most millennials can safely assume working in a great number of jobs over their lifetimes than did older generations. Put these facts together, and it seems millennials could really benefit from membership in professional associations – if you can convince them it’s worth their money.

 

So how can associations connect with millennials and be perceived as having value?

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Associations Add Non-Dues Revenue with Job Boards

Association Job Boards for Non-Dues Revenue Streams

Membership-based organizations tend to rely heavily on the dues or fees that members pay to join and access the benefits offered by such associations.

 

Membership fees can vary greatly, depending on their niche or industry, and on whether the association is a for-profit or non-profit organization. Non-Dues sources of revenue for associations also traditionally include events or conferences, sponsorship, selling or reselling education/training courses, fundraising or donations, and grants.

 

Online career centres or job boards also prove to be effective at generating revenue while adding value for both members and industry partners, and help associations stay true to their mission.

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Convincing Great Talent to Join Your Job Board

Convincing Great Talent to Join Your Job Board

In the recruiting industry, there is frequent debate about passive vs active candidates. A passive candidate is someone who has a job, and isn’t really focused on finding a new one. They may occasionally look for jobs or apply, but they’re not as absorbed in the activity as someone who is an active job seeker. An active job seeker might be unemployed or trying to leave a job they don’t like. They’re applying to jobs regularly, and are always on the lookout for opportunities.

 

There is the perception that passive candidates are better, perhaps because their current employment implies success in their role. On other hand, a passive candidate who can be lured away from a job they’re content with could be just as easily lured away from the employer you recruit them to join. An active job seeker may want the job more, and work harder to keep it.

 

However you feel about recruiting passive or active candidates, a job board needs both.

 

By now, you should be familiar with the chicken-and-the-egg game of simultaneously attracting both talent and customers to your job board. Last week I talked about finding the right balance of original content to make your job board unique and valuable enough to be useful to job seekers and develop good SEO, a crucial element of attracting job seekers to your board.

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Is your job board competing with Indeed?

Are You Competing with Indeed?

I’ve said before that I think you can compete with Indeed. Yes, you.

 

I don’t say it because I have blind faith in you (although I’m sure you’re great), I say it because I know that a job board or recruiting platform with a value proposition that resonates with and delivers for its target market can, indeed, compete with Indeed.

 

A focused target market and unique content can define what makes a job board valuable and preferable for job seekers and employers/recruiters to use over using a site like Indeed. Unique content (candidate profiles, blog content, job posts, landing pages, etc.) can arguably come in two forms – original content that is found nowhere else, or content that is curated in such a way that your organization and delivery of it is unique and valuable. In many cases, unique content is a combination of both original content found and unique curation of content that was first published elsewhere.

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SEO Marketing Cheat Sheet for Job Boards

SEO Marketing Cheat Sheet for Job Boards [Infographic]

Search Engine Optimization is never going to truly be a “set it and forget it” tool for getting traffic to your job board or turning up on the first page of Google search results.

 

Ideally, search engines like Google and Bing want web search to be a meritocracy. Websites and pages that are relevant to the words or phrases you search for and have proven themselves to be valid and valuable should be what rises to the top.

 

Websites new and old have challenges in managing their SEO, often for different reasons. Old websites usually struggle with updating or cleaning up the structural and technical components of their site’s content, design, and its organization. New websites usually struggle to figure out how they can be unique and valuable enough to differentiate themselves from existing sites, and build up credibility.

 

There is a view, which stems from the early days of SEO, that making a website turn up on the first page of search results can be achieved simply through technical tricks and hacks. Google, in particular, is known for its evolving search algorithm – the way Google applies your search terms to look for appropriate search results today is not the way it worked last year, five years ago, or ten years ago.

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The Status of Facebook Jobs: It's Complicated

Status of Facebook Jobs: It’s Complicated

Old Facebook

What Facebook Looked Like in the Old Days

Facebook started out in 2004. I joined in late 2005. Only college and university students could sign up back then, and you could only register using your school-assigned email address. Now we might refer to it as a closed social network, with subnetworks of people who add each other as “friends”. Later on, high school students were allowed to sign up, and then eventually the world at large was welcome on Facebook.

 

Naturally, most of the user-generated content on Facebook during those early years was posted with the assumption that only chosen friends would ever clap eyes on it. Messages on your Facebook wall (now your timeline) and selfies (taken without the advantage front-facing camera on your phone) were the norm, along with pictures of friends hanging out, partying, and making dumb faces.

 

If you’ve watched The Social Network, you can no doubt imagine that all sorts of social drama was acted out on the platform, and you’d probably be right. Facebook was responsible for popularizing “it’s complicated” as a relationship status, after all. On the other hand, it was also common to change your vital stats for fun – Antarctica as your hometown or relationship status set as “married” to unlikely match, platonic friend, or favourite food.

 

I’m not taking you down Millennial Memory Lane for no reason, mind you. The context of Facebook’s history and evolution is important to take into account when evaluating the social media platform as a recruiting tool, since now it’s a place to look for a job.

 

Back in November, TechCrunch reported on Facebook’s upcoming Jobs feature for company pages, and now it’s here. Let’s quickly review what we know about Facebook Jobs:

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eHarmony selling Elevated Careers

Industry News: eHarmony’s Elevated Careers for Sale

Elevated Careers is up for sale! Elevated Careers was intended to be a matching platform for candidates, jobs, and employers, and was created by online dating company eHarmony. eHarmony is known for its use of algorithms to match potential partners, and they presumably sought to apply similar methods to recruiting and job search.

 

Elevated Careers was launched in April of 2016, and featured extensive questionnaires and employer branding. Last week, Matt Charney reported that an email was sent to prospective buyers of Elevated Careers, with a slide deck explaining that the product was better in the hands of a company focused on business-to-business, rather than business-to-consumer (as eHarmony has traditionally been).

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