The Reality of Online Recruiting in 2012 8 Comments


Remember 15 years ago when the experts were scaring everyone with “the war for talent”? Saying by 2010 unemployment would be at historic lows? How about a little over a decade ago when job boards and applicant tracking systems would forever change a recruiters life (and make it simpler)? Or when 8 years ago when your corporate career site was touted as one of your most significant recruiting assets? Or 4 years ago when social recruiting was “in”.

Through the evolution of recruiting and online channels, little has changed.  Sure, SEO is more important today than it was back then given candidates online search behaviors and having a social presence matters more now. (or does it)?  What hasn’t changed much through all of the change the effectiveness of these channels – and the candidate experience.

I recently had the opportunity to spend part of a day with a dozen other corporate recruiting leaders and we discussed the experience and results from online recruiting (while these results may or may not be comparative to yours there was representation from a variety of industries and company sizes).



Here are 6 of the key online recruiting topics / trends discussed:

  • Candidates really don’t care that much about all of the shiny objects talked about by the experts.  They just want to quickly be able to find a job, a streamlined application process, communication, and to be treated with basic courtesy and respect throughout the process.  Sorry, they don’t care about following you on twitter or liking your page on facebook.
  • Job boards, social channels, and aggregator sites have the highest number of visit to hire ratios, and the lowest “qualified” ratios, and the lowest “interview” ratios.  The reality is these are part of most recruiting strategies – and they have a place.  How big of a place and how they are deployed depends on your organization.
  • More Resume’s come from the large job boards compared to other online sources.
  • The interview to hire ratio is better for niche job boards compared to the big ones.
  • Candidates coming from search engines have a higher likelihood to complete the application process once they click apply compared to the other online channels.
  • The average of corporate career site visitor to apply ratios was between 10%-20%.  This had the largest variance compared to the other trends – by industry.

Most of this isn’t surprising in a lot of ways, and hasn’t changed a lot over previous years.  The buzzword over the past 12 months thrown around (and it will increase even more) is.. analytics.  Without it, your blindfolded.  Management reporting is basic, just as is ensuring you have the right technology (applicant and source tracking) in place to measure the KPI’s for each step of your recruiting process.

In the end remember data just is, what it is..  It’s just data.  Having it and acting on it is what matters.  Oh, and I almost forgot – if you really want to hire someone, just recruit them.

About Jason Buss

Talent HQ’s creator and editor is Recruiting & Diversity Leader, Jason Buss. Talent HQ is a premier online news and information channel for the Recruiting and Human Resources community.

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  • Posted on: Sunday, January 29th, 2012
  • This Post Has 8 Comments

    1. While it is probably true that jobseekers may not want to be best friends with a business for the purpose of job-seeking, people still do gravitate to brands they like. So on some levels, interacting with jobseekers is still interacting with current and potential customers. While it may not be HR’s job to sell product, marketing (even to an unemployed audience) is till part of the picture. -JMM

    2. Interesting points made here. As the ownder of a boutique recruiting and career coaching firm I can say that all the “conversations” you observed are what I have observed as well. In the end, no matter how we get candidates, they want to be treated with respect and they want honesty- about the position, qualifications necessary and hiring timeline. Secondly, it is easy to get lost in the Big Job Board in the Sky. I can see why they do not always produce a ration of resumes to interviews to hires. Small, niche boards as you mentioned would seem to receive the most amount of hands on attention and therefore, yield the most results. Thank you for keeping us recruiters abreast to what other recruiters are experiencing and discussing.
      Ken Schmitt

    3. […] continues to be a focal point in the evolution of online recruiting. In a recent post titled The Reality of Online Recruiting, I concluded with data is just what it is.. Data. As an example, a recent JobVite report showed 78% […]

    4. Christopher says:

      Interesting post! While applicants from Twitter or Facebook might not be the best candidates for a position, having fans of your brand is important. As social networks develop, especially LinkedIn, I believe there will be an increase in popularity using them to find employment over the standard job boards. The lack of quality in applicants is easily explained by the ever growing “net”. With a larger target audience, you are opening yourself to more applicants- many of which will not be qualified. However, the power of referrals is immense, and utilizing such a vast network of individuals promotes strong marketing through viral reach. Let us not forget the real aim of social networking (for any business) which is branding.

      SEO, on the other hand, is in need of some dire attention. Especially on LinkedIn- where key word cramming deteriorates the legitimacy of your searches. Bad practice in SEO is far too easy, leaving those who practice best in the dust.

    5. Staffing Agency says:

      As a recruiter providing Staffing Solutions and Staffing Services, I definitely agree with the 6 trends discussed. Candidates want to grab the job as quickly as possible all the while being treated courteously throughout the process. Interviewing can be a rigorous process of phone interviews and in-person interviews which is why it is crucial to communicate and respect the possible candidates at hand.

    6. I agree with most of your conclusions, but some things definitely changed our ways of recruitment. Targeted ads, for example. Or Linkedin’s database. And print advertisements are no more.

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