Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sorry, print still delivers

Thomas Shaw, over at the Recruitment Directory blog, recently shared his views on how much online is dominating press in terms of the volume of job ads placed online, and the volume of candidates who prefer to look online for jobs.

It's an interesting read. And it shows the dominance of online. But it's worth bearing in mind that this is volume-based analysis. It's good at demonstrating volume.

It isn't so good at demonstrating - well - quality.

To put this in context: Say you're looking for a really hard-to-recruit role, say, a Head of Banana Peeling. Now, put it on Seek and you might generate 300 applications. I'll bet 150 can peel potatoes, but not bananas. And 149 can peel bananas, but they have no experience in leading other Banana Peelers. If you're lucky, you might get just one applicant who can do the job and doesn't turn out to have an allergy to bananas.

In the meantime you've had to sort-through and assess all those people who ultimately didn't have the skills.

If you'd used a message that resonated with Senior Banana Peelers, along with a variety of job-seeking and non-jobseeking media platforms you know these people see, you would have generated a small pipeline of highly-qualified individuals. And - guess what - this pipeline would contain loads of those talented Senior Banana Peelers who are well-rewarded and happy in their job and hence not trailing through the job boards looking for you. The employer gets to pick the best.

Of course, it takes a bit of research and investment to do properly, but the results always win-through - it saves time at the back-end, reduces the need for re-advertising, generates higher levels of engagement, builds a pipeline - and shows the market you know what you're doing.

Thomas research is very valid for showing where the trends are, the most obvious of which are:

  • Online will attract most employers/recruiters because most feel they have to advertise in the quickest and cheapest place.
  • Online will attract most applicants because they know this about employers/recruiters, and it's free and easy for them.

I know for a fact, that we first look for value over volume when we do our media planning. And this works best with our most front-foot-thinking clients - the ones who take the time to analyse where their final hires actually first heard about the job.

For most campaigns, I can guarantee that online will generate the highest volume of response. I can also guarantee that far less volume will come from major metro press. However, when we do the ROI analysis from final hires (which, one day, I might share with you), the difference is negligible.

Yes, print always comes in more expensive. But when it generates a higher quality of applicant (and online demands extra screening/sorting time), then I think you'll find that right now print has a place in any self-respecting employer's recruitment toolkit.

Maybe not forever, though.

Because the growth of bolt-on products from the likes of CareerOne/Monster will look to increase effectiveness by generating a more targeted response from a more targeted audience base. Plus, I am still hopeful for the growth of niche sites over the behemoths we have dominating the Australian jobseeking landscape.

As always, bring it on.

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