Which Recruiting Metrics Will Be Most Important In the Future?
Job postings in newspaper classifieds had been in use for quite some time, well before the digital age began rendering them obsolete. So it’s only fitting that their replacement, online job boards, are themselves losing ground to newer, more effective technologies at an even faster rate.
Since the turn of the 21st century, recruiters have made online job boards the focal point of their talent acquisition strategies. And it made sense, as more and more people got online, forums and job boards began hosting “Help Wanted” ads. The number of candidates applying for jobs online skyrocketed. But as new technologies emerge and applicants’ preferences shift, companies have to move with them.
Job boards can be expensive, and their results hard to track. Many companies have been working to optimize metrics like job board effectiveness for more than a decade, sometimes with little success. But now that career sites are emerging as the primary source for applicants and hires, online job boards aren’t as attractive as they used to be to job seekers and job posters alike.
The Problem With Job Boards
Perhaps the biggest drawback to online job boards, from a recruiter’s perspective, is the cost. Some don’t charge for listings, but most do, including the big names. Pay-per-click, pay-per-post, even paying the cost-per-acquisition is an option for some.
Recruitment leaders have to consider these costs as part of their broader talent acquisition strategy. Deciding where to post each new job listing on a case-by-case basis or just blindly posting them on a number of different job boards can lead to serious budget overruns—not to mention little explanation on the return.
Measuring Performance and Justifying Cost
Until recently this expense has not been a deterrent. Instead, talent acquisition leaders have sought ways to monitor the success of their postings on online job boards, and optimize their effectiveness in relation to cost. But this is much easier said than done.
Tools like Google Analytics can help recruiters study their referral traffic, but that won’t always show the full picture of where an applicant comes from. And increased traffic from job boards doesn’t necessarily justify the cost if other metrics like your application completion rate don’t budge.
To measure effectiveness, some recruiters have been able to embed tracking codes on their job board listings. This can be time-consuming but probably provides the most accurate picture of conversion rates. Other recruiters simply put a question on the apply flow that asks where candidates found out about the job.
The expense of job boards starts to look even worse when you consider that three-quarters of recruiting leaders think they aren’t making the most of their data. Spending lots of money on job boards you can’t fully analyze, while ignoring and misinterpreting much of the data you already have, might lead to missed quality hires. While some companies have found better ways to monitor their use of job boards, the overwhelming shift to newer technologies means recruiters must embrace a more dynamic approach.
The Rising Importance of Career Sites
Among the many trends we’ve noticed this year, one fact is that the corporate career website is still the best way to promote a company’s brand. What does this mean for job boards? As more users shift to social sites and search engines to find new opportunities and information about employers, recruiters will find it harder to justify the expense of job boards, especially since there is limited to no opportunity for employer branding and related content on job boards.
Recent research from Bersin by Deloitte showed that career sites were the number one source for hires in 2014. An engaging presence on social media is rapidly becoming a crucial part of any talent acquisition strategy, but powerful career sites can truly anchor a positive candidate experience.
And as candidates continue to shift from desktop to mobile, consumer-quality career sites that deliver the same level of interaction regardless of the device can drive far better traffic into the apply flow than a distant job board. Chasing after job board effectiveness may soon feel just as outdated as taking out an ad in the local paper.
A Future With Far Less Reliance On Job Boards
One of the most interesting things about the digital age is our ability to look inward faster than ever. When it comes to talent acquisition, we already know about the rise of career sites and the decline of job boards. But what are we doing about it? Well for starters, most career sites still haven’t been fully optimized for the mobile-friendly, digitally-savvy global pool of job seekers.
Job alerts, responsive design, good SEO practices, connections to social media—all of these new techniques require a change in strategy, and most don’t come free. But making these changes now, and reducing dependency on job boards, can pay off more than you might think.
Imagine if potential candidates came straight from a Google search to your career site. Or if your talent acquisition team could build up your talent pipeline by nurturing a talent network with email marketing campaigns. Recruiters need not rely on job boards, the same way they need not rely on “Help Wanted” ads anymore.
An online ad may be able to get your message across in a clear, concise way. But a job board would never provide a talent acquisition professional with all the data needed to make informed decisions about candidate experience. Next-generation talent acquisition technologies can help do everything from monitoring the source and location of your traffic, to identifying and fixing gaps in your apply flow, even sending notifications directly to individual candidates. Can you say the same about your own site?
The first step toward making any data-driven decisions is to get a better understanding of analytics in recruiting in general. To learn more read our whitepaper, Analytics in Talent Acquisition: The Hype, the Reality, and the Future.