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TRENDOLOGY 2009: WHAT’S NEXT IN RECRUITMENT ADVERTISING MARCH 2009


SEVEN IMPORTANT TRENDS YOU NEED TO LOOK FOR Whether you are inundated with resumes due to industry layoffs or you are recruiting in categories like healthcare and energy that continue to be highly competitive, Citrus believes there are seven master trends that are worth careful consideration as we move through the recession. Categories including employment branding, rapid shifts in media usage, next generation employment websites and how to leverage new social media should be receiving close examination, and in some cases testing, in 2009 planning and programs.

Trend #1: Powerful employment branding is critical. Most Americans would rather work for Google than Yahoo!, Toyota than Chrysler or Disney than Universal. While many market factors may drive a brand’s awareness and value, it remains incumbent that a corporation’s sourcing and recruitment group control their brand and competitive position at candidate points of contact. You may not be able to manage the corporate balance sheet or press, but you can control your messaging. Your recruitment brand should be built on a sound understanding of your company’s inherent qualities and mission and the needs and aspirations of your candidates. Who you are and what the candidates want to achieve should be aligned just as Toyota did in the “You asked for it, you got it” product positioning and tagline. Can you remember Chrysler’s promise?

Trend #2: Employment websites will become ever more important in supporting the brand position and in actively driving a positive candidate experience. Just being there will not work any more. In most cases, your website will be the first time a candidate interacts with your brand and message. With over 80-90% of candidate visits resulting in bailouts, it’s imperative your website become much more compelling, interactive, involving and sticky. Tools such as video, live chats, podcasts and employee blogs can bring life to your site. But, be very careful. To be frank, boring videos, employee testimonials that sound like every other testimonial in your category, an uninspiring corporate copy voice, poor design and a mind-numbing ATS application process will drive the best candidates away.


Trend #3: Media usage will continue to evolve. The movement from newspaper classifieds to job boards to job board aggregators (like Indeed and SimplyHired) to search engines is continuing and even accelerating. While we knew the aggregators were growing, we were surprised to learn that Indeed and SimplyHired increased unique visitor traffic by 88% and 161% respectively (December 2007 to December 2008). At the same time, Monster declined 9% and CareerBuilder grew 78%. Usage of search engines like Google by job seekers is expanding, as is the sophisticated use of both Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) by savvy recruiters. Push advertising using behavioral marketing – the “pushing” of a recruitment ad directly to an identified target based on past online behavior – is also becoming a powerful tool and has helped Yahoo! HotJobs grow 146% during the December year over year period. (Source: ComScore).

Trend #4: Social media will build new relationships. The essence of social media – Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, flickr and Twitter – is based on building relationships through the free exchange of ideas, opinions and information. Corporations will leverage social media tools and communities to build and grow relationships with both active and passive candidates. We believe it’s imperative that HR management begin to test this important opportunity. Social media tools allow you to create a new world of social-oriented “web experiences” (Facebook fan pages or customized sites using Ning, for example). You can also reach candidates via direct marketing on LinkedIn or by creating a brand presence on YouTube. Learn more about social marketing opportunities in our white paper, “Social Studies 101: Deconstructing the Social Media Revolution.”

Trend #5: Mobile marketing will put your brand in the hands of your employees and candidates. Insights in our mobile marketing white paper (yes, another white paper), “Mobile Marketing: A Good Call” have aided Citrus in developing text-based programs for clients including a major retailer, a state lottery and a ski resort. All of these clients wanted to create a relationship with customers via omnipresent mobile phones. We see building a mobile database as becoming as important as building an email database to stay in touch with your target markets. Mobile marketing should become an element in your overall digital program, a connection tool at job fairs and a tool to create active rather than passive advertising.


Trend #6: Employee referral programs will become more sophisticated. Placing a few ERP posters in the employee lunch room will be replaced with a well-planned integrated marketing program. HR management and CFOs will begin to see the cost effectiveness of using an ERP to find the best employees faster and at a lower cost. Because of this, ERPs will be better supported by senior management, will be developed by savvy marketers and will have smart employee-focused rewards that deliver value and drive targeted referrals. We envision ERPs as having multiple marketing components including highly creative executions, dedicated micro sites and employee-targeted email and mobile messaging. Additionally, a smart ERP will include company-wide recognition of employees that have made successful referrals to heighten awareness and encourage participation.

Trend #7: Employment recruiting will begin to use consumer marketing strategies. It is time to move away from the same old recruitment advertising solutions. Target market definitions must move from the simple definition of skills and experience to understanding that candidates have complex needs and interests. A more complete understanding of candidate psychology will lead to more creative headlines and copy. Print ads, EJBs and even job postings will begin to have the same energy and benefit relevance we see in powerful consumer advertising copy. We’ll see recruiters begin to use more sophisticated copy hooks and fresh photography (vs. that same old stock photo) that will help make your job stand out from the crowd. Here is a text based example from the Apple career site that demonstrates how even the simplest copy can elevate the brand story. Apple, no surprise here, brings life and excitement to what could normally be viewed as a, um boring, job.

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Want to learn more? Want to work with a new kind of recruitment agency that will ignite your advertising with fresh ideas? Contact our President & CEO, Peter Levitan, at 541.419.2309 or plevitan@citrusbnd.com. Need a quick take on us? Visit citrusbegin.com. And, if you’re ready to jettison your current agency today and work with a more ROI-friendly group, try this helpful tool: dearagency.com.

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Recruitment Marketing Trends