Archive for October, 2006

Corporate Recruitment Blogs - getting up close and personal

Monday, October 30th, 2006

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Do you have a weblog (blog)?  There are nearly 60 million blogs.  Over 175,000 new blogs are added each day and bloggers update their blogs regularly, with over 1.6 million posts per day (or over 18 updates a second).  Actually these figures are probably quite conservative, if we add the likes of social networking platforms like MySpace with their blog functionality, claiming 230,000 new accounts per day.  Blogs allow people to showcase themselves and their desired personal brand, to share their personality, philosophies and thoughts using words, pictures, video, and audio.  Blogs are interactive; they typically invite input from others, allowing people to connect, share, question, network, develop relationships, and build online communities.
 

What about blogs in a business context?
While personal blogging is going off with a whizz and a bang, things are happening at a much slower pace when it comes to companies jumping on the blogging band wagon.  I’m actually struggling to find any blogs on the websites of large New Zealand or Australian corporates (or even standalone blogs specifically promoting their products or services), so please share if you are aware of any.  According to research in the United States, only 40 (8%) of the Fortune 500 have official corporate blogs.  Taking a quick glance of a selection of these 40 sites, I noticed the different ways these companies present their blogs.  I think PR companies have been involved in writing the content of some blogs, chief executives feature prominently as key contributors, and some even devolve contributions or separate ‘company-branded’ blogs to employees – the creative writing skills on some sites are very impressive.  (By the way, IBM has a good policy for its employees on acceptable blogging.)  Many blog entries were updates about new products or innovations, whereas some talked more about their company culture and daily work challenges and/or encouraged customer interaction and input.  I was quite amazed by the large number of comments, feedback and queries some of these blogs receive.

Market research by Tekrati Inc, an independent United States research company, has indicated that nearly 70 percent of all corporate website operators plan to implement corporate blogs by the end of 2006.


Does a corporate blog make good business sense?   
A blog gives a company a human face and its own voice.  Blogs can make a corporation seem more approachable.  Some blog contributors are doing a great job of being seen as “thought leaders” in their areas of specialisation, in educating customers and encouraging their buy-in, addressing customer issues and acting on this feedback – free market research!  Jonathan Schwartz, CEO of Sun Microsystems comments in his popular blog:

We’ve moved from the information age to the participation age, and trust is the currency of the participation age. Companies need to speak with one voice and be authentic. Blogging allows you to speak out authentically on your own behalf, and in the long run people will recognize that. Do it consistently and they trust you.
 

What about ‘corporate recruitment blogs’ then?
This is where things are getting very interesting.  Keeping the above benefits in mind, corporate recruitment blogs provide a real opportunity and great promise in really connecting with jobseekers.  Pioneers, like Microsoft, have been recruitment blogging for a few years.  I find the contributors to their Jobsblog site to be personable (not PR-ish) and informative.  They provide a range of tips and appear to offer transparency about the Microsoft recruitment process, especially in response to jobseeker queries. 
As I read the entries I also get a feel for the sort of attributes they are looking for in a candidate (more than can be gauged from a job description and a typical vacancies page), which would assist jobseekers to decide whether they should apply or not in the first place.  Jobsblog have recently started an Australian entry, which includes some specific information relevant to a New Zealand audience.


Another couple of sites are worth a mention. 

  • Cadbury-Schweppes have launched their 2007 graduate recruitment programme with an updated recruitment blog. They were one of the first graduate employers in the UK to launch a graduate recruitment blog when they started one in 2005.  The blog offers MP3 downloads, including interviews with former graduates sharing their experiences.  The site also features a series of day-in-the-life blogs which are published by their current graduate hires. The blog is attributed to a 50 percent increase in applications between 2004 and 2005.  
  • I find Ogilvy’s UK graduate blog site to be very appealing. They have cleverly posted information under key headings (What Ogilvy isn’t, People, Our Work, About Ogilvy, Pay & Benefits, Training) and invited comments from jobseekers.  Answers are posted by people who have been through the Ogilvy graduate programme.    
     


The dynamic approach offered by these recruitment blogs is a refreshing move away from the static approach of a lot of corporate careers sites and vacancies pages.  It seems to make links on a traditional vacancies page, like “our culture”, with just a lot of written formulaic text, somewhat redundant and empty.    

Paul Jacobs
Engage

I’m going to post 100 million jobs on this job board

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

It seems like a month doesn’t go by without the launch of a new online NZ job board.  They launch with a hiss and roar and let us know that their unique offering will be number one with advertisers and jobseekers.

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A new kid on the block, myjobspace.co.nz, launched a few months ago and has amassed an impressive 8664 listed vacancies – and they haven’t even fully marketed the product yet, with a range of print, outdoor, radio and TV campaigns planned.  Jobseekers, of course, also need to become aware of the site. 
 

So what’s attractive about these guys? 
One word: “unlimited”.  Their model is a bit like an “all you can eat” restaurant.  Instead of paying for each job posted (as per traditional pricing models), advertisers pay a single price, a subscription of $149 per year, and can post as many jobs as they want.  Actually, you can post for free until 15 November 2006 and be in to win up to $15,000 in cash prizes.  Spam them I say :-).  Oh I can see that recruitment agencies and employers have already started doing this. 

The kiwi founders, Gary Collins (publishing executive) and Pete Glen (advertising specialist), comment on their website that the fees being charged by other sites are “unjustified”.  They add: 

Our mission has been to develop the most affordable and effective job marketing platform in the world for the benefit of all employers and job hunters. If we can deliver a service for hundreds of dollars that others are charging thousands for, there’s something wrong with the picture. Prices have been kept artificially high because these sites are owned by multi-national corporations with an agenda that has nothing to do with Kiwi business. Their driving force is the maintenance of revenues as traditional classified advertising is replaced by the online market.
 

Do you like the name ‘myjobspace’? 

It sounds very reminiscent to me of ‘MySpace’ the leading social networking website.  Can we expect a YouJobTube to be launched shortly?  Quick, register the domain name!  Myjobspace.com.au is taken – the Kiwis plan to launch in Australia next year.
  
I think the true test of any job board, new or existing, is whether it is a source of quality hires.  Just because a site has heaps of vacancies listed or receives record traffic, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is targeting the best candidates.  From my experience, some job boards are better at targeting different groups of candidates with different specialist skill sets.  The skilled recruiter will recognise these differences and use them to their advantage.

Paul Jacobs
Engage

Sourcing jobseekers online – beyond the traditional job board – part 1

Wednesday, October 11th, 2006

In parallel to the traditional job boards doing their thing, there are a lot of developments in the non-traditional jobseeker sourcing technology space happening in NZ and overseas.  Upcoming posts will explore a range of innovations, like online referral networks and online communities.  We will also explore some nifty additions to job board functionality (eg multimedia candidate profiles) and touch on the explosion of specialist job boards.

To kick things off and give you a small taste of what’s out there I would like to introduce you to a Zubka, a UK-based site with a NZ presence, which launched mid-August. 

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The ethos behind Zubka is that anyone can become like a recruitment consultant and get rewarded money-wise for their part in sourcing the right person for a vacancy.  It is like an externally run Employee Referral Programme.  Zubka encourages financially motivated referrers to introduce their friends, colleagues, and other contacts to jobs.  If someone they referred is hired then the Referrer is rewarded a fixed dollar amount, worked out on a sliding scale.  Zubka make money by charging the Hirer a fee in addition to a small fee they initially paid for posting the vacancy.  For example, for a role between NZ$60,000 - 89,999, the Hirer is charged $5,000 and the Referrer is rewarded $4,000.  Zubka highlight that this fee structure is considerably more cost-effective than using a recruitment agency.

The advantage of such a system is that it reaches the often untapped market of potential new hires that are not necessarily registered with recruitment agencies, not actively looking for a new job, whom are currently employed, performing well, and need a little coercion to put themselves forward for other opportunities by their trusted acquaintances in their network.

Zubka has similarities with popular online networking systems like LinkedIn.  As a recruiter you can then use your network to help source the perfect candidate for those hard to fill roles.  You can post jobs out to your network (and your network’s network) and ask for referrals. Unlike Zubka, there is no monetary reward with LinkedIn.  Zubka, and H3 in the United States, provide some additional incentives to refer.  H3 is slightly different in its fee structure, allowing the Hirer to choose how much the “bounty” is for a vacancy.  H3 also split this bounty if the Referrer was assisted by other H3 users, rewarding others in your network.

podcast.jpgFor more information I recommend listening to the podcast of David Shieldhouse, Co-founder of Zubka in Jim Stroud’s Recruiters Lounge.

Paul Jacobs
Engage