The way we go about looking for new jobs is changing. In reality it has been evolving for many years as jobseekers adopt new technologies and use them in different ways to find their next job. For many recruiters though it is often the technology that is the barrier rather than the way it is used. For example we initially focus too much on whether we should use mobile or digital tools rather than look at the ways our candidates start using them to search, connect and apply for the jobs we need to fill.
It isn't just the application process that is affected. There's a wealth of online content, information and data available about our companies and our employees, so that job seekers are no longer in the dark about the type of company we are to work for, and what our people think about us. They are interacting with our customer service teams, liking our Facebook pages, and forming perceptions of our culture before looking to see what roles we have on offer. Job adverts need to reflect more than a list of duties (who wants to apply to a checklist anyway?) and tell a story about the role, how it fits in and adds value to the wider business.
Recruiters need to think about where to share jobs and how potential candidates are likely to interact with them. To do this they need to look at how job seeking behaviours are changing, and what's driving them.
Job searches increasingly start with a search engine, most probably Google. Before our career site, a job board or listing, social media platform, or LinkedIn there's likely to be a search for jobs in a specific skill sector or location. How will they find us and what will be the link that leads them to our vacancies? How do we share our job postings? It isn’t only the vacancies though; once they find a role at a company that's of interest then a Google search like 'What's it like to work at xxxxx' will lead them to comments and reviews on sites, blogs and forums that can help with the decision on whether to apply or not.
Increasingly one of the sites that a search for your working environment takes them to will be Glassdoor. It would be a mistake to assume that all job seekers will there are some reviews by ex-employees about their experience. There are reviews about the working environment, and also about the interview process (including difficulty), approval ratings for the CEO and a chance to 'recommend to a friend'. Information is shared about salaries and benefits, the type of interview questions asked, application experience and also lists of jobs. And Companies have a 'why you should work for us' section to showcase employer brand, vision and values and key benefits.
With mobile device ownership now ubiquitous amongst job seekers its no surprise to find them mirroring personal and consumer behaviours in the way they use them to search and apply for their next roles. Well over half of visitors to job sites will be using a mobile device and searching is done whenever and wherever they want. No longer restricted to core working hours or to an office environment, they might be commuting, multi tasking whilst watching TV or even in bed. 8am and 10pm are two key times for job searching through a mobile - do recruiters know when to post jobs to get optimum response? With quick, easy searching comes the expectation of quick, easy application processes, as candidates click through on jobs that interest them. And they won't hang around - recent US research showed that 10.6% of candidates clicking through to a job on a mobile device will complete a process that asks fewer than 25 questions, with that figure halving when there are 50 questions. Long, drawn out processes deter them from applying.
Job seekers use social networks. Survey results may vary but well over 80% of them will be on Facebook and a growing number using Twitter. Even students are now encouraged to start building their online profiles in preparation for job hunting. Job seekers expect to connect and be found and to use social platforms to research potential employers and get advice on CVs, interviewing and career options. Hiring businesses need to think about how they share jobs and employer branding content. If a job seeker likes your Facebook page are they likely to see information about your open jobs? If they have an interest in your industry or sector, and use Twitter to talk about it, is there a way they can find your vacancies?
We're much more connected now. Everyone has a network. There are those who believe that the traditional 6 degrees of separation is now only 4 or even 3. Job seekers are now closer to their next job then ever before. They could be connected to the recruiter or share social media groups with them. They may already have interacted with their future employer through social media channels. And how about friends, friends of friends, or contacts of contacts? Applicants and recruiters are probably already connected to their next employer or hire - it's just they don't know it yet or haven't worked out how to leverage the connection.
Whatever is driving their behaviour, job seekers are doing things differently. They use a variety of channels and information sources and don't see the process of looking for their next role as a 9-to-5 job. It happens any time, through any channel and from any location. Smart recruiters need to focus on how and when to reach them - and how to grab, and keep, their interest too.