Tony Restell

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Ex-Strategy Consultant | Founder: and| Entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in online recruitment and social media | Head of --> Social Media Marketing Agency for the Recruitment industry.

Please feel free to send me your questions any time!

Social Recruiting - The Secret To Securing a Positive ROI

I love the saying "if you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there".

Since founding Social-Hire this phrase has taken on a new significance - and gets to the very heart of why teams often struggle to get positive ROI from their investment in social recruiting. So many of the businesses who come to us for help with figuring out their social media strategy are guilty of this most basic of failings: they don't know - in concrete terms - what it is that they want their social media presence to deliver for the business.

Are You Guilty?

Indulge me while I paraphrase the typical conversation we have with businesses:

Caller: We're conscious we're not doing enough as a business to exploit social media. I mean, all the candidates are on there nowadays so we've got to make sure we're there too.

Social-Hire: So what would constitute success for you, what would you like to see happening once you've figured out how to build a better recruiting presence on social media?

Caller: Well we'd like to have more followers on our accounts, targeted followers from our industry. A good mixture of clients and candidates, so that more and more people know our business.

Social-Hire: So how would you see that converting into more placement fees for your business / more candidate applications / more conversations with prospective recruiter clients?

Caller: Good question. I hadn't thought that far ahead to be honest - I just know we can't afford to be left behind...

The Aha Moment

So allow me to share with you an Aha moment that should help you to get better ROI from your social recruiting efforts than pretty much any of your competitors.

You have to think of your social media presence like a sales funnel:

Getting ROI from your social media recruiting presence
Figure 1: The Social Media Sales Funnel

This funnel starts with defining the people your business needs to win over. And it finishes with the desired action you'd want these people to take so that they actually become valuable to your business. You see a follower has limited business value. A prospective client who's requested a call with your recruitment agency, well that's a totally different proposition.

Breaking Down The Social Media Sales Funnel

So we start with the target audience that our business wants to reach with social media. Define them thoroughly. What are their job titles, what publications do they read, what tools and services are they likely to use, what industry events are they likely to attend, who do they look up to and seek advice from already?

The next step is to ensure that we've created our social media profiles - and the content strategy for what we'll share on those profiles - with that defined target audience in mind. What would make those people want to follow us? What type of insights are they most likely to find valuable? If we can get these things right, our social media pages will become high-converting "landing pages" - meaning that for any given number of our target audience who visit our profiles, there'll be a high proportion (30-40% is possible) who will choose to follow us and receive our updates on an ongoing basis.

Once we have built a strong audience of followers from our target demographic, we need to experiment with the types of content shares and updates that are most likely to spark interactions with them, or have them decide to reshare our posts with their followers. It's these actions on our updates that really provide the spark for a business relationship to be formed. So being on top of the data and knowing what types of updates produce the desired interactions is key.

If you achieve this much, that's great. It's already a lot more than many recruiting teams and recruitment businesses are achieving with their social media presence. But on its own, even this is not enough....

Social Recruiting ROI Needs A Call To Action

As a business, you need to have offers you can put to this target audience that causes them to take the course of action that you want them to take. That could be submitting a resume for a free critique from your team; it could be booking in a time for a call to gain your insights about the state of the hiring market; it could be signing up to an alert service to be notified as new jobs go live on your careers pages.

Each business will be different. But the key thing is that you have a variety of "offers" you can put to prospects as you interact on social media. So that instead of saying "Thanks so much for the RT" you're instead saying "Really appreciate the RT, perhaps we could repay you by reviewing your Resume?"

It's these messages that elevate simple followers of your company accounts into potential clients or candidates that your team can actually act upon to generate real business results.

Much has been written about recruitment converging with marketing. In the sphere of social media this is absolutely true. An effective recruiter has to be thinking of the team's social media recruiting presence as a sales funnel. Consider the following:

  • How we can reach as much of the target demographic as possible can be finessed
  • How well our social media profiles convert visits into follows can be fine-tuned
  • How effectively we engage prospects in actual conversations can be refined
  • How well our calls to action convert into actual actions being taken can be A/B tested

Are you working through each of these points in your business and constantly optimising your social media presence to get better and better results? I thought not!

The truth is, these activities resemble a racing car team trying to tweak every element to squeeze yet more performance out of the whole package. Social recruiting is no different - and if you want ROI from your efforts then thinking of it as a sales funnel - and then refining each element of the funnel - is the route to go down to get results.

Need Help?

If this sounds daunting and you'd like to pick our brains some more about what your business should be doing to leverage social media, we'd be very happy to help. We can provide an outsourced service to build your social media recruitment presence or just schedule a free call to brainstorm what your next steps should be. You're welcome to book in a call time below to get started - speak soon!

Schedule a social recruiting call


Tony Restell is the Founder of and helps candidates and recruiters leverage social media. A published author and Cambridge graduate, you’re welcome to reach out to Tony on @tonyrestell


Video Technology in Recruitment - Insider Insights

We had the pleasure of welcoming the Launchpad Recruits team to present on a recent webinar about the use of video technology in recruitment. The insights, which you can access via the recording below, really opened our eyes to the variety of ways companies can benefit from making greater use of video technologies in the hiring process.

Video Technology in Recruitment

Background: Video Technology in Recruitment

When you talk about using video for recruitment, most people will assume you're talking about conducting job interviews via Skype. Some might think of introducing some element of video into their candidate attraction campaigns. But the impact of the technologies being deployed today is much more far-reaching.

Kirstie Kelly, Director at Launchpad, talked us through some of the ways that clients are using their tools as an illustration of ways that video technology is being used in recruitment. The angle that most intrigued me on the call was the use of recorded candidate responses to pre-assigned interview questions.

For initial candidate screening, this seems a game changer. Instead of trying to whittle that pile of CVs down with a quick scan, why not form that opinion from watching the candidate answer a couple of questions that provide the insights you need to make the right calls?

Changing the Economics of Recruiting

For a variety of reasons this seems highly attractive. Firstly, any company can effectively "interview" a far greater number of candidates, greatly increasing the chances that the "star candidates" will be uncovered in the screening process. But just as important, the candidate experience is greatly enhanced. Gone is the frustration that the vast majority of candidates never make it to interview stages and are left feeling rejected and disengaged. In its place is a process that means far more candidates are left feeling positive about the company and its hiring process. In an era where the Candidate Experience is viewed as being all important, this could well prove to be a game changer.

What intrigued me even more though was the example of professional services firms using a similar approach as part of their Final Round interviewing process. At first you'd think this is counterintuitive. Why put your most valued candidates through a process that seems less personal? But the reality is that this approach allows all the Partners / hiring decision makers to see the exact same performance of each candidate and so more readily reach a final hiring decision that everyone has bought into. This contrasts with the more traditional round of final interviews, where each Partner has a differing opinion of the interview performances of each final round candidate. I'll be honest, until this approach was laid bare I wouldn't have even contemplated this as a way that video could be effectively used to improve (rather than streamline) the hiring process!

Video Technology in Recruitment: Webinar Recording

Well without further delay I share with you the webinar recording below. I must say a special thanks to Kirstie and the Launchpad Recruits team for having battled through a connectivity issue they faced part way through the session. I hope you find it an enlightening session and if you're contemplating experimenting with video for recruitment in your own business, do take advantage of Launchpad's 30 day trial offer as a great way of exploring what's possible.

Have these insights been helpful? Please do consider sharing with your networks via the buttons below:

Cutting Edge Recruitment Insights from the IBM Smarter Workforce Summit

This month has seen IBM's Smarter Workforce event come to London, a roadshow for HR, Recruiting and Learning & Development Leaders that takes place in North America, Europe and Asia. I was fortunate to join this year's event as an HR Influencer and so pick up on the insights being shared with ~800 executives from many of the world's leading employers.

IBM Smarter Workforce

There were some fun observations made in the opening remarks that served to set the tone for the rest of the day. But they should also act as a warning shot across all our bows, as they illustrate just how quickly digital advances can make approaches and business models obsolete.

My favourite was the observation that the Encyclopedia Britannica - a business that was around for 243 years - found itself wiped out by the emergence of Wikipedia in a period of little more than a decade.


Examples are of course commonplace, both within recruiting and beyond. In just a few short years newspapers' Appointments sections were pretty much eradicated by the emergence of job boards. In fact many print publications went to the wall having failed to adapt. And in the wider business world there are examples like Kodak being decimated by the emergence of digital cameras and Blockbuster by video streaming services.

These precedents are fascinating because they remind us that HR and Recruiting approaches that seem futuristic and avant-garde could easily be mainstream and business critical within just a few short years.

IBM's Jonathan Ferrar cemented this point with the revelation that being able to send a text by thinking is expected to be feasible within 5 years. Within HR and Recruiting, we all must be acutely aware of just how fast our landscape could change in just a matter of years.

So with that backdrop set, what were the main messages I took from the sessions?

Firstly there's an acknowledgement that Big Data is something that we're barely making use of as yet - particularly in Europe. But what if we could achieve a step-change in this area? What if you could determine that your best performers all live within a really small commute of the company offices for example? The implications for your recruiting strategy, the effectiveness of your onboarding, your retention strategy... all could be massively impacted. Indeed the repercussions could be felt across HR and the wider business:


Secondly there was a common theme from panelists and delegates that companies are struggling to adapt to the pace of change. Technological advances are happening at a rate that corporates are struggling to keep pace with - and various aspects of HR and Recruitment have been left behind. Linked to this, HR as a profession has historically been quite fearful of technology, not wanting to be left exposed - which in itself has hampered the speed of adoption. As a profession, we need to move from a "fear of the future" mindset to one oriented towards the "fear of missing out".

For me this was a fascinating take-away from the sessions. In an era when the availability of data and access to the latest tools is better than it's ever been, we might expect the effectiveness of recruiting and HR teams to converge. But actually the opposite seems - anecdotally at least - to be the case. With so many new technologies to experiment with and understand - and different skillsets required to fully leverage these technologies - modern companies are highly likely to have "dropped the ball" in certain key areas as their focus is diverted to exploiting a handful of the myriad of tools and data sets available to the modern HR executive.

Thirdly - and maybe something of a solution to the above - is the initiative by IBM to launch Open HR and make it easier for third party tools and applications to dovetail with its own suite of offerings and therefore make the HR Executive's life easier. Expect to see lots of announcements and developments in this space over the coming months.

The final message I took away is a heartening one. The combination of mobile and cloud solutions has propelled the importance of HR on the CEO agenda. So the potential for HR practitioners to secure the budgets they need and the resources they crave may now be a step closer.

Bring on #SWF2016 - it'll be interesting to see how much the conversation has moved on a year from now!


5 Signs Your Recruiting Team Is Drowning in Social

Social media seems so straightforward - and it follows that recruiting via social media ought to be straightforward too. Unfortunately, nothing is further from the truth. There is great competitive advantage to be had from mastering social recruiting approaches, but many recruiting teams are simply drowning when it comes to having social media produce genuine recruiting results.

Recruiting with Social Media

Here are 5 tell-tale signs to help you determine if your company's recruitment team is drowning in social:

1) There's no clear candidate targeting. What types of candidates are you trying to reach? Passive? Active? What are their job titles? Which competitors are you eager to target? Which types of roles are you best placed to fill via social media? If this hasn't been clearly documented and communicated to all your recruiting team, how can you expect everyone to be pulling in the same direction on social?

2) There's no coherent message. What makes people choose to work for your company rather than your competitors? What types of people does that suggest you need to be appealing to? Has your messaging been optimised to consistently appeal to this demographic? Most importantly, has this been communicated to all your recruiting team so that everyone's updates reinforce the wider company message you want potential candidates to see in the marketplace?

3) There's no conversion strategy. Once you're winning followers and interacting with the types of candidates you'd like to hire, what conversion process have you put in place to turn possible interest into concrete actions that candidates take to bring them into your hiring funnel? (P.S. simply sharing your latest jobs with them falls way short of what's needed).

4) There's no test, learn, test process. From the content you share... to the messaging you use... to the social media advertising you pay for - every element of social recruiting can be tested and perfected. Getting consistently better results means you have to be constantly testing out new approaches, new messages, new conversion strategies - and then adjusting your social approach based on what's working best.

5) There's no dedicated resource. Are there people in your business dedicated to mastering each social site and whose time is allocated to building your social recruiting capability? If not, this is a sure-fire way to have your team drown in social. It's commonplace that recruiters are tasked with developing a social recruiting brand presence and trying out social approaches alongside their regular day job.

The problem is, these side responsibilities are always the first things to be sacrificed and so the company never really builds any momentum or generates the necessary degree of expertise in social recruiting. You simply must have some dedicated resource - either in-house or by buying it in from external social media experts.

If your conclusion is that your organisation is drowning in social, we can help by providing an outsourced service to build your social media recruitment presence. Or if it's immediate candidate applications you need, we can help by mastering for you the challenge of advertising your vacancies to candidates on social media in the most effective manner. Please do reach out any time we can help - just book in a call time below to get started.

Schedule a social recruiting call


Tony Restell is the Founder of and helps candidates and recruiters leverage social media. A published author and Cambridge graduate, you’re welcome to reach out to Tony on @tonyrestell


5 Reasons You're Not Attracting Candidates on Social Media

If you're like the majority of recruiters we meet, you'll recently have been tasked with broadening your team's candidate attraction strategy to counter the ever more challenging hiring climate. Quite possibly you're also being stretched to figure out ways you can consistently and swiftly attract candidate interest on social media.

Attracting Candidates on Social Media

If you're having a hard time delivering on that challenge, you're by no means alone... Indeed it's one of the most common issues we hear when we're speaking to recruiters on a one-on-one consultation.

So what can you do to turn things around? Well the following success factors should help - these are factors we consistently see contributing to our clients' success when running hiring campaigns across social media. How many can you genuinely say you're doing so effectively that you're way ahead of the competition (because that's where you need to be if you want to be attracting the best talent, right?)

1) Running targeted advertising campaigns on social media

Most recruiters who are getting disappointing results from social media are focused on pushing out job posts on their own social media accounts. This barely scratches the surface in terms of reaching your target candidate audience - and also risks alienating your network if you start to do it more than occasionally. Did people really connect with you on LinkedIn or follow you on Twitter to get nothing but a barrage of job posts appearing from you in their feeds? Not likely - and chances are they'll only tolerate this for so long.

So the first step in successfully attracting candidates on social media is to research all the social sites that your target candidates use - and then put in the hard miles to understand the advertising solutions that these sites offer. Each one differs - and each has its own things to focus on perfecting in order to get the maximum results. But if done properly, your job adverts and hiring campaigns can be put in front of a sizeable proportion of the entire candidate market that you'd like your employer brand and hiring message to be reaching. We're talking here about a totally different scale of reach from what can be achieved by simply advertising on a job board or posting a job on LinkedIn alone. It's not quite saturation of your target candidate market, but it's light years ahead of the reach that you used to get in the days of using mere job boards alone.

One word of warning though. When trying to attract candidates on social media in this way, campaigns can prove costly if not done right. Each social site has a bidding system of sorts for advertisers. The worse your adverts are at attracting interest, the more that site will charge you for each click or engagement that they do generate. So a recruiting team that masters how to get results can outperform their lesser rivals several fold. That's outperforming both in terms of the total market reached and also in terms of the budget required to make a campaign a success. To reach this pinnacle, always be testing to uncover what works best and what messages and ad formats produce the greatest response. Then tweak and refine accordingly.

(Note: if this all sounds too much for you to take on yourself, you can of course work with us on a campaign by campaign basis by commissioning our job posting service)

2) Not targeting your recruiting campaigns to the right devices

If you want to attract candidates via social media, you have to be acutely aware that the majority of all social media usage takes place on mobile devices. The implications of this threaten the very success of your hiring campaigns (and if you didn't know that already, be sure to pay particular attention to what follows...)

The first question to ask yourself is whether the job advert you are going to direct people to is optimised for mobile? If you don't have a mobile optimised job advert then you need to either i) invest in getting this fixed (we can help with that) or ii) restrict your social media advertising campaigns so that they are shown only to people using desktop computers rather than mobile devices (which in itself obviously undermines your efforts to reach as many target hires as possible).

Next up - and equally as important - is the question of whether the application process you'll be asking candidates to complete is mobile-friendly? If it's not then you'll get a lot of quality candidates viewing your advert on a mobile device, who are then frustrated when they find it almost impossible to apply from their mobiles (and many of the best candidates will just abandon the process rather than battle through). If you don't have a mobile-friendly apply option then you need to either i) invest in getting one (we can help with that too) or ii) restrict your social media advertising campaigns to only being shown to people using desktop computers rather than mobile devices (with the caveat again that you're leaving a large chunk of your target audience unexposed to your employer brand and hiring message).

This second point cannot be stressed enough. Data now shows that candidates are several times less likely to apply from a mobile device than from a desktop computer, unless you've ensured that your process allows them to do so with just a click or two whilst browsing on their smartphones. I sometimes hear recruiters say things like "well we only want candidates who are really committed to working for us - and those people will find a way to apply later when they're back at a PC." Fortunately I'm hearing this less and less nowadays - I say fortunately because this is dillusional thinking. Unless you're hiring for Apple or Tesla, great candidates will simply move onto other opportunities rather than fret about how they've missed out on applying to yours. So to attract candidates on social media you've got to have in the back of your mind that you're attracting candidates on their mobiles.

3) Not having a laser-focus on reaching the right candidate demographics on social media

This one's simple. Or at least simple in concept, rather than necessarily execution. Your shortlist of candidates can only ever be as good as the pool of candidates who saw the role advertised in the first place. So taking the time to carefully target who will see your job adverts on social media is a key step in getting results. Targeting long tail results - much as you would do with SEO - is one of many approaches you must use to do this.

The benefits when it comes to attracting candidates on social media are twofold. Firstly, the likelihood of enough of the right people seeing your advert is greatly increased - and so your shortlist is strengthened. But secondly, what you'll be charged for generating interest will also come down in price if your advert is more effective at converting views into clicks - which is a spin-off benefit of getting your targeting right (you guessed it, we can help with candidate targeting too!)

4) Not using imagery and imaginative copy

Using images in your social campaigns can dramatically increase response rates. Visually appealing social media adverts are more likely to be clicked on. And job listings that are visually appealing - even going so far as to incorporate video - are also far more likely to convert.

This is all part of having imaginative and engaging copy for your campaigns. Throw out the dull adverts derived from monotone job descriptions. Instead opt for something that excites your target audience and makes them want to take action. Why do people choose to work at your company, what are some of the exciting things that await a successful candidate, what does your ideal hire look like? Connect with candidates on a personal level and in an engaging manner and your job listings are far more likely to convert candidates attracted on social media.

This is just one of many ways in which recruiting has become more akin to marketing. You've got to master writing great ad copy as one of several key steps that maximise your candidate attraction and then maximise your conversion rates. Every stage of the process where you lose great candidates is a weakness in your hiring effectiveness. Amazon would plug those holes if they were losing potential customers on their site. You need to do likewise in your hiring campaigns on social media.

5) Not having a strong recruiting brand on social media

It's been talked about for years in sales & marketing. People are more likely to buy from those they know and trust. Word of mouth recommendation is a powerful motivator to consider a company you hadn't - to that point - been considering buying from.

The same is true of recruitment.

Every time a candidate sees your recruiting brand on social media, you're that little bit more familiar to them. Every time a candidate sees other people in their networks interacting with you or re-sharing your updates, they become more inclined to pay attention to what you have to say.

It therefore stands to reason that a recruiting team with a strong recruiting brand on social media will outperform other businesses when advertising jobs via social media. When candidates see your sponsored job listing in their Facebook feed or Twitter stream, the chances of them clicking through to check out the position are boosted if yours is a recruiting brand they already have some affinity with. Of course, attracting candidates on social media via a strong recruiting brand presence is a project all of its own. But it's nonetheless one you should consider investing in if you're serious about attracting candidates via social.

Concluding Remarks

The overwhelming majority of recruiters I speak with feel they aren't getting the results they ought to be getting from social media. One key reason for this is that they've restricted their activities to reaching purely the pool of candidates in their own networks. Another is that they've limited themselves to paying for additional reach only on LinkedIn (reach ~350m people, many of whom are sporadic users at best) and neglected to invest in social media that reaches a far larger audience (1 billion+ additional people) in a far shorter timescale (active Twitter and Facebook users tend to use the platforms multiple times a day). Yet another is that their lack of a mobile-friendly recruiting experience repels the candidates they are succeeding in reaching via social.

None of the above is insurmountable - and hopefully these insights will give you the pointers you need to turn things around. If you still need more help getting results from social media, by all means book in a time to speak with one of our team and we'd be delighted to help if we can.


Facebook Recruiting - How Recruiting Has Evolved

I've been preparing a keynote speech for a Recruiting event this month - and in doing so have had cause to revisit the ways that recruiting has evolved. And also some ways in which it is yet to have fully evolved!

Two key things really stood out as I thought about this. Firstly, being effective at recruiting has become extremely complex - in ways that you have to understand to be successful. And secondly, we've barely scratched the surface when it comes to being effective at recruiting on platforms like Facebook.

Facebook Recruiting Evolution

How Recruiting Became Complex

If I go back ten or fifteen years, recruiting was pretty simple. A recruiter would have their way of generating candidate interest. That might have been through direct headhunting approaches, it might have been through advertising jobs. Candidates didn't have the opportunity to interact with a company or its recruiters unless they were invited in for interview. And that interviewing process could be refined and perfected. The variables influencing a candidate's perception of a company - and the role on offer - were limited.

Fast forward to today and recruiting is so much more complex. A recruiter looking to generate candidate interest will find that their efforts are helped or hindered by the perception candidates have already formed about an employer. Whether it's from your social media presence or a glance at Glassdoor, candidates are far more likely to have an opinion about the companies they'd like to work for today. This, of course, is a perception that recruiters can seek to influence in ways that they couldn't previously - and indeed didn't even need to think about previously. Plus, of course, candidates can now interact with people from your company at any point in the recruiting process - and every one of those interactions has repercussions for whether a successful hiring outcome is achieved.

Then there are the options for actually generating candidate interest, which have ballooned. Where once you kept tabs on the best performing job boards, today you can find and approach candidates direct - through a variety of channels. Where once you relied on a job board's audience for candidates, today you can put your jobs in front of the exact audience that you want to reach, or have them marketed out to your company's employee network via social referral tools. The options have multiplied beyond recognition - and so the job of knowing what produces the best ROI has become insanely difficult too.

That's before we even consider the issue of mobile recruiting. You can have mastered all the other elements of recruiting, but if you aren't able to market roles to people on their smartphones then you're increasingly missing out on reaching both the passive and the active candidate market. And if your apply options aren't mobile-friendly then the conversions you achieve from everything else you do are fundamentally undermined.

This is all a far cry from how things used to be. A company achieving disappointing recruiting results you could usually diagnose down to one of a handful of potential flaws in the hiring process. Today the permutations of cause and effect are mind-boggling. Getting great hiring results is arguably a greater competitive advantage today than it has ever been.

Being Effective at Recruiting on Platforms Like Facebook

All of which brings me to the second point, that we're still only just scratching the surface of what's possible when it comes to recruiting with tools like Facebook. Just think for a moment how many recruiters you see sharing their jobs on LinkedIn, Twitter and the like. Just think how many are advertising on job boards. Put simply, these recruiters are hoping that some fraction of the audience they need to reach will see their vacancy.

Yet how many recruiters do you know who have taken the opposite approach? How many have started from the point of saying "we need to reach this specific demographic of candidates (or competitors' employees) - now how can we reach that specific audience through targeted promotions on social media?"

The answer I suspect is very few - certainly if your recruiter network mirrors the broader market that I talk to. For whilst there's widespread targeting of candidates on LinkedIn, the ~1 billion candidates who are more active on other social sites are more or less overlooked. Which is just one example of many that convince me we're still only scratching the surface here. On which note, I leave you with the thought: what approaches will you develop these next months that will leave your competitors in your wake?


Job Advertising - A Checklist for Success

I've been an entrepreneur in the online recruitment market for over 15 years. I have built two successful start-ups in that time and sold one of my businesses to a major newspaper group. Several things have really struck me during that time - and one of them is that you can never share too many times the steps that should be followed to be successful in online advertising.

Job Advertising ChecklistThe reason for this I think is quite understandable. Recruiters aren't experts on the various advertising platforms they use. You post jobs only sporadically and so in many instances never get to the point that you know instinctively what's going to work on any given advertising platform.

That's why it's the job of anyone selling job advertising to be constantly helping recruiters to understand what they could be doing to be more effective. These are the people who see campaign after campaign, see what's working and what's not. These are the people with the insights you need to become more effective with your recruitment advertising campaigns.

So with that in mind, I'd like to share here a few tips you can implement today to be more effective with the job posts you're publishing. As hiring markets rebound strongly in both the US and UK, hopefully these insights can help you at just the point where you find yourself under pressure to deliver.

Choose your job board wisely

Where you advertise your roles is the foundation for success. Does the platform reach a large audience of your target hires and is it optimised to generate applications from that audience? This is the reason why so many corporate careers pages still only make a modest contribution to total applications. It's also why online news sites typically underperform in generating candidate applicants when compared with dedicated jobs boards. The site must have both the audience that you're targeting - and a design that puts securing job applications above everything else. Do the ones you're using tick those boxes?

Inspire your candidate audience

I'm assuming you would like to attract great people to join your business. Great people are generally successful and mostly not in a position that they have to change jobs. They can certainly be won over to make a change. They may already have decided that it's time to move on. But they will probably be courted by multiple suitors and so you're competing in a battle to win them over to your business.

At no point in the hiring process can this battle be lost more infuriatingly than at the point where your vacancy is advertised. Within a minute of considering your business as an employer, I may be enthused and inspired to want to work for you. Or I may be alienated by the clear disinterest the recruiter has shown in posting something that might stand out.

The two culprits here are the internal PR department and the loathsome job description. Both yank a recruiter's attention away from what you absolutely need to be focusing on - how can I make this role really appeal to the people I want to reach?

Take your draft job advert and imagine showing it to someone on your team who's the calibre of candidate you'd really like to attract. Now ask them - does this advert remind you of all the reasons you chose to join our company? If the answer is no, it's time to start afresh. Your job advert should sell why the opportunity is a great opportunity. It should convey why people love working in your business. It should appeal to people's desire to be happy and to better themselves professionally. Unfortunately the standard PR Department "company introduction + death-by-bullet-point list of requirements (copied and pasted from the internal job description)" does nothing of the sort!

Use carefully selected wording

The wording of your advert is also essential. Job titles need to be chosen that conform to the industry norm for the role, rather than that convoluted title that your company happens to have given the position. You've got to make it simple for people to see that your role is one that they are suited to, otherwise they'll just skip by and click on someone else's advert instead.

Similarly you want to give keywords some consideration. Whether it's to ensure that your role appears in Google searches, or in the search results of the job board in question, a few minutes spent here can increase candidate views considerably.

Job advertising is a numbers game

There's one thing that strikes me more than anything else when I think back on my 15 years in online recruitment advertising. The most successful recruiters I have worked with have all understood that job advertising is a numbers game.

  • There are X number of target candidates out there who would fit this brief
  • By advertising this job on site Y, I'm likely to reach Y% of those X candidates
  • With a seductively worded advert, I'm likely to convert Z% of those I reach into actual applicants. If I don't go to this effort I'm likely to only convert a fraction as many candidates
  • Does the number of applicants generated by the above analysis leave me with enough star applicants that I would expect to make a hire?

Looking at each of these very briefly in turn... There are X number of target candidates out there who would fit this brief. What the actual number X is isn't nearly as important as an appreciation of whether that number means you're going to have to pull out all the stops to actually hire such a person through advertising. Over the years it has always amazed me that recruiters often prefer to advertise their hardest to fill vacancies. If the candidate profile you're seeking is extremely rare, the chances of online advertising being successful are dramatically reduced! At best you're putting yourself in a position where every add-on and premium service the job board offers is one you need to be paying for to increase the odds in your favour. At worst you're consigning yourself to almost certain failure.

Next up, the question of which job board you choose to use clearly has an impact on what fraction of the total market you're reaching. Again it's always a surprise to me when a recruiter chooses to use just one of several job boards that operate in their niche. Sure it keeps your costs down, but if you've just halved the number of suitable candidates who'll see the vacancy then you've also just halved the shortlist of candidates you're going to have available to work with. Was that a saving worth making?

It should logically follow on from this that making the effort to write a seductively worded advert will massively boost the ultimate shortlist of candidates you generate. Of all the factors you have real influence over, this one probably more than any other is the one where you as a recruiter can make a material difference. So grab yourself a latte and a quiet room and go and write creatively for just 10 minutes. The results will astound you!

One last thought - leveraging social

Of course once we accept that job advertising is a numbers game, every step of that job advertising process becomes something that can be tweaked and perfected. Some job boards will perform better than others. Some styles of job adverts will outperform others. Part of your success as a recruiter will come down to whether or not you're tracking these variations and results effectively or not.

A final thought though is that the more buoyant the market, the more we want to be targeting not just active candidates but passive candidates too. If we can find ways to double the number of potential candidates viewing a role then we have materially enhanced our chances of successfully advertising for the hires we need to make. Fully leveraging social media to reach your target candidate audience is one very effective way of doing this - if you've not yet figured out how to do this then you can post your jobs (socially) here.


Social Recruiting: The 4 Key Steps Explained

This coming month I'll be a keynote speaker at a 2 day Social Recruiting conference in Lisbon. I’m particularly looking forward to the workshop on how to generate fantastic social media recruiting results by implementing 4 key steps.

Social Recruiting Key Steps

As a taster I thought I’d share with you here the 4 steps we consistently see clients need to have implemented to become successful recruiting brands on social media.

Start With The End Goal in Mind

The first step sounds very obvious but a great many businesses we speak with actually haven't had this conversation. The first key step is being very clear within your team about the audience you want to reach with your social media presence - and linked to that, what your business objectives are for building your presence on social media. Put another way, what do you want your growing social media audience to have done several weeks or months down the line that will have made your investment in social media worthwhile?

The answer here will be different for different recruiting teams. Some will be focused on generating recruiting client leads. Others will want to drive an increase in candidate applications. Others will want to boost the search engine rankings of their careers site through stronger social sharing activity. The key thing is to have actually defined this at the outset so that all your social media activities are undertaken with this end goal in mind.

Become a Candidate Magnet in Your Industry

The second step is to think about what will make your profiles exceedingly valuable, entertaining and insightful to this target audience. Often recruitment businesses and recruiting teams are guilty of their social streams being nothing more than a parade of their latest job openings, plus maybe the occasional team photo or update about what the team is up to.

If you want to become a magnet in your industry that attracts your desired target audience, this simply will not do. You need to become an invaluable resource in your niche market, one that people will come to view as indispensable and whose updates they will want to share with others in their network. This is where the huge value on social media can be derived. For example, several of the accounts we manage have twitter followings of 35,000 to 50,000 followers. But when we look at the reach those profiles enjoy each month, their messages are actually seen by between 500,000 and a million twitter followers. Even with smaller accounts, a similar multiplier effect can be achieved if the right things are being done. It’s this network effect that gives your business and your recruiting team visibility amongst - and access to - the huge candidate audience that you want to reach. But this is only achieved when the updates you post are consistently valuable and share-worthy.

Attract and Convert Candidate Interest

The 3rd step is equally key. If all you do is Steps 1 and 2, you will have a social media presence that looks professional when people click to your profiles from your website. But you will not be growing an ever larger audience of candidates or clients who go on to do the things needed to fulfil your corporate objectives on social media.

That’s where Step 3 is key. Step 3 involves understanding each of the social platforms where you have built a presence and figuring out the steps that are needed to get your profiles seen by more and more of your target audience. This requires consistent and informed activity across your social networks in order that your follower and fan base grows month on month.

Last but not least, Step 4 involves engaging with your target audience on social media. This may mean reviewing the profiles of everyone who has interacted with your company on social media and following up accordingly. Or it may mean discovering conversations taking place in your industry and jumping in and participating in those conversations. But essentially it revolves around taking that awareness that your recruiting brand now has on social media and turning it into meaningful conversations taking place with either prospective candidates or potential recruiting clients (or indeed both). For most recruiting teams, it’s this engagement that drives the overwhelming business value of having a strong social media recruiting presence. But you can't ever fulfil Step 4 effectively if you haven't already done a great job implementing Steps 1-3.

And Finally...

I'll be covering off this process - and the factors that ensure your success - during the two day event taking place in Lisbon this May. I'll be joined there by several other social recruiting experts including a speaker from LinkedIn. Do check out the event programme and I look forward to seeing you there and helping you in person in the next weeks.


3 Quick Things You Can Do To Strengthen Your Social Media Presence

3 Quick Things You Can Do To Strengthen Your Social Media PresenceSocial media can be brutal. In very few areas of digital marketing is it possible to sink so much time and yet see so little return. With more and more recruiters having sunk a year or more into building their social media presence, the reality is setting in that many have simply not generated anything like the results hoped for.


With this in mind, let me share 3 things you can do to turn things around:

Profiling your audience and appealing to their needs. Who is it your business wants to appeal to on social media? What topics interest them the most? What type of updates would make you a valuable part of their daily lives? Most recruiting teams and businesses I talk with can't adequately answer this question. But if you can't do that, how can you consistently deliver value and insights to your target audience and draw them to your business like a magnet? You can't - so address this shortcoming before doing anything else.

Getting your profiles seen by your ideal candidates, clients, alumni or influencers. On every social platform there are tactics you can deploy to figure out who are the people actively using it. Then you need to narrow your focus down to just those who match your criteria for the people you want your business to reach. Focus your efforts on them - or the influencers who reach them - and you will see your followings quickly grow. Need help figuring out what those actions should be? Feel free to reach out and schedule a call.

Proactively start conversations. In fact, never pass up the opportunity to have a conversation. It's these interactions that lead to bonds being formed. They also trigger a flood of goodwill towards your brand and an avalanche of unprompted shares of your updates. But most importantly, they are the precursor to more meaningful business conversations taking place. Start a few dozen conversations this next week and you'll be amazed at the things you start to see happening on your accounts.

I very much hope this helps you to turn things around. If you'd like more tips, by all means join us for one of the free taster social media webinars we're running in the next weeks. Good luck - and I look forward to seeing your recruiting team conquering social media sometime soon!

Social Recruiting Advice For SMEs

Social Recruiting Advice For SMEs

Is investing in social recruiting the right decision for your SME?  It's a question that I hear a lot of Recruitment Managers grappling to answer. As with much social recruiting advice you'll see me share, this question needs framing in light of your company objectives. Let's try to walk you through this and make sense of whether social recruiting is the right option for your SME.

First up, what are you being tasked to achieve? Critical hires needed within the next couple of months? Keeping your cost per hire low as the company grows? Positioning your SME as a great employer in the minds of the future stars you will want to recruit in the coming months and years?

Stop for a moment and try to answer this before reading any further...

Now let me share whether social recruiting is something you could rightfully be advised to engage in to meet each of these goals. Note that this advice is given with an SME recruiter in mind, since such companies are of the scale that they can't yet justify doing everything. If you're recruiting in a bigger corporate you'll probably use a dose of social for all these scenarios and more.

Social Recruiting Advice Scenario 1: Critical hires needed within the next couple of months

Let me start by saying that my first business was a successful job board business. With that medium I can say one thing with certainty; if you post the right roles for the job board's audience then you will undoubtedly make some low cost hires within a matter of months. What I can also say is that it's a game of roulette when it comes to determining which of the roles will be successfully filled that way.

For SMEs considering using social recruiting, I'd have to stress that exactly the same uncertainty of results holds true. Try to fill multiple roles this way and some will be successfully filled - and at low cost. But others will not. I would argue that that holds true whether you are approaching candidates direct on LinkedIn or advertising to a highly targeted audience on Facebook. The cost is incurred up front, without any certainty of outcome. For an SME that could really suffer if critical hires aren't made, this uncertainty of outcome simply isn't acceptable. By all means do some social recruiting and activate the networks of your existing staff - but also bring on board a quality contingent recruiter or two. They will not cost you anything unless they produce results - and so will fight to bring you those hires in the critical timescales needed.

Social Recruiting Advice Scenario 2: Keeping your cost per hire low as the company grows

The above rationale should make it absolutely clear that social recruiting has a big role to play when it comes to keeping your broader cost-per-hire low. The same I would argue is true of job board spend incidentally. Both will allow you to attract relevant candidates to apply for your vacancies. Both can be effectively monitored to ensure they are contributing to the goal of keeping your average cost per hire down. With a bit of experimenting, you'll be able to discover the approaches that consistently bring your SME a stream of the types of candidates you would want to hire.

Social Recruiting Advice Scenario 3: Positioning your SME as a great employer in the minds of the future stars you will want to recruit

I remember from my days of playing chess that the greatest players are those who are able to think several moves ahead. And so it is with SMEs that are really going places. There's a reason large corporates continue to advertise in newspapers and on airport billboards. The immediate hires they're attracting they could make far more cheaply via other channels. But they need to capture the aspirations of their target employees, make them more and more receptive to joining the team at some point in the future.

Social recruiting allows SMEs to do the same for their businesses, but targeting the micro demographics that will be most valuable to them. Imagine if those developers you can envisage you'll be crying out for 18 months from now were to be befriended by your recruiting team. That over the next 18 months they will consistently be exposed to your brand and interact with some of your team. How much more receptive do you think they would be to an employment approach by you or a fellow recruiter? It's a no brainer right? Well yes, provided your timescales for payback on these social recruiting activities aren't too skewed to the short term...

Concluding Remarks

Hopefully these thoughts will have helped you to see the importance of setting your objectives from the outset - and to use these to guide whether social recruiting has a realistic prospect of delivering on your objectives. I hope I have demonstrated that the answer will often be yes, but only as a function of the timescales and certainty of outcomes that are acceptable to the business. If you'd like to get some more tailored advice on this for your SME, you're very welcome to schedule in a time to talk about social recruiting with one of our team. Or for more insights from me, do sign up for one of our series of free social recruiting Q&A sessions and training calls. Good luck - and I look forward to seeing your company conquering social media sometime soon!

Social Media Marketing + Recruiting Predictions That Will Keep You Awake At Night

When I talk to recruiting leaders and business owners, one issue concerns them more than any other:

Have they understood and adapted to the opportunities that social media marketing and social recruiting offer - and have they done so as comprehensively as their competitors?

Every conversation I have acknowledges that we're moving squarely back to a market that is candidate driven. Hiring demand is up - and employers are ever more demanding in the profile of candidate that they want to attract. All of which means that the ability to attract candidates to your business - and the ability to approach and engage passive candidates - are now key constraints on business growth.

The question therefore becomes - has your business done enough? My prediction for the coming year is that it'll be those companies who've failed to invest adequately in social media marketing and social recruiting techniques who will come unstuck as the battle to attract talent becomes ever fiercer. So let's look at each in turn.

Social Media Marketing

Studies the world over show that we're spending huge amounts of time on social media each week. What's more, we're open to being influenced about companies and engaged by potential suitors via our interactions on social media.

Now Mobile has rightly attracted a lot of attention these last years. More and more of us are browsing the web from a mobile rather than a desktop device. But in a lot of instances this has been to the detriment of recruiters' investment in a strong social media presence.

The problem here is best understood by way of a recruiting funnel. There are various means by which candidates can be brought into your recruiting funnel. Job boards, the company careers site, mailshots to your candidate database... all have historically been important means of feeding the funnel.
Social Media Marketing and the Candidate Pipeline

What's important about social media - and therefore social media marketing - is that it's become an increasingly important channel for bringing candidates into your recruiting funnel. While email marketing response and job board volumes have been in decline, social media marketing has more than filled the gap. But only for those companies who have invested heavily in their social media presence.

This is where the limitations of a mobile-only strategy become apparent. Having made your business mobile-friendly contributes to increased conversions within your recruiting funnel. More of the candidates who enter your recruiting funnel are likely to apply if you've developed a mobile-friendly careers site and application procedure. But if you don't have the social media presence then the flow of candidates into your recruiting funnel is diminished. Your mobile strategy is stopping the ship from sinking, by doing a better job of converting the limited interest that the business is generating. But the leading companies in your niche will have the strong candidate flows that social media marketing can bring, combined with the improved candidate conversion rates that mobile investment delivers.

If that leaves you fearing you'll be having sleepless nights, the good news is that both situations can be recovered. There are a variety of off-the-shelf solutions that can make your business more mobile-responsive from a recruiting perspective and some great examples of what a mobile responsive careers website should be like. Whilst the ins and outs of generating results on social media are something that can be addressed with social media marketing help from the Social-Hire team.

Social Recruiting

Social recruiting has become such an all-encompassing term - and rightly so. Candidates' first impressions of your company are increasingly formed on social media. Their interest in one of your openings is more and more likely to have been sparked via social media. The research they undertake in preparation for interviews will increasingly involve use of social media; and they're increasingly likely to have "talked" with some of your employees on social channels at some point during their decision process. Weighing up competing offers will often mean taking in others' opinions and insights on social media.

So recruiting is now social. The debate is over.

But if the first part of this article was about using social media to attract candidates to your business, this part I want to devote to sourcing and engaging with candidates on social media. Because being able to identify the talent that's an ideal match for your openings - and then being able to approach people in a way that generates a favourable response - are now also important determinants of an organisation's recruitment effectiveness.

Looking Beyond LinkedIn and Focusing on Engagement

I predicted a year ago that recruiters would increasingly use People Aggregators to uncover candidates that LinkedIn alone was not enabling them to discover. This has certainly come to pass over the course of the last year - but I'd have to say, at a pace that's been disappointing. The most proficient recruiters ARE active across a range of social media and using a variety of candidate sourcing tools. They're finding candidates over and above what LinkedIn results would return - and have in their armoury a variety of means for reaching out to those candidates. But many recruiters are still heavily reliant on LinkedIn and the LinkedIn InMails system to produce results.

The dangers of this approach are all too clear. LinkedIn isn't comprehensive, so being overly reliant on it means only considering a fraction of the candidates who'd be ideal for your openings. Plus the InMails route is far less effective than engaging on say Twitter, or indeed picking up the phone!

I think it was Stacy Zapar who I saw predict that the ability to engage with candidates (rather than find them) would become the key skill in the recruitment market of tomorrow. Improving your company's skills in both researching candidate matches and then approaching them in a way that improves conversion rates will be the determining factor in winning over sought-after talent. So just as with social media marketing above, the question to ask yourself is whether your recruiting team are really cutting edge in this respect, or merely following the pack.

Would love to hear your thoughts and observations in the comments below. Has your company invested enough in social recruiting and social media marketing.... and if not, what's holding you back?


Social Media for Recruiters - Building Your Recruiting Brand on Social Media

A big thanks to Louise Triance and the team at UK Recruiter who asked me to address their readers this week on the topic of Social Media for Recruiters. Or more specifically, to demonstrate the opportunity that exists to become one of the most talked about recruiting brands in your niche through the effective use of social media. The session was really well received and so I wanted to post a recording here for any recruiters who missed out and would like to catch up on the session Social Media for Recruiters at a later date. Please find the recording embedded below.

Working with recruitment businesses on their social strategies on a daily basis, I've tried to share real-world insights regarding what's working (and what's not!) plus actionable steps and tips that you can put into practice in your recruiting business today. But no discussion on Social Media for Recruiters would be complete without also giving a healthy dose of realism about the time investment required to do this effectively. There's so much focus on social media marketing being "free", but the reality is that dedicated resource is needed to exploit the opportunity here - simply asking one of your recruiters to handle social media "in a spare few minutes each week" isn't going to get you anywhere.

Video Recording: Social Media for Recruiters [How To Build Your Recruiting Brand on Social Media]

By the time you've watched this hour-long session you'll appreciate how a strong social media presence can attract a steady flow of targeted candidates to your business. How it can spark conversations with potential clients and elevate you to a position of authority in the niche recruiting markets you serve. But you'll also appreciate that you have to have the right social media strategy in place; and you have to know how to deliver on that strategy.

If you'd like to accelerate the pace at which your business pounces on this opportunity, you're very welcome to schedule a call with the Social-Hire team to talk through your business and devise the right social media strategy. Just book in a convenient time here.

Slides: Social Media for Recruiters


FYI: if you didn't know Social-Hire already, we’re a social media outsourcing company focused exclusively on serving clients in the recruitment sector. We help recruitment businesses, recruitment technology companies, in-house recruiting teams, job boards and the like develop the right social media strategy…. and then deliver on that strategy day in day out. And we do all that for less than the cost of an intern. If you’d like to talk through your current social media strategy and ways we could work with you, simply request a callback and we'd be delighted to help.

If these insights have been helpful to you, please do consider sharing on your social networks. Thanks!


What’s Stopping You From Starting Your Own Recruitment Business?

I had a really interesting meeting these last weeks that made me stop and think – what is it that holds my recruiter contacts back from setting up in business for themselves? Having served the recruitment sector for 15 years, I’ve seen a number of friends transition from successful recruitment consultant to successful owner of their own recruiting business. But what strikes me the most is that so few have taken the leap. Which got me thinking – what is it that stops a recruiter from setting up their own recruiting business?

What’s Stopping You From Starting Your Own Recruitment Business?

The spark to write this blog post came from a meeting with John Buckman and David Simons, respectively the Chairman and Managing Director of Recruit Ventures (@RecruitVentures). They’re actively investing in and supporting start-ups in the UK recruitment market through a joint venture model – and it was understanding their approach that really got me thinking about the obstacles to setting up in business for yourself.

Things That May Be Holding You Back

Several key themes emerged from our chat. Recurring reasons that hold recruiters back from taking the plunge. How many do you recognise – and indeed are there others you’d add to the list? Please feel free to comment below.

The financial hit. By the time you’ve become successful enough to feel confident about setting up your own recruitment firm, you’ve probably also reached the point where you have financial commitments in your life. Going from a well-paid job to a start-up where it could be many months before you can draw a salary is a bridge too far for many.

The need to secure financing. The nature of recruiting is usually such that you get paid for the results you deliver many months after you first started working on that assignment. So securing finance to bridge this gap is usually something that a recruitment business will need to succeed, particularly if you have aspirations of it quickly becoming more than just a “one man band”. More often than not, securing such financing means putting your own home at risk – which for someone already taking a financial hit to their salary is often a risk they’re not prepared to take.

Focusing on what you’re best at. Lots of recruiters I know are excellent sales people and excellent recruiters. What they excel at is winning new assignments and then filling those positions. But many have no experience of other aspects of running a business such as accounting, payroll, finance, credit control, IT, HR, office management and procurement. Taking these responsibilities on can mean a leap into the unknown – and also creates anxiety that the recruiter may become bogged down in these tasks rather than being able to focus on what they’re really best at.

Having the confidence to tackle restrictive covenants. What can and can’t you do when you leave a recruitment business to go and set up for yourself? I know friends who’ve had quite daunting clauses in their employment contracts. But without paying for expensive legal guidance, it’s hard to feel confident you can set up for yourself without opening yourself up to a claim by your former employer. And even where the law appears to be on your side, it’s yet another worry for the would-be entrepreneur.

This list is by no means exhaustive. But what strikes me is that the traditional route of setting up for yourself is only likely to appeal to people who have a high propensity for risk. Intriguingly, I think the Recruit Ventures approach addresses these points through its joint venture model. They provide the finance, the back office, a salary for the founder, etc. The recruiter is left to get on with what they do best – selling and recruiting. If that enables a new wave of recruiters to set up in business for themselves then great!

A couple of my own additional thoughts on becoming an entrepreneur follow. But I appreciate I may have got some readers intrigued about Recruit Ventures, so I'm providing a contact form for them below (note: my understanding is they’re currently only working with UK recruiters who place temporary staff):


Final Thoughts on Becoming an Entrepreneur

I’ve spent the last 15 years setting up a series of entrepreneurial ventures in the recruitment space. Not recruitment agencies admittedly, but I’m sure much of what I’ve learnt is nonetheless directly relevant.

A couple of things strike me as being absolutely key. Firstly I would emphasise how critical it is to give yourself an adequate financial buffer before starting out. That doesn’t necessarily mean raising finance – indeed my most successful ventures have been self-funded. But it does mean ensuring you have adequate finances in place to be able to work on the business for many months without income coming in. Start-ups invariably take longer to generate income than you’d anticipated. Plus you often find that once you’re in the market as an entrepreneur, the business opportunity is actually different from the one you’d envisaged when you first started out. So you need to build in time to allow yourself to adjust – and to be able to make the right decisions for the business without the risk of financial worries causing you to make bad judgement calls.

My second piece of advice would be to be ruthless about outsourcing or delegating work. A pitfall that often catches entrepreneurs out is becoming involved in every aspect of the business. Whereas in reality there are just a handful of tasks that will really make or break the business in the early years – and it’s on these tasks that the recruiting entrepreneur must really be focused. Leave website design, accounting, social media and everything that is secondary to your success to others. Focus on winning business and then delighting your clients and candidates. That’s what will see you succeed!

For anyone inspired by this post to think more seriously about setting up in business for themselves, may I wish you every success. I’d also love to hear your thoughts and any additional insights in the comments section below. Thanks – and good luck!

5 Interesting Methods for Hiring Highly Skilled Candidates

It's a fascinating time to be in the recruiting world right now. With each passing month, you see market commentaries starting to look more and more like they did before the Lehman crash. The focus is increasingly on the difficulties that employers are expecting to face in attracting the staff they need... and the fact that this is becoming a candidate-driven market once again.

So I was intrigued to receive this guest contribution from Josh Tolan, CEO of Spark Hire, suggesting 5 methods you could experiment with to attract top talent into your business. Hope it proves a helpful read.

5 Interesting Methods for Hiring Highly Skilled Candidates
5 Interesting Methods for Hiring Highly Skilled Candidates

With a growing skills gap, employers and recruiters are finding it more difficult to attract the top talent companies need. This is especially prevalent in tech and STEM related disciplines. While unemployed candidates outnumber positions 3.6 to one in most industries, STEM positions actually outnumber candidates 1.9 to one.

A 2014 survey from Brilliant, in conjunction with Dr. Richard Curtin, Professor and Director of Surveys at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, found 65 percent of companies had unfilled positions in accounting, finance, and IT.

It’s time to get creative in order to bridge the skills gap. Here are five interesting methods to build a bridge in order to lead the top talent into your company:

Skills Assessments

The economic outlook for many companies is growing brighter, with the Brilliant survey finding 43 percent of companies surveyed saw improvement on the horizon. Still, in a tough economic climate, you can’t really afford to hire someone who doesn’t have all the skills required. After all, some companies have pegged the cost of a bad hire at as much as $50,000. You need to make sure your candidate has the right stuff right off the bat.

Utilizing skills assessments can allow you to get a better feel for your candidate’s concrete abilities. If a candidate will have to do a high volume of writing, ask them to complete a writing test. Ask for web designers to write code and for graphic designers to show you their design skills. Know before you go through the hiring process whether your candidate can hit the ground running.

Social Media

Social media is gaining steam for both job seekers and recruiters. According to the Pew Center for Research, 74 percent of online adults have at least one social networking profile now. You can use social media to get a better feel for a candidate’s personal brand and level of professionalism. If you see something wildly inappropriate on social media, your company might have just dodged a public relations disaster waiting to happen.

Video Interviewing

In today’s ultra-competitive landscape, connecting personally in the hiring process has become a must. Video interviews, particularly one-way video interviews, allow you to connect quickly with candidates without wasting much of your precious time.

Candidates answer your questions in short videos, which you can watch for any duration. If you know the candidate is all wrong for the job, you can easily move on to someone more qualified before the end of the interview. Plus, video interviewing allows you to lower barriers and cross borders, finding the best talent wherever they live without ponying up money for plane tickets.

Temporary Talent

According to the American Staffing Association, more than 11 million people are employed in temporary labor per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found temporary jobs edged up 216,000 jobs so far in 2014. Temporary labor is becoming more popular as employers find it harder and harder to find employees with the skills needed for the job.

If you use temporary talent, you can approach candidates from a “try before you buy” position. If the candidate turns out to be great, you can easily transition this person into a full-time employee. If the candidate falls down on the job, however, you can sever ties without all the stresses and strains of firing a permanent hire.

Evaluating Soft Skills

Soft skills are gaining in importance, as communication, collaboration, and outside interaction become more important parts of almost every industry. According to a study by Millennial Branding, 98 percent of employers are looking for candidates with top-notch communication skills.

Candidates with great soft skills also show the ability to grow and learn in their positions because they have the ability to listen. Being able to work together closely with coworkers and management can jump the skills gap, since these candidates are willing and able to learn new skills to add to their repertoire.

When you consider 46 percent of small business new hires fail within 18 months, and in 89 percent of the cases it’s due to company culture mismatch, you can see how important soft skills are when it comes to saving your bottom line. A good communicator with a positive attitude and ability to learn might actually be a better bet than an uninspired candidate with a perfect skill set.

Jumping the skills gap isn’t easy, which means you might need to step outside the box in order to attract and hire the people you need. By looking at some new ways to hire, you can find the top quality employees your company needs to succeed.

What do you think? What are you doing to jump the skills gap? Share in the comments!


Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire, a video interview solution used by more than 2,000 companies across the globe. Learn more about using video interviewing for cultural hiring and connect with Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.


Recruiting on Google+ [A Guide To Getting Started]

So why aren't more recruiters actively recruiting on Google+?

Recruiting on Google+, a beginner's guideAt the time of recording the following getting started guide, Google+ had twice as many active users as LinkedIn - and the added benefit that researching and contacting candidates on the social site is entirely free. Yet take-up by recruiters has been slow. So we invited Katrina Collier to give an introductory talk, helping you understand the basics of getting started on Google+ so that you can start to use it as a recruiting tool. The webinar recording includes insights into:

- Setting up your Google+ profile

- Organising your contacts in circles

- Targeting what you share to only be seen by specific contacts

- Searching for candidates on Google+ using both the Google+ search interface and using X-Ray searching

- Contacting candidates on Google+

- Discovering Google+ Communities (like LinkedIn Groups) and insights into the demographics of who is on Google+

Video Recording + Additional Resources

You'll find the recording below. Please do share if you find it helpful - and for more advanced tips on using Google+ to recruit do refer to the article How To Recruit on Google+