Recruiters Expect Hiring to Increase in Q2-Q3; Social Media Eyed to Source Quality Candidates

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More than 450 corporate recruiters signal shift away from job boards and place more emphasis on corporate branding to attract high-value hires.

We decided to create this poll to get a sense of how bad or good the market for hiring really was at the organizational level, rather than continuing to rely on media reports which have been overwhelmingly negative

A just completed joint survey of more than 450 corporate recruiters by recruitment software company Standout Jobs and HRMorning.com revealed that almost half of the companies polled (43 percent) are pulling their spending from Internet job boards and re-directing those resources to better showcase their brand to potential employment candidates. According to the survey, the shift away from job boards is a response to current market conditions, which have made more high-value candidates available to companies looking to capitalize on the market's turnaround with strategic hires.

While the current market is difficult, optimism still dictates many of the respondents' near term hiring plans, with more than 30 percent of those polled planning to increase hiring during the second and third quarter of 2009. Adding the fourth quarter brings that number to 41 percent. Referrals are still the most popular avenue for sourcing jobs (108 responses), but the companies polled indicated their web site or career page was the next most valuable vehicle for finding candidates (85 responses). Job boards, while useful for generating a higher volume of resumes, were criticized for not delivering qualified candidates (121 responses), which are seen as the key for surviving the tough current economic climate and building future organizational strength.

"We decided to create this poll to get a sense of how bad or good the market for hiring really was at the organizational level, rather than continuing to rely on media reports which have been overwhelmingly negative," said Benjamin Yoskovitz, Standout Jobs CEO and founder. "With the help of our poll partner, HRMorning.com, we asked 450 internal company recruiters a number of questions having to do with their hiring practices and plans for the immediate future. The results showed cautious optimism, with many expecting to start hiring again in the third quarter. We also learned their standards and processes have changed, and now strategic hiring is the name of the game."

Companies are putting more emphasis on engaging quality talent in an effort to show they're a 'great place to work' for the right candidates. Creating a better fit between employer and employee is seen as a key to hiring success, and employment branding attracts the right type of candidates through more open, regular and interactive communication with applicants. This trend was evident in the poll question "Which recruiting trends do you think could improve your recruiting efforts?" 239 respondents said "social networks," while 187 respondents indicated candidate relationship management was high on their list of priorities. Next in line was search engine optimization (143) followed by "other" (53), blogs (38), online video (36) and Twitter (15). Companies are clearly interested in re-marketing to job seekers, treating people well and delivering a strong candidate experience.

Even though the companies polled indicated they were increasing their dependence on their sites and social tools to engage candidates, the majority of them had no specific strategies for recruiting Generation X and Y applicants, which have grown up with the web and are more likely than their older colleagues to use it for job hunting, socializing and networking. The question "Are you developing specific strategies to recruit younger (Gen X, Y) job seekers" was answered: No: 190, Eventually: 132, Yes: 85, Unlikely: 43.

Full results of the survey can be downloaded as a PDF from Standout Job's site, and below:

1)    Compared to 2008, in 2009 do you plan to:
a.    Cut spending on job boards (194)
b.    No change (191)
c.    Not sure (41)
d.    Increase spending on job boards (27)

2)    With decreased spending on job boards, where are you shifting your efforts?
a.    3rd party recruiters (11)
b.    Company career web site (85)
c.    Internal job transfers (82)
d.    Job fairs (27)
e.    N/A - not hiring (58)
f.    Other (19)
g.    Referrals (108)
h.    Social media (blogs, online video, etc.) (32)
i.    Social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) (61)

3)    When do you expect hiring to increase at your company?
a.    Q2, 2009 (69)
b.    Q3, 2009 (75)
c.    Q4, 2009 (33)
d.    Q1, 2010 (41)
e.    Immediately (61)
f.    Beyond these (36)
g.    Not sure (137)

4)    Over the next five years, which one of these will present the greatest challenge to recruiting and hiring?
a.    Budget (76)
b.    Difficulty reaching candidates through job boards (12)
c.    Increased turnover (18)
d.    Lack of qualified candidates (121)
e.    Managers' interviewing skills (19)
f.    Offering competitive salaries (74)
g.    Other (7)
h.    Too many applications to sift through (32)
i.    Uncertainty in our industry (93)

5)    In what parts of your operation do you expect to do the most hiring in the next five years?
a.    Accounting/back office (27)
b.    Administrative (48)
c.    IT (66)
d.    Operations (0)
e.    Production (129)
f.    Sales (102)
g.    Service (179)

6)    Which recruiting trends do you think could improve your recruiting efforts?
a.    Blogs (38)
b.    Candidate relationship management (187)
c.    Online video (36)
d.    Other (53)
e.    Pay-per-click advertising (15)
f.    Search engine optimization (143)
g.    Social networks (239)
h.    Twitter (15)

7)    Are you developing specific strategies to recruit younger (Gen X / Y) job seekers?
a.    Eventually (132)
b.    No (193)
c.    Unlikely (43)
d.    Yes (85)
e.    No answer

8)    How many employees in your company?
a.    0-250 (252
b.    251-500 (55)
c.    501-1000 (49)
d.    1001 - 2500 (42)
e.    2500+ (55)

Overall, the poll shows companies recognize the need to interact and communicate with candidates where they congregate online. They understand the need to be more open and give people a "sneak peak" inside the organization to ensure the right type of people applicants are presenting themselves. While this does promote the brand, it also "meets candidates halfway" and provides a great experience throughout the recruitment process.

Standout Jobs' web-based Recruitment Communication Platform allows companies to more efficiently deploy career sites and micro-sites loaded with the web's latest interactive recruiting tools. Employers seeking specific, high-value talent in what has become an increasingly tight employment market benefit from dynamic career portals that showcase their company's culture and people--not just open positions--and builds recruitment pipelines by engaging candidates with Web 2.0 tools and a full suite of relationship management features.

About HRMorning.com and PBP Media
PBP Media (http://www.pbpmedia.com) publishes 12 specialized websites for HR, Finance, and Safety professionals featuring news and actionable advice updated daily. The HR Web sites targeting Vice Presidents of HR, HR Directors, and HR Managers include HR Morning ( http://www.hrmorning.com) covering HR management; HR Tech News (http://www.hrtechnews.com), which covers technology developments in the human resources field; HR Benefits Alert (http://www.hrbenefitsalert.com) for benefits professionals; HR Recruiting Alert (http://www.hrrecruitingalert.com) featuring staffing and recruiting news; HR Legal News (http://www.hrlegalnews.com) for workplace employment law; and HR Blunders (http://www.hrblunders.com) which covers the lighter side of HR.

About Standout Jobs
Founded in February 2007 by Benjamin Yoskovitz, Fred Ngo and Austin Hill, Standout Jobs provides a Web-based hosted employer branding and job marketing platform to power companies' online recruitment efforts. At the heart of Standout Jobs is a do-it-yourself interactive career site that leverages social media tools and principles, including video, blogging and widgets, to showcase a company's culture and team. Standout Jobs also includes candidate relationship management tools enabling HR managers to identify, interact with and track candidates effectively.

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