Recruiting or Branding failure?

I read a article (thanks Plugger) about how the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment need to recruit over 500 firefighters for the coming season. So I clicked on the link to read to full story and read a good story about their recruiting needs.

Mr Rash said the love of the bush and the opportunity to develop skills which people could take back to the community were key benefits for PFF recruits.

“PFFs gain valuable experience and development which they can use later, whether this be on farms, in helping their neighbours and community, or with the CFA,” he said.

Successful applicants must hold a current manual driver licence and pass a fitness and medical test to ensure they can cope with the physically demanding work.

“Successful applicants will be well trained and skilled to be able to work as part of a team, which is critical for working at fires,” Mr Rash said.

Most PFFs work from November and December until the end of March.

Close to the end of the article I got really excited:

DSE’s web-based, e-recruitment system, which helped to streamline the application process last year, will be used again this season.

Interested applicants can access information, find answers to the most commonly asked questions and submit their applications in one place by visiting

Access to the online recruitment system will be available when applications open this Saturday.

Applications close on Sunday 7 September.

So I went to to check it out, I was disappointed very quickly.

Some ideas on what should they have done:

  • Revise the year old employment page to prepare for the mass recruitment drive to engage with a potential candidate.
  • DSE knows who they are targeting, David Rash the Gippsland Assistant Manager detailed it in the article, so make sure the page appeals to the right audience and states up front the type of person they are looking for.
  • There was no respect for the candidate’s time. If someone bothers to check your page out at least provide them with the necessary information so they can make an informed decision on if they want to work for you. While applications have not opened they could of at least told visitors when they open, on Saturday 16th, in 4 days, what about providing an email reminder facility so I know when to come back.
  • The video a good touch, if it worked. But why not put it on YouTube, then just embed in the page. Now before you scoff this the CFA has their own YouTube Channel! This also doesn’t forcing users to go download QuickTime, and probably never come back.
  • The page provides very little information on what is expected of applicants, how often will them have to work, the article tells us November to March, so why doesn’t the web page?
  • Given they need 500 firefighters in 2 months this is also a great opportunity to engage other methods, such as social networks and social media, for attraction. This is suitable as they are looking for young fit people to participate during the Christmas period so targeting university students is a perfect approach. By the way the CFA already has a FaceBook group with lots of members.

A case of a poorly executed recruiting campaign.

One thought on “Recruiting or Branding failure?

  1. Michael, the scenario you describe re the employment section on the DSE site is very common. As you know we run a few niche job boards and we regularly receive ads to be published which point job seekers to the employers web site to find out more and apply, but the job isn’t even there!

    We always check because we routinely include a link which takes the job seeker directly to the job, rather than directing them to the site’s home page to play “find the employment section”.

    I think part of the problem is that when corporate sites are designed no one tells the designers how important recruitment is for the business. The sites are usually designed for customers, not for prospective employees. That’s why the employment section looks like it was an afterthought – because it was!

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