Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for recruiters

Over the last few years there has been a significant growth in the number of people using general search engines to search for jobs. In Australia alone the word jobs appears in around 30 million searches per month!

However what does this really mean?

Does it mean that Seek, MyCareer and CareerOne will be going out of business because everyone will be using Google?

Not at all!

So does it mean you can ignore the world of search engine optimization or SEO for short?

Again not at all!

Very few people who use search engines look beyond the first one or two pages of results. If your website is not returned within those two pages, preferably on the first page and ideally in the number one position, your competition is beating you.

So then what is SEO? At it’s core SEO is designing your web site in a manner that makes it easy to be found, and indexed by search engines. Simple.

Well to a point. Obviously the best way to optimize your site for search engines is ensure that your content contains the keywords that people might use to find your product, brand or organisation. However by just adding these terms to your web site will not magically promote your site on top the number one page or into the number one spot.  This means you must learn the art of SEO.
SEO Tricks for Recruiters
There are many other tricks that you need to master such as making sure your keywords are used in headings, appropriate naming of your pages, meta data, links and having relevant content. However you should always keep in mind that for some keywords there is lots of competition which makes it very difficult to get your site in the number one spot. This means you need to undertake keyword research to know which keywords to target.

So why is this relevant for recruiters in Australia?

Because the word jobs appears in 30 million searches per month. But so do the brands, products and names of your clients. This means that the potential for searchers to find the job advertised by you significantly increases if you know what you are doing.

Let’s not forget that potential clients also use search engines to find new recruiters. So your business also benefits from effective use of SEO.

To learn more about search engine optimization and how it can benefit your recruitment activities register for the March Webinar, SEO for Recruiting.

(Image from Flickr by Search Engine People Blog.)

9th Annual Source of Hire Report

Industry heavy weights Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler will be releasing their 9th Annual Source of Hire report on Friday US time on the CareerXRoads web site. I was lucky enough to be sent an advanced copy by Gerry.

Once again the reports details where corporations in the US found their employees during 2009, this year they look at 176,420 hires.

While the report is not generally available I will share some of the results with you below. However beforehand please note the the quote from Gerry and Mark that appears at the beginning of the document:

If the reader assumes that the data sliced and diced in this whitepaper is truly representative of where firms find their hires in the US, then you will have missed our point entirely. Indeed, this whitepaper, which we have published now for nearly a decade, is constructed as a lab report to examine the problems and the promise of how well corporations measure one part of the staffing process.

Our intent is to hold up a mirror so firms can look at themselves and their increasingly critical and vulnerable supply chain. Vendors can help, but only if staffing leaders are disciplined enough to do their part and get vendors to focus on needed changes as a priority.

So on with the results.

Internal Hires

51% of all hires were internal movement or promotions. Indicating the continued trend of internal talent management activities around succession planning and development. The report highlights that one of the stated employee value propositions (EVPs) of most organisations is to develop their employees. A result of around 51% of hires through internal placement tends to indicate that these organisation are fulfilling this development promise.

The bad news in Australia is when compared to the 2009 Sources of Talent Report it was found that only 6.29% of hires were through internal promotion. What does this say about how Australian employers fulfill their EVPs?

External Hires

75% of all external hires came from 5 sources:

  1. Referrals
  2. Career Site
  3. Job Boards
  4. Direct Sourcing

Referrals have been consistently the number one source of external hires for the last five years.

When comparing to the Australian report referrals were the number four source of external hires, at only 7.57% of all hires. Once again there is a huge opportunity for Australian organisations to increase their use of employee referral programs instead of continually relying on the “post and pray” approach through job boards. Don’t know how to do referrals, check out our ebook.

Direct Sourcing/Internal Recruiters

One very interesting area of the report is where they try and define what is direct sourcing. As part of the survey they asked the participants what do they consider direct sourcing to be, the options:

  • Mining our internal ATS for candidates who have not applied
  • Mining external candidate databases for leads we can convert into prospects and candidates
  • Researching profiles on social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook etc
  • Developing Search Engine Marketing campaigns to create prospects from leads
  • Cold Calls/contacting individuals from internal or external research

The results are shown in the table below.

Direct Sourcing

Given internal recruiters are the second largest source of hire in Australia what do you consider direct sourcing?

Further Thoughts

Throughout the report Gerry and Mark write about many of the same challenges Phillip Tusing and I encountered when preparing the Australian report. For example, the devil is in the detail and it is very hard to keep everyone working on the same definition of each source. And even if you place a job in print it will still end up online, so is that a job board or print source. What is a source vs a channel, or a tool vs a process?

At the end of the report that provide some good suggestions on how we can all improve the tracking and usage of source of hire data. These include:

  • Fixing the inherent issues with candidates self reporting source
  • Deciding where the source starts, in the channel or at the destination
  • Look at additional methods to capture source of hire data to supplement self reporting
  • Understand patterns in your source data
  • Implement more discipline in process and practices

I would highly recommend you go and download the report when it is available.

Australian Vendor PeopleStreme – 30% increase in Revenue

Many companies during the last 12 months have experienced either a reduction or at best no growth in revenue, not local vendor PeopleStreme . PeopleStreme, who sell talent management solutions recorded a 30% increase in revenue.

According to Lyle Potgieter CEO of PeopleStreme:

“Organisations have got two problems, the first being getting their people productive, the second looking after their top talent. Both needs require systems and know how and industrial age paper shuffling systems don’t cut it anymore.”

These challenges have fueling their growth over the last 12 months and I would suspect this growth will continue into the next year or so.

I was lucky enough to spend a couple of hours with Lyle and his Principal Software Architect Dale Smalley to review their product line. Overall PeopleStreme provide a comprehensive, fully integrated, toolset for the management of people within your organisation. Their product line covers:

  • Talent Management
  • Performance Management
  • Recruitment Software and Applicant Tracking
  • Employee Engagement Survey
  • Workforce Planning
  • Employee Recognition
  • Exit Survey
  • eLearning Management
  • Succession Planning
  • Organisation Charting
  • Position Description Software
  • Human Resources Metrics

They also happen to have based a vast majority of the product features on their research work that they undertake jointly with the Performance Management Institute, RMIT and La Trobe University.

PeopleStreme also happen to be the producers of some of the recent videos over on Inspecht TV.

Australian Vendors fail with RSS

01_01I was updating my feeds today and decided I had better add the news/press/media release for a number of local vendors. I had not done this earlier as last I had looked most did not provide RSS feeds, I had hoped this situation had changed.

Unfortunately I was wrong.

Of the 12 vendors I check before writing this post only 1 provided RSS for news updates and this was provided through a blog as their news source. Most had some form of email news/newsletter service.

The vendors without RSS news updates are:

The only vendor with RSS?

I just picked this list at random to add, they range in size and scope, and are a mix of recruitment,talent management and HR/Payroll software providers.

Lucky Google Reader now has the ability to create a feed from a static HTML page so I can sort of subscribe to the vendors updates via my RSS reader.

Unique Video Usage

If you have been following some of the other HR and Recruitment blogs in Australia there has been a bit of talk about using video, even I joined the discussions with a bit of a technology review.

Today I want to highlight a fairly unique use of YouTube Video. (If you are in marketing circles you might have seen this already.)

Ad agency BooneOakley moved their whole web site on to YouTube! Yes you heard it their whole web site onto YouTube.

Using Video within your HR Processes

video_icon_full

Yesterday afternoon I sat in to listen Bill Boorman‘s Downunder Recruiting show where the discussion was on video, an interesting topic. I am very interested in video within a talent acquisition strategy as this has been a topic for many many years and I am glad to see people are starting to move away from the “Video Resume” as quite frankly that is probably the worse use case for video.

Before we go too much further we need to see video as just another form of content, it just happens to have audio and moving images. This is the key as I see people get stuck with video as just a method for having a talking head, video today can be far more than that.

However for all it’s benefits there is still a low take up of video, especially in Australia. One reason I believe we have not seen a broader take up of video is it is still a fairly hard technology to master both functionally and technically.

Another barrier I see is performance. This is a big issue in Australia, where we are ranked about 42nd on performance for brandband downloads and 72nd for uploads. This can mean it will take hours to upload a large video to your hosting provider and when people are watching your carefully crafted message it keeps stopping due to caching issues.

Technical Mastery

The first challenge is you need to produce good quality audio and images. Many people are uncomfortable with having their voice recorded, let alone appearing on video. Once these hurdles are overcome, a good quality script and plan needs to be prepared.  One aspect often over looked is the location needs to be right, lighting, background images and noise are all aspects to consider.

Then there are the technical aspects, starting with video capture, while webcams are very popular they generally do not produce good quality video, and they are also difficult to move around. But webcams are a great tools for interactive video, such as Skype. Don’t forget you still need to think about composition aspects, what will the other person see in the background of your image?

If you are producing a video for others to watch at a later time your jobs just got a lot harder.

After the captured of the video editing can be a challenge. You need software, which under Windows is a problem (yes Mac OS X users have a much better time here), yes there are open source products but to get that truely polished look you need to purchase software. Then actually rendering of any video beyond 3 – 5 minutes takes a lot of CPU processing power. A high quality video also takes up disk space, think 100MB per minute at standard definition with even more when you go high definition.

Once you have produced your video where do you host it? There are many public services for example is YouTube right you can only host 10 minutes and you have limited controls over security. Vimeo is another service that allows hosting, and for a fee you can control exactly who has access to the video, however the terms of service limit commercial usage. If you want your video to be viewable on mobile phones then things become even more complex as flash, the typical delivery method, has limited penetration on mobile devices.

Internal communications also need an environment to deliver the video, do not underestimate this otherwise your IT team will not be happy with you.  These tools need to be set up before you can begin to use video.

Ok with the negative aspects is video still worth getting involved in? Yes!

Potential Video Usage

Below is a short listing of where you can use video within your HR processes.

  1. Employer branding
  2. Attraction
  3. Training
  4. Employee communications
  5. Job advertisement
  6. Job interviews, with Skype or similar
  7. Candidate videos
  8. Anywhere where audio and images would enhance the message

Video Examples

Job Advertising

A recent job advert video from Australian company Noble Samurai looking for a new Agile Development Lead. During this 4 minute 40 seconds production you get to understand what the roles is about, who you would be working with, the working environment and culture.

The video starts with an interview with the CEO covering some of the things they are looking for. Followed by quick review of the office and some introduction to some of the team. While there are a couple of composition issues but generally the quality is very good.

Branding/Attraction/Employee Communications

Another good example is actually a excellent example on the use of social media in general, ASDA’s The Green Room. The site integrates all sorts of content, but the item I want to highlight is a recent message from the CEO to their employees.

Good practices in using video

Like all of this social media “stuff” quality content is critical. You need to add value to viewers otherwise they will turn off. If you are using video as part of your attraction process, make it real, keep things honest but professional. Keep the video focused, engaging and overall fun. Here are my top 10 production tips:

  1. Spend time planning up front
  2. Tell a story
  3. Have a good microphone
  4. Think about lighting and background composition
  5. Plan your delivery methods
  6. When capturing the video try not to pan too much or too fast
  7. Also limit you use of the zoom
  8. Use a tripod when shooting (whenever practical)
  9. Shoot from different angles, use multiple cameras
  10. Include lots of wide angle shots

Also have a look at Justin Hillier’s views on video.

10 things to do in 2010

While we are still in the first few weeks of the new year I through it would be good to look at come of the things you should focus on during 2010 to.

In no particular order here is my list of 10 things to do in 2010:

  1. Have an HR/Talent Management/Recruiting application blueprint
  2. The IT environment in many organisations is complex and needs constant management, even in the smallest of organisations. To help with managing the complexity ensure you have a strategy/roadmap/blueprint to follow.

  3. Learn about Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  4. It seems finally organisations are starting to take note of the value that can be achieved from a decent career’s web site. While content and design are critical understanding a bit about SEO can help your jobs appear in the elusive number 1 spot of search results. Even if you do not have a career’s web site having your personal brand appear in search results can be a great thing.

  5. Implement a workforce planning program, with a foundation around competencies
  6. The recent CedarCrestone HR Technology survey found that organisations who were using workforce planning and competency management tools had significantly higher sales growth than those that did not. While they say they are not suggesting causality but over the last few years there has been stronger linkage between sales growth and these areas.

  7. Think beyond Facebook and Twitter when looking at social media
  8. With so much talk about Facebook and Twitter I feel people have forgotten that social media is more than just these two sites. Remember social media is about user generated content, including blogs, images, video, audio, ratings, reviews etc.

  9. Focus on high quality hires, never settle for less
  10. This should always be the best line of your hiring decisions. Period.

  11. Ensure your HR/Recruiting function is metrics driven
  12. Related to workforce planning is being metrics driven and I am not talking just about lists of headcount either. Gaining a deep understanding of your business and it’s drivers is critical to success. Do you know the best performing source of talent? What about the performance of your succession plans? But do not create an environment where you have an over reliance on benchmark based data as this basically turns the measures in to commodities by assuming what works for one organisation will work for yours.

  13. Don’t be afraid to experiment
  14. This one is for the Australian’s out there, experiment and fail!! As a population we tend to be afraid of failure. Do not be afraid. Organisations that experiment and fail regularly then to succeed.

  15. Learn about Web Squared
  16. You might be asking web what? Web Squared is the next evolution of the whole Web 2.0 idea. Web Squared builds on the idea that everything and everyone in the world cast “information shadows” or data. This data when leveraged provides extraordinary opportunities to organisations.

  17. Begin to think how you can bring real time into your operations
  18. The first part of web squared that you can bring into your organisation today is leveraging real time data. Look at real time data as key signals that form part of your business processes.

  19. Never ever forget about change management
  20. One of the biggest reasons for projects, of any sort, to fail is a lack of acceptance in the final outcomes being sort by the project. This can be alleviated through an effective change management program.

Thoughts on the Peopleclick Authoria merger

On 5 January 2010 Authoria and Peopleclick combined to form the largest privately owned company in the Talent Management marketplace. The new company, Peopleclick Authoria, claims to serve almost 60% of the Fortune 100 organisations. The new CEO will be Charles S. Jones, Managing Partner of Bedford Funding, the private equity firm undertaking the deal.

Some of my initial thoughts:

  • The merger will form the largest privately owned company in the Talent Management marketplace.
  • Both existing solutions will continue to be sold for the foreseeable future, with the addition of a combine suite offering.
  • The newly formed company leverages the best attributes of both vendors, Peopleclick’s recruitment offering and Authoria’s deep talent management features.
  • Technically both solutions are similar and offered as multi-tenant SaaS solutions, although Authoria’s use of single tenant for select larger clients may cause some integration issues.
  • Update: There is some debate around if Peopleclick have moved fully from their .NET platform to J2EE

  • As separate organisations both appeared in the recent Gartner eRecruitment 2009 Magic Quadrant report, with Peopleclick placed in the leaders category.
  • The combined organisation has the potential to move further into the leaders quadrant to provide a challenge to Taleo as the market leader.

More information is available to Inspecht members.

Unique job seeking method

I was forwarded an interesting Facebook event invitation today, someone seeking a job!

Paul Wants to be an Engineer

Here is the deal, our hero today is Paul a recent uni graduate in Engineering majoring in Robotics and Mechatronics and minoring in Mechanical Design Engineering with 18 months professional experience. Paul is having issues getting a job, so he put a call out to his Facebook friends to see who might be able to help him get a job. I like the idea.

I have posted his text below, but also see the Paul wants to be an Engineer!!! event on Facebook:

Hi there Facebook friends!

So, here’s the story;

I have just graduated from university with a Bachelors Degree in Engineering majoring in Robotics and Mechatronics and minoring in Mechanical Design Engineering. Along with this, I earned Class 2 Div A (Distinction) Honours.
I have also had over 18 months professional engineering experience with 14 months of that being employed at Bosch Australia.

The only problem is that I am finding it EXTREMELY difficult to find a job in this current global financial climate.

As you are all aware, in any industry it’s all about WHO you know and not WHAT you know.
So, I’m appealing to you to see if ANYONE has any contacts in the engineering world that could help me in getting my engineering career started!

I’m not too fussy with what position I’m looking for but I would prefer it to be in a capital city with a medium to large sized company with good career prospects in the automation/robotics/mechanical/engineering consultation areas.

There will also be prizes for the person who helps me land my first job 🙂

I have cover letters and resumes available upon demand.

Thanks heaps guys, any help will be greatly appreciated!

Paul.

Oh and if you happen to know someone looking for a graduate engineer you might want to drop him a line.

Movement at Stepstone?

After performing well in the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant report it seems things are changing for Stepstone . Earlier this week they held an Extraordinary General Meeting to vote on de-listing the company from both the Norwegian and UK exchanges.

De-listing of the shares of the company from Oslo Børs

In accordance with the Board’s proposal, the general meeting unanimously resolved as follows:

“StepStone ASA shall promptly apply to Oslo Børs for a de-listing of its shares from quotation at Oslo Børs.”

This a very interesting development as over the last year Axel Springer AG has been securing additional shareholdings in the holding company StepStone ASA. Since September Axel Springer have held 53% of the available shares.

Could we be seeing a private equity sale?