Back in 1998, when I first began my career in executive search, the Daily Telegraph would have 30 pages of adverts in the Appointments section every Thursday. In this week’s paper, I was shocked to see that there wasn’t a single advert. So shocked in fact that I actually phoned up their sales team, who confirmed, that they often run the Thursday copy without an Appointments section as demand simply doesn’t warrant it.
The days of being able to stick an advert in the Telegraph or Sunday Times, or a well-read industry publication and expect a good quality and quantity of response are long gone.
In truth the last time I got a truly great response to a national advert was 2001. I actually used the headline “Come on Board Tomorrows Trains Today” for a Rail client and it worked a treat. I tried a similar ad for the same client a year later and it bombed. Times change.
So can you still use advertising to attract candidates for senior roles in your business?
In the last decade online advertising has exploded. There are very few places you can go to escape the onslaught of ads directed at you. For some, these ads can be very useful, informative campaigns that tell us exactly what we need to hear to help us make important decisions. For others, the advert simply becomes white noise that dissolves into the background.
Job advertising is no different. For a segment of the market, online job advertising conveys a vacancy that piques their interest. But a significant portion of the talent pool will never see it because they simply aren’t looking. Research shows that only 14% of professionals hear about a new position through a third party website or online job board*.
Advertising can be a good starting platform for your talent search for junior and mid-level roles; they elicit immediate results, in volume, at low cost and very little time needs to be spent putting them in to motion. They can also be a useful stage to direct candidates to (that you have actively sourced) so that they can find out more information and gauge their interest in the opportunity before taking any further steps.
Undeniably they have their advantages – which is why over 85% of recruiters (including some executive search firms) will post jobs online.
Here’s why they should never be used in isolation:
1. You are only targeting active job seekers.
Approximately 95% of candidates for executive roles and 75% for non-management roles are considered to be passive. They are gainfully employed and while not actively seeking a move, they will move for the right opportunity. In other words, the people you are looking to attract aren’t looking for you.
By relying on an advert alone to sell the position, you are shutting yourself off from a vast pool of talent that may be well qualified and receptive to making a career move even though they aren’t pro-actively searching for one. This also means that it is extremely unlikely that they will be interviewing elsewhere.
Even candidates who aren’t open to a move at this time can be great connections for future opportunities, or may be able to suggest someone that would be right for the role.
The best way to target passive candidates is through a proactive sourcing strategy encompassing networking contacts and industry specialists, as well as extensive market research across search engines and social media. This may sound time consuming but it means you have access to the entire market as opposed to the fraction that have sought you out.
If you don’t have the time or resources to do this yourself we can help, it’s our core business.
2. There’s no control over qualifications or experience.
Yes, you can create an extensive list of qualifications that are essential to the role. Or previous career experience that is vital to exceeding in this position, but that doesn’t mean anyone will pay the slightest bit of attention.
A job posting is like fishing with a fifty foot net. Literally anyone can respond to your advert, meaning that you will have to sift through all of the applicants to find the few gems that actually meet your requirements.
A recent study found that 44% of CV’s presented to hiring managers are submitted by unqualified applicants**. Additionally, 47% of hiring managers cited under-qualified applicants as their most common hiring challenge.
3. To most people you are invisible.
Advert targeting via social media is incredibly accurate these days. It seems that Facebook can narrow
down an audience according to what colour socks they are wearing.
But it doesn’t matter how focused you are, the reality is, unless someone is looking for your advert, you will be tuned out. Changing jobs is a stressful decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly, so it is unlikely many senior managers will see an advert while scrolling through their LinkedIn or Facebook news feed and make a life altering career move.
LinkedIn is a great tool and while up to 90% of its users are open to hearing about opportunities, it is important to engage in a discussion and really sell the company and position to them. This can’t be achieved through advertising alone.
Instead of waiting for the right people to respond to a job posting, a far more profitable route is to take decisive action to go out and identify, proactively engage and attract talent.
To arrange a call with us to see how we can help you source passive talent in transport and infrastructure click HERE
*LinkedIn Global Talent Trends Report, 2016.