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Bridging the gap between job seekers and recruiters

Jennifer Seith, CareerBuilder's managing director of emerging solutions

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Companies today are struggling to find employees with the right skills, despite the number of job seekers. While many experts blame a lack of skills on the worker side, recent research indicates that the difference between how employers and job seekers think and behave is contributing to the problem. In other words, there is a fundamental gap between how recruiters search for new employees and how job seekers search for jobs. This gap is causing missed opportunities for both sides.

Here are five areas where the disconnect between recruiters and job seekers is most apparent:

1. Job-search sources: Job seekers use an average of five sources in their job search, including job boards, the company career website, social media, search engines and peer networks. Recruiters tend to be creatures of habit; they usually use one or two tried-and-true sources. However, by not using every possible outlet to connect with job seekers, they may miss out on quality employees.

2. Job titles: When it comes to job titles, recruiters and job seekers tend to speak a different language. Recruiters often fall into the trap of using job titles that are too broad ("nurse" could mean many different positions), too vague (are candidates really entering terms such as "rock star" or "evangelist" when searching for available positions?) or too internal (do people outside your company really know what a "project-development manager – level II" is?). Many recruiters can't change the job titles they post due to technology or process restrictions.

Understanding how and where job seekers search for jobs is crucial to targeting the most qualified workers. Job seekers today use between seven and 10 terms when job searching, so recruiters should consider the different ways in which job seekers might be entering these search terms. They should also be descriptive but concise when creating job titles.

3. The application process: An estimated 34 percent of job seekers who start to apply for jobs don't complete the application process. Thanks to technology, such as smartphones, that provides seamless interaction and instant gratification, today's job seekers expect ease and speed in the application process and won't tolerate anything else. The more hoops they have to jump through to apply for a job, the less likely they are to do so. Yet, not only is it hard for recruiters to view the application process objectively, but even if they could see what the application process is really like, they often lack the resources and technology to create a better process.

4. Brand perception: Today's most in-demand job seekers aren't just looking for jobs; they're looking for a place to fit in. They want to work for a company where they feel comfortable culturally and have opportunities to grow and develop. They do their research and weigh an employer's brand perception when considering where to work. Unfortunately, recruiters have limited control over how their company is perceived. Just as job seekers are "always on" in their job search, so is a company's brand. Social sites such as Facebook, Glassdoor, YouTube and others are difficult to control, but job seekers are on these sites researching various employers. By the time workers apply, they've already done extensive research and are actively engaged in the company.

5. Engagement: Recruiters can't always continuously engage job seekers. They don't have the time, resources and technology to do so. Today's job seekers expect ongoing engagement throughout the hiring process. They expect to receive emails and newsletters -- even text messages -- with information about their application status and new job opportunities in which they might be interested. The traditional post-application auto-response email, followed by weeks of silence, doesn't cut it anymore. The more that companies engage job seekers, the better their perception of the company will be.

Understanding where these gaps between recruiters and job seekers lie will help employers navigate their hiring challenges as they identify new ways to connect with potential employees. Even those who are strapped for time and resources can take advantage of new tools that create a faster, more efficient and more engaging hiring process. One such tool is CareerBuilder's Talent Network, which uses more than 16 years of job-search behavior to help employers build a database of potential employees, engage candidates and measure the success of their efforts.

The marketplace for great workers is competitive, but those employers who make the effort to connect with the right candidates and keep them engaged will find themselves ahead of the curve.



Last Updated: 27/09/2012 - 4:21 PM


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