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How do I use online job advertising effectively?

How do I use online job advertising effectively?


The Internet has improved the world in many ways, and the recruitment world is no different. You can now reach a wider range of candidates than ever and in increasingly inventive ways.

Pros and cons
Looking at online advertising against the various other methods of generating candidates shows some clear advantages.

  • Newspaper advertising (local press, national press)
    • Pros – Mass audiences, targeting possible, advert size flexibility
    • Cons – High placement costs, additional design and admin resources, short active window, targeting often broad, tracking difficult
  • Magazine advertising (industry, general interest)
    • Pros – Niche audiences, advert size flexibility
    • Cons – High placement costs, additional design and admin resources, short active window, tracking difficult
  • Media advertising (TV, radio, cinema)
    • Pros – High impact, mass audience, broad targeting possible
    • Cons – Very high costs, additional design and admin resources, short attention time, tracking difficult
  • Display advertising (billboards, public transport)
    • Pros – High impact, large advert sizes, mass audience
    • Cons – Very high costs, additional design and admin resources, short attention time, targeting difficult, tracking difficult
  • Online advertising
    • Pros – Speed, 24 hour coverage, highly targeted, application tracking and management tools, automated renewals, cost effective
    • Cons – Reliant on advert quality, limited formatting

As with any kind of advertising, it's up to you to ensure you get the most out of your campaign. The benefit with online advertising is that you can afford to test which approach works best and the tracking facilities are in place to let you know exactly that.

And perhaps the biggest differentiator is the access you can buy to CV databases. Why spend time and money creating a job advert when you can put in a few keywords and instantly have the CVs of 20 people who match your exact requirements?

Building a campaign
Your online presence is made up of three main aspects:

  • Job advert – This is the one thing that really sells the role to your audience. Firstly you need to pick the right job title, and that doesn't mean the job title that you are using internally. Think about the job title that your desired candidates will be searching for and keep it simple. Your job description should clearly set out the responsibilities of the role and the opportunities it offers. Make sure you incorporate lots of relevant keywords that will help your role appear on search engines.
  • Banner advertising – As good as text based job adverts are, sometimes there's nothing like a striking advert to draw the attention of users. You can get as creative as you like to try and portray your brand to your target audience and you can selectively target certain keywords or locations with specific messages.
  • Company profile – Rather than trying to cram in all the information about your company within your job advert, you should look to create an overview of your company including a brief history, information on the various locations in which you operate, the training opportunities you offer and all the things that make your company great to work for. Look to get testimonials from your existing employees to give it that personal touch.

Making these elements link seamlessly will make it easy for users to find, digest and then act on your advert. There are plenty of opportunities to reach a wide audience with your campaign, however if the quality of candidates is more important to you than the quantity of responses, you can make your advert as targeted as you wish.

Getting creative
As a relatively new medium, the internet is constantly evolving and there are new opportunities to utilise to increase the reach of your recruitment campaign.

  • Multimedia – Video and audio are becoming increasingly important tools for businesses and internet users are often referred to as the YouTube or iPod Generation. Companies are embracing the technology by offering video tours of their offices or downloadable discussions with current employees to offer an insight into their brand.
  • Blogging – There are blogs on just about any subject you can think of, and it's a great way for you to show the human side of your business. You could get one of your employees to blog on a training course they are undertaking or write about the various social gatherings your company holds. Pictures of your employees having a good time are a great selling point.
  • Social networking – Perhaps the biggest online revolution since the Internet entered the mass market, social networking sites such as MySpace, Bebo and Facebook allow people all over the world to connect and share their thoughts and ideas. How you enter this world with your recruitment campaign is up to you, but do it right and you can get access to a very attentive audience.

The important thing to remember about the Internet is that it is an open medium where people can, and do, discuss things openly. If you embrace the opportunities it brings you then your recruitment campaign can take on a life of it's own, reaching people from all walks of life who would have otherwise not discovered your advert.

However, it takes a certain level of commitment to use it properly. Starting a blog and then leaving it untouched for 6 months could actually have a negative impact on your recruitment efforts.

Discuss this issue on The Employer Forum.