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Reviewing U.K. On-Line Recruitment #TruNora

October 26, 2010

Photo Credit:ScientificAmerican.Com

When I accepted Stephen O’Donnell’s offer of judging this years finalists for the NORA’s, (National On-Line Recruitment Awards) in each of the categories, I didn’t realise that it would lead me to taking such a comprehensive look at what is on offer to job seekers in each category. Each of the judges will have their own methodology for awarding scores, with the brief of looking at each entry through the eyes of the job seeker.
The scoring is based on 1 – 5 points awarded to each site. It’s not a first place, second place ranking, and it is based on the site, not on who submits the best entry from their PR Company. The winners will be those with the highest combined scores from all of the judges, who each have their own place in either recruiting or on-line recruiting.
It has taken a full 4 weeks to reach my scores on the 120 finalists, with plenty of covert mystery shopping to get a feel for the real candidate experience.
For each of the sites I have:

1) Registered and where required completed a profile
2) Registered for jobs by e-mail and received 4 weeks of mail
3) Entered a “contact us” message with a question, and waited for the response.
4) Followed the twitter stream
5) Joined the Facebook Fan Page
6) Went to the You Tube or Vimeo channel where available and watched a few video’s
7) Looked at the career/job seeking
and advice sections.
8) Completed a weekly search for jobs via the search engine

After this, I feel I know each of the sites pretty well, and it is well worth doing. If you operate one of these sites, I recommend you do the same from time to time.

It would be wrong to talk about any individual site prior to the announcements of the winners, and the other judges may see things completely differently.

What I can post about is my thoughts on the general functionality of the sites that I have picked up throughout the process. (Sounds very X-Factor).

  • 1) Jobs by e-mail is a very mixed experience. Some e-mails are a close match, while others seem to be based on the estate agent principle of mail everything and hope something sticks.
  • 2) Registration needs to be instant. In some cases I was waiting up to a week for a confirmation e-mails to confirm my registration. As a job seeker, I would have moved on. The majority of sites however had automated this, making it instant. Other sites have adopted Facebook and Open-ID registrations that can be used at point of sign up and transfer existing data. This would seem a good idea for full adoption.
  • 3) For the direct recruiters, a separate application stream for speculative C.V.’s away from specific job applications would work well, particularly where you are looking to build a talent pool for future use.
  • 4) The video’s that worked well were of real employees talking and not “brochure” type presentations.
  • 5) Corporate profiles with more than jobs, and in some cases video, were a good supplement to job boards.  This gives more for the job seeker to go on other than purely an ad, which in most cases looked more like a list of “we want” over “we offer.”
  • 6) I’m all for transparency and clear communication over recruiting timescales, but the “If you don’t hear from us, we’re not interested” approach on job specs and career sites left me a bit cold. I don’t think this is great for employer branding.
  • 7) Most of the job boards were promoting affiliate links to services like CV advice, CV writing and Interview DVD’s. Would be good to see some of this offered free rather than operating an on-line supermarket.
  • 8) Live chat option on at manned times on career sites are a good job seeker option and will lead to greater engagement between potential employer and employee.
  • 9) Would be good to get replies to contact me e-mails, these were largely lost or ignored. Liked the call you back time featured on some sites.
  • 10) Global sites could do with a default to a local setting using local terminology e:g: CV rather than resume, and job searching resources that do not refer to US laws.
  • 11) Salary indicators that take in to account location, experience etc were a good feature as well as benchmarking current job against  advertised and historical posts are handy for job seekers to know where to pitch themselves.
  • 12)I got to see the integration of Linked In Jobs Insider within a job board. This shows all your connections within the company, your relationship with the job poster, allows direct applications via their own career site, as well as some other great features. You can find a post I wrote on this feature on my blog “Social Job Search.”
  • 13)I like easy share options for distributing news of opportunities. This can be via e-mail, twitter or Facebook. Some of these features are getting quite advanced with Linked In Jobs Insider even suggesting some people from your network you might want to share the opening with.
  • Interesting to note an increase in referral rewards, and some of them quite significant amounts. I think this is a good concept, but would be interested in hearing if a share represents a referral, and if this has made much difference to the volume or quality of referrals.
  • 14) Social-media is still largely an add-on to the sites. I checked the You tube icons, which mostly contained few videos. The twitter stream and fan pages in some cases were a duplication of the website content rather than anything original. It’s encouraging to see that nearly all the sites have incorporated social in some way, now it is time for the step up from add-on to full integration.
  • 15) Just an observation, but do most of the advice video’s on sites have to look and sound like 70’s  government information films? The flipcam or natural approach works so much better.
  • 16) The facility to save multiple C.V.’s on the database against different types of job is a great feature that will encourage tailored applications.
  • 17) Progress tracking within job boards to keep up to date with what you have applied for and where you are up to helps to organise the application process. great for job seekers.
  • 18) There are some very good sites out there that are making a real effort to stand out. I look forward to keeping an eye and commentating on how these develop over the coming year.

Thats a few pointers to think about, and just my opinion, not the views of the NORAS as a whole.

I will be covering this in a track on “On line job seeking” during #truNora. I would be happy to give my own individual feedback on any site after the results have been announced. I have some fairly detailed notes I would be glad to share.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 27, 2010 5:10 pm

    Excellent blog Bill, and a great example of how seriously we take the judging process, and how thoroughly sites are assessed.

    After all this every Finalist and Winner in the NORAs can be justly proud of the achievement.

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