Guest Post: Sourcing Channels Complementing Executive Level Recruitment

How do executive recruiters navigate the evolving sourcing landscape? Paul Jury (Head of Executive Recruitment) sheds light on Talent2’s experience.

destination talent Paul JuryTalent2 was founded as a high-touch executive recruitment business focused on middle- and senior-level permanent and contract appointments. It has an experienced team of recruitment consultants who are recognised as leaders in their specialist areas. While our brand proposition might not traditionally be associated with the use of job boards, we strongly believe they can be utilised to greatly compliment high-quality executive level recruitment assignments.

In challenging markets it is essential that recruiters examine all sourcing channels when filling the requirements of their clients. While a specialist executive level firm such as Talent2 utilises search (from both research and consultant networks) advertising is also a crucial part of what we do. Both broad and specialist job sites offer access to substantial numbers of candidates who are both actively and in some cases more passively looking for new opportunities. This access comes with an immediacy that is a useful complement to the more time intensive processes of research, network search and traditional print advertising.  For example, 69% of permanent roles worked on in the last year by Talent2 utilised job boards to build their shortlists.

As the fundamental shift from print advertising to job boards continues, most active candidates will use job boards during their job search. It therefore becomes imperative that advertisers, both corporate and recruiters make it as easy as possible for candidates to find their ideal job posting. The key is to stand out from the pack and whilst there are a variety of upgrade options to enhance the prominence of your ad and catch the job seekers eye, there are some basics which need to be followed. It is imperative that ad copy is well crafted to both tell and importantly sell the story. Motivated candidates want to be both excited and informed. Interestingly, the basic principles of the more traditional employment display advertisement still ring true.

On-line job seekers focus on salary levels, the location of the role and the job title. Where ever possible we advocate the inclusion of salary details, doing this will maximise the search experience and ultimately the matching process. It is easy to get lost in the ‘noise’ of a generalist job board, especially as most job seekers only have short grabs of time to search the sites (often only 20 minutes here and there). A safe guard for all parties, especially job seekers, is to ensure they have targeted job alerts updating them on the latest and greatest jobs that fit their search criteria. The effectiveness of job alerts is often underestimated. Seek in particular send millions of job alerts and this email process creates
enormous value.

In this current recovery phase where new jobs and job seekers are more evenly balanced, job boards are a cost effective way of sourcing candidates, as is the Early General News sections of the major newspapers with the later particularly well suited to mid and senior level executive appointments, albeit with a significantly different value proposition.The big challenge for job boards and newspapers will be the re-emergence of talent shortages in Australia. In the short to medium stages of the recovery there will be growth in advertising volumes as many corporations and recruiters do what they have always done and advertise their roles (we are already seeing this happen).

The experience from the later stages of the boom years in 2006 and 2007 was that the quantity of responses to ads began to decline and over time the quality of applications followed. We predict the next phase of candidate shortages will be even more competitive and those doing the hiring will not be able to first and foremost rely on job boards alone.

Talent shortages will once again place pressure on the effectiveness of both online and press advertising. It’s all about return on investment and as the employment market tightens the quality and quantity of applications will become variable. As the supply and demand change many hiring managers will increase their usage of head-hunters to search the market for executive level talent.

Many larger organisations have been adapting and are already a lot savvier about how they engage with future talent including employee referral systems, employee value propositions, their own searchable talent pools and effective marketing communications. Many of the larger corporations have established in-house careers centres or partnered with recruitment process
outsourcing firms, including Talent2, to provide these services. While they use job boards as part of the process they have developed other strategic sourcing channels.

So who and what job boards will win out in this competitive employment market place? SEEK will continue to be the market leader and dominate. Niche boards with content and/or strong communities of regular users should prosper i.e. an e-financials. All other sites that are predominately only a job board will fail unless they are able to reach out, connect and build
relevant communities who regularly come to their site to engage on all range of matters including job postings. There still remain clear opportunities for job boards to offer and market searchable databases that are effectively monetised and LinkMe is well placed. That said, we may already have a clear winner in the contest to build the best database as there
are now over 1 million Australians on LinkedIn. We can all network with like minded professionals including introductions and referrals to jobs. The job boards, recruiters and corporate who most effectively connect and/or source from the LinkedIn networks will have a competitive advantage.

While the best job boards will be pieces in the talent acquisition jigsaw puzzle it is LinkedIn that may well become the centre piece. Meanwhile, hiring managers will be forced to cover as many bases as possible, executive recruiters will do more searches, while job seekers work out just how quickly they want to embrace online networks rather than just job boards.

Paul Jury is inspired by the Talent2 vision to create success with organisations that acquire, manage and optimise their human capital.  As the Head of Executive Recruitment with oversight for A/NZ he thrives on the value of finding the right person for the right job. Interestingly, his first days in recruitment were as a talent scout for the Essendon FC – once he got the bug for finding talent he was hooked for life!

An abridged version of this essay appeared in the Job Board Report 2010.

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