Knowing your job ad exposure need

HR is the new marketing. That’s what’s been preached since a few years back by now. What does that mean really? It mean a set of different things:

1) Content is key to win your ideal candidate

2) The right level of exposure is key to make your content seen.

3) The right way of exposure is key to make your ideal candidate see your content.

All these three things need to go hand in hand and most have spotted that it is not sufficient to create an advert at a random job site hoping the right candidate happens to spot it among hundreds of other exciting opportunities. Instead it has become imperative to place your ad in the flows where your candidates probably are – naturally. Since candidates mostly are passive in their job seeking, this has become vital. It also means employers need to work a whole lot more with attractive content in general and not only the job adverts. This content needs to be used the same way. Most candidates make their choice of employer before they actually apply and get recruited. Especially those you really want to choose you. Therefore content is key.

But let’s focus on the actual job adverts for now.

So let’s be honest. On average, the talent market is 15-20% actively looking for jobs. Some hard recruited segments of people are even more passive. Let’s just say it: A reactive advert on any kind of career/professional network/job site is not enough. It can be when it comes to simpler vacancies where people are in general more actively looking. It could also work if there is a higher supply of the asked for profile. If you’re in luck and have a strong employer brand it might be enough. If not, you need to make your job advert find its way to your candidate rather than the candidate finding the job.

And when realizing that we need to determine how much exposure is needed and where. Every job differs and the profile is what matters. So let’s go through some important key questions you need to ask yourself when determining the method and amount of exposure you need for a certain vacancy:

A) “How much does this specific recruitment target group actively look for jobs?” Now we went through this already and it’s going to be imperative. The bigger portion of your desired target who doesn’t actively look for jobs, the more you need to increase your exposure efforts.

B) “How many of my desired recruitment target group are there?” The supply is obviously going to matter. A correct measurement of the supply is hard to know but a ball park measurement is all you need. That and being honest to yourself. When making your verdict take the “Function”, “Location”, “Seniority level” and “Industry” into account. E.g. How many key account managers does it exist in Stockholm who have at least 3 years experience within the media industry?

C) “How attractive/well known is our employer brand for this recruitment target group?” Let’s not deny it, your employer brand matters a lot. It will be a decider when candidates open up to look for new opportunities and to a large extent determine whether candidates look at your jobs ahead of your competitors or not. Here you only need to ask yourself the question: “Do we have an attractive employer brand?” If you come to the conclusion that there are others who are more attractive than you, you need to increase exposure of your job opportunities.

D) “How many recruitment competitors do we have?” It is important to understand the competitor landscape. And while we’re at it we are referring to employers who want to recruit people of the SAME PROFILE. We aren’t talking solely about the companies you compete with in your industry. Talent doesn’t look for jobs industry wise only. Therefore your competitor landscape from a talent perspective is more complicated. The more recruitment competitors the more exposure your opportunities are going to need. When in industries of high competition, talent are going to be willing to wait until the right opportunity open up.

E) “How many of our recruitment competitors actively recruit for the time being?” Recruitment is also a lot about timing. Many candidates are going to wait for the ideal employer and here the employer brand comes in. But there is also a large portion of people who are going to opt for an exciting opportunity and then it’s more about how many adverts who compete for their attention here and now.

Alright. Easy enough? The model above is a design of my own. It clarifies the factors you need to consider when judging type and amount of exposure a job opportunity is in need of. Feel free to use it as it is a visual simplification of what I just went through.

Quick summary of how to judge the advanced level of a recruitment:

  • Level of passive job seeking behavior
  • Supply of relevant talent profile
  • Employer brand strength
  • Size of recruitment competition
  • Recruitment competition activity

All clear? Great! Now, let’s make some examples of what a recruitment situation could look like and what assumptions / conclusions we can draw from what they look like regarding the need of exposure of your job opportunity.

Scenario A – Advanced Recruitment Challenge:

If you make an honest verdict and come to the conclusion that… :

  • Your recruitment target mainly consists of passive job seekers
  • … Who are quite rare
  • … Your employer brand is not the strongest or the most known,
  • … You have many recruitment competitors of this certain recruitment profile
  • … Who actively recruit at the time

Result: You need a HIGH level of exposure to your jobs. You also need to secure that your exposure is targeted and that your content is in line with your recruitment targets preference and packaged so that it become close to no disturbance at all for those you want to hire. Dedicating time and effort into making the job offer attractive is important.

Many times this is a recruitment that doesn’t even close. It’s perfectly possible but it is all about creating quality content and putting it in the right place without making the candidate feel it is “forced content” and instead becomes a natural part of things he could dedicate some time while surfing.

Scenario B – Tough Recruitment Challenge:

If you make an honest verdict and come to the conclusion that… :

  • Your recruitment target mainly consists of passive job seekers
  • … Who are quite rare
  • … You have many recruitment competitors of this certain recruitment profile
  • Positive: … But your employer brand is above average or even strong and the recruitment competitors doesn’t seem to be hiring much for the time being.

Result: You need good exposure of your job opportunity in the right channel with quality content. Dedicating time and effort into making the job offer attractive is important in this case but your brand strength might help you make it seen by the right candidate. Think through the channels of usage for your target group. Just putting a lot of your money onto sponsoring a random update at a big social media and hope for the best is not always successful when your recruitment target profile is scarce of supply.

Scenario C – Average Recruitment Challenge:

If you make an honest verdict and come to the conclusion that… :

  • Your recruitment target mainly consists of passive job seekers
  • … Which exists in sufficient supply
  • … You have many recruitment competitors of this certain recruitment profile
  • … Who actively recruit at the time
  • … And your employer brand is above average.

Result: You need exposure to raise hiring awareness with your recruitment target group. Since they aren’t browsing jobs you need to make those come their way. When done you will soon gain interest given your brand strength and the good supply.

Scenario D – Light Recruitment Challenge:

If you make an honest verdict and come to the conclusion that… :

  • Your recruitment target are both active and passive or even mainly active
  • … Which exists in sufficient supply
  • … You have a few recruitment competitors of this certain recruitment profile
  • … Who doesn’t have a recruitment need over the supply
  • … And your employer brand is above average or even strong.

Result: Your exposure need is little and when this situation occurs you could start out trying a reactive job advert at channel of choice. The candidate will find you and hopefully at least one would be a good culture-fit.

Some final words:

The creation of content, way to build relationships with candidates, nurturing and building said relationships with content and relevant offerings is far more complicated than what I went through in this post. This post is solely about providing an idea of how to judge the challenge you meet in a specific recruitment and what to do about it – exposure wise. Using the model I provided above will enable you to make better choices directly from start. There is no use doing something insufficient and then end up with no applications or only poor ones 25 days later and being forced to start everything over again.

Good luck with your recruitment!

/Daniel Sonesson