Formerly busy streets have been deserted, conference rooms remain empty, and workers all across America continue to adjust to a different kind of business day. There’s absolutely no question that the novel coronavirus has changed the world as we once knew completely upside-down.
After more than 50 days of self-isolation and social distancing, several states have begun lifting their shelter-in-place orders and rolling out individual plans to reopen their economies. Although the strategies seem to change daily, it appears that many will unfold in phases, which means it still could be months before we see any semblance of normalcy.
If COVID-19 has negatively impacted your staffing agency, know that you are certainly not alone. Sadly, many companies (both large and small) have had to furlough employees while others have lost significant contracts. We recognize that your calendar may have a lot more free space than it had only a matter of weeks ago, so we’ve compiled a list of activities that you can work on now to endure this period of uncertainty:
Personal Branding & Networking
- Improve your LinkedIn Profile – Often, the professional networking platform is the first place people visit when looking for talent or searching for a new job opportunity. Increase your chances of being found by the right person by optimizing your LinkedIn profile.
- Participate in networking – There may not be many in-person networking events happening given the nature of the situation, but that shouldn’t stop you from connecting with others. Look to LinkedIn and other social networks to grow your network.
- Author a personal blog – There are dozens of benefits to creating a personal brand, including earning trust, gaining authority and developing an “always-on” funnel of opportunities. Spend this extra time by building your voice and showcasing your expertise on a personal blog.
- Explore other marketing channels – Anyone marketing a business in today’s digital world knows that marketing plans are always evolving. If you’ve been hoping to add another channel to your strategy, such as creating a podcast or developing videos, there’s never been a better chance to get your feet wet.
- Reach out to clients, candidates and contracts to check-in – Chances are you are not the only one in your network feeling the effects of the novel coronavirus. Take a moment to check in with all of your contacts to see how everything is going. Remember to keep the current economic state top of mind, by focusing on providing helpful resources rather than selling.
- Participate in outreach to thought leaders and authorities – Right now, it seems everyone is determined to help out during this time of need. Consider reaching out to thought leaders and other authority figures to learn more about their current take on the industry and any other feedback they may have garnered during this unpredictable time.
- Focus on community development – Times of crisis hold the most opportunity to make direct connections in your community. If there is a certain area that holds a special place in your heart, volunteer to lend a helping hand during this time of need. If you are one of the lucky few who has not lost business due to the pandemic, you may want to consider participating in charitable giving.
- Create COVID-19 resources – After connecting with clients and candidates, you will likely notice patterns in their situations. Use these insights to develop COVID-19 specific guides or other practical resources to help others navigate through this challenging period. After all, too much information doesn’t exist in a time like now.
- Create a scholarship program – What better way to support your community than by helping a deserving student offset the cost of higher education? Here’s what you need to think about when starting a program.
- Clean up your ATS/CRM – Isn’t CRM/ATS management just one of those tasks that always falls to the bottom of the priority list? Now, there are no excuses. Take some to review your database by updating contact information and changing the status of your applicants. Your future self will thank you!
- Clean up your workspace – Science has proven that a clean desk helps immensely in the productivity department. If a previously busy schedule has been keeping you from giving your workspace a thorough deep cleaning, now is the time.
- Enable your team to work remotely – We are in the midst of a revolution. Many believe the WFH era is here to stay, even after the coronavirus has ended. Work with your team to enhance the virtual workplace. Consider asking for feedback from your team to see if you are capable of making their work easier.
You may also be searching for ways to build team camaraderie remotely, think about incorporating an instant messaging tool (if you haven’t done so already,) and setting up weekly one-on-one video chats and virtual happy hours. Take a look at these other fun team-building activities.
- Improve your home office – Since you have been primarily working from home, you may have noticed your home office is not set up nearly as nicely as your typical workspace. Now that you’ve had a chance to acclimate to your new office, take some time to recognize its downfalls and work to find the right resources. Here are 18 must-have items.
- Evaluate your finances and save money – Unless you have a specific passion for numbers, bookkeeping may very well be your least favorite job of business ownership, and may often get pushed down to the bottom of your To Do List. Place more of an emphasis on the evaluation of your bookkeeping, reconcile your transactions and run reports to see how the year was progressing before COVID.
Marketing & Branding
- Adjust your messaging – Avoid sounding tone deaf to the struggles of others. Be genuine and sincere in your messaging. Take down ads that might miss the mark during these times. Create ads that focus on brand awareness rather than conversions. “When this is all over, we’ll be here to help you get back to work” rather than “Apply now to land your dream job”.
- Redesign your logo – Although it may be hard to believe, remember the pandemic will eventually come to an end. Prepare for that period by taking a good hard look at your brand. If your logo is in need of an update, this might be the right time to move forward.
- Create graphics – One of the most challenging elements of digital marketing is having the necessary graphics readily available. Work with a creative employee or freelance designer to create an image library of digital assets. You may want to consider display ads, infographics, brochures, flyers and more.
- Participate in reputation management – When was the last time you googled your business name? Take some time to research your business’ reputation. Review online comments from clients and candidates to identify whether or not internal circumstances may be contributing to negative publicity. Brainstorm ideas on improvement tips, if necessary.
- Improve business listings – When reviewing your online reputation, you may find old or incorrect business listings with the wrong phone number or address. Update them by using a service like Moz Local or Yext. These tools will also allow you to create new local business listings. If your company is mostly based on referrals from local traffic, focusing your efforts on creating consistent citations is a great place to start.
- Analyze Google Analytics – If you already have Google Analytics set up, you know what a priceless resource it can be for acquisition, but up until now, you may not have logged in as often you should. To get the most value, identify potential conversion tracking improvements, identify referral sources that could be nurtured, exclude spam traffic, and look for additional content opportunities. Stay tuned to find more ways to improve your company’s Google Analytics account.
- Review your website’s SEO – Determine how much of your website traffic is coming from search engines. Dig into Google Search Console to discover keywords with ranking that could be improved upon, and find pieces of content that are working well. Begin recognizing patterns and find more ways to do more.
- Audit ad accounts and conversion sources – Use Google Analytics and your ATS/CRM to identify lead sources that outperform others. Use this newfound information to influence your future marketing efforts.
- Improve conversion tracking – If you can’t currently see where candidates/clients are coming from in your ATS, find a solution to integrate tracking. Knowing where client and candidate leads/conversions are coming from is imperative to your marketing success.
- Perform a cost-benefit analysis for advertising – More than likely you’re familiar with the old adage, “Half of my marketing is wasted – the problem is I don’t know which half.” Become a smarter marketer by creating a cost-benefit analysis. Determine your ROI for your advertising campaigns by comparing Indeed vs Monster vs Google Ads.
- Conduct a survey or a poll – As we mentioned, we are all living in unchartered territory, which means that we’re all amateurs learning as we go. Take some time to conduct a quick survey or poll to gain more insight on what the current economic state means to clients and candidates. Don’t forget to distribute your findings to your network later on!
- Host a webinar – We guarantee that you are not the only one with time on your hands. With that understanding, use this opening as an opportunity to share your knowledge with others through a webinar. Possible topics could include optimizing your LinkedIn profile, learning how to negotiate or improving your resume.
- Improve your website – Before physically reaching out, a client or candidate will likely already be familiar with your company based on your website. Take some time to improve and think about user experience. Take off your owner hat and put yourself in the shoes of your visitor; determine what they may be looking during their visit and how your website holds up to the challenge.
- Write content – After reviewing Google Analytics, you may notice “holes” in your content, or pages where visitors are most likely to drop off the site. Determine if there are certain pieces of content that may help the visitor through your sales funnel. A few ideas to get you started include FAQs, blog posts, or other informational pages. It may be helpful to begin with keyword research to get a better idea of what people are looking for during certain search queries.
- Improve your job board – Again, after reviewing your website analytics, you may notice trends on your most valuable pages, including your job board. Seek out opportunities to improve the search-friendliness, conversion rate and user experience. Don’t forget to create a benchmark now to monitor your progress.
- Write better job descriptions – Today’s job seekers are looking for more than just a job, they want a fulfilling career with an organization that shares their values. That’s why in 2020, it’s not enough to simply outline the position opportunities. Take a good hard look at your company’s job descriptions to see where there may be room for improvement. Check out this recent post on job description best practices.
- Evaluate mobile responsiveness of your website – You never get a second chance at a first impression. Since we know that over half of all job searches start on a mobile device, it is imperative that your website and job postings are mobile-friendly. See how your site scores on the Google Mobile-Friendly Test.
- Upgrade your hosting – If you’re like many business owners, you chose the most cost-effective hosting option when developing your first website. Now, you may be left wondering if the starter package is still the best option. Check out these signs to know if it is time for an upgrade.
- Research competitors – Do you remember the last time you were able to keep an eye on your direct competitors? If you’re like many of us, it was probably your first month on the job. Take a few spare moments to follow their social media profiles, sign up for their newsletters and review their websites. Familiarize yourself with their services and look for areas of improvement within your own organization.
- Research verticals or revenue opportunity – Have a list of ideas for vertical services that you have been saving for a rainy day? There may not be a single cloud in the sky, but the day has arrived. In today’s day and age, recruiters with a niche focus have the upper hand due to their specific experience in the field. Start exploring new industries and service offering expansions to increase your agency’s competitive advantage.
It’s been said dozens of ways: we are all living in unprecedented times and watching history unfold in real-time, but trust us, the pandemic will eventually come to an end. By accomplishing a handful of these tasks now, you will be prepared for worklife post-COVID.
When it comes to contract and direct hiring, recruiters have a unique set of obstacles in today’s day and age. Between the low unemployment rate, competitive job market, and ever-changing technologies, staffing professionals have their work out cut out for them as they work tirelessly to find the right candidates for their clients.
Job seekers today are drastically different than they were 20 years ago. Modern candidates aren’t just looking for a way to spend eight hours and a paycheck. Instead, the majority are focused on finding a meaningful career with a company that aligns with their personal and professional goals. If you have noticed that your organization’s conversion rates have been dropping, it may be time to review the first step in your recruitment strategy – how your team crafts job descriptions.
Yes, the seemingly simple job post plays an enormous role in your overall hiring process. You may think you are merely outlining the position responsibilities to help job seekers determine whether or not they may be a fit for the job, but there is actually much more involved. You are doing more than just filling a job slot; you are bringing qualified, sought-after candidates together with companies eager for top talent. Consider yourself a career matchmaker.
Writing a job description is both an art and a science. It requires a whole lot of personality paired with considerable research (not unlike online dating profiles.) The perfect career match will include a clear understanding of what job seekers are looking for as well as thoughtful preparations. Let’s start with the big picture by reviewing best practices.
Job Description Best Practices
Describe how the position fits within the company mission:
Remember how we mentioned that candidates want to find purpose within their careers? Use this piece of know-how to your advantage by aligning the job description with the company’s goals. Studies show that employees with a strong sense of purpose are both happier and more driven in their careers.
Include items that candidates care about:
In addition to providing candidates with traditional role responsibilities and necessary qualifications, job descriptions can also act as powerful recruitment marketing assets. Cater to the needs of the candidates by including pertinent information that will impact their career moves. The Harris Poll and Glassdoor recently conducted a survey that found the top factors job seekers look for within a job description:
- Commute Time
- Employee Reviews
Including absolutely everything could get incredibly lengthy. Although there is a lot to cover, nothing turns job seekers away faster than a wall of text. Many will read through the lines and assume the company is either overbearing, filled with a group of micromanagers, or both. Shoot to find a happy medium between providing adequate information and being concise. Data collected from Indeed found that job descriptions between 700 and 2,000 characters typically outperform others.
Take a conversational approach:
If you had to pick a word that best describes your job description, would you say, “boring?” Long gone are the days of static job descriptions that sound like everyone else’s.
Each company is unique, so each job description should follow suit. Rather than monotonously spewing industry jargon, use language that real people would use in real conversations. Using the word “you” rather than “ideal candidate” can also make job seekers feel like the description was written specifically for them. Remember to write the same way you speak.
Your job descriptions should be a reflection for your company’s brand. If the company is considered a fun workplace, be sure to illustrate how the organization keeps the good times rolling. Meanwhile, if your company is always striving for the next level of innovation, use words to inspire a candidate’s entrepreneur from within.
Format for mobile:
Mobile recruiting is not a new phenomenon in staffing. For years, we have been listening to thought leaders telling us that a lot of job searches begin on a mobile device, but just how many is “a lot”? Glassdoor recently conducted a study that found over half of all searches are taking place on their phones, and 35 percent admit that applying on a mobile device is their preference.
Another reason to keep your job description short and concise is that massive blocks of text look especially intimidating on a mobile device when compared to a desktop monitor. Keep everything clean by including appropriate headers, and use bullet points whenever possible. Always keep in mind that we live in a world where the average attention span is only 8 seconds. That doesn’t give you a lot of time to make a memorable first impression.
Now that you know the inner workings of how and what today’s job seekers are looking for in their quests for true career love, let’s pull everything together with the must-have elements of the job description.
Anatomy of a Job Description
Clarity should be the #1 focus of the job title. Rather than posting a position for “Accounting Ninja,” stick with “Financial Manager.” Avoid terms like “guru,” “magician,” or “hero.” While creativity is admired and appreciated, people still look for more traditional roles when job hunting, and will be more likely to click on the listing with the more well-known title.You’ll also want to stay away from internal lingo that may not resonate with the job seeker. Most people will not understand the “II” or “V,” that immediately follow a title. Stick with universal terms like “Junior” or “Senior.”
The job summary is your chance to win the attention of your reader. Accurately describe the expectations of the role and include a bit of information about your company. Identify what makes the company unique and define the culture, but don’t drag on and on. For bonus points, you’ll want to include the job location to optimize for proximity-based searches.
Roles & Responsibilities
Clearly outline the role, but don’t get too hung up on the specifics. Consider that those you are attracting have done the job before. At this point in the game, it’s not imperative to describe each person the role will report to or how often reports are prepared each week. Touch on a few activities involved for the day to day tasks and leave the rest for the interview.
Skills & Qualifications
When creating your list of skills and experience, separate them into what is absolutely essential, and what would be nice to have. In this section, you can also include any specific education requirements as well as character traits that will mesh well with the current team structure. After developing the list, pare it down – then do it again as it’s easy for these lists to go over the top and get out of control.
Remember to be mindful of the seniority level. For instance, if you are hiring an entry-level position, skip the cumbersome requirement list. Chances are, an industry newcomer is not going to have tons of experience. Avoid setting impossible standards, which is not only bad for your brand, but will likely limit your candidate search.
Although this is an area that many recruiters would rather shy away from, including a range will give your company some serious competitive advantage. Recruiters need to realize that earning potential is at the forefront of job seekers’ minds. Fulfill their need for salary expectations by providing a general range or include a “based on experience level” statement.
For recruiters looking to increase the number of conversions on your job descriptions, the best advice we can give you is to be honest. The companies that both attract and convert job seekers are those who have a solid understanding of the role and what the ideal candidate is looking for in their job search. The biggest challenge will be in differentiating the position from the competition. With a little time and research, companies can work to develop a branding strategy that gets results.
If you’re looking to put your best foot forward, contact the team at Staffing Nerd to take your employer branding to the next level!
The journey through the 2010s was a wild ride. We witnessed Steve Jobs reveal the world’s first iPad, saw the original WeWork open its doors in Soho, and watched the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica Scandal play out in real-time. Technology played a massive role in the momentum we saw, which also had a tremendous impact on staffing industry changes.
In the past decade, we observed the beginning of several new job board darlings, including ZipRecruiter in 2010, UpWork in 2015, and Google for Jobs in 2017, among countless others. Now that we have more job boards available than ever before, the once seemingly simple task of posting a job online may seem a bit more daunting, and you might find yourself asking, “which sites will be the best use of my time?”
Have no fear! We’re here to help you out of your job posting paralysis. Review our top picks for the best job boards for staffing in 2020:
Have you heard the saying, “The more things change, the more they remain the same”? This statement holds true for our top pick. Indeed continues to prove its powerhouse status in online job boards straight out of the gate. If you are looking for the greatest volume of quality candidates in every major industry (and really, who isn’t?), Indeed should continue to receive a portion of your recruiting budget. As a bonus, you only pay after your new hire has a successful 30 days. By utilizing Indeed as your primary job site, you’re sure to see a healthy ROI for your paid listings.
Did you know that 90 percent of LinkedIn users are open to the right opportunity? Since LinkedIn is already established with its over 260 million working professional users, it will fit seamlessly into their job hunt. The professional social networking site is an affordable job board option if you need to fill a mid to senior-level administrative role in finance, human resources, marketing, IT, operations, customer service, or business, look no further.
With the continual rise of social recruiting, advertising on LinkedIn is a no-brainer. Be warner, however, with its gradual increase in popularity; recruiters have now inundated the site. New strategies will be necessary to stand out from competitors.
Bonus: Remember that LinkedIn can also be used as a supplemental resource when researching any new job candidate that may have applied through another job site.
The discerning job hunter is going to start with Glassdoor to investigate their potential future employers. The site’s primary purpose is to increase transparency between the employer and the employee, so its usage will translate to outstanding recruiting.
Glassdoor is the ideal job board for filling positions in experienced business roles such as analysts, sales and project managers, and directors. It is also a reliable option for specific healthcare postings, notably registered nurses and medical assistants, as well as software engineers. While you may need to dedicate more ad dollars to Glassdoor, there’s no better place to find the best of the best.
As the job board with perhaps the oldest legacy, Monster consistently delivers job posting visibility at an acceptable rate. Although it’s no longer the first job board on either job seekers’ and agencies’ minds, it remains to be the best site for filling entry-level administrative and office worker positions. Monster may have lost search volume as well as market share in the past ten years, but it is still worth using if you have the budget and have already reached diminishing returns on our number one pick.
To avoid overspending on other job boards, consider creating your own. Estimates show that nearly 70 percent of people start this job hunt on Google. To give them the best experience imaginable, you’ll want to make sure your listings appear on the first page of the search results. Since Google scrapes your postings automatically, there’s no need to add or remove positions manually. You also don’t have to worry about candidates accidentally submitting more than one application due to duplicate listings.The biggest difference between Google for Jobs and the other job boards is that it’s not a job board per se. Staffing companies can’t just create a profile and start uploading jobs. It’s a little more complicated to sync your website with Google for Jobs but is definitely worth the energy. Check out this post to learn how to start getting your jobs on Google.
Honorable Mention: Facebook
As the social network with more than 2.45 billion active monthly users, Facebook is useful when recruiting for menial jobs. If you’re looking for highly skilled jobs or professions requiring higher education, this is not the job board for you.
Rather than thinking about Facebook and Instagram as recruiting tools, you may consider them as outlets to improve employer branding. Learn more about building a strong employer brand.
Specialty Job Boards
If you’re recruiting creatives, sites like Dribbble, Dice, Krop, and AuthenticJobs are your best bet. While sites like Indeed will deliver more volume, these niche sites are used by savvy professionals and shouldn’t be ignored.
Other Industry-Specific Job Boards
We have entered a new decade in the world of digital recruiting. Just because there are more job sites readily available does not mean that they are all worth your time. Stick with the best-performing job boards that also align with your company’s overarching goals. Here at Staffing Nerd, our team will help you decide on the right job boards while utilizing our skills in branding and SEO to go beyond generic platform recruitment. Contact us today!
On September 5th, 2018 I received an email announcing the release of “Staffing Speaks Out”, a conversation series with staffing & recruiting industry leaders by Bullhorn. The email quotes their intro video (seen below) and claims to be a place for learning, growth, and inspiration. All provided by industry professionals, experts, influencers, and… you guessed it, Bullhorn customers.
Needless to say I was intrigued. I followed the link in the email and was pleasantly surprised to find a number of high value video interviews and articles covering marketing in the staffing industry.
Topic: Marketing For Staffing Firms
One video in particular struck me as being highly valuable to a lot of agencies. The interview features Sr Director of Marketing Lauren Schuman of the NYC based staffing firm, Pyramid Consulting Group. Several of the topics covered in the interview relate to how Pyramid tackles obstacles in marketing to clients and candidates in the staffing field. The importance of mobile optimization for your website and the increased use of mobile devices by job seekers is emphasized. Shorter, more concise job descriptions are also recommended by Lauren. Her firm puts much of their attention to forward thinking technology and has been moving away from outdated practices such as cold calling in favor of sms notifications and text messaging.
“Just know your audience. I think cold calling is kind of an outdated practice, as well. I think that, again, there are some industries where it still works, but for us, our people aren’t responding to that. They’re not listening to voicemails. They’re not picking up the phone for a number that they don’t know.” – Lauren Schuman
Video content is also discussed as being a strategy Pyramid uses to reach potential candidates & clients. While search engines like Google still show a lot of love for long form text content, video can have a meaningful impact on the SEO of your website by improving user experience metrics. It has an even greater impact on users who are more likely to consume video content than text content.
Bullhorn is known for producing great content like this and for providing a robust marketplace for service providers such as those mentioned in the video. TextUs and Cube19 are both mentioned in the interview with Lauren Schuman. TextUs is a text messaging platform that integrates with Bullhorn and Cube19 provides analytics dashboards to better understand how your marketing efforts are working.
So Much Potential
There are a number of topics I’d love to see them cover, however I have some concerns that they may only be tapping Bullhorn customers for these video interviews. While I’m a huge fan of Bullhorn, there are industry experts outside of the pool of Bullhorn users that may have valuable insight into marketing, design, operations, sales, business development, and branding for staffing & recruiting firms. I see so much potential in the first few videos and articles that they’ve published under this brand that I worry it will be used to plug their marketplace too much and not give enough emphasis on tools and marketing platforms outside of the Bullhorn marketplace. These concerns may be premature but with such a strong start to the Staffing Speaks Out series, I’m optimistic that they’ll continue to churn out great content in the future. I’ve already learned quite a bit from the Staffing Speaks Out series, I hope you have too.
My topics wishlist includes: ad targeting strategies for passive vs active candidates, content marketing strategies for the staffing industry, and how to best utilize sourcing tools such as Indeed and LinkedIn. Also, I’d love to see interviews with Joe Green (CMO of Medical Solutions), Sara Menke (SEO of Premier Talent Partners), or Amber Ireland (VP of Marketing at PPR Talent Management Group). I think their interviews would be insightful due to their different perspectives, industries, and experience with marketing at different levels of their organizations.
For more information about Staffing Speaks Out check out their blog or search for the hashtag #StaffingSpeaksOut on Twitter.