Budgets are tight...how do I effectively invest in Social Media & Job Boards?

I was retained by a client in December of 2009 to help build a “North American Talent Acquisition Strategy” and the subsequent “action plan” to implement what we designed. This organization is a mid-sized manufacturing organization and they have 900 employees with the intent of conducting 125 internal and/or external hires in 2010. During these talks, we engaged in conversations that circled around social media and how to engage these popular tools as a recruitment branding engine and prospecting tool. My client, like so many others, is adamant about having LinkedIn, strategic blogging sites and Facebook as elements of their strategy and I agree that these tools are important in today’s market, but how does an organization with a tight budget select to invest in social media, if it means scaling back on traditional job boards? After all, in order to truly implement social media you have to have solid messaging, a person or team of people to properly manage it and truth be told; it can cost significant dollars relative to an already tight budget.

I lead with this story to help you understand that I am a consultant in the recruiting space who has taken 15 years of corporate recruiting, full desk headhunting and recruitment process outsourcing leadership and began applying those skills and experiences to organizations who want to improve their recruiting processes, improve their client service and maintain strong recruitment brands in their respective markets. Whether I am assisting “agency recruiters” with time management or I am supporting a corporate recruiting leader who is tasked with designing effective processes, I have to provide useful and cutting edge information so the clients I represent achieve their goals for the year.

Part of my strategy for gathering information is to listen to the sales professionals who call on our organization. Yes, we get “sold to” like everyone else, so when I find someone who appears to be more interested in adding value to my firm versus selling to make quota, I listen, as most of you probably do, too.

I received a call from a woman a few weeks ago and her name is Mandy Schaniel. Mandy represents TopUSAJobs (www.topusajobs.com) and as a sales professional, she was solid. Mandy’s consultative tone and questioning kept me on the phone, which led to a follow up talk about where her business model is adding value in the market place. The information I listened to was valuable, so I wanted to share it with all of you in the event you are looking to invest in social media without having to cut budget dollars from a viable candidate source; job boards. I know, I know, aren’t job boards the least of the “strategic” recruiting moves? They might have that perception, but Mandy passed interesting information to me that I have verified with some of the recruiting professionals who work for our organization.

In a conference call Mandy was on last week, they heard from Peter Weddle, a well known Job Search & Employment Strategy guru, who shared that the International Association of Employment Websites recently reported that 35% of candidates who find jobs find them through job boards (which is a pretty large number of professionals when you think of the volume of hiring typically done in the United States). Additionally, 33% of corporate recruiters found 51-100% of their new hires online and of those corporate recruiters surveyed, according to Mr. Weddle, “53% responded that the hires they find through job boards are ‘among their best hires’ ”.

As we already experience daily, the “job boards”, whether we believe them to be strategic or not, can still add tremendous value to organizations when used appropriately. The dilemma is; what do we do about the statistic that Mandy mentioned where 8 out of 10 corporate recruiting leaders are working to implement some form of social media into their 2010 recruiting strategy and those investments into social media may be pulling back from the “spend” on job boards? Enter TopUSAJobs’ business model.

According to Mandy, “TopUSAJobs is not just a job board and we aren’t just a search engine…we are kind of like Google for jobs.” She went on to talk about how they have built a pay-per-click business model that has merit if your firm is looking to save cost and continue to “brand” as an innovative employer. “In this tough economy,” she said, “a recruiter can now show their boss value for every dollar spent. For every $1 spent, the company will receive approximately 4 job views on TopUSAJobs. Social media is innovative, but so is PPC for job postings. The only difference is the guaranteed results!”

If nothing else, as a consultant who works with mid-sized businesses that are constrained by budgets, but knows that those leaders still want to have both; job boards and social media in their strategies; I believe TopUSAJobs (or other business models like theirs) would be worth a look. Mandy Schaniel appears to be a creative player in a space that could add value, so as I stated earlier; my role is to gather information…the fun part is sharing it.

Travis Furlow is a Managing Director with Resource Recruiting and Learning Solutions and leads their Recruitment Coaching & Training team. He has been in the Recruiting Industry for 15 years. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to him at ltfurlow@smartworkforce.com or leave a note at www.fearlessleadership.wordpress.com .

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