WEDDLE’s Research Factoid: What Recruiters Think of Online Job Seekers?

WEDDLE’s Research Factoid: What Recruiters Think of Online Job Seekers?

WEDDLE’s Research Factoid: What Recruiters Think of Online Job Seekers?

WEDDLE’s continuously conducts both primary and secondary research on the Best Practices in job search and career self-management. Recently, we began to explore what recruiters think of the employees they source online. Previous WEDDLE’s research revealed that that over half of all employers now fill over a quarter of their openings with candidates sourced on the Internet. But, how do they rate those hires? Do recruiters believe that the people they find online make good employees? If they do, then using the Internet in a job search makes sense; if they don’t, it’s a waste of time.

The responses below were collected between March 10 and June 20, 2007 for the following question: “How would you rate the caliber of your new hires sourced online?”

  • 31.3% said they were among their best employees
  • 47.9% said they were above average employees
  • 16.7% said they were average employees
  • 2.1% said they were below average employees
  • 2.0% had no opinion
  • What the Findings Mean

    There are many different ways to look for a new or better job and not enough time to do them all. A successful job search, therefore, is an exercise in prioritization. It requires that you identify and use those methods that are likely to be most productive. These findings indicate that employers now see the Internet as a credible and reliable source of top quality employees. That perception means that they will increasingly rely on the medium to fill more of their openings, including more of their best jobs. And that behavior, in turn, means that online job searching is an increasingly effective way to find the right opportunity for you.

  • While there are a lot of great jobs being advertised online, they’re not all available at a single site. Therefore, the only way to take advantage of recruiters’ growing reliance on the Web is to know where to look for the specific kind of job you want. With over 40,000 job boards operating in the U.S. alone, that’s not a trivial challenge. Basically, you have to shop for an employment site the same way you shop for any other important product or service. Use your own and others’ research to identify your range of options-the job boards that best serve your particular career field, industry and location-and then compare their specific capabilities and features. (While admitting to some small bias, we think WEDDLE’s Guides are the best way to accomplish this research easily and efficiently.) Next, experience the sites by “test driving” them online and rank order them according to how well they meet your expectations and employment objectives. Finally, select the five sites that provide the optimal support for you. That number provides the best level of assurance that you won’t miss your dream job when it’s posted online.
  • To take full advantage of the sites you’ve selected, you must visit them regularly, and that can be a challenge. There are only 26 hours in the day, so it’s not always easy to find the time required to search the job database at all five sites. Many sites, however, offer a free service that can solve the problem. It’s called a job agent, a feature that sends you the jobs in which you’re interested by e-mail. All you have to do is specify the kind of job for which you’re looking and the job agent will compare that specification to all of the jobs posted on the site in a given time frame (usually a week). When it finds a match, it sends you a private notice so you can check the opportunity out. You don’t have to spend any money, invest any time or worry about your confidentiality being compromised. It doesn’t get any better than that. Job agent technology isn’t perfect-you will be sent jobs that don’t match your specification from time-to-time-but it’s the best thing we have for keeping an eye on the job market 24/7. Why is that important? Because when employers are looking for top talent online, the openings they post don’t stay open for long.
  • Whether you actually visit the sites you’ve selected or use a job agent, putting yourself in the right place is a critical precondition for using the Internet effectively in a job search. It’s equally as important, however, to do the right things once you’re there. In other words, you want your behavior online to position you as the kind of candidate that employers are trying to recruit-a high caliber prospect. What behavior will do that? Among all of the actions you can take online, the single most important is preparation. To be prepared, you must accomplish two tasks: first, tailor your resume to the specific requirements of each position for which you apply and second, do your homework on prospective employers before you meet with their representatives. The first will help you to stand out from all of the other applicants who failed to prepare and, as a result, submitted a generic (and less convincing) resume. The second will help you stand out from all of those being considered for the position you want by demonstrating your initiative in preparing for an interview.
  • Employers believe that the caliber of talent they find online is above average or better. As a consequence, they are using the Internet to advertise some of their best openings. To take advantage of this trend, you must position yourself online where recruiters can find you and you can find them. Then, you have to act like the high caliber prospect for which employers are looking. You must portray yourself as a perfect fit when applying for a job online, and you must be able to describe the details of that perfect fit when interviewing for the position. Accomplish those two tasks, and you’ll well on your way to success in your online job search.

    Please Note: As a part of our ongoing research, WEDDLE’s has been surveying both job seekers and recruiters on the Web since 1996. We’ve amassed hundreds of thousands of data elements probing:

  • what they do and what they don’t do,
  • what they like and what they don’t like,
  • and most importantly,

  • what they think works best.
  • To add your insights and opinions to our research, please visit the Polling Station at the WEDDLE’s Web-site.

    Section Two: For Your Consideration

    Peter Weddle has been writing columns for his own newsletter and for the interactive edition of The Wall Street Journal since 1999. The following column has been drawn from that work and updated for 2007. You can also find many of Peter’s tips and techniques in his guide WEDDLE’s WizNotes: Finding a Job on the Web and in his soon-to-be-published book, Career Fitness: How to Keep Employers From Kicking Sand in Your Face.

    NetWORKing for Success Online

    We recently took a look at the responses to date in our ongoing poll of job seekers on the Internet. For those of you who may not know, we at WEDDLE’s have been conducting this survey since 1996, asking both active and passive job seekers what they do in an online job search and what they don’t, what they like about looking for a job online and what they don’t, and most importantly, what works best when conducting a job search on the Internet.

    One of the questions we’ve asked in the survey is “What do you like best about today’s job boards?”. The most recent responses were not surprising:

  • 29.8% said they most liked the quality of the job postings (i.e., employers represented, salary levels),
  • 26.8% said it was the number of job postings,
  • 14.4% said it was the ease of access to the job boards,
  • 13.6% said it was the fact that access was free,
  • 11.8% said it was the job search tools and information provided on sites, and
  • just 3.6% said it was the ability to network with others on the job board.
  • Obviously, a central feature of a job board’s appeal is its database of employment opportunities. However, a good job board offers much more than that. More expansive job boards-I call them “career portals”-offer tools and information on resume writing, interviewing and other aspects of a job search campaign to help you improve your performance and, therefore, your odds of success. No less important, they also often offer a way for you to expand your circle of contacts and the doors they can open on your behalf. And it’s our poll respondents’ very low, almost nonexistent use of that job board networking capability that has me worried.

    Why? Because in a traditional job search campaign, networking is a key strategy for finding a new or better job. More than any other single activity, it can spell the difference between success and otherwise … but only if it’s an integral element of what you do each day. The word, itself, says as much; it’s netWORK, not netGetAroundToItWheneverYouCan. In other words, networking is something you have to work at it every single day, and that’s true on the Internet as well as in the real world.

    Thankfully, online networking (or e-networking) is extremely convenient. Unlike traditional networking, you can do it whenever and wherever you want-from the office or an airport terminal, from a coffee shop or a hotel room, even from home in your fuzzy slippers. If you have access to the Internet, you can e-network. And that’s the first challenge it presents. While you should e-network regularly, you should also be careful not to overdo a good thing. Make sure that the time you spend online leaves plenty of time for traditional networking and all of the other activities that are central to an effective job search. What’s the optimum amount of time you should spend? I recommend that you e-network for 30 minutes each day.

    The second challenge of e-networking is acquiring the skill required to do it effectively. The way you network online is very different from the way you network in the real world. Traditional networking is typically done one-to-one and verbally, either in meetings or over the phone. The key to success is who you know. If you can connect with the right person, then your prospects of landing a dream job go up.

    On the Internet, in contrast, networking is done one-to-many and in writing. It typically involves messages you post to a discussion forum, listserv or bulletin board on a site sponsored by a career portal or your professional association, alumni organization or an affinity group (e.g., women in technology, veterans, former employees of the XYZ company) in which you’re interested. The key to success, then, is not who you know, but rather who knows you. The more contacts you can make by networking online, the more likely you are to find someone who can open the door to the job you want.

    Whether you network online or in the real world, however, the Golden Rule remains the same. You have to give as good as you get. In other words, it’s not enough to simply show up at these discussion areas and watch the conversation unfold. You have to participate. If you want others to share their insights and tips, you have to be willing to share yours. Equally as important, you must treat these messages as business communications. Why is that? Because you never know who may be reading. More often than not, of course, it’s your colleagues, but it can also be a hiring manager or a recruiter, many of whom use these discussion areas to spot and connect with the top talent they need for their openings. So, edit what you write accordingly-a professional e-networking area is not the place to rant about politics or a previous employer-and proofread it carefully.

    Everything you do online requires an investment of time and effort, so it’s important to focus on those activities that will serve you best. Although most people don’t yet realize it, one of the most effective job search techniques on the Internet is e-networking. Done well, it can open doors that are closed to others, point you in directions you would otherwise never even know about, and set you apart from the herd in the competition for your dream job.

    Thanks for reading,


    P.S. June is Random Act of Kindness Month. Do something nice and totally unexpected for a friend or colleague. Tell them about WEDDLE’s newsletter. They’ll remember your kindness in June and every time they read the newsletter in the months that follow.

    Section 3: News You Can Use

    The Conference Board released its list of the jobs that were most heavily advertised online during the month of April (the most recent for which they have processed data). The top ten fields are listed below with the average hourly wage that employers are offering candidates (in parentheses):

  • Management ($42.52)
  • Business/financial operations ($28.45)
  • Office/administrative support ($27.85)
  • Computer/mathematical ($32.26)
  • Sales and related ($15.77)
  • Architecture/engineering ($30.73)
  • Production ($14.37)
  • Transportation and material moving ($13.85)
  • Installation, maintenance and repair ($18.30)
  • Where will you find these kinds of opportunities? General purpose job boards will certainly provide access to some open positions, while niche sites that specialize in these areas will connect you with others. To make sure that you don’t overlook or miss your dream job, therefore, use both. For best results, check the postings at two general purpose sites and three niche sites-one that focuses on your career field, one that focuses on the industry in which you want to work, and one that focuses on the location where you live.

    The Corporate Learning Factbook from Bersin & Associates highlighted the skill areas where employers reported they intend to spend most heavily for training in 2007. Said another way, employers believe these particular capabilities are so critical to their success they are willing to invest in employee development to acquire them. How can that help you if you’re in transition? Enroll in a training program in one or more of these areas right now. Taking that step will enhance your appeal as a candidate because you will not only have the skills employers think they need, but you will have demonstrated the initiative to acquire them on your own. What areas are employers targeting for training? They include the following:

  • Sales
  • Management/supervision
  • IT/systems
  • Customer service
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Desktop applications
  • Get started on your training right away, but don’t worry about completing it during (or before) your job search. In fact, positioning yourself as a work-in-progress on your resume is a particularly effective way to differentiate yourself from other candidates. You can do that by using the Education section to list both the degrees and certifications you’ve already earned and the courses you’re currently taking.

    The Pew Internet and American Life Project brought out its latest analysis of Internet usage in the United States. Its findings run counter to all of the media and blogosphere commentary about the movement of Americans to a totally wired existence. The study defined hardcore Internet users as those who so relied on the medium that they had at least four ways to access it. In short, it was an integral part of the way they lived their lives. These power users represented only 31% of the respondents and, surprisingly, even they were not glued to the Net. In fact, just 8% of the study population had all of the devices necessary to access the Web at any time and from anywhere and used the medium actively. Why is this finding important to you? Because employers are relying on the Web more and more to reach out to candidates. These contacts are very important as they are used to acquire additional information about a person’s credentials and to schedule follow-up interviews with hiring managers. So, if you list an e-mail address on your resume, make sure that you check it daily and respond to recruiter communications promptly. Being the first in line for the best employment opportunities doesn’t guarantee you an offer. Being in the line, however, by being on the line is the only way to guarantee you’ll be considered.

    WEDDLE’s recently completed a second printing to meet heavy demand for its latest books. Now, you can own the 2007/8 editions of these highly regarded references. Completely revised and updated, they are the gold standard of research aids for job seekers and career activists. The publications are:

  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet. Called the “Zagat of the online employment industry” by the American Staffing Association, it provides full-page profiles of 350 of the best job boards in a range of occupations, industries and locations;
  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Directory of Employment Related Internet Sites. The “address book of the online employment industry,” it lists over 9,000 sites and organizes them by the occupational fields, industries and geographic locations on which they focus; and
  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide to Association Web Sites. The key to the “hidden talent market” online, it details the recruiting resources and capabilities that are provided at the Web-sites of over 1,900 U.S. and international associations and societies.
  • These books are a smart investment for the smart professional. They provide a real and important return every time you use them. So, don’t delay! Click on the appropriate link to your left or call WEDDLE’s today. Our telephone number is 317.916.9424.