Getting your job board strategy right for 2022

Wave CEO Dave Jenkins talked job boards with UK Recruiter during a recent Recruitment Smarts Live session. The conversation revolved around post-pandemic job board strategies, the importance of quality job ad copy and alternative ad platforms.  

With two decades in the recruitment business, Wave CEO Dave Jenkins knows a thing or two about job boards so it wasn’t hard to pick a subject to chat about when he was invited onto UK Recruiter’s Recruitment Smarts Live on October 5th. Job boards have evolved over the years and, as in every area of life, the past 18 months has accelerated change in the market. With the end of the year hurtling towards us, many recruiters are beginning to think about strategies for 2022 and job board strategies may look different to previous years.

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18 months of flux

It’s been a strange 18 months. To begin with, thanks to hiring freezes as the pandemic and lockdown one first hit, there was a huge drop-off in jobs. This was quickly followed by an influx of candidates as redundancies began to mount.

Not long into 2021 jobs began to tick upwards. As we entered a summer of easing restrictions and a fast-paced vaccination programme, jobs began to boom. At the same time, however, applications started to drop away. WaveTrackR data vividly shows the dichotomy between jobs and applications from May onwards – jobs repeatedly grow, whilst applications dip month after month. We’ve come full circle.

Job boards are here to stay…

How has this affected the way job boards work? In some cases, it hasn’t but those that have taken a rigid stance with recruiters will be remembered.

Those that worked with their clients during the particularly challenging months of the pandemic and offered flexibility when it came to rolling over credits or agreeing to pay holidays have also been remembered – but for all the right reasons.

The reality is that job boards are not going to disappear any time soon. Those that keep up with ever-evolving tech and trends and that offer a little compassion will continue to thrive. And for good reason. Job boards are an important part of talent attraction strategies. Chosen well – and this is the vital part – they can help drive traffic to your jobs and to your website.

… but choose your job boards wisely

The lack of candidate availability has resulted in recruiters struggling to know where to go to find the talent they need, even for roles they’ve recruited for many times before.

This is where tech such as WaveTrackR, powered by live data that constantly updates, comes into its own. Providing recommendations of the job boards most likely to generate the largest number of quality applications based on the job ad takes the guesswork out of the process and avoids the highly inefficient and cost-ineffective ‘spray and pray’ model.

Knowing where your candidates are searching means you can be targeted and laser-like in your approach, reducing costs and increasing efficiency.

Quote from Louise Triance - Fish where the fishes are and use the right bait

Consider other platforms

Effective job advertising is two-pronged. You need to be posting your jobs in the right places as well as using the best content to attract quality candidates. The two must work in tandem for the best talent attraction strategy.

We liked host Louise Triance’s fishing analogy – “Fish where the fishes are and use the right bait.” Of course, that might not always mean job boards.

For example, job boards aren’t geared up for the pace of contract recruitment, where quick turnarounds of within a month are necessary.

There are other mediums through which jobs can be advertised, including various social media platforms. Being a business-focused social media site, LinkedIn is the most popular for job advertising and it can be effective. However, it is expensive and has become a highly saturated market.

We have started to look into TikTok for those clients for whom it might be appropriate but therein lies the keyword – that medium won’t be appropriate for everyone.

Video hasn’t killed the copy star

This brings us onto video ads – should they be a part of your 2022 strategy?

The idea of video ads has been knocking around for a while now, and some job boards (Monster being one) have dedicated sections through which you can create and post video ads, but it hasn’t ever really gained traction.

In theory, a video job ad is a fantastic way to capture the attention of candidates and showcase a company’s brand values and culture. We tend to engage more with visuals than we do with text, it is a more immediate and visceral medium and it can humanise the whole process.

The main issue here is the time it would take to produce a quality video that encapsulates a company’s brand and sells the role whilst providing the right information. Even if a recruiter had the means to produce such videos well, timing is everything – it’s just not realistic to be able to do it for every job ad that comes in (particularly while jobs are so prolific), whilst maintaining a quick turnover.

We’re just not there yet with the tech. Could there be a video-only job board in the future? Only time will tell.   

Quality job ad copy is key

The reality is that – for now, anyway – it is far easier to communicate a brand and workplace culture through copy compared to video.

There is of course an art to copywriting too but at least you have a job spec to base it on, plus plenty of advice online on best practice, including our own articles on job ad copy.

Remembering to include keywords (without overstuffing the copy), avoid gender bias, stick to the appropriate copy length, and structure the ad well are all easy, free ways to improve the quality of your job ads and improve the response to your job board advertising.

Eliciting a good brief from a client and taking the time to fully understand what they want is key to get the messaging right in any medium.

There is no doubt that there is a direct correlation between response rates and copy quality. A recruiter could spend a huge chunk of their media budget on social platforms or multiple job boards but if the basics are overlooked, ie ensuring copy quality, the expected response won’t materialise.

Utilise CV databases

Another area job boards can be utilised in your overarching recruitment strategy is with their CV databases.

Using this service you can be alerted whenever suitable candidates register. This is more important than ever during a candidate shortage, enabling you to immediately contact them with appropriate roles.

Right now, CV databases could just be more valuable than advertising. Again, however, you need to pick the right job boards for the roles you’re looking for. 

And finally… what should recruitment agencies be doing to kickstart 2022?

  • Go back to basics and take a good look at your job copy. Ensure that you are producing well crafted, quality job ads containing relevant keywords, avoiding gender bias, and at the right length. 
  • Focus on driving more traffic to your website. Look at using aggregators, ensure your website copy is optimised, publish regular blogs. Take a look at our RecWebs blog for advice on attracting more talent to your recruitment website.  
  • Work with the job boards. Consider not necessarily buying the cheapest inventory they offer but the one that will work best for your needs. The cheapest package won’t provide you with much in the way of marketing so look at the other options offered. For example, email shots, CV database access and watchdog alerts can all be worth their weight in gold. 
  • Plan for a balanced spend across all channels. In other words, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. You may want to give another medium a shot – TikTok or other social media channels, for example – but don’t do that at the expense of job board advertising. Dipping your foot into the water will allow you to see if something works without committing a large chunk of your budget to it. 
  • Seek advice. Getting your job board strategy right is hard but there is tech and there are experts that can help you to ensure you get a good ROI.

For further information on the topics covered on the live chat, check out our article on ‘Top tips to optimise your job copy’, or learn more about WaveTrackR’s job board recommendation engine.

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