The future of online recruiting: relevancy and immediacy

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Posted by Matt Rivera

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February 12, 2010

Monster.com announced this week that it is buying HotJobs.com from Yahoo. I don't know about you, but this news really got me thinking about the future of recruiting. And I guess you'd have to throw in the future of Monster's Super Bowl commercials too (a beaver playing the fiddle ... really?).

While on the surface this deal to buy HotJobs seems to signal that Monster.com believes the economy will get better, and more importantly, that jobs will return, it most definitely indicates they believe talent will continue to be a crucial factor for companies to remain competitive in the future.

However, one aspect that I find particularly interesting, even beyond the future of job boards, is the overall future of recruiting in the online space. Here's why: For me, the online world of job boards and resumes has always come down to two things, relevancy and immediacy.

By relevancy, I mean it in two ways for job seekers. First, it means having meaningful skills and aptitudes on your resume and in profiles that will get picked up by search engines. Second, it means conveying the things that are relevant and important to you, i.e. what really motivates you, your career goals, and your work style.

For companies looking for talent, relevancy means making your company stand out as an employer that is relevant to the job seekers you want. This can mean that you are a green company or that you have challenging, cutting-edge technologies to work with. It could also mean that you provide a work environment, product, or service that is meaningful to the talent you are looking to attract and retain. Starting to get the picture?

The second part of this is immediacy, or keeping things current and up-to-date. For job seekers, this means keeping your resumes and profiles organized, in their most current state, and in the right places, so they can be quickly found and accessed. It also means you must have an active network to hear about and immediately pursue opportunities in your area.

If you are a recruiter, I don't have to tell you what immediacy means. How many times have you had to ask a candidate to send an updated resume? Your databases must be kept current, and your networks must already be established in order to respond quickly to needs for talent. It also means that job postings must be up-to-the-second fresh, or they will quickly lose relevancy (there's that word again) in a search.

The success of Google and the rise of sites like Bing.com should give you a clear indication of how important it is to remain relevant and current, and the challenge facing Monster and all of us. An old job posting, a posting on the wrong site, or a poorly written job posting are all too common today.

And the job seeker who doesn't keep a resume or profile up-to-date runs the risk of not being found. That's what it's all about, right? How do I get my job/company/resume/profile to immediately pop up in a local database or Internet search?

Here's where I see social networking sites having a clear advantage, and thus why the future lies with them. The users of Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are constantly updating their status and having discussions and following things that are relevant to them (so they are both relevant and up-to-date). They are creating networks of people who are relevant to them and who are interested in where they are, what they are doing, and how they feel about the world (or their jobs).

Further, companies properly leveraging social networking sites are attempting to make themselves relevant and current to prospective employees. It says so much more about your company than a static job posting or career page on your Web site.

And your employees are extensions of your company. What they say, how they interact, and where they are on these sites all speak a little about your company (which is probably a double-edged sword). However, if your leaders and employees are relevant to others, by extension, so is your company. Think about that one.

In the future, Monster and anyone else looking for talent (including HR professionals, recruiters, and staffing companies) will have to find ways to stay more relevant and more current than anyone else. This will mean finding ways to combine various online strategies and channels that put you and your company continuously in front of the right networks. It also means finding and expanding networks that are relevant to you and those you wish to attract.

So while I won't speculate what Monster will do next, or what CareerBuilder might do in response, it should get interesting. Maybe (likely) someone makes a play for Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook, or these sites merge (think MonsterBook, or HotLinkedIn, or maybe FaceTwitter? ... OK, maybe not).

What I can tell you is that the future is about relevancy and immediacy. Maybe Monster should think about that when it puts together its next Super Bowl commercial. How is a fiddling beaver relevant or current? It's not. And that's why it didn't work for me.

Topics: Staff Management

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