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Recruitment 2.0: The Laws of Candidate Attraction in the Digital Age

By Mary Lorenz

As part of its ongoing effort to empower employers with the resources they need to recruit top talent, CareerBuilder recently partnered with Inavero to conduct the 2012 Candidate Behavior Study, a survey of 1291 workers from across the U.S. and Canada. The survey explored the way today’s job candidates approach the job search and what compels them to apply to certain companies over others. The results provide insight for employers as to how to reach these candidates with the right messages, through the right channels.

“One of the major findings of this study is that candidate behavior is really about digital behavior,” says Kassandra Barnes, Content and Research Manager at CareerBuilder. “Meaning, when you look at how candidates conduct job searches, it’s very similar to how consumers make purchasing decisions – it’s all done digitally.”

Results from the survey indicate that candidates engage with your company’s brand way before they set foot through your doors. According to the survey, the job search process is constantly “on” with 77 percent of workers either actively searching for a new job or feeling open to a new opportunity.

The survey also found that, on average, job candidates consult nearly 15 resources per job search – including company career sites, Facebook, online job boards, employer review sites (such as, professional and personal networks and staffing and recruiting firms – before they even decide to apply to a job. By the time they get to the application process, they’re already engaged and interested in the opportunity with your company.

“For candidates, looking for a job is a lot like making a major purchase – the research happens on a regular basis over a very long period of time before action is taken,” says Barnes.

The results of the study are reminiscent of Google’s 2011 Zero Moment of Truth study, analyzing the factors that influence today’s consumer decisions. In its most basic definition, the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) refers to the moment a consumer decides to make a purchasing decision – and more often than not, it happens long before the consumer finds said product at the store.

Barnes says that the ZMOT is just as relevant to recruitment as it is to marketing. “It used to be that a consumer would go to the store and find something on the shelf for the first time and make the decision to purchase right then and there,” Barnes explains. “Today, however, thanks to technology that enables us to research and compare products – at any time of day, from anywhere – consumers are doing significant research on products before they even step into a store. Job candidates, we’re finding, are using this same approach to their job search.”

For employers, these findings underscore the need to put as much effort into “marketing” their job opportunities and employment brand as they do their products, services and consumer brand. Candidates are utilizing multiple platforms to interact with employers, search for opportunities and find out what it’s like to work at companies – and they’re doing so increasingly through social media and from their mobile devices. That means employers need to explore and take advantage of the many and various opportunities to connect with candidates these platforms afford.

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