Beyond the brochure

Any recruitment strategy needs a corporate careers website at its heart.
Bill Shipton outlines why going online is so important and highlights four key
areas that you cannot afford to ignore

A recent survey by Personnel Today suggested that only 10 per cent of top
blue-chip corporates have an effective online recruitment strategy. A separate
survey, by recruitment website Workthing, reviewed the career sites of 25
FTSE-100 companies, and revealed that many suffer from unclear links,
out-of-date job advertisements and limited candidate relationship management –
although they do present good company profile information. In essence, many
corporate career sites are little more than electronic brochures. They add
little value to the candidate experience and fail to enhance the employer

But the corporate career site should play a critical role for recruiters. It
should enable them to manage the four phases of the recruitment process:
attract; convince; capture; and manage.

Attractive proposition In the attraction phase, corporates should
make their website the first destination for any job advertisement, regardless
of whether the advertisement appears online or offline.

And recruitment marketing does not need to be limited to advertising. Tesco,
for instance, does significant in-store marketing to drive potential applicants
to its website. Large football hoarding-sized banners adorn the walls and hang
from ceilings, encouraging potential employees to visit the corporate website.
Tesco is also seeking particular target audiences. For example, it targets
returning mothers by having posters in the nappy-changing area in the
lavatories. The call to action is to visit the careers website and it is very
effective – an excellent example of focused and free marketing to a target

Convincing argument It is not easy to convince a candidate that your
company is the one for them. In any tight labour market, it is essential to
present your employer brand in the best possible light. This is where
electronic brochures can be useful. But they must be interesting, relevant and
interactive. It is essential to engage the candidate to get them to ‘buy-in’ to
the company. Getting them to apply for a job requires a greater commitment to
your brand than buying your products or services. Why? Because you are asking
them to commit their working days to the benefit of your company.

Capturing hearts and minds Having convinced a candidate, you need to
convert them to an applicant. You can do this by capturing all the relevant information
from the candidate via your website. This is arguably the most important part
of the process as everything else will be for nought if you do not capture the
right, or sufficient, data. And you must strike the right balance – capture
enough information to make a decision about whether or not to proceed with
their application, but don’t lose the candidate through form fatigue. The data
you capture will be used for managing the firm’s relationship with the
candidate, as well as processing their application.

Managing the relationship Candidate relationship management (or
talent relationship management) is a relatively new phrase in the recruitment
vocabulary. It is the process through which an organisation or company can
build a database of interested prospective employees, who feel they are
stakeholders in the business from the moment they first apply to work for the

This might involve a monthly or quarterly e-zine, which informs candidates
about recruiting activities at the company, and prompts them to consider
applying for new or different positions. This process will ensure ongoing value
in the speculative application. It makes sure there is always a community of
interested applicants – who will cost nothing to recruit.

There are considerable benefits to having a recruitment strategy that
revolves around a good corporate careers site. Arcadia Young Fashion, which
manages the TOPSHOP, TOPMAN and Miss Selfridge brands, implemented an online
strategy in 2001, with a website at its core. Before this, the company felt its
employer branding had been poor, and it managed all its recruitment at store
level, using external recruitment consultants (at great expense). In addition,
20 per cent of store management positions were vacant, which was having a
negative impact on the bottom line and staff morale.

In the first year, Arcadia Young Fashion reduced store management vacancies
to 4 per cent, improved its employer brand, and made a net saving of £220,000.
Using the online system to sort and sift applicants also meant it hired better
quality candidates as it did not lose them to competitors by responding too

The combination of an effective corporate careers website and an efficient
online process will deliver better candidates, at reduced cost, to any
organisation prepared to embrace the medium. The internet is not just about
attracting the right candidates, it’s about managing the rest of the
recruitment process as well.

Bill Shipton is chairman of the Association of Online Recruiters, a specialist
division of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation. He is speaking at The
Softworld exhibition on 26 & 27 February at ExCel, London

Online recruitment

Personnel today’s one stop guide
Online Recruitment

Online Recruitment is designed to

– Save you hours of research time by pulling together all you
need to know in one place

– Cut through the jargon and answer all your questions in plain

Online Recruitment is the first in a series of One Stop Guides
from Personnel Today Management Resources.

To order call Caron Berry on 01371
810433 e-mail:,
or buy online at
Priced at only £95 incl p+p  available now

Comments are closed.