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Ask Uncle Gerry: “Candidate Online Experience, FTSE 500 Corporate Careers Websites”

Posted on February 13, 2008
Filed Under Gerry Crispin | 1 Comment

By Dave Mendoza, Master Cybersleuth, Affiliate Partner, JobMachine Inc.
(720) 733-2022

You may ask, what happens within Six Degrees from Dave? It’s Social Networking In Action. My friends, Gerry and Jennifer, exemplify this process on a daily basis and in particular, did so, in a recent online conversation which sparked the “Ask Uncle Gerry” Series.


Well all too often I have the pleasure of introducing equally passionate practitioners within our staffing industry and in the process have the good fortune of observing magnificent examples of best practices being shared within the exchange.

It would not be the first time I forwarded an inquiry to Gerry “the Godfather” Crispin which he thoughtfully considered and instructed everyone within the correspondence chain with his decades of wisdom as one of the foremost thought leaders of our industry.

Gerry Crispin, Chief Navigator at CareerXroads Colloquium, is an industry trend setter and a personal mentor I am thankful to call friend. To emphasize the point, if there was a Gerry Crispin fan club, I would be Chapter Chair for Denver. He is committed to writing, researching and sharing his adventures, opinions and data about evolving staffing models with the HR profession, clients and friends. Together with his business partner, Mark Mehler, he strives to observe and influence new and evolving models that aspire to world-class, measurable standards and satisfy every stakeholder. He is passionate about how firms design and build staffing processes, the technology to enhance them and the systems to manage them. Gerry wants to know more about the ‘playing fields’ where candidates and employers meet and he is more than a little curious about how they treat one another: how Job Seekers ‘game’ their next career move while Employers tout their latest opportunities.

Gerry is constantly on the lookout for stories about staffing challenges, benchmarks, and results as well as the people who live the stories they tell. He lives and breathes an ideas factory my friends.

Today, it is time to share the wealth and observe social networking in practice creating new and valued relationships and transferring knowledge across continents, thousands of miles part. I’ve known Gerry through ERE and Shally “Elvis” Steckerl, and I met Jennifer Candee at ERE GLobal in Amsterdam. Today, witness a master at work and a prominent American expatriate staffing leader in the UK share thoughts and develop a bond before your very eyes. Behold:

Jennifer Candee, Head of Talent Acquisition at SABMiller Asks:


Dave,

I’m looking for statistics or other relevant trending details on increase in traffic and acceptance to UK careers websites…

SABMiller plc in the UK is trying to sort out our EVP increase since 2005 and would like to take into consideration the trending increase of candidate’s comfort with applying online on FTSE 500 corporate careers websites.

I’m having difficulty pinning down any relevant documentation of stats around this trend. Any direction is appreciated.

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Uncle Gerry Responds::


Hi Jennifer

Dave Mendoza thought I might have some thoughts on the subject of stats showing acceptance of UK sites among quality job seekers.

I have some thoughts based on several trips over to the UK

First, if you are to find any stats at all I expect you’ll find them at www.onrec.com. David Hurst, Onrec’s founder is also very approachable and a font of knowledge about job boards particularly in the UK.

My personal opinion is not so favorable. I believe the reason so little information exists about sources of hire in the UK is because there really is only one major source: Agencies… and then everything else is second.

I believe that nearly 70% of professional level job seekers are placed by agencies. The point is that job seekers know it and are much more likely to read an ad in the paper or online and call their agency than they are to apply directly.

Yes, job seekers are traveling to more job sites for leads but no, I don’t believe the result is more hires from job boards. Until companies are willing to advertise a job and boldly declare that they will ONLY consider applicants who apply directly, there will be little headway and the UK market will be incredibly limited. Contributing to the problem is that the folks who help write and distribute jobs online and in the papers are ALSO third party recruiting agencies and have they have no incentive to improve their advertising capabilities to the detriment of their headhunting business. This is not the case in the US. In the US only 5% of hires come agencies. You can do the math.

In my humble opinion any company that tackles the issue must do it head on and declare how they will keep candidates who apply directly a) informed about their qualifications, b) informed about the company’s continued interest…or not and c) offered constructive feedback on how to become more competitive for future positions. Do that and you will be measuring candidate comfort in a way that will drive your competitors crazy. All of it is possible with technology but it is not a trivial initiative.

Best of luck.

Gerry Crispin, SPHR
Chief Navigator, CareerXroad

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Jennifer Candee Responds:


Gerry,

Thanks for taking the time on this. For a little background on me, I’m from the US and relocated to Guildford, United Kingdom over 2 years ago. That said, I’ve turned our internal recruitment operation around and over 80% of our hires are coming from OUR direct sourcing and headhunting tactics vs. agencies. That said, it is possible in the UK but I agree, there aren’t many doing it. Therefore, from our direct sourcing through professional networking sites and otherwise, our careers site has more candidates being driven to it as word of mouth is worth a thousand words. Candidates know they can come to us directly as well and we’ll get them into talent pipelines for future talent if we do not have a role but the candidate is great.

Mainly we were just trying to sort out…which we have, how much of the traffic on our site can be most likely to be driven by awareness of our employment brand since 2005 and not from “trending” of a bit more online acceptance by candidates. While we do subscribe to totaljobs – we do so with the understanding that its again, more for employment branding purposes than it is to actually get quality candidates. But if companies don’t participate, it won’t change.

I completely abhor the notion in UK and other countries that its impossible to find candidates without an agency. Than why do the internal recruiters call themselves recruiters? Go figure. As we’ve proven that it does work at plc, we’re now starting in in house talent acquisition team of 11 for mid – exec level management roles in S. Africa. And guess what? The whole team has been directly sourced by yours truly. Even in a location where they stated that there is very little online action and that wouldn’t work. People can be so closed minded. It only takes one!

Sounds like you and I should chat … we are like minded folks.

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Uncle Gerry Responds:

Fabulous Jennifer. Your comments should be shared and Kennedy, ERE or SHRM conferences would love to have an international firm describe how they are breaking through the choke hold that agencies have in the UK.

Deloitte, Agilent, BP and several other MNCs I know well (with large investments in the UK) are also making headway but overall there is a long way to go.

In the US and Canada my partner Mark Mehler and I facilitate small group meetings (no more than 40) that are vendor free to tackle thorny issues like the one we’re discussing. I write scenarios around these challenges and have the leaders who attend break up into teams to brainstorm solutions. You might want to try that approach with your colleagues in the UK who have a similar interest and energy to break through. I’ll solicit interest among my colloquium members and pass contact for their UK counterparts who might be willing to engage and pass their info to you.

I’m sure our paths will cross sooner or later.
Best to you.
Gerry Crispin, SPHR
Chief Navigator, CareerXroad


NOTE: For more on the CareerXroads Colloquium go to http://www.careerxroads.com/colloquium/colloquium.htm.


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Comments

One Response to “Ask Uncle Gerry: “Candidate Online Experience, FTSE 500 Corporate Careers Websites””

  1. Jeanne Sturges on February 17th, 2008 9:03 pm

    Yes, Gerry, Kennedy is interested in Jennifer’s experience! It’s a great story and a great lead.