As we head into this New Year of 2011, it is definitely time to make sure we all understand the traits of those audiences we are trying to reach with our recruitment messages. As I sat eating Chinese food with family the other day, one of my teenage granddaughters opened her fortune cookie. The result was a message, “Call someone and make them smile.” She picked up her cell and called her cousin and when she answered, my granddaughter said, “Are you smiling?” and then stated, “Gotta go” and hung up! When I asked her if she was going to explain to her cousin why she called and the rather abrupt “Gotta go” statement, she informed me she definitely would. But—in a text. She quickly typed her message and put the phone down to continue her lunch.
Times have definitely changed. My brain thinks, if I already have someone on the phone, why wouldn’t I just explain the call? But to a 14 year old, that wasn’t an option. According to the Nielsen Company, by summer of 2011 smartphones will take 50% of the mobile phone market. This means the mobile web will surpass the traditional PC web users and will end up with an even larger audience. According to a recent study, The Future of Job Search, only 27.8% of the world’s population accesses the Internet regularly while 4.6 billion, or 70%, own a mobile phone. In addition, the use of social networks is forecast to double between 2010 and 2015, according to eMarketer in December 2010.
This changes our focus as we work through the strategies of how to reach passive and active job seekers of different generations. The same study explains the tremendous differences in the last 20 years for candidate access to job listings. In 1990 an applicant might have been able to find 1,000 job listings, primarily in the local newspaper. By 2000, there were over 100 million active websites and job seekers had access to approximately 250,000 listings. Fast forward to 2010 where we are connected through social sites, have access to over 5 million job listings via search engines and changes occur rapidly.
How do we, as HR professionals, keep up with the changing environment and make sure that our recruitment brand is available to the appropriate candidates? The most important tool you have is your resources. Use them wisely! Whether you have those resources internally in your IT, marketing or recruitment departments or externally with a digital expert partner, make sure to work with them so that you and your company can remain at the forefront of recruitment digital expertise. No longer can you “place ads” and sit back and wait for something to happen. It won’t. As HR professionals we must understand the tools and how to use them in addition to the variances between the generational traits. Although I text, email and enjoy my IPad, I still enjoy the personal touch of talking to people when it is appropriate. My granddaughter states she might make one call a week and all the rest is texting. That certainly tells me that many candidates are probably satisfied with 90% of their hiring process to be through emails and texts. But, don’t forget the candidates that still enjoy the personal contact and the face-to-face as they still outnumber the habitual texters.
As you read your fortune cookie for 2011 and move forward into this exciting New Year, make sure you weigh your digital options and think strategically. That is the only way you will stay in front of your competitors and be able to meet or exceed your hiring goals.