Expert Interview with Jacco Valkenburg on Social Recruiting

Whether it’s a business hoping to track down more qualified job candidates or job seekers wanting to get on the inside track with a coveted position, employer branding and recruitment consultant Jacco Valkenburg recommends harnessing the power of social media.

“Instead of relying on selecting from the best possible applicants, organizations can use social media to proactively search for the best candidates,” the Recruitment Architect at Recruit2 says. ” For that reason, more and more organizations are embracing direct sourcing and stop advertising for jobs.”

For that reason, Jacco says it’s critical that online job boards integrate social media into their sites.

Jacco and his team of bloggers and guest bloggers focus on news, case studies, practical how-tos, trends and much more in the field of online recruitment on the site Global Recruiting Roundtable – one of the most popular recruitment blogs on the web today.

We recently checked in with Jacco to get his insight on what online job boards are doing right, what they could be doing better and his predictions for the future of online recruiting. Here’s what he had to say:

What are the biggest trends your noticing in online job searching and recruiting?

The biggest trends are all related to “social,” i.e., to leverage high-quality candidate sources as employee referrals and direct sourcing by making better use of (online) social networks.

Leveraging online social networks requires a technology upgrade too, such as upgrading Applicant Tracking Systems toCandidate Relationship Management systems to track candidates that recruiters proactively approached. A must is to make your career site friendly for mobile website visitors, as more than 50 percent of all traffic on social media is on mobile devices.

Last but not least, organizations need also to rethink their traditional recruiting processes and move from “Apply,” which requires candidates to enter lengthy online application forms, mandatory uploading of a resume and motivation letter and using a desktop PC, to one-click “Tell Me More” options that are mobile-friendly.

How do you think both employers and online job sites can use social media to better market their postings?

The best candidates are people you or your organization already know. So make everyone a recruiter in your organization and proactively search or ask for referrals and promote jobs via your own employees.

In what areas do you think online job boards are the most successful in connecting job seekers with openings?

Websites that promote jobs to an audience that includes passive job seekers are more successful in delivering higher quality candidates, as these types of applicants do better research and make sound decisions before they apply for a role.

On traditional job boards, you see often that active job seekers are not very selective when applying for jobs. The average active job seeker tends to apply to multiple positions at once, even if the job is not a perfect match. The result is often poor matching candidates, and organizations need to filter a lot more candidates out of the recruiting process to select the best applicant.

In what ways do you think these sites can improve this process?

Here’s my top list of some of innovations that each job board should embrace:

1. Lower, free or pay-per-result pricing.
2. Smart job-matching algorithms.
3. Become candidate-centric.
4. Offer candidate surveys and benchmarking services to employers
5. View or receive jobs whenever and where they like (mobile, RSS, email, DM, etc.).
6. Facilitate online career events.
7. Encouraging referral hiring.
8. Real-time communications like chat, VoIP and video conferencing. Please share best practices!
9. Strong integration with social media.
10. Promote direct hiring by attracting more corporate clients.

What are some of the most common outdated features you’ve found on today’s job boards?

Outdated features are the ones that require manual entry of data because there are enough technology solutions to automate this. Two examples of outdated practices on job boards:

1. Lengthy job application forms where a candidate or recruiter needs to enter a zillion mandatory fields.
Solutions: CV parsing or intelligent job-matching engines.
2. Keyword searches that deliver only exact matches (and not synonyms or closely related words).
Solution: Semantic search.

What are best practices for employers when it comes to recruiting online? How can they write more effective job ads and conduct more thorough searches?

I’d advise to conduct more proactive searches via your online social networks. That goes for hard-to-fill vacancies but also for jobs where you can expect hundreds of applications.

But if you want to keep advertising your jobs, it all starts with a well-written job advert that is appealing to the best talent or passive job seekers. The most common mistake in job advertising is that if you are looking for a banana, you shouldn’t ask for fruit. You might get apples.

What have been the most effective methods you’ve found for building your site’s audience?

Become active in (online) social networking, as mouse-to-mouth advertising is the best PR you can get. The challenge is not to get more applicants to find you but getting the right candidate to apply.

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