Job boards have become prisoners of their moniker. After all, a ‘job board’ is just an online bulletin board for ‘posting’ your electronic ‘job ad’, right?
Wrong. Job boards (and yes, I think I’m going to write a post pretty soon about alternative names!) began growing past that simple definition by 1999, if not before. Sure, they were places where employers could search candidate resumes (and if it was a niche board, then very specific types of candidates were gathered up). An employer could post a job, too. But some of the smarter job boards AND employers quickly realized that there was an even bigger benefit to a regular presence on specific sites: branding.
Before I go any further, let me suggest a working definition for branding in recruitment: the reputation/image/’slot’ the employer holds in its prospective employees’ minds. In other words, some employers have a brand that is ‘cool’ and ‘progressive’. Other have one that is ‘top-down’ and ‘hierarchical’. We’re talking ‘big brands’ here like Google, Apple, and so on.
But honestly, the vast majority of employers have no brand at all. Candidates don’t hold a positive or negative opinion of them – in fact, if they have one at all, it’s the result of fragmented and often inaccurate data from ads, colleagues, friends, and the media.
So what can an employer do?
One key action is to use job boards to actively build and manage their employer brand. After all, what are job boards good at? Concentrating and exposing a candidate audience to the employer! In essence, job boards act as marketing channels for employer branding.
How can employers use job boards for branding? Here are several ways:
- Use a consistent look and feel for all job postings
- Send targeted emails and text messages to candidates promoting the core reputation, benefits, and uniqueness of the employer
- Own some of the job board’s ’real estate’ – a consistent home page presence, or ongoing messaging inside the job alerts, or….
- Use repetition and multiple delivery methods (email, web, text, career fairs, etc.) to build the employer brand in the job board’s audience. Make those candidates yours.
Well, if employer branding is something job boards can do well, why isn’t every job board out there marketing ‘employer branding solutions‘ to their clients? And – more importantly – why isn’t this benefit more widely known among employers?
A few reasons, I think:
- Many job boards simply don’t see themselves as anything but a ‘job post’ site. (And as you might guess, I think that’s a very dangerous point of view for them!)
- Boards that do have employer branding packages don’t understand the true value of these offerings for their employers – so they sell them as an afterthought
- The industry as a whole has done a poor job of selling employer branding as a key benefit for all employers
Nothing is static, however. Just because employers don’t see job boards as a powerful tool for recruitment branding now doesn’t mean that they won’t in the future. You have the power to change them. Offer useful and effective employer branding packages. Market them. And most importantly, understand that a job board is not just a place to post jobs.
That’s so 1999.
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