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What you should know about candidates

My last post focused on what candidates do when they are looking for work. We asked a wide range of questions in order to get a better picture of how candidates behave ‘in the wild’, as it were. But this survey also brings up another subject: what should you as a job board professional know about the candidates that use your services? After all, candidates and employers are your two primary customers – and without candidates, you won’t have employers. So let’s explore what you should know about your candidates – and why.

Why know anything?

So why should you know anything about your candidates (that is, other than the fact that they apply for the jobs on your site)? Simple – candidates are part of your value proposition to the employer. In essence, you’ve promised the employer that you will put them in contact – somehow, some way – with candidates that meet their needs. In order to make this happen, you need to know (a) what kinds of candidates your employer wants, and (b) how to bring them to the site. Well, guess what? If you don’t know anything about your candidates, you certainly can’t ensure that they are the right ones for your employer.

The basics

No matter what area of the online recruiting world you occupy, here are some basic demographics to get you started:

  • Location
  • Profession
  • Education

More is better

Of course, to help both your employers and yourself, you need more data:

  • Current (or last) job title
  • Employment status
  • Certifications, etc.
  • Specific requirements common  to your site’s area of specialization

Getting the data

Of course, getting this information is the challenge. If you require registration to apply for jobs, then you can include some or all of the above in the registration process (although the longer the registration, the more likely a candidate will abandon it). But that only gets part of your population – the part that applies for jobs. What about the rest?

I suggest small, site-based pop-up surveys. After all, you don’t need to reach every single person that visits your site – just a representative sample. Keep the survey short – which should be easy, given the nature of the demographic data you’re collecting – and you’ll get your numbers. A great side-benefit: you can compare the demographics of those who register versus the site population at large – which can provide feedback to help you in your marketing efforts.

Remember – you are the person that should know more about your candidates than anyone else in the world. Make sure you actually do!

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