The Arland Group is a boutique creative agency. We want to ask you an important question. Would you rather work with people who want to work with you? Or, would you rather work with people, who work for people, who make them work with you?

SEO? Not Anymore!

by Ryan Stene

21 November, 2013

ContentOne of the biggest recruiting buzzwords that has dominated our space for the last decade has been a three letter word—search engine optimization (SEO).

[Are you a little bit behind the times? SEO was the art and science of creating web pages that generated traffic and high rankings in the search engines. It relied heavily on links, keywords and site structure.]

If you were a recruiting leader and didn’t have a SEO strategy you were considered behind the times. If you were an earlier adopter, you maybe purchased tools that optimized your job postings or indexed thousands and millions of pages for you to build your own search rankings. Or maybe you stuffed your postings with keywords. It also was something that the job boards lacked, thus resulting in other emerging players to dominate the space.

But then Google and other search engines changed the game by altering the search algorithms and moved to a secure search—meaning that you can no longer obtain keyword data on how people came to your site. So what does that mean? It means SEO is more dead than my Michigan Wolverines’ chances of making it to the Rose Bowl. (I won’t get started on that rant.)

So, who is the next big player to make an appearance? Online Audience Optimization (OAO).

OAO simply is content distribution. It allows companies to leverage their greatest assets—the wealth of high-quality content to create a steady web-wide presence—and to generate consistent new and repeat visitors. OAO uses the best practices of SEO, along with social media, content sharing and branding, to build and elevate loyal and targeted audiences.

I have to give credit to some of the leaders at The Arland Group who have used their crystal ball to see this coming for several years and thus kept TAG in a position to be a leader in this space. On an hourly, daily and weekly basis we are curating high-quality and meaningful content. We then help our employers distribute that content to their audiences through various mediums such as social media, blogs, eNewsletters and building that within the current career site structure. This resulted in more engaged candidates, faster connections and decreasing the time to fill roles.

Thinking about getting started with this strategy? Here are some things to get you started:

  1. Brand Focus – Leverage your brand and existing company tag lines and phases to build meaningful content or themes. Involve other departments to share in the messaging and give it a dual purpose. For example: candidate engagement and driving sales.
  2. Be Precise and Have a Plan – Creating a plan and having a content calendar will keep you on track but also can help you leverage internal themes that occur during that time.
  3. Cast a Wide Net Know where you are going to distribute this content. Send it to candidates who have already applied to previous roles, give them option to sign up for the newsletter and use social media. Right now, social media provides one of the clearest connections with high search engine rankings. Build out your presence on social media and content sharing sites, but focus especially on the big five: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and Pinterest.
  4. Encourage Audience Participation – Use polls, sharing, comments, reader-submitted content and contests to increase interaction. You can measure this by time on your site and bounce rate.
  5. Integrate Your Mobile Strategy – It is important to optimize your experience to be both mobile and desktop friendly. Mobile content consumption is the highest platform for consuming content. FUN FACT: 70 percent of desktop interactions lead to an action within one month and 70 percent of mobile (including tablets) interactions lead to an action within one hour. Source: Modern Marketer Universe

At the end of the day just have fun and learn from your experiences. Every company is different on how audiences engage and interact. The key is to make an effort. The effort will enable to you to reduce costs and rely on vendors to drive and engage your candidates.

 

Career Fairs May Have a Virtual Future

by Erin Canetta

17 April, 2013

In a time when people seem to be getting less face-to-face centered and more technology driven, I’m glad to see the traditional career fair is not a thing of the past … yet! We just finished working on a two month long endeavor to successfully market a career fair. We had weekly calls with two recruiters. This was nice because we all got to know each other better with each call. We learned a lot from them and they learned a lot from us and it was a great team project.

Registration for the career fair was very good and it was a successful event. One can read resumes and emails and try to know what a person is like, but a career fair offers that instant knowledge to the recruiters if someone would be a good fit for their organization. Conversely, the recruiters are wonderful people and if you meet them, why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that organization? So as much as we can do to market the event, it’s the people who already belong to the organization who are the greatest sales tool. If you can get them in front of your potential candidates then the pull to join your organization is succinct.

That said, we just worked our first virtual career fair. It took a fraction of the time to work on and by far fewer people. Candidates will view videos rather than talk to someone and they’ll have hundreds to choose from. The pool of candidates is ridiculously larger for the virtual career fair but so is the number of hiring companies. How do you connect to that candidate who best suits your organization? Is it saving time on the front end but creating time on the interviewing and ultimately the human resource end? Is it cheating all people involved out of a learning experience?

It’s a new concept so I haven’t drawn an absolute opinion, but I just don’t know how a virtual career fair rivals an in-person event. It’s faster, it’s cheaper, your pool is far greater, but you lose that valuable opportunity for your people to get in front of a potential candidate and make an impression. You lose that connection that says you have the right person in front of you. I remember a few years ago working on a virtual trade show. That didn’t last. Ultimately, people want to get their hands on the product and meet the organization. It’s my feeling career fairs are the same. You can get around human contact a lot of the time but you can’t replace it all of the time.

My Glass Isn’t Just Half Full, It’s Broken

by Deb Andrychuk

3 February, 2012

Years ago, I had a prospect that I had been pursuing for several months, with zero success.  I couldn’t sell them a thing. I had used all of my awesome sales training (Selling to VITO, Spin Selling, Give ‘Em the Pickle and more) to no avail. The client had expressed their pains, and I had listened attentively and then diligently worked alongside of them to fashion a solution that they agreed would solve their problems and certainly make their lives easier.  The stumbling block was neither my contact nor his boss would take the risk and pull the trigger.  Why? Because, in their eyes, change meant running the risk of making a huge mistake in front of peers or senior executives.  Their fear of failure paralyzed and wedded them forever to their existing solution which was an admitted failure.

After disclosing in a tense pipeline review that another month would pass without this account closing, my manager sat me down.  He had disappointment in his eyes and said these words I will never forget:  ”It’s time you change up your approach- you’re growing stale.  You need to get serious and break some glass or you will never get your customers to break it!”  I was super frustrated and confused (break the glass?  What in the world was he talking about?!)  I wondered if my manager could tell that I wanted to throw everything in my cubicle including him.  Then being sensitive to criticism, I felt my neck grow hot, embarrassed and shocked that someone actually thought my approach had gotten old.  I mean, seriously, who the heck was he talking to?  I had been told by clients that I was like an entire cheer squad, or a cute puppy with a severe case of ADD, but never had I been called stale.  It took me a long time to get over that horrible moment in my cube…Looking back now; I understand what he was trying to do.  He was giving me the big shove I needed to take a different approach and ruffle some feathers to get my point across.

Today, I speak to talent acquisition leaders daily and some of them are managing recruiting programs that are seriously flat lining. Sadly, some are incorporating recruiting methodologies and processes that were used 10-15 years ago and they are genuinely disturbed and saddened that the old “post and pray” isn’t effective anymore.  Unfortunately, this is what happens when no one questions “the method behind your madness” or no one cares to challenge the status quo or when HR can’t get support from the rest of the business and they are relegated to being just a huge cost center.  And, let’s face it, recruiting is not an easy gig right now and there is certainly no silver bullet.  It is much easier to just sit back and keep riding the same old recruiting train.  We can kick back and make stops here and there to lay blame:  job boards don’t work, social media is unsafe and unproven, we lack resources or budget, or our website sucks, the economy blows, my recruiters are lazy, and the list goes on and on and on…

Personally, I made a vow to myself at the beginning of the year to find ways to start chipping away at the legacy glassware that has become the accepted and the norm.  I am pushing myself to have frank, honest and sometimes uncomfortable discussions with my clients and hope that they don’t get their feelings hurt or throw me out of their offices.  The questions aren’t that crazy, but you never know when you are knocking someone’s baby.  ”Do you know who you are and why anyone would want to work for you?”, “Do you believe that your (fill in the blank with-process/job postings/ careersite/ branding) is effective?” or “Why do your current employees stay/leave?” Oh, and by the way, if you do know the answers to these questions, then why in the heck aren’t you sharing your story and/or fixing the issues?   It might be a little uncomfortable, but not asking would be a disservice to our clients.  I am going to help who I can that will listen and divert my attention from those that continue to don their 1999 recruiting earmuffs.  I know that I might emerge at the end of 2012 with a few cuts and bruises, but I’m sticking to the plan because I can’t let myself or my customers get stale.

Final thought:  I don’t recommend going in Rambo style and shattering everything in sight, but my mantra is “Take out your velvet hammer and start tapping, kids!”  Life is better when the glass is half full and a bit broken.

Some Things are NOT Better Together

by The Arland Group

26 October, 2011

When I present our social media solution to companies, a common question that I get asked is,  “Why do I need a separate Facebook and Twitter careers page for our company, can’t we just incorporate this onto the corporate pages we’ve established?”  The answer is no.

First of all, I like the St. Louis Cardinals page on Facebook. Does that mean I want to work at Busch Stadium? No, it doesn’t. (Although, if it meant free World Series tix, maybe.) People don’t necessarily become fans of a company on Facebook or follow them on Twitter because they want to work there. A corporate Facebook page is and should be geared toward consumers. Consumers often like to use this as an avenue to voice their praise of a company, but unfortunately, when you take the good, you get the ugly as well. Consumers LOVE to voice their negative opinions and experiences on these pages, which brings me to my next point. Are negative comments about your company the content you want your potential candidates to see?

You’d be surprised, but we rarely see negativity on career Facebook and Twitter pages. When we do, it’s more about not hearing back after an interview or resume submittal rather than unfounded accusations from disgruntled employees. These types of comments are actually a great opportunity to show responsiveness to the person posting and this responsiveness is seen as something positive to other job seekers. Win-win, right?  Also, by keeping your employment brand social media pages separate, you can really focus on providing content that will interest your current employees and potential candidates.  You can show people what it’s really like to work for your company through posts about work culture, highlighting individual employees for their achievements and showcasing the variety of career paths you have to offer.

Still not convinced? I could give you several other reasons on why you need to keep your corporate and employment brands separate on social media, but here’s the bottom line:  Social media is here to stay and the recruitment aspect of it is rapidly growing.  Pretty soon, traditional recruitment avenues will become irrelevant and it’s important to stay at the forefront of these developments. By establishing your employment brand on social media, you’re keeping yourself on top of the recruitment game.

What is a Black Hole?

by Sharon Lynch

1 June, 2010

What is a black hole? Some may say it’s a “region of space from which nothing, including light, can escape. …” or some may say “that’s where my sales rep went after the contract was signed.”

At The Arland Group (TAG), our Talent Acquisition group guarantees that the media partners included in your recruitment media plan will not disappear into a black hole but rather, become stars and shine their knowledge even more brightly after the sale. To this point, we recently setup three media partners to appear at our customer Ministry Health Care within six weeks of the 2010 Media Plan contract being signed.

We firmly believe in helping our customers truly get the very most for their investment. At The Arland Group, our “account management actions” meant that we invited three vendors who are key partners in the 2010 Media Recruitment Plan to cover best practices, competitive benchmarking, time-saving tips, etc.  Monster, Simply Hired and Healthecareers came to our customer’s headquarters in Milwaukee where they had 15 people, primarily recruiters/end users who came eager to listen, learn and brainstorm about how they can best utilize specific products to fill their job openings.  Each media partner brings a distinct strength to the media plan, and in this group setting, by pulling the entire recruitment team together, also allowed for our customer to pro-actively at the onset of the contract term, establish their own internal best practices.

Mike Schmidt, Director of Recruitment at Ministry Health Care, said his recruiters considered this Vendor Summit as “one of the best meetings we’ve ever had.” With the introduction of many new tools available outside of the traditional job postings and resume search, having direct contact between media partners and end users/recruiters is invaluable to help them best use new products.

This post-sale support and “product on-boarding” are even more critical as new products are introduced with the advent of Web 2.0 and trends developing around social media. Monster’s Media Specialist, Dennis Stevens, said having the entire recruiting team assembled to discuss new products now in their mix will help ensure that one of Monster’s unique and most successful products, Career Ad Network, will garner the best possible results.

Healthecareer’s strategy involves developing partnerships with industry-specific associations to help drive job seekers to their site so they had Jennifer Badding, Senior Manager, Association and Partner Development, in attendance to speak directly with the Ministry recruiting team about associations that were meaningful to them and their specific job openings.

Meanwhile, Simply Hired in the job search engine space, will help Ministry reach job seekers in new places and help them connect with seekers who are searching solely by location and industry/job title.

Now that a baseline has been established, and expectations established externally with media partners and internally among recruiters, Quarterly Reviews will be more significant and informative. It also makes a contract more than a contract; it turns a piece of paper into a true partnership. If you’d like to learn more about how to keep your media sales reps out of the black holes and keep them as stars, you can reach me directly at slynch@thearlandgroup.com .