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What Online Shopping teaches Recruiters in 2017

It’s that time of year again. Having left the stress of year-end behind us, we plan for a new, fresh year of change. A year where we will do things differently this time around. Where we take more time for important things based on a desire to be more strategic, making our work more meaningful. Most people, recruiters included, are great in their intent for the new year, but struggle with the execution in combination with full schedules, too many priorities and simply too little time.

In my opinion if there is one thing everybody in recruitment should do in 2017, it is to look closely at proven concepts in e-commerce and apply them to their daily recruiting lives. Researching the core principles in e-commerce by the way is dead simple. We have just completed a full round of research in December as consumers doing an increasingly larger proportion of our Christmas shopping online this year compared to last year. Just look back, analyze and contemplate what, how, where and, most importantly, why you bought online last month. I will describe the essentials of your online Christmas shopping for you to think about what this means to your daily job in talent acquisition. E-commerce is all about conversion. It is about letting the salmon cross the street in a manner of speaking.

Full disclosure

Obviously, you started with a need…: “I need a Christmas gift for my wife”. If the insight of the need came rather late (let’s say December 22nd) your options were limited. You could line up downtown to look at empty shelves or you could go online and see what’s in stock to have it delivered to your doorstep the next day. When shopping online you would immediately get recommendations (if you like this, then you may like that) and see reviews from other consumers that bought this product. You could also easily compare prices and see when the product will be yours. If only a career site could be as transparent when it comes to number of applicants who have applied, reviews from employees, relevant jobs and expected application timelines.

Easy entry and dialogue-based process

Something I personally truly dislike when shopping online is that a website requires me to set up an account with a login and password in order for me to be able to buy something. I don’t want a new account with a new password. I just want to buy something. More and more online retailers allow you to buy with an account or go to an express check-out that does not require an account. LOVE IT! The order form is a series of steps that take me through the purchasing process in a dialogue rather than one big long form. What if you could apply with your email address only or even a WhatsApp? Or have a look at what chatbots can bring to help candidates navigate your job offers.

Marketing Automation

Last December I was researching the purchase of an ultra-light waterproof race-jacket with double-taped seams for my planned trail runs in 2017. I know it is a somewhat specific search. Today I still receive banner advertisements from trail running web shops on the websites I visit. The principle is called retargeting and works quite well for online marketers. People who visit your website and have shown specific interest in a product, are retargeted at other websites and on social media. You may even target people on social media using the keywords in their profiles. Do you think this will work for jobs as well? The answer is yes!

Video Recruitment

Going online to shop increasingly means watching related video content on products. Did you know that using product videos can increase product purchases by 144%? This is why more and more online retailers add product videos with their products. It helps bring a product to life, drives engagement and simply helps boost sales. The videos can be relatively simple. There is no need for an expensive Hollywood production. Quite often a basic video of someone showing and explaining the product in a simple neutral studio setting will do. Video has become our mainstream mode of communication, replacing text. The same is happening in recruitment where hiring managers are presenting themselves through video and candidates have the opportunity to show their personality with video.

I trust that you have gotten some inspiration from this post and now can use ‘research for recruitment innovation’ as an excuse throughout 2017 to go online and shop ‘till you drop. There are many more learnings from e-commerce to be applied in recruitment. If you have other tips, please add them to the comments below.

A FINAL NOTE: All the automation, convenience and technology should not replace a personal touch. Use innovation to create more time to give candidates the attention they deserve. Help them cross the road to your career opportunity!


Infographic | 10 recruiting trends to watch for in 2017 | Download