6 steps to master recruitment online (and hire the best talent)

Last updated:
December 15, 2020
December 20, 2022
min read
Bev Campling
Table of contents

By now, most companies are doing some recruitment online. But many recruiters and hiring managers still feel uncertain about it. It’s not surprising considering how many online platforms and options are available. The nagging question is always where to go for the best results.

No one wants to spend valuable time chasing elusive and seemingly invisible talent. Who and where are they? On the surface, online recruiting seems much like trying to find the proverbial needle in the haystack. Where do you begin and how do you know it’s actually in there?

That’s the perception. But perceptions are based on assumptions, and both are often wrong. The reality of recruitment online is quite different. Where it goes wrong for most businesses is that they don’t have an online recruiting strategy. And they don’t always have a clear idea of what they’re looking for.

That comes from back in the day when employers advertised a basic vacancy and candidates came to them. They could then sift through the applications and select CV’s that looked the best.

If you don’t know what you’re looking for, how will you find it?

Previously (as recent as a few years ago), recruiters were primarily gathers, and candidates did the job hunting. Today, recruitment online makes recruiters the hunters, it’s a whole different landscape!

Hiring can never be a one size fits all gig and to bag the best talent you’ve got to know exactly what you are looking for. Think of crafting a job description like creating a mould as manufacturers do to ensure product uniformity.

There’s a specific type of candidate that will fit the job and you need to define what you need before you begin sourcing. And that’s not the end of it either; every position in your company will have to be defined or redefined every time you have to fill the role. Generic job descriptions don’t cut it anymore.

The wisdom behind this is that if you know what you’re looking for, you’ll know where to find it. If you know and understand the employee profile, skills and experience you need, you can figure out where they hang out online. Knowing where to find what you want means that you can carefully plan your recruiting online and achieve results.

Recruiting online has become an essential

Whether you’re a startup or a multi-national, recruitment online must be a sub-section of your overall recruitment process and selection process policy. If you don’t already have an online recruiting strategy in place, take this as an urgent call to action. Why? According to a global digital report, Digital in 2018, more than 3 billion people worldwide use social media every month.

Also, 9 out of 10 of those users access platform via mobile devices.Although those statistics cover users on all types of platforms, you can be sure that people are searching for jobs online as well. If your employer brand doesn’t have a robust online presence, no matter how small your company, you’ll never attract the talent you want.

6 steps to building an impressive online presence

With so many recruiters in the online space, you have to stand out to be seen. But that’s not as difficult as it seems. Here are our best tips to ensure your success:

1. Mobile optimization is essential

If 90% of users access the internet via mobile devices, mobile optimization has to be your first consideration. Unless your company is into digital design, you’ll have to outsource the design of your website and careers page.

It’s essential that all your digital platforms are mobile optimized. It not, you’re going to lose out on probably 90% of job seekers.

Think about it! When do people go online to see what jobs are available? It’s highly unlikely that they’ll sit at their desktop at work looking for new opportunities. They’re looking on their mobile devices during work breaks and at home after hours. All your recruitment efforts online must be accessible and easy to use on mobile.

2. Create a welcoming careers page

You want a careers site that attracts candidates and keeps them on your pages. Your careers site must be part of or directly linked to your company website. It must be user-friendly, informative, up to date and integrated with social media. Most importantly, it must be a true reflection of your employer and company brand. There’s little value in having a careers page that doesn’t align closely with the company culture and values.

Be honest about who and what your company is about, but project it in a way that draws in the type of people who’ll want to work there. Make it appealing and exciting! Having a flat careers page that looks like a job board is of little value. Worse still, keeping outdated vacancies open online is a sure way to put candidates off.

People today are accustomed to shopping online, evaluating businesses from online reviews, and building relationships with brands online. They adopt the same approach to looking for jobs online. If your careers page looks deflated, is uninformative and remains static no one will be impressed enough to take your company seriously. You have to work on your online employer branding and keep it fresh and up to date.

3. Build easy processes

Your careers site, application process, and contact options must be user-friendly. We live in an age of convenience and instant results. No one is going to wade through screen after screen to apply for your jobs. For successful recruitment online, you want streamlined processes, optimum page load speed, and easy interaction to keep candidates engaged with the application process.

Ensure that all platforms that integrate with your careers site and social media offer a positive applicant and candidate experience, particularly job boards. Always opt for the best job boards, even if it comes at a premium.

If you are including pre-employment assessment tools with your application process, test them yourself before going live. Make sure that the methods work well, and applicants can move through the process effortlessly. Too much hassle and applicants will just move on; they’re not going to call you and tell you that your application process is too slow or doesn’t work.

4. Social media

Craft and position your employer brand in a way that will appeal to people you want to attract. If your company employs a diverse range of skills and personalities, have different social media profiles to appeal to each kind. You have to be hunting in the right fields to get the best talent, so you have to learn how to run recruitment ads on your socials. Although that might take a bit more effort up front, you’ll reap the rewards in the long run.

Social media is a great cost saver, and it works. A whopping 92% of recruiters use social media to find high-quality candidates. But there’s technique involved in keeping social media followers as well. Never only post vacancies; that’s really boring. Why should people follow you when there is no value for them? Post interesting industry info, updates on your company and some fun stuff too (but do make sure it’s relevant).

Also, network on social media. Recruiters are networkers and recruitment online is no exception. If someone comments on your posts online, reply or acknowledge them. If they DM you, get back to them. Comment on other people’s posts, share posts if your followers can benefit from them and interact regularly. Join relevant business groups and participate. It’s all about honest networking. Get into it and enjoy it and you’ll naturally attract potential candidates. Your passive candidate pool will grow daily.

5. Don’t shy away from video

Many recruiters believe that posting videos takes too much time and effort. But that’s not true! Research tells us that people spend 88% more time on websites with video than without. You don’t have to get a production house involved to make award-winning videos. When it comes to hiring, you always want to project an honest reflection to potential candidates so that they see what they’d get if they work for your organization.

A virtual tour of your business on your careers site tells people plenty that they’d not get from a job post. Impromptu interviews with employees on the job gives people a feel for what it’s like to work there.

On social media, you can post a short clip from a hiring manager telling people more about a job. Or you can have an employee in a similar role sharing some employer brand love. Why is video good? It’s relaxing as opposed to reading through screeds of text, and people become involved in the content, so it keeps them interested.

With a bit of insight, you can quickly come up with the best recruitment videos to attract talent and promote your employer brand interestingly and uniquely.

6. Hiring involves human interaction

One big drawback of recruitment online is that candidate misrepresentation is easier and more convincing. That means that you could end up being strung along by someone who doesn’t meet the job criteria, but implies they do.

At the end of the day, recruitment is a person to person job. You have to interact with people regularly and with sincerity. Over automation dehumanizes interaction and people will quickly pick that up. Networking, screening applications, and selecting candidates can undoubtedly be made easier through automation, but at some point, you have to be the human voice behind the job post or employer brand promotion.

So when do you have to step in beyond automation? With recruitment online, automated responses work very well, but if someone reaches out after receiving that reply, even if it is a job rejection email, respond directly. Don’t allow another automated response. Reply to the person! Take a few minutes to send a message. Show them that you are real and that you appreciate their reaching out.

There’s nothing more frustrating and off-putting than desperately trying to communicate with a human and getting one automated reply after the next. It’s an employer brand killer! Applicants and candidates will (probably curse) and then move on, never to look at anything you post again.

Recruitment online isn’t about tech, it’s about people

To succeed in finding top talent, building a talent pool and engaging passive talent, online recruiting is a recruiters dream come true. It’s never been easier to find top candidates and to build relationships with them. Apart from promoting your employer brand, you can also build a personal reputation as an industry expert online.

People are always more inclined to speak to someone they know and to support a brand they trust. That’s what recruitment online is all about! It moves through the entire hiring process, beginning with your careers site that tells people who you are. Recruiting online continually promotes your company as an employer of choice, so people buy in, and you get the best candidates onboard.

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