Month: August 2016

A job in need is a job on Indeed

Indeed’s tried and tested aggregation and search engine model is so seamless candidates often forget it’s how they found the job in the first place. But Indeed’s ubiquity means it often gets blamed for employers’ failings and seldom gets praised for the service it offers.

For employers, targeting jobseekers couldn’t be easier. They post a job on their website with minimal effort and receive applications within minutes without spending a penny, congratulating themselves on the campaign success and none the wiser about how word reached the wider world.

This can be usually attributed to Indeed or a similar job aggregator or search engine. Indeed gets its vacancy listings from a feed of employers’ job pages. It’s legal to do this without the owner’s permission as it is in the public domain, but employers can request to have it turned off, in the same way you can request Google Search not to include your website in their search results and not to index it.

Victim of its own success

The problem Indeed is experiencing, is when you become successful at something you tend to get the blame for everything bad. I read an article – actually it was more of an ill-informed rant from a recruiter – about how Indeed was the root of all evil and was the reason for lack of quality applications, and they used underhand tactics in gaining jobs on their system. Such words as “scraping websites” and “mirroring websites” were used, when in fact these are five- year-old black hat search engine optimisation (SEO) tactics that Google pretty much have a made a thing of the past.

Applying for jobs has never been easier, and whereas as people would have thought twice before applying for a job, there seems to be a trend of “I am probably not suitable but let’s give it a go and see what happens” attitude.

Quality applicants, or the lack thereof, has been an issue since well before the launch of Indeed, or the invention of the internet for that matter. I understand the frustrations recruiters are experiencing; and like with most things in employer marketing there is no silver bullet.

Better response needs better posts

Most recruiters rely on candidates telling them where they saw the advert or heard about the job, which is about reliable as a chocolate fireguard. We recently ran a test where we asked candidates applying for a role where they saw the advert. Interestingly 90% selected the top choice on the dropdown which was a press advert and, yes you guessed it, there was no press advert.

To improve candidate quantity and quality, recruiters need to write better job postings and use technology to filter out unsuitable applicants via their own digital assets. After all if you think switching off Indeed will stop you getting unsuitable job applications, you are very much mistaken.

Jim Bloor

Planet of the Apps: the appeal of walled gardens


In internet terms a walled garden is a safe, controlled publisher ecosystem, often within an app or ISP environment, that controls the user’s access to Web content and services. The benefits walled gardens offer to users could see online recruitment activities shifting more towards apps and social media.

This limited access approach of walled gardens is becoming increasingly significant with mobile app downloads set to double globally in the next four years as smart phone adoption increases. People are spending more time on their phones interacting with apps, especially when it comes to social media and shopping.

Why this has happened is very clear; users prefer the faster experience of moving between apps on a mobile over waiting for a PC to boot up then navigating sites. Another driver is many large providers want to keep users on their network for longer.

There are many examples of this; Snapchat’s Discover, Facebook Instant Articles, Twitter’s Moments and the YouTube for Kids app. Walled gardens also get round the threat of ad blocking with adverts and content native to the platform as opposed to banner adverts across multiple platforms.

The main appeal of walled gardens is that they put the user at the centre of the experience. For example Snapchat insists that the advertisers in its Discovery section use vertical video, as that is the format that works best for the platform. So having principles and refusing to bend on content execution for the right reasons ensures in the long term a steady economic model. There is no irony lost on the fact that we are behaving like we did back in the 2000s; quality over technology advancements will always shine through.

What this means for recruitment is that the employers quickest to adopt and adapt app opportunities will be able to get ahead of their competitors in the war for talent. The use of social media as the main platform for campaigns platforms as opposed to just supporting other activity will become increasingly important.

Could it be possible that an employer’s Facebook page becomes the centre of their recruitment communications strategy and the careers website simply where you apply for a job? It could even host the application process too. The future is uncertain, but what is sure is that employers who fully understand their target markets and behaviours and match it with their outputs will reap the rewards.

Jim Bloor

Rise of the ad blockers: a warning


Ad blocking has been around almost as long as online advertising. As it becomes increasingly more prevalent, what are the implications for advertising revenue, content and recruitment?

Ad blocking is the removal of advertising content including pop-ups, banner ads and autoplay ads from a web page, app, game or browser. To users, the benefits of ad blocking include quicker loading and cleaner looking web pages free from advertisements and privacy benefits gained through the exclusion of the tracking and profiling systems of ad delivery platforms. Blocking ads can also save data allowance and battery life on mobile devices.

Ad blocking has been available for a long time but, recently hit the headlines when Apple included tools for developers to create apps that block ads on Apple’s Safari browser with iOS 9. The public has also become more wary as data mining makes pop-ups every more personal.

Where ad blocking was the previously the sole preserve of the geek elite, it is now beginning to become used more widely. On average 9.26% of all adverts impressions are blocked, and experts predict that in the next 20 -24 months it is set to double.

Most online media publishers rely on advertising revenue as their main source of income, and in some cases rinse it for all it’s worth. The downside to this can be a poor user experience providing an increase in advert intolerance. This “milk it till its dry approach” has been exacerbated by the rise of programmatic advertising.

More generally, publishers are struggling to settle on a model to monetise the web. A good example was The Sun’s recent backtrack over the paywall it introduced on its online platform in 2013 following the example of fellow News International titles The Times and The Sunday Times. Despite this flop, the paywalls introduced by the New York Times, The Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal are considered a success, and The Times and Sunday Times are persevering with their experiment, albeit with generous promotional offers.

Whatever your view on ad blocking, the bottom line is that good content costs money and must be paid for; the compromise is that if you don’t want advertising then you will have to pay for it directly.  Media publishers have been their own masters in the decline in display advertising, effectively bringing up the younger generations with the expectation that content is free. The need for good, edited and checked content is more important than ever, but it needs to be paid for.

My advice would be to think twice before installing an ad blocker because you will end up having to pay for it one way or another.

From a recruitment perspective, this means we need to focus on creativity and execution, working with media publishers in order to provide relevant and effective advertising and engaging promotional content in order to enhance their media consumption experience.


The Evolution of Search

The number of Google searches carried out globally on mobile platforms has overtaken searches on the desktop. Going mobile means more voice search, location based search and more visual search, enabling a much more personalised experience.

Traditional search engines are being replaced by apps offering personal assistance based on anticipating needs and notifying the user through reminders. One such personal digital assistant, Google Now, provides notifications tailored to the user and context, including location and time of day, to anticipate future needs and searches. It has an uncanny ability to tell you whether your journey home from work might be delayed, or the results of a match your favourite team is playing.

Google Now can also provide you with a shopping list when you are in particular shop, and then remember where you are parked afterwards. Not only that, but it can also integrate with your social media platforms such as Facebook. The reality is that search in the future won’t be solely based on a keyword input but will incorporate a series of data points based on your interactions and journeys, both off- and on-line. Similar services are coming soon or are here from Bing, Facebook, and others, but Google has stolen the march on its competitors.

In a separate development, Google is testing providing results in their search results from apps regardless of whether the searcher has the app or not. Previously online content providers had to match website and app content in order to be indexed by Google; this latest development means this will be no longer the case. Google streams a virtual version of the mobile app, meaning the app does not have to be installed on your phone. This technology comes from a start-up called Agawi that Google acquired in 2014. It is currently in beta at the moment in the US but watch this space.

This kind of personalisation and technology advancement can only be a good thing as it will make sure the right messages are served at the most relevant time and place. The real push now is making it more convenient for users, and smartphones are the catalyst in the move away from the traditional search model.

In order to fully leverage this opportunity you need to make sure your brand is visible to as many search technologies as possible. Brands driven by search strategies, for example HE institutions, will face new challenges in making sure they are seen. It may seem more complex then ever to successfully cut through search, but it is all about putting the customer needs at the centre of how you approach it.

Jim Bloor