Online Recruiting Topics

We’re all guilty. But what drains your time in staff recruitment? Here we review some of the top resource-stealers.

1. Collating equal opps data and doing nothing with it
You spend time recording data that won’t be analysed. Lots of people applied but so what. Either stop compiling – or get an online recruitment system, that does it for you.

2. Leaving your job ads online after the closing date
“Dear Sir/Madam, I know this post closed five weeks ago but I hope you will consider my application.” If you don’t want late applications, remove the ad so you don’t spend time explaining.

3. Sending out application packs
It can eat around 10-15 minutes every day plus postage. Publishing application packs on your website, they are instantly accessible.

4. Requesting criminal record checks when you don’t need one
You want to be prudent on who you employ so whether it’s legal or not, you take out criminal record checks, adding 2-6 weeks onto recruitment times.

5. Saying it by post
Snail mail is not what it once was. Things get lost or take longer to receive (you send it there, you send it back). PDF scans and face to face visits often serve the same purpose quickly.

6. Adopting the scattergun approach to advertising
More is not always more, if you end up sifting tens and hundreds of weak applications.

7. Acknowledging applications individually
For large recruitment campaigns, individual acknowledgements can take a couple of hours. Automated messages can do the same trick instantly.

8. Deliberating over bad references
Should we, shouldn’t we, on reference number four, you’re still not sure. Better to act quickly when you first start to suspect.

9. Writing suuuper long person specifications
If you say what you want in two or three different ways, candidates do the same in their covering letter or statement, causing duplication. Longer to apply and longer to shortlist. Try to keep person specs to less than 12 points.

10. Not testing at interview
They were very convincing but talking about the job is different to doing the job. Collecting a work sample throws in a different perspective.

11. Using paper application forms
Dealing with paper takes time and space. You post and email forms, save them, print them and record info on spreadsheets. It takes hours. A low cost online recruitment system can do the work for you.

For ideas on building your own branded online careers website, visit Applidoodle.

A common misconception is that to attract great applicants, you need to pay high salaries. In reality, many great employers don’t: for example, Virgin, Harrods, the National Trust.

What is employer brand?
Employer brand is what current and potential applicants associate with an employer. It’s the “image of your organisation as a ‘great place to work’”, according to Brett Minchington, employer brand strategist.

Why employer brand?
Research has found that, as part of what candidates are likely to get from a job, candidates prioritise what matters to them.

“A great brand raises the bar – it adds a greater sense of purpose to the experience, whether it’s the challenge to do your best in sports and fitness, or the affirmation that the cup of coffee you’re drinking really matters.”  - Howard Schultz, president, CEO and chairman of Starbucks

In conveying this sense of purpose, you’re offering something more than a salary. You’re something that candidates connect with and go that extra mile for.

The critical elements of employer brand
So what goes towards creating the employer brand?

Look: how your organisation presents itself: your use of colours, imagery, symbols. How you look on the web, in print and in the flesh tells a story. Your web presence, your job site is an important shop window.

Feel: how you feel to interact with: how you talk, how you do things. A lot of the rituals and processes that go on inside an organisation, project an image outwards of what you are. This includes how you communicate with candidates, and importantly where you fail to.

Position: who you associate with: your partners, your network, your stakeholders reflect upon your organisation, as does your relationship with technology. Do you provide a positive, pioneering recruitment experience to candidates.

Stories: what people say about you and what you say about yourself (both good and bad) is really important, both via formal and informal channels. Disgruntled job applicants are an important audience to manage.

How to enhance employer brand
Some key steps can be identified for creating and perpetuating a positive employer brand:

Identify your target market: identify the job applicants/job markets you want to appeal to – probably there are segments. The audience for your job vacancies is not necessarily homogenous.

Identify your employer brand offer: what differentiates you from other employers in similar lines of work? How are you perceived currently by your stakeholders – and how do you want to be perceived? Take into account cultural differences and generational differences (eg. baby boomers, generation X and Y).

Communicate your offer: communicate what you are and what you offer: both visually, through your jobsite, and how you do things, in how you interact with applicants. Share and talk about what you do. Blow your own trumpet. Accreditations and awards are a great way to reinforce this.

Get talked about for the right reasons: press coverage, social media, staff and candidate stories are key vehicles. You want past and future candidates to say good things.

Monitor: review how you are doing what staff, volunteers and candidates think, how to evolve, and what to reinforce.

A positive recruitment experience is a key part of constructing your strong employer brand. For further information on establishing a branded careers site, visit

Writing compelling job ads for your positions can seem pretty daunting, if you’re not used to doing it! Here we’ve put together some nuggets of wisdom to ensure that you attract the right person for your job.

Job titles: say what you see
When it comes to job titles, go for titles that people will be searching for. Standard, easy-to-grasp titles will appeal to potential applicants, more than difficult or wordy descriptions.

Essential info: don’t forget the basics
Applicants eliminate their job searches based on salary, location, hours and contract length. Don’t forget to include this information under your job title. Without it, candidates may assume that you’re not what they’re after.

First paragraph: who we are
Introduce your organisation in no more than three lines. We want to know what you are, why you matter, what you do and why you’re inspiring. Don’t assume that candidates know your organisation or know why your work is important.

Second paragraph: the role
You’re looking for a talented candidate. But first: what will they be doing? Refer to the job description for this information. Speak to your candidates in the second person to ensure you’re engaging. You’re describing the remit of the job. “You’ll be responsible for”, “you’ll work with”, “you’ll oversee” are all good phrases to go with.

Third paragraph: the person
What type of person would do well in this role? Look to the person specification for this information and again, write in the second person. “You’ll have experience in”, “you’ll be…” are good phrases, along with “an ability to…” or “previous experience with…”. Clearly outline what’s essential and what’s desirable.

Fourth paragraph: how to apply
Provide a one liner instruction directing candidates to complete an application form or provide a covering letter with CV. Don’t forget to include both the closing date and the interview date, so that candidates can ensure they are available when you need them.

Fifth paragraph: other information
Maybe you’re an equal opportunities employer. Maybe you don’t want agencies to contact you. Let people reading your advert know some of the small print.

To share your tips for writing job ads, message us on Twitter @applidoodle. Or to get started with recruiting online, visit to create your branded careers site.