A lot of people can tell you how many applicants they receive each year through their careers site. Do you know how many you didn’t receive? Receiving an applicant in marketing jargon is referred to as “conversion”; the person visited the site and they completed the form/registration process and you got their information. If you didn’t, they didn’t convert. Saying you converted 10,000 applicants in a year without knowing how many you didn’t get is a bit like your stock broker enthusiastically telling you your portfolio was up 35% last year. What he failed to tell you is that you were down 40% from the year before and you’re still down 5% over the last 2 years. In other words, the number by itself is meaningless. If 300,000 people visited your site are you happy about converting 10,000? 290,000 is the number you might want to think about. Now in recruiting, unlike marketing and sales, quality of the conversion matters. Most would agree that 1,000 quality applicants trumps 10,000 poor or mediocre applicants. And for that, enter the online pre-screen. That’s a brilliant idea from a decade ago; use online pre-screening questions so only the best applicants “pass” and recruiters don’t get bogged down dispositioning gobs of applicants. But now you have a new problem. Only the most motivated (or desperate) of applicants are willing to invest that kind of time on your site (not to mention how frustrated they are to never hear from anyone again…and what does that do to our employer brand!). Something else to consider; the online attention span of Gen Y is a lot shorter than ours. Think of all that external stimuli they grew up with – downloading music, chatting, blogging, cell phones, gaming, texting, email, video, etc. Numerous neurological studies back this up. Talent Communities Many of our customers are embedding registration boxes on their careers site so that on any page at any time the prospective applicant can simply register with their contact information, area of interest, location of interest, etc. If they apply to a job the application still goes to their ATS. However, if they complete the registration form the candidate record and form information gets created in their Avature CRM. We have one customer recruiting for nurses that gets 70% of their CRM leads from this simple online form that’s linked on their careers site. That equates to tens of thousands of nurse leads. In a world of nursing shortages I’d say that’s pretty impressive. I’ve often heard this methodology referred to as Talent Communities. I’m not sure why, but I guess it sounds “social” which makes it cool so that’s fine with me. And it’s created a new relationship manager role in recruiting which I think is a good thing. But really at the end of the day, technically speaking, it’s a simple registration form that takes a web developer with the right tools very little time to create. What Do We Do With All The Online Leads? What’s interesting about the leads that come through to your CRM is that the information is already segmented. Segmentation is an economic and marketing term for bundling people into buckets based on similar attributes – geographic, demographic, behavioral, etc. And it happens to be at the core of any go to market strategy. In Avature you can build segmented lists of people based on the attributes you collected online. For example, I can create a list of people that a) registered online b) did that in the month of March, 2010 c) chose San Francisco as their ‘location of interest’ and d) selected software engineering as their ‘area of interest’. Now let’s just say that list was 100 people. Most people would say we have two choices – 1) call them individually and recruit them or 2) send them all an email (likely asking them to visit the career site to look for a job). Option 1 isn’t exactly efficient. That’s 100 calls we need to make to a bunch of people that we don’t know very much about (i.e. if they’re qualified). Option 2 is a run-around. You’re sending them right back to the place they started. Option 3 In the Avature CRM you can build screening forms/surveys using our very simple forms builder. Once I’ve created the form, I can email a form completion link to multiple recipients so they can answer my questions on a webpage (you can also wrap a design template around the form webpage to brand it). But what’s interesting about the forms is that the information is fielded in the CRM database, meaning that we can further segment our list of people based on the answers to the questions. Continuing with our example from above, we sent 100 emails thanking the San Francisco software engineers for their initial online inquiry (or “thank you for joining our talent community…”) and asked them if they’d take a minute to answer a few more questions so we can be sure to discuss the right opportunities with them. They click the form completion link in the email and land on the form completion page where they have 5 questions to answer (or 7, 10, 20, etc.). It’s probably not realistic to think that all 100 will answer the questions (and a big part of that will depend on how many questions you ask) so let’s say 75 complete the questions. So now I go back and modify my list, or create a new one, where I use my original attributes – San Francisco, software engineering – and add to my list attributes java OR python (two potential answers to the question “what are your core experience categories?”) , 5+ years experience, prefer full-time employee status, eligible to work in the US, and graduate level degree (and so on). Let’s say that of the 75 who complete the form the number of people that meet these 5 additional attributes is now 7. With 7 leads Option 1 – calling them – becomes realistic and efficient. Option 2 – email them a specific job or jobs that I want them to consider. Less is More Under Option 3 think about how different the candidate experience is. I came to your site and it took me 15 seconds to register. I then got a thank you email asking me to answer some questions that were RELEVANT to what I told you I was interested in. You then sent me an email thanking me again for completing the questions and asked me to consider a specific job or a few highly relevant jobs (or told me you don’t have anything right now but you’ll let me know asap when something opens up and in the meantime you’ll stay in touch and would like to include me in the monthly newsletter, external mentoring programs, or other high touch points you might deploy as part of your CRM strategy). I’d be a lot more likely now to complete your online application because of the way you engaged me, not requiring a lot of my time upfront, and then how you delivered timely and relevant information as a follow up. The goal is the same; get someone qualified to apply to a job. The subtle difference is that the start of the conversation is about the person, not the requisition. And in a recruiting universe where we’re beginning to think of candidates like customers this is certainly a step in the right direction.