Corporate Eye

7 types of recruit you need to serve online

There are 7 different kinds of recruit you need to identify and serve online, as part of your recruitment strategy.

No, I don’t mean 7 different skill-sets: obviously there are many more than that … I mean that there are 7 different life-stages that your potential recruit may be at.

Some of these won’t be relevant to your industry – perhaps you only recruit graduates and experienced professionals. However, you shouldn’t forget that any visitors to your site may become a potential recruit in the future (or customer, supplier or contractor), so you don’t want to give them a negative impression about the company or how you treat people.

The 7 life-stages of recruits are:

  • apprentice. Some recruits will be fresh from school, and looking for an apprentice-type position. This is most likely to be true in a more technical industry, but may still be true in yours. This person is looking for training with a qualification at the end
  • school leaver. Some recruits will be fresh from school but just want to work. They’re not particularly interested in more qualifications, but are more likely to be interested in your other benefits, such as the pay, location, social life and prospects
  • intern. Some recruits will be temporary staff, in that they want to join you for a specified period (3 months, 6 months, a year) in order to gain experience, and as part of their college education program. A sub-group of this category may be school-age and looking for a couple of weeks of work experience. These people won’t be primarily motivated by money (though it always helps!) but by the experience that you will be able to offer them – and that they will then be able to take to their first permanent job – which might be with you.
  • graduate. Some recruits will be recent graduates, looking for their first job. This is a sector of the population that is well-served by major companies, many of which have dedicated graduate recruitment sites with a lot more information and tools than are provided to the general recruit.
  • young professional. These recruits will be fairly recent graduates (or experienced non-graduates) looking for their second or third job. Many of the same things that interest new graduates may be relevant here, but these people are likely to have a clearer idea of what they want from a company.
  • experienced professional. Some recruits will be experienced professionals who have decided to make a move later in life. Some of these will be identified for you by recruitment agencies, but some will be actively seeking a change, and will be consulting your website to see what is available. This group will also have a clear idea of what they want, and both the young and experienced professional are often grouped together by websites, because their requirements from the site will be similar. This is, though, in my view, often poorly provided for by corporate websites – certainly in comparison to what is provided for new graduates.
  • executive. Finally, a few, a very few, will be top executives. Most of these won’t come through your website directly – rather, you will be using headhunters and other recruitment agencies – but ALL will check your site to get a picture of your company and culture, and of your current issues.

    In fact, these days, I’d be very surprised indeed if anyone failed to check your website before applying and coming for interview. It used to be believed that people who go to an employer’s web site tend to be a higher-quality candidate, but these days your website is likely to be the first point of contact. And if someone hasn’t the nous to check your website … are you sure you really want to recruit them?

There are of course, sub-groups to these categories. I’ve mentioned work-experience candidates looking for a very short-term position. Other candidates may be looking for a longer temporary role, perhaps as an interim manager, cover for maternity leave or as a contractor, but be highly skilled experienced professionals. Or you may be prepared to consider taking on a talented non-graduate with experience into a high-flying graduate type role … there are a range of different permutations, but these seven categories provide a useful tool for thinking about the careers website.

How do you serve such a wide constituency?

  • UBS careersUBS do it by providing a different landing page for each type of candidate … they’ve identified four: apprentices, graduates, MBAs and experienced professionals.

    MBAs are an interesting group of candidates: most will be experienced professionals (a few will have gone on to do an MBA immediately after graduating with their first degree); all will be looking for a significant advance on their previous position, in order to maximise the benefits of their MBA.

  • BAE Systems careersBAE Systems do it by separating out three distinct groups (graduates, apprentices and students/school leavers), and treating the others as ‘general recruits’.
  • Unilever careersUnilever, like BAE Systems, identify three groups (graduates, interns, apprenticeships) while handling general recruiting and their specialist subject of R&D separately.
  • Sainsbury careersSainsbury’s, like most of the major companies, separate out the graduates, providing them with a specialist website, and leave the others in ‘general recruiting’.
  • Rolls-Royce careersRolls-Royce identifies three (apprentices, graduates and professionals) but also provides access for recruitment agencies responding to a particular brief.

Once you’ve decided which groups you’re targeting with dedicated areas, you’ll need to decide on the content for each.

One of the things that I find slightly odd is that the graduate sites often have much more content than that for the experienced personnel, such as online application centres, where the applicant can store their draft applications, greater use of multimedia, or blogs. Sometimes there are only graduate jobs listed on the site, with nothing for professionals …

Each of these groups need the same type of information, though perhaps with different emphases :

  • what the work involves
  • where it would be based
  • what the rewards and benefits are
  • what the future might hold
  • “why me?” – do I fit with this company? what is the company looking for?
  • “why this company?” – why would I want to work for this company?

I like the way that Rolls-Royce provide the factual kind of information – tailored for each segment – within the sections for each of the types of recruit they have identified. So, for example, the potential apprentice needn’t hunt round to find the rewards and benefits appropriate to them – they are right there in the apprentice section.

But the answers to the more difficult questions, about the relationship that the applicant might have with the company, are communicated from the moment the applicant enters the corporate site. Does the company appear to be formal or informal? Are they open to contact from website visitors, or not? How easy is it to understand what they do? How well does the company communicate its culture, and its attitude to its employees?

All applicants worth their salt will browse the website – even if only briefly – and the more senior the applicant, the more likely they are to be consciously evaluating the website for clues about the business and its culture.

What does your website say to potential applicants? And, just as importantly, what does it say to job-seekers who decide not to apply, or to those who apply but aren’t accepted?

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Interesting post. I can see that even companies need to target their approach to match their prospective employees.

Hi Laura – thanks for visiting. Yes – even if there is great targeting off-line, there isn’t always the same effort across the board on a corporate website.

It’s the applicants who aren’t fresh graduates who seem to get shortchanged – but it isn’t just the young who are active online.

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