Speaker at Business ConferenceAccording to the infographic, “Recruitment Advertising: Your Next Online Revenue Strategy” by RealMatch, more than $7 billion was estimated to be spent on online recruitment advertising in 2013. And, the infographic notes, the online recruitment market in the U.S. is projected to grow at CAGR of 5.45 percent over the 2012-2016 period.

And with so much money being invested into recruitment advertising, now more than ever it’s important for employers to first understand what this recruiting strategy actually entails and how to build the proper audience for this tactic.

Writing for HR.com, Analyst Mark McAuliffe  offers a simple definition for recruitment advertising. In his article, “Top 10 Tips for Effective Recruitment Advertising,” he writes:

…the recruitment advertisement is the front door to your company. It tells the outside world what you value in an employee, what your employment value proposition is and a little bit of a glimpse in regards to what your employment brand is.

Just as an advertisement is a public notice designed to attract public attention, a recruitment advertisement is simply a public notice designed to attract public attention to your business—whether that be to build a talent pipeline, fill a role or promote awareness of your employer brand.

And while there is much advice about effective recruitment advertising and the best ways to market your content, this post will focus on the step before the step—the audience.

What’s the point of investing in recruitment advertising if you haven’t even built an audience to advertise to? And the best way to actually begin building an audience is by first defining the type of audience to target.

To help you do this, below are four simple yet necessary questions to ask as you journey down the road of defining your target audience for your recruitment advertising endeavors:

1. Who Is Your Audience?

Think about your business, its products/services and current recruitment needs. What type of talent are you looking for? What specific roles do you need to fill? What kinds of people will fit into your organizational culture? Once you have assessed these areas, you can begin defining your target audience.

Think about your audience demographics:

Age—What age group are you seeking to target and why?

Gender—Is your business made up of predominantly males or females? Do you want to change this?

Race/Ethnicity—Diversity is huge right now in the business world, and it is certainly important to today’s top talent. Are you looking to create a more diverse workforce at your company? Does your business especially target women and minorities?

Location—Where does your audience reside in relation to your company? Or are you looking to secure virtual talent?

Education—Do you desire a certain level of education or experience?

Really taking the time analyze these various areas will help you begin to shape a profile for your target recruitment advertising audience.

2. What Are Their Workforce Expectations/Preferences?

When thinking about your target audience, it’s important to understand what they expect and prefer while being in today’s workforce. With multiple generations currently working together (and multiple generations making up your audience), you will need to ensure that the content and advertising you release appeals to the needs of the different generations you are trying to recruit.

For example, take the Deloitte Millennial Survey, which found that, globally, 70 percent of Millennials “might ‘reject’ what business as traditionally organizational has to offer, preferring to work independently by digital means in the long term.”

A recent infographic by Ring Central also supports this notion. More than half (53%) of millennials surveyed for the infographic said flexible work hours and having the freedom to work from any location improves work-life balance. That’s why another 70 percent said workplace environment impacts their decision to stay at a job.

The Deloitte survey also found that Millennials desire to work for companies that foster innovative thinking (78%), develop their skills, and make a positive contribution to society.

This generation of workers is big on social change and the environment and is attracted to organizations that support these areas. The study revealed that Millennials think businesses can do much more to address society’s challenges in the areas of most concern:

  • Resource scarcity (56 percent);
  • Climate change (55 percent); and
  • Income equality (49 percent).

Also, it’s important to note that 50 percent of Millennials surveyed want to work for a business with ethical practices.

Because Gen Yers will make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025, it’s crucial for employers to ensure that the recruitment advertising they’re putting out appeals to the expectations and preferences of this generation.

3. How Do They Consume Information?

When targeting an audience, it’s vital to know how its members consume information. If you’re aiming to catch a Millennial worker’s attention, you wouldn’t post an ad in the Classifieds. Likewise, if you want to hire Boomers, posting job ads on Instagram each day may not offer you your desired results.

One means of consuming information that is currently popular and rapidly growing is mobile. Just look at some of the latest statistics (from a WebDam infographic):

  • There were 1.4 billion smartphones in use in 2013
  • 1 in 4 searches are conducted on mobile devices
  • The average American spends nearly 2 hours per day on a mobile device

And it’s not only important to offer recruitment advertising via mobile but to ensure your company’s platforms are mobile-friendly. The same infographic noted that 57 percent of users won’t recommend companies with poor mobile sites.

4. What Are Their Job Search Habits?

The final question to ask yourself when defining your audience for recruitment advertising is about your audience’s job search habits. How do they search for jobs?

This information is key because, like question 3, if you’re not promoting your vacancies in the areas job seekers are looking you will miss out on top talent.

The same WebDam infographic revealed that mobile LinkedIn users are more than twice as active as desktop users.

The 2014 Job Seeker Nation: Mobility In The Workforce Study by Jobvite found that 86 percent of the workforce finds Facebook to be the best professional network to find a job even though high-mobility workers prefer LinkedIn.

Almost all (94%) of recruiters used or planned to use social media in their recruitment efforts in 2013—and job seekers understand this. Job seekers are being more cautious of their online presence and also search for jobs via social media, especially as the “Big Three”—LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter—continue to roll out job search apps and engines.

Effective recruitment advertising begins with defining your target audience and then working to build that audience to properly respond to your advertising efforts. By focusing on the step before the step and answering each of the above four questions, your business will be in a much better position to understand what to market to top talent and via what means, which will ultimately offer your desired ROI when it comes to investing in recruitment advertising.

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