The Biggest Possible Payoff

Published: Sep 15, 2010

The Biggest Possible Payoff
By Peter Weddle

In today's low margin-of-error workplace, every action must pay off. As we all know, however, that's often easier said than done. Monster, for example, has discovered that over 40 percent of the job seekers who end up on an employer's career site after viewing a job posting did not click on the Apply button in the ad. So, how do you know what caused the payoff—those candidates who arrive on your site—and even more importantly, what should you be doing to get the biggest possible payoff?

Life would be much easier, of course, if talent behaved. If the best prospects for your openings simply clicked on the Apply button as soon as they saw a position in which they were interested, it would be clear which sourcing venues paid off and which didn't. But no, these men and women have to probe, ponder and plug into their social networks.

They visit your employer's LinkedIn group or Facebook page, check out its standing with their peers on those same and other networking sites, look at the brand advertising you're doing at their professional association's site, check Technorati to see what the blogosphere is saying about the organization and then, they think about it a bit before they decide whether or not to visit your career area. So, even if they do pay you a visit online, it's all but impossible to say where that payoff actually came from.

How should you deal with this uncertainty? I suggest you use a four-part strategy that involves power, integration, consistency and direction.


Piquing the interest of top talent begins with a trigger event. And most job postings don't rise to that level. Indeed, many have all of the persuasive power of a brick. They are written as job announcements with information, not as recruitment ads with a bang. They don't intrigue and captivate the reader with the features and benefits of employment with an organization, but instead, provide a boring recitation of this or that job's requirements and responsibilities. It's a message that doesn't compel top talent even to pay attention, let alone pay a visit to the organization's career site.

If you want to get top talent interested in your organization and its opportunities, you have to lead with a job posting that has the power to engage and activate even the most passive of prospects.


By now, most recruiters know that it's important to integrate their social networking efforts with their advertising and other sourcing activities. The way they do so, however, often limits their ability to connect with the best prospects. They use all of the same social networking sites their competitors are using, which not only makes it difficult for them to stand out, but may also cause them to miss out on the talent they have the greatest potential to recruit. In effect, they are following the herd of recruiters, rather than the individuals who can be heroes for their employer.

If you want to connect with the best prospects for your organization, ask the best talent your organization already employs where they hang out online and integrate those networking sites into your sourcing strategy.


Regardless of where and what recruiters do to source talent, their communications must be consistent in both theme and expression. The best talent has the attention span of a gnat, so it's important that their message be unchanging and repeated constantly. From the job posting, itself, to their organization's Twitter tweets, from the commentary on its blog to the video it has posted on MySpace, the value proposition it offers as an employer must always be the same and delivered with the same vocabulary. That doesn't make a boring message; it creates a memorable brand.

If you want to break through the clutter and have an impact on the career considerations of top talent, you must woo them continuously and with the same focused message, whether it's in print, the electronic medium or a mobile communication.


The goal of every sourcing effort is to drive top talent back to an organization's career site. That venue—if it's well designed and operated—provides the follow-up information and interaction necessary to recruit the best prospects. Every sourcing message, therefore, should include a link back to the career site and a compelling reason to go there. The standard “For more information, click here” may activate average job seekers, but to move the best prospects requires a phrase such as “To learn why your career will soar at Company X, click here”.

If you want to turn your career site into a world class recruiting portal, you must conclude every communication with an irresistible direction that both entices and leads top talent back to your home page.

Traditionally, we recruiters have invested our time, effort and money in a wide array of candidate sources. In today's cost and staff constrained world, however, we have to focus on those venues with the greatest possible payoff. And, the best way to do that is to implement a strategy that involves power, integration, consistency and direction.

Thanks for reading,
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Peter Weddle is the author of over two dozen employment-related books, including the recently released blockbuster The Career Activist Republic and Work Strong, Your Personal Career Fitness System, one of the most innovative career success books in print. Both are available at

© Copyright 2010 WEDDLE's LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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