The Changing Face of the Job Search #EWS2015

Editor’s Note: Women of HR has partnered with Spherion on a series of sponsored posts to bring you highlights and commentary from their 2015 Emerging Workforce Study, which contains a great deal of interesting data and statistics about future trends in the workforce and our workplaces.  This is the fourth in that series.  Watch for more over the coming months.


I don’t think many would argue that the world we now live in is driven by technology and technological innovations.  In a world of smart phones & tablets, apps, countless social networks, and constant connectivity, it would be difficult to make a case that technology is not at the center of most of our lives.  And since our work lives tend to be a microcosm of the world at large, it stands to reason that technology is, or at least should be, a critical part of our business worlds as well.


In this technologically driven world, one of the challenges for our companies and HR departments is determining the right combination of technology to use to attract, connect with, and recruit job seekers.  Gone are the days when an employer could simply place a classified ad in a local newspaper and find the candidates it needed.  Generally speaking, today’s job seekers are tech savvy and connected, reflecting the larger world in which we live.


Spherion’s Emerging Workforce Study examined some of the job seeker trends and discovered that when searching for job openings:

  • 79% use a personal computer or laptop
  • 27% use a smart phone
  • 22% use a tablet
  • 30% search on websites such as CareerBuilder or Glassdoor
  • 14% use social networks like LinkedIn or Facebook


What Does This Mean For HR Leaders?


The first thing that’s evident is that online is the place to be.  Only a relatively small percentage of job seekers aren’t looking online, so to capture the other nearly 80%, it’s critical to have a solid career site for your company.  And to stand out from others trying to attract the same talent, make sure it’s simple, easy to navigate, and clearly provides job seekers with the information they may want to know about your company and job opportunities available.


But it’s also not enough to just have a career site.  For those 27% and 22% searching on smart phones and tablets respectively (numbers that I suspect will only continue to increase as time goes on), career sites need to be at a minimum mobile friendly, and ideally mobile optimized.  This is even more critical if you’re looking to attract and recruit Gen Y, and soon Gen Z. Although not exclusive to these generations, and often important to many in other generations as well, mobile capabilities are certainly key in attracting those generations who have been using mobile technology nearly their entire lives.


However even mobile optimized career sites alone are not going to continue to be enough, especially if you’re not fortunate enough to have a well-known brand.  Well-known brands may have the advantage of being able to organically drive traffic to their career sites; for others who don’t have the brand recognition, you need to know where to be to find the candidates you desire.  This means knowing the various career and job related boards and sites, understanding which work best for your industry and markets in which you operate, and strategically using them to target candidates for various job openings.  That 30% who are using sites like these is likely to continue to increase as well.


And lastly, we can’t ignore social networks.  According to the 2015 EWS, 14% of job seekers are looking on social networks, but I believe this is where we’ll see the largest increase over the next several years, especially as our workforces continue to employ more Gen Y and Z.  And if you’re going to have a social presence, it’s critically important to be mindful of your online reputation.  We’ve already examined the importance of employment brand and online reputation to these generations in a previous post, and as our recruiting efforts continue to focus more on these generations, it’s an area we won’t be able to afford to ignore.


It’s a changing world out there, and as employers we need to be aware of, on top of, and embracing the tools and resources available to us to keep us competitive and effective.


Disclosure: Spherion partnered with bloggers such as me for their Emerging Workforce Study program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any idea mentioned in these posts. Spherion believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Spherion’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

About the Author

Jennifer Payne

Jennifer Payne is a 20+ year human resources leader with a focus on researching, developing, and implementing talent management programs. She is a believer in lifelong learning and self-development who strives to stay current in HR trends, technology, best practices, and the future of work by sharing knowledge with and learning from HR colleagues and thought leaders across the country and throughout the world through writing, speaking, and involvement in various industry conferences and events.  She is one of the co-founders of Women of HR, and is currently the Editor of the site. You can connect with her on Twitter...

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