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Online job boards take lead over recruitment agencies, according to market research

Independent market research, carried out by Opinionography on behalf of Bond International Software has revealed the surprising trend in tools candidates are using when looking for jobs and the profound impact that this is having on recruiters. In fact, the survey has revealed that 81% have used online job sites compared to only 25% who have used social media when looking for a job in the last year.


The research that surveyed 1,000 UK based office workers set out to discover the current state of the recruitment market – from candidates’ preferences in job search tools, to the way that individuals now address change in career. After years of workplace stagnation, increased economic confidence over the past couple of years has encouraged individuals to make a change, with over a quarter of office workers looking for a job in the last six months, and a massive 72% having looked for a job in the last three years.


A clear message from the research is the online job site is still the number one preferred starting point for candidates, with 68% of respondents saying that they found it the most helpful in comparison to just 38% who found recruitment agencies of most help. In fact, given past experience, if searching for a job today 94% stated that they would be likely to use an online job site. This identifies a misconception by the candidate in terms of recruitment agency vs job board, since the majority of roles on job boards actually come from recruitment agencies directly. This demonstrates a clear need for recruiters to be actively following up on candidates when they receive an application directly via a job board.


Of the two thirds of respondents using a recruitment agency in the past to help with job search, 58% found the agency via online search. These stats identify a clear recruitment trend and highlight that the recruitment agency must ensure that it is using all tools to its advantage.  As well as ensuring that job boards are regularly updated, agencies need solid SEO strategies that are actively monitored and adjusted to reflect market and sector activity, while keywords must be optimised to match certain skill searches. With so many ways to reach the candidate, monitoring the value of each strategy will be key to the success of the agency.


While just a few years ago social media was expected to prompt change in recruitment strategy, the reality is very different. As the research reveals, just 25% have used social media to find a job and of these, just 14% found it helpful. But it isn’t just attitudes to job search that is surprising in attitudes to social media. There are varying attitudes between demographics, but the gap is clearer between management and non-management roles rather than age groups. In fact, 46% of C-level executives and 50% of Executive Directors would be very likely to use LinkedIn to search for vacancies compared to just 15% of those earning less than £25k.


The research also found that while 42% of office workers use LinkedIn for work related purposes, when it comes to searching for a job one in ten candidates would never use social media, and a further 40% would be unlikely or very unlikely to use social media.


Toby Conibear, European business development director at Bond International Software, commented, “The research commissioned by Bond has highlighted some surprising results regarding how candidates are searching for jobs. In particular the lack of social media use, revealing that only 25% have used social media to find a role, and a tiny 14% found this helpful.  In a society that is increasingly dominated by social media, and the growth of LinkedIn, that is a shocking result that has very real implications for the way in which recruiters contact and attract candidates


“Another surprising result which arose from the research was the preference for online job sites over the use of recruitment agencies. With 46% of respondents believing that online job sites offer the most up to date jobs, in comparison to 31% believing recruitment agencies will be up to date, there is clearly a perception issue between candidate and recruiter. Furthermore, with 63% believing that recruiters put the needs of the employer first, recruiters demonstrating more consideration for the candidate would provide a more positive outcome for all parties.


“It is clear from the research that market specialism rather than social media is set to have the biggest impact on the market over the next few years. From the lack of social media use, to the rise of industry specific job boards, there is a clear need for recruiters to get specialist. Those recruiters that harness and improve candidate relationships, offer industry specific advice, and can provide end-to-end excellence in recruitment processes will be the ones to win over the competition.”


Picture courtesy of Pixabay

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