Case Study: Hi-Tech Recruitment
A research study mapping the target audience (F/People)
The Israeli hi-tech industry is characterized by fierce competition for quality manpower in the employment market. Large companies and international corporations are competing among themselves, as well as against hundreds of promising small start-ups with huge potential, and they are all desperate to attract the best engineers, programmers, team leaders and salespeople.
The human resources department of one of these large hi-tech firms asked Buzzilla to help it locate potential employees who were seeking new opportunities in the employment market and would be likely to suit the company's needs.
The company's ongoing difficulty in recruiting high-quality, experienced employees suggested that it had an image problem in comparison to its competitors in the employment market – especially in contrast to the dynamic start-up companies just beginning to make a name for themselves. In order to obtain a precise picture of the company's positioning in the eyes of potential employees, Buzzilla conducted a multi-stage research process. First, a monitoring and assessment system was set up to identify candidates seeking a hi-tech position by crawling the relevant information they had shared with their friends on Facebook and/or various forums and blogs.
The system sent real-time alerts to company recruitment managers about every person who expressed an interest in new employment, and who had likely relevance to the company's needs. At the same time, a mapping research study was conducted on employment in the hi-tech industry in order to discover how the company was perceived. Additional research was performed to map the needs of jobseekers in different market segments. Here, the focus was not on the image of the company in the eyes of employees, but rather on the jobseekers themselves.
This research study shed light on the barriers that were preventing talented engineers and programmers from joining the company and motivating them to choose a competing company. The factors that emerged portrayed the company as cumbersome, bureaucratic, and with the tendency to ignore employees' individual contributions in favor of recognizing the overall team effort.
The findings also raised different considerations that guide different position-holders in the job-seeking process and motivate them to transfer from one company to another. Programmers and software testers are mainly influenced by the salary level offered, as well as by the possibility of receiving stock options from start-up companies before they go public. Engineers, team leaders and sales managers spoke primarily about the possibilities for advancement and their level of interest in the work, as reflected by analysis of conversation in forums on career-related topics.
The topic of employee benefits was rarely raised in the conversations, even though this is a significant factor in terms of salaries. The few discussions on this topic pertained to meals served at the workplace, and discount vouchers for nearby restaurants. This finding therefore needs to be taken into account when presenting an employment "package" to job applicants. On the other hand, a repeatedly raised topic was treatment by the boss in a previous or present workplace as a significant catalyst for seeking a new job. And yet only a few of the conversations discussed the management style and quality in a new place of employment as a relevant consideration.
The most important considerations when seeking new employment, by position:
In order to take advantage of the quality human resource potential inherent in social media, all alerts received about jobseekers needed to be classified and acted on within 48 hours, with every potential employee matched with vacant positions in the company.
The company's greatest perceived weakness – its size – needed to become a major strength. This was accomplished with the help of a broad marketing process emphasizing the company’s financial strength, and the potential benefits of belonging to an international corporation as a step in career development. These messages were consolidated through an interactive campaign demonstrating the benefits of working at the company, accompanied by training recruitment managers to emphasize career advancement possibilities to every prospective employee. Conducting a follow-up research study six months after the beginning of the process would enable measurement of how effectively the message was being relayed.
Similarly, the research findings expressed the need to create a "needs profile" for every vacant position in the company, based on anchors and barriers that influence workers in that profession. This profile serves the recruitment process, enabling the human resource department to focus on the issues most relevant to that applicant.
Evidence of results from these practical changes was quick to appear. Monitoring social media for postings by jobseekers increased the number of people invited to a first interview with the company by 20% in the six months after the new process was introduced, compared to the same period in the previous year. The follow-up study showed an increase of 40% in positive sentiment about the company on career-related forums and sites. Moreover, the recruitment division reported a shorter average recruitment time for each prospective employee – attributed, among other reasons, to a greater inclination to accept the company's offer and not wait for an alternative offer from a competing workplace.