Doing More With Less: Six Inexpensive Traffic-Driving Strategies

The slower economy has meant increased workloads thrust upon fewer recruiters, who are working with even fewer resources. This means less time is available to proactively source highly skilled candidates, who are still as elusive and difficult to find as ever. It is therefore incumbent upon recruiting professionals to find less expensive ways to recruit qualified candidates. With this in mind, here are several low-cost traffic-driving tools that can increase the number of qualified candidates visiting your employment website while at the same time reducing the costs and time necessary for candidate sourcing and reactionary advertising.

  1. Viral Marketing. Although it sounds like a disease one could contract in business school, viral marketing is actually a very cheap way to drive highly qualified traffic to your employment site. The concept is simple: turn the candidates already visiting your site into recruiters by easily allowing them to refer their friends. A few examples of companies that have implemented viral marketing tools include eBay, which allows candidates to “refer a friend” within job postings; the U.S. Air Force Reserve, which uses online postcards for general promotion of their career website; and Pacific Bell, which offers incentives for people outside the company to refer qualified candidates.
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  3. Job Search Agents. Say you place an advertisement or online job posting designed to drive traffic to your employment website. Some of the resulting visitors are will stay and apply for jobs of interest, while others will leave after not finding the right opportunities. In all likelihood, many of the visitors who left the site without dropping off their resumes are highly qualified for positions that will come up in the future. With so many other potential employment websites to visit, the planets would have to be aligned just right for an individual to revisit your employment website on her or his own at the exact same moment that you post a position that is of interest – especially a passive job seeker who only occasionally looks around for other employment opportunities. But Job Search Agents allow candidates to specify keywords that return new jobs via email as they are posted, reducing the amount you have to spend on reactionary advertising – and meaning that you won’t have to pay to re-recruit the same candidates over and over again. An example of a subtle use of this technology can be found on Nortel Networks’ employment site.
  4. Search Engine Optimization. It has been estimated that over 80% of Internet traffic is search-engine driven (source: Iconocast). Other statistics have shown that besides checking email, using search engines is the second most popular activity on the Web (source: Media Metrix). Two complicating factors here: first, search engines won’t know about your specific site unless you register it; and second, most users won’t look past the first or second results page. The goal of Search Engine Optimization is therefore to optimize your employment site so it is returned in the first 20 results of each engine. A steady, yet inexpensive stream of traffic to your site will be the result.
  5. Email Marketing. Recruiters representing colleges and universities are just starting to realize the benefits of opt-in email marketing (also known as database marketing) to potential students, which allows them to communicate with a large audience of potential recruits over time. In the corporate recruiting world, this represents an untapped form of relationship marketing that can capitalize on your existing resume database. Instead of losing candidates that didn’t fit for a certain position, or getting a resume once but never learning what new skills an individual has added, email marketing allows you to keep in touch with candidates over time, encourage them to update their resumes as they gain new skills, and solidify your reputation as an employer of choice by showing continued, personalized interest.
  6. Partnering with Marketing. Examining your corporate website for promotional opportunities is not just inexpensive, it’s often free! Start with a clear, prominent link to Career Opportunities or Jobs within your corporate site’s main navigation. Pages that discuss specific company projects or initiatives are also a great cross-promotional opportunity for career opportunities within those projects or initiatives. And if your company has an e-commerce or content site that offers banner advertising, investigate using any unsold banner inventory for recruiting purposes. You may be surprised what opportunities exist!
  7. Media Planning. In some ways, the ability to plan ahead is the Holy Grail of recruiting – nobody’s ever found a way to do it effectively. Chances are that at some point, something unexpected will come up to ruin whatever plan you decide to put in place. But when it comes to media, planning ahead can translate directly into bottom line savings. The more you buy up front, the greater the negotiating power for your media buyers. Taking a conservative approach by planning ahead for your minimum anticipated recruiting efforts could save you up to 50% in discounted media fees, build up your pipeline of qualified leads, and eliminate a LOT of reactionary advertising.

Don’t let restrictions on your budgets prevent you from making the most of your available resources. The more low-cost ways you find to drive traffic to your career website, the more qualified candidates you’ll discover and the more money and time you’ll save in the long run.

Dave Lefkow is currently the CEO of talentspark (, a consulting firm that helps companies use technology to gain a competitive advantage for talent, and a regular contributor to ERE on human capital, technology, and branding related subjects. He is also an international speaker on human capital trends and best practices, having spoken in countries as close as Canada and as far away as Malaysia and Australia. His consulting work has spanned a wide variety of industries and recruiting challenges with companies like Starbucks, Boeing, HP, Microsoft, Expedia, Washington Mutual, Nike and Swedish Medical Center.


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