How well do you know your website visitors? As recruiting becomes more of an online activity, it starts to resemble Web marketing. Web marketers know the different kinds of people who come to a website. So too must recruiters, in order to recognize and benefit from the potential goldmine of candidates within that traffic. For large companies, which enjoy significant branding and high traffic volume, this is especially true. People visiting large company websites know the Web address from seeing it in advertising, on the company’s product, or in other marketing material. Perhaps they have followed a link or a banner ad, or can guess the URL without querying a search engine. The company’s brand both off and on the Web is clearly established, and is being reinforced continuously. Visitors to a company website therefore have some prior knowledge of the company. For recruiters’ purposes, the traffic coming to a company website can be generally grouped into three major categories: jobseekers, customers, competitors. Each group has a particular interest in the company, and represents a rich recruiting source…if you’re ready. Today we will cover only one group of visitors: your customers. Customers The most common function of a corporate website is to convey information on products and services, and therefore customers (also including vendors) comprise the largest group of site visitors. Customers already have a certain amount of goodwill towards the company since inherent in a purchasing decision is an elemental endorsement of a company and its product or service. Familiarity with a company and its products or services can become a first step to becoming an employee. Customers may become candidates if their website visit includes a stop at an appealing Careers section that provides intriguing information about company employment and positions. For e-commerce sites, an invitation to the Careers section once the transaction is performed is a good way to optimize the cost per client transaction. Targeted Messages It has been known in the industry for a while that the most aggressive companies are tailoring their banners’ messages according to the visitor’s origin. For instance if one visitor is coming from a competitor network you can show a message customized according to his or her interest. To the same extent, visitors to specific parts of your site are already filtered by the nature of the content where they are, and a tailored job banner at this location is the natural and efficient action. When you think about traffic and banners, think first of those that are already on your site and where CPM is free! Another Category of Customer A related group to customers, especially for large public companies, is shareholders. A common function of a corporate website is to serve investor relations. Most, if not all, Fortune 2000 companies provide information for shareholders and potential investors such as SEC filings, stock quotes, financials, and messages from the CEO. Investors have a highly motivating financial interest in the company, and come to the website to check up on its health. Human resources issues are increasingly recognized as central to the success of a company. The shareholders themselves may be prime candidates for new hires, and certainly can be an invaluable source of referrals. It is advantageous to show investors and potential investors that recruiting and retention is a major corporate focus, and provide the functionality on your website to leverage their desire for the company to prosper. Again, a prominent and attractive Careers section with features such as “Refer this job to a friend” can go a long way towards recruiting from and through this group. Knocking at the Door Regardless of the primary reason for their visit, your corporate website visitors are a ripe pool for you to recruit from. It is imperative that you understand the characteristics of your visitors, and provide an interface that invites each in as a candidate. To get the most out of this stream of potential candidates, your corporate website careers section should be designed to handle large volumes of traffic. Built-in functionality should facilitate capturing the largest candidate pool possible, in addition to the obvious “active” jobseekers. For example, competitors and customers–“passive” candidates–are rarely resume-ready, but can utilize a Resume Builder online or better yet, provide their skills-based profile through a specialized questionnaire. These website visitors are already “knocking on your door.” The Careers section of your corporate website should have the interface to open the door and welcome candidates drawn from ALL of your website visitors.