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Andrew Douglas

I'd agree in principle with what Russell has written. As a media owner there's a finite amount of resources to use and spend on development. We have invested around the idea of reaching the passive job seekers as well as utilising the areas outside of our recruitment platform. We now semantically match jobs with content (and have been doing for 2 years). You can find out more in this old press release - http://www.nature.com/naturejobs/promotion/wow/pr/new_naturejobs.doc
It's highly cost effective and and not intrusive for users as we didn't use banner advertising.
The science recruitment market certainly isn't Disney World but our users seem to like this ride!

John Whitehurst

Reaching the passive audience is always an interesting debate. There are a number of reasons why it does not happen but it is very effective when done correctly.

Firstly, people have got to get to grips with the right media – look at the following factors as a good guide.

Audience – Am I reaching the right people and is it cost effective?
Environment – Is the media one where a recruitment message will be seen and how will it be seen?
Context – What is the frame of mind of the user and how will they respond?

Secondly, there is always risk when planning a campaign – understand the risk and explain this and people will follow. I am not going to write about how you can do this as there are too many methodologies to discuss. I would say that you need to look at audience reached, estimated response, estimated hires and how this relates to the value of media purchased.

Finally, are people really ready for this as a concept? It is really quite difficult for people within the recruitment industry to move from reactive planning to understanding how to truly influence the candidates. It is not a bad idea but the worldview of people in the industry is not quite ready yet – this is a pity.

Reaching passive candidates is important to the future of this industry; people are not quite ready yet. So keep on sending out the proposals, work together to get people involved in the idea and you will see it happen.

Keep on pushing it; if we don’t other people will be happy to do it.


Nothing to disagree with on any of those points. Good post Russel.

Challenge is that clients will often look to us to suggest "blue sky” solutions. It's hard for a client to accept that sometimes you have to just try harder in the established routes to active seekers, or perhaps review your offer. If you're in a rubbish location or aren't offering competitive packages or are poorly perceived as an employer by the market then getting a message in front of someone looking for a good night out isn’t going to be the solution. You can lead a horse to water…

So doing the client’s bidding, and indeed often with the best of misguided intentions from the agency’s perspective, means media run around and find further reaching and sometimes innovative ways of stepping outside of the confines of the standard recruitment audience. But the subsequent risk evaluation, or most often the product advertising rates when held up against the far more modest classified rates that client budgets are used to considering, means such proposals go no further than just that.

But don’t stop thinking about reaching those candidates where you have the opportunity within your own sites. This is your differentiator against the pure play job boards. Use it to your advantage – leverage your USP (etc etc etc). Whatever ways you feel you can get to passive candidates then go prove the model yourself. Andrew seems to have the right idea – and then on the one hand you generate even more and better candidates for your existing clients (maintaining and growing accounts as well as attracting new ones), whilst on the other if you can prove, through clear tracking, the success of reaching into your wider readerbase then that’s a sellable product – and one with reduced less risk (important for what is often a risk averse client base – both agencies and HR).

There’s a lot of work a lot of us will do that will fall on deaf ears as well as proposals that will never see the light of day for a plethora of other reasons (some considered, some not so) – but that’s all part and parcel of this rollercoaster ride in a developing part of our industry in a developing medium. I’m coming to the conclusion that Digital Recruitment is a probably a great place to work for those with Bipolar Disorder.

Scream if you wanna go faster!


I think part of the battle is this attempt to see passive media as a direct response driver. It is often not going to be this way.

We should look to it as a longer term proposition - perhaps altering a particular audience's awareness of an employers' existence within their market space, or helping to raise the profile of a particular business.

Advertising outside of the recruitment environments has to often be considered and approached with a slightly different end result in mind - not simply the filling of seats. That is what our display buddies do, but as we all bang on about, they do appear to have the budget to afford this luxury.

It is only by having the ability to work with an organisation (or oganisations) whose vision and approach is much more strategic that we will be able to follow this path.

Unfortunately, as much as we want to push it, I guess we often come up against the same old argument - bums on seats vs market awareness. Often, market awareness is more of a luxury, and bums on seats are the simple requirement.

But I'm sure we'll continue to push the wider approach, and hopefully we'll see some changes in uptake on these proposals, but I suspect that won't be in the near future.

I've never been to Space Mountain though - but now you've said it's not all that, I don't feel so bad.

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