Clients, Candidates, and Communication | Recruiting News

This week, we examine recruitment communication.
How can recruiters advertise more effectively? How can they ensure their candidates always get a foot in the door?

What industry jargon are we all over-using?
This week’s recruitment news finds out.

Are you #hashtag literate?
One consultant says social media tags are vital to hiring – and agency branding. Do you agree?

Do Americanizations make you angry?
Or could you care less? Either way, a poorly-placed ‘Z’ may cost you a placement, according to new research.

Official recruitment data for the final quarter of 2018 is published.
What does it tell us about the current jobs market?

• What’s in a word? Language and presentation in the Recruitment Space

New studies shine a light on the significance of the language choices we use to communicate. How can recruiters – and candidates – get ahead in a world awash with communications platforms and channels?

The importance of presentation is well known by recruiters. We are keenly aware – perhaps more than any other sector – of the value of good first impressions. But we also know that fashions constantly change. And this change is altering the recruitment and candidate experience of today’s jobs market. But how?

A set of new studies shines a light on the shifting trends of communication and presentation that may provide a competitive edge – whether you are recruiter, employer, or applicant.

Skill Communication: what employers want in a candidate

It is perhaps the best single-word characterisation of the jobs market in 2019. The most sought-after trait on candidates’ CVs is – according to new research – “adaptability”.

The claim is the work of work by recruiters Michael Page, who have surveyed thousands of employers over several years.

The claim, part of the Michael Page 100 In-Demand Skills report saw adaptability taking the top spot in organisations’ shopping list of skills. The discovery further illustrates the evolving nature of the modern workplace. As we have seen in recent weeks, sought-after skills are increasingly found through upskilling, and re-training existing staff. The abilki8ty to process new information and collect new talents over time is, therefore, becoming increasingly vital to the operations and planning of virtually every business. More specifically, the research found that 96 per cent of respondents believe that companies require a larger number and broader range of talents in their staff than ever before.

Adaptable Applicants? Make them advertise it

Despite this, us Brits remain a modest bunch when it comes to advertising their ability to learn. Even though almost half of polled employees did see their skill set as evolving over the years, very few see themselves as adaptable workers. In fact, just 15 per cent of CVs advertise a candidate’s talents for adapting to new challenges.

Nick Kirk, MD at Michael Page, warned against misplaced modesty; saying that adaptability can be hard to spot in candidates.

“Adaptability is often a hidden skill. Candidates should leave their comfort zones and try new things; showcase the skill that will help them get ahead in their search for a new job.”

“Job seekers would certainly benefit from communicating how adaptable they are during the application process, to promote the qualities that employers value most and better align with their needs.”

It is sensible advice for recruiters to take onboard. Encourage your applicants to foreground their versatile nature and capacity to learn in their CVs. It could be the key to a positive outcome for everyone.

• Hire standards: the most common jobs jargon

Adview has compiled a list of the (English-speaking) world’s top jargon from jobs listing. The results are a rather predictable set of common buzzwords that we have all seen far too many times. But – be brutally honest now – how many of these have you secretly using in one of your own job adverts?

The most commonly repeated phrases in your job adverts are:

  1. 1) ‘Fast-paced’
  2. 2) ‘Dynamic’
  3. 3) ‘Team player’
  4. 4) ‘Proactive’
  5. 5) ‘Can-do attitude’
  6. 6) ‘Proven track record’
  7. 7) ‘Go the extra mile’
  8. 8) ‘Self-starter’
  9. 9) ‘Maximising’
  10. 10) ‘Deliverables’

Of course, the first rule of marketing for any kind of product or service is to stand out from the crowd. So perhaps a predilection to use cut-and-paste templates in our jobs listings could be counting against us.

Adview CEO Alex Paterson has his own warning about the use of advertising cliches. He suggests that jargon is used in the place of actual job specifics. It seems that many recruiters still want to play the high-volume numbers game – and don’t want to put off potential candidates with precise details.

But, for Mr Paterson, this is missing the core responsibility of recruiting: “Clarity at this stage particularly helps [those] who are less familiar with industry terms than more experienced candidates.”

“Consequently, by cutting through jargon at the beginning of the hiring process, employers have a much better chance of attracting applicants who best fit both their company’s requirements and ethos.”

Elsewhere, Nick Kirk, the Managing Director of Michael Page UK, said: “January is one of the most competitive times for both clients and candidates. It becomes even more vital to stand out during this busy period.”

The irony is that the top ten is stuffed with “filler” words – exactly the type of padding that recruiters are always telling their candidates to strip from their CV’s. So why are we guilty of the same linguistic crimes?

• Why making a hash of your job listing could be the key to success

Is the hashtag the secret to effective hiring? Recruitment Grapevine certainly thinks so.

The UK recruitment news website cites a recent LinkedIn post by consulting expert and founder J.T. O’Donnell.

In her post, Ms O’Donnell suggests that hashtagging jobs posts is as effective a branding strategy as a marketing one. By demonstrating your awareness of the interconnectivity of networks, O’Donnell reasons that your prestige as a recruiter grows. And she offers a handy cheatsheet for recruiters who are stuck at the early stages.

It makes sense. For a new generation of young professionals, cross-platform connections are a natural way to meet new people. We have called them the Netflix Generation in the past, but young adults today are social media natives. Life without virtual networks is a thing from history.

Lessons in branding

So could hashtagging your top jobs really be the secret to recruitment wins in the future? Perhaps. But, if riding a hot topic or current trend is going to pay off, you have to make sure you are doing it right. Here are the top hashtag tips from Glassdoor:

  1. • Research your hashtags – make sure that they are well-known words. Make sure they have not already compromised or hijacked by other people’s inappropriate postings!
  2. • Use both brand-related and career-related hashtags within your posts.
  3. • Don’t try to trick your audience by using top trending hashtags that are irrelevant to your listing. In branding terms, this is a big fail and will damage your authority and trustworthiness.
  4. • Create you own terms and form acronyms instead of long-tail tags.
  5. • Don’t become a hash addict – use them sparingly.
  6. • Always proofread your posts.

Despite the words of wisdom, there is no shortcut to success. A successful hashtag campaign can get eyes on your post or product. But it is too passive to truly compete with active recruiting strategies.

• Language Localization is important for Brits

Did you spot it?

If you noticed the spelling of the word “localization” in this article’s heading, then this is the story for you.

Because it seems that the misuse of the “z” (pronounced ‘zed’, naturally) is enough to infuriate many British recruiters. In fact, more than two thirds of employers want to take a stand against Americanisations creeping into their application forms.

Apparently more than half (54 per cent) of Brits do not like seeing Americanisms in written text. Almost the same number (51 per cent) believe that the use of American spellings and phrases is actively harmful to the English language.

That might be slightly overstating the significance, perhaps. But the impact that a misplaced Americanism might have on your recruiting prospects should not be overlooked. In fact, when it comes to applying for a new job, recruiters and employers are perhaps the toughest of the lot. A staggering 71 per cent of respondents said that American spellings on a CV would count against the applicant.

The study found that new, globalised multimedia is the main culprit. A third of Brits find film, TV, and social media “too Americanised”.

But there are technological traps, too. Most of us rely on auto-correct and spell checkers over dictionaries these days. Yet software spellcheckers frequently pass Americanisations – even when set to British English. And phone autocorrect tends to favour transatlantic alternatives by default.

Although we would not advise anybody to apply for a new job by typing their resume into their mobile handset. If it’s recruitment on the go that you’re after, we have recruiting software for that.

How does this help?

So, what did we learn from this journey through effective communication strategies?

We found that the rules – like languages themselves – are constantly changing over time, and are open to interpretation. That playing it safe can mean you risk being lost in a crowd. That you should be conscious to the expectations of your audience. And that sometimes it is vital to communicate your successes – even when that is wildly at odds with your ingrained national sensibilities!

• ONS Jobs data: Q4 2018

The UK employment rate is the highest in history, official data estimates.

2018 ended with a continuation of the year’s overarching jobs market trends. That is the finding of the Office For National Statistics (ONS)’s final quarterly report of the year.

Among the main points of discussion, was the discovery that current employment levels are now the highest in history. The employment rate among 16 to 64 year olds was put at 75.8 per cent. This is a half a percent jump on the fourth quarter of 2017 (75.3 per cent), and higher than any time since 1971.

Meanwhile, total unemployment was estimated at just 4.0 per cent. This is the lowest level since the first quarter of 1975.

Unsurprisingly, the figures have had a knock-on effect for wages. Average weekly earning roses 3.3 per cent in nominal terms in the twelve months to November 2018. Adjusted for inflation, the wage increase over the same period also rose – by 1.1 per cent.

It means that the average Brit now takes home £494 per week – up £16 in a year.

At the same time, average hours worked fell by 0.2 on the previous quarter: down to 32.0 hours per week. The decline perhaps suggests a slight increase in dependence on part-time workers over full time employees during the period.

You can Download a pdf of the report here.

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