A map through the jungle: 5 topics that could dominate Online Talent Communication in 2015

What will we talk about when it comes to online talent communication next year? Below are my personal Top 5, judging from latest research trends, talks with employers and daily observations.

As usual, none of these are “must-haves”, but we also know: you won’t be able to reach the same amount and quality of applicants with the same methods over time. (You won’t reach as many people with newspaper job ads today as you did 20 years ago.) So even if you have absolutely no recruitment problem (lucky you), adjusting to new communication trends will challenge you just to stagnate in terms of recruiting.

1. Personalization

“One size fits all” is out! Today’s graduates expect to be matched with their best possible fit. Meaning, the career path that suits their education, personality, skills and interests and will make them happy.

Consequently, we see more and more employers that build different candidate pipelines with different EVP messages, career websites, social media groups and application processes for recruiting IT professionals than for their marketing internships than for their graduate programs than for truck drivers or retail vacancies.

What will personalization look like in 2015? It can mean any of the following things:

  • Career websites that adjust to the user’s preferences
  • Orientation and matching tools
  • Deeper insight into the functions and departments that a company offers
  • Apply via LinkedIn on your smartphone, for hard-to-fill positions
  • Guidance for finding jobs and positions abroad
  • Talent communities with high personal interaction
  • Cooperation between employers to reach each other’s talent pools

We could talk about each of these for hours, and I think we will, over the course of 2015.

2. Applying “marketing” to job ads

Need I say much? Career websites have become ten times more professionals in ten years. Job ads… not really. We are in 1995 when it comes to job ads.

Imagine you want to buy a Ferrari, and the Ferrari website just lists the technical specifications of each model. No pictures, no emotions, no videos, no personal configuration or dealer contact. Sounds weird? Look at todays’ job ads, and you have one of the key areas of improvement that I see for 2015. Because luckily, many employers have identified this as a major hole in their candidate journey, and they are working on job ads that are actually made for candidates, not recruiters. Big bam boom job ads, like a Ferrari test drive. I can see them coming!

3. “Glocal” career websites, job search and ATS

Skip if you are not operating or hiring across countries – but if you are, one question will reach you sooner or later: what does “international career” mean to you? Regular travel, being stationed in different countries, diverse teams, global projects? Or a monthly telco with HQ? And how do companies help candidates find their personal (think GenY) international career, or even just the right country for them to apply?

Today’s career websites approach this in different ways, but most of them don’t offer a particularly good guidance, beyond linking global and local sites. Flying is cheap, traveling is hip, and candidates are still thrilled by the idea of having Chicago, Hong Kong, Paris and Sydney on their CV. As we see global and local employer branding teams work more and more closely together, building more coherent sites, job search tools and application systems, this question will become more prominent.

4. Review sites like Glassdoor or kununu

Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? Or, who controls the employer brand? So far, we can’t confirm that job seekers check out employers on career review sites as thoroughly as they check out hotels on hotel review sites. Yet. Could change. One thing has definitely changed: there is more talk about it. Glassdoor is expanding, kununu has adopted a more aggressive sales strategy, and more competitors are arriving. Is this a storm in a teacup or will it change the employer branding game? Is the topic hyped by providers or will job seekers really rely on peer reviews for their career decisions?

Among all the speculation out there, one voice is normally not very well represented: the candidate’s. There is need for more answers to this, and we will see more research in 2015, asking the candidates about their experience with review sites, and what value they see really in them. This could be important for companies to be able to make independent decisions about whether to invest into these platforms, and if yes, how much and with what (realistic) expectations.

5. How “mobile” should applying be?

When you fish, do you taste the worm before you put it on the hook? Why are you making a face? Isn’t that exactly what happens when people get together at conferences to talk about mobile recruitment? The most common statement I have heard is: “I would never do something as important as applying for my next career step on something as small as a smartphone screen”. That’s pretty much the same as saying, “I only fish with worms that I have tasted myself”.

Very much the way saying “people don’t have their CVs on their smartphones anyway” is like saying “applying online will never happen because a printed CV just feels better in your hands, and nothing is as professional as a hand-written cover letter”.

Seriously, applying via mobile is a complex issue, and there is need for more differentiating answers than “yes or no”. Asked if applying via mobile is hot or not, I’m going for a clear and straight “depends”. On what – I think this will be, without surprise, one of the most discussed topics of 2015. New solutions are arriving, and we should test them.

It won’t be boring!

That’s it? No, there’s more. We could mention videos, more videos, many more videos and video matching. Or we could add LinkedIn groups, talent communities or channel-specific content generation to the list. That’s what makes online talent communication so great: it’s a wide field, with endless room for creativity, pioneers, making mistakes, getting better, and a competition of ideas and approaches. I’m super curious what 2015 will bring, and I’m sure it won’t be boring!


Julian Ziesing, Berlin

Julian Ziesing, Berlin


Julian Ziesing ist verantwortlich für die Studien-Entwicklung beim internationalen Marktforschungs-Institut Potentialpark und bloggt hier seine Meinung und Erfahrungen zur Candidate Experience.

Connect with me on Xing and LinkedIn

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