How Online Marketing Can Help Alberta Companies Recruit Smarter

The caption under a recent headline by Maclean’s magazine about the best-paying, most hire-happy industries in Canada reads: Why you should learn math and move to Alberta. Working and living in Alberta, we’re all well aware of the challenges Alberta’s companies in the oil and gas and construction industries face to meet demands. This is why I continue to be surprised by the slow adoption of online marketing channels by these industries to improve the effectiveness of their recruitment strategies. Most months I can drive down a major road in Edmonton or Calgary and see a number of billboards for recruitment and then turn on the radio and hear a few ads for companies hiring. That very same day, I can go to Google and search for the same types of jobs being advertised offline and not find those companies anywhere in the search results. To be clear, I’m not saying stop doing offline marketing, however, I am saying Alberta companies need to wake up to the reality that everyone is starting online for their job search.

Let Your Jobs Stand out from the Crowd!

The opportunity that exists for companies willing to advertise online is that their company brand and job postings will stand out in search engine results due to the fact that the vast majority of online recruitment is happening solely through job listings sites. Let’s go through an example for a common job search in the Alberta marketplace. If I go to Google and search “pipefitter jobs in alberta” I see the following in my search results. (Note: ~80%+ search results can change daily so this was Aug 15, 2014 from Sherwood Park, AB.) Pipefitter jobs in Alberta Google Search
What do you notice? That’s right, there is not one company website from the oil and gas sector showing in either the advertising space or the organic search results. The first one I found was ursflint.com in about thirteenth position. The search results are dominated by job board websites (indeed.com, eluta.ca, wowjobs.ca etc.), unions/associations (joinuacanada.ca, workunion.ca), and a couple governmental websites (alberta.ca). (I understand that it’s difficult for an individual company website to compete in the organic results against these mammoth job listing sites, however, the shocker to me is the absence of company ads in the advertising spaces. There are approximately 11 ad spots often available on the first page of Google! That means I can start a Google AdWords campaign tomorrow with the keyword phrase “pipefitter jobs in alberta” and my ad would likely be one of the only, if not the only, company websites found on Page 1. (Note: dvn.com showed an ad occasionally.) Potentially, if I did a quality ad, with a relevant landing page, and bid an appropriate amount (cost per click) then I could move into one of the coveted top three ad positions. So, if I’m WorleyParsons (who I just heard advertising on the radio this morning) buried in eighteenth position trying to fill some vacant pipefitter positions, it seems like a simple tactic to present my jobs on Page 1 of Google and stand out from the crowd.

One More Thing – Many Future Employees Are Not Local!

The other reason oil and construction companies need to be investing more effort into their online recruitment strategy is the fact that many of their potential hires are not necessarily local residents. For example, if I know that I need a pool of candidates beyond Alberta’s borders, what marketing channels are more cost effective than online advertising, social media, and SEO? Would you prefer to run a radio and billboard campaign in multiple cities across North America or run a highly targeted digital marketing campaign for the specific jobs available? For example, an online ad campaign can be ultra-targeted so that your ads are only triggered by specific user queries like “welding jobs in alberta” or by very small (or large) geographic locations and with real-time budget control. Once the ads have generated enough applicants, you can turn off the ads in seconds. As a result, it is very low risk to test recruitment campaigns targeted at any region, even overseas for extremely hard to fill positions. To top it all off, online campaigns are completely measurable since you have the ability to track everything from ad clicks, to website interaction, to completed applications and/or calls. You will know how much traction you’re getting from your efforts and can quickly dial up or dial down your campaign, so you’re only spending in the cities/regions that are getting results.

How Does Your Online Recruitment Measure Up?

Even if you’re a newbie to online marketing, you can employ a few simple strategies that will help you improve your online recruiting efforts. To start, let’s take a look at what you’re doing online to recruit people right now. Go through our quick checklist below and see how many online activities your company currently does.

Online Recruitment Checklist:

  • There is a career section on your website.
  • Each job posting has its own page under the careers section.
  • Each job posting page has been optimized for the job title/type/location.
  • There are clear calls to action to apply online (ex. coloured and visible button).
  • Jobs are posted on LinkedIn and associated with the company LinkedIn page.
  • Job postings are shared socially via LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.
  • Pay to promote social media job posts on Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Search advertising campaigns are created to promote available jobs (ex. Google AdWords).
  • Display advertising (banner ads) used to build awareness of a great workplace.
  • Job posting are submitted to online job boards (ex. Workopolis.com, Indeed.com, wowjobs.ca).
  • The job posting is submitted to industry-specific job boards.
  • Current employees and company partners are asked to share the job with their networks.

Although not an exhaustive list, if you checked off several of these items, you’re on the right track and now it’s time to just take your online recruitment efforts to the next level. If you weren’t able to check off as many items, don’t worry; we will be expanding upon online recruitment with tips and ideas over the next few blog posts as we delve into the SEO, online advertising and social media strategies you can employ to boost your recruitment results.

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