The New Year is not only a great time for resolutions, but also for recruiting!  After the dust settles and the workday returns to normal, you might be noticing that your team is a little pinched on time and resources.  You could reach out to a traditional recruiter, but that takes time and money.  Lucky for you, online recruiting for AEC firms has become much more prevalent. And the best part is that you don’t even have to leave your desk to find the perfect candidate!

“I’ve tried online recruiting before and always end up with junk,” you say?  Well, keep these four simple tips in mind the next time you’re looking to hire.

1.  Keywords Aren’t Just For Your Website

Say you’re an architecture firm.  It probably comes as no surprise that there are other architecture firms out there looking for the exact same type of candidate as you.  So how do you make your opportunity stand out above the rest?  One recommended approach is to think about specific keywords a candidate would be searching for online and using those keywords in your job titles. 

Even though most job boards will have different posting guidelines, they still follow similar logic to finding related job postings to a candidate’s search based on keyword relevancy.  And if you are an SEO believer, you may be tempted to keyword optimize your whole job posting.  No need to go overboard though.  Candidates will primarily be looking at job titles and the first couple sentences of the posting.  If they feel the posting relates to them and looks interesting, they will read more. 

So catch them in the beginning and don’t get too creative with your job titles!

2. Strong Brand, Strong Chance

Your brand works for you day and night to bring in qualified leads.  So why not use it for online recruiting to bring in qualified candidates as well.  More than likely, the first thing a candidate will look at when they find an attractive job posting is head to the firm’s website.  Once they get there, they’ll be looking to find out more information on your firm.

It’s important to clearly identify your firm’s positioning in the marketplace and specify what differentiates you from other AEC firms.  Your differentiators don’t have to all be externally focused either.  Think culture here. 

What do your employees say about your brand?  On the careers section of your site, include fun photos, unknown facts, or anything that will portray the image of your firm you would like to project.  Giving candidates a taste of what life would be like at your firm will help them make a better decision as to whether your firm is right for them.

If your brand is saying the right things about your firm, there’s a strong chance candidates will choose your firm over another.

3.  Social Support

The speed of social media is unbelievable, and AEC firms who are not using social media as a piece of their online recruiting strategy are missing out on thousands of potential candidates.  I’m not saying social media is the end all, be all to recruiting.  Actually David Henry, VP of Marketing for Monster UK & Ireland, sums it up pretty well in this quote:

“You can use social media to recruit however; if you use one medium in any recruiting strategy you limit the opportunity of success.  First you need to think – who am I looking for, where are they likely to be?  I would recommend that you use it to support and strengthen your overall recruitment strategy where relevant.”

One thing to keep in mind when posting opportunities on social channels, whether it be on LinkedIn or Twitter for example, is that it’s not just about getting the word out there and then being done with it.  Social savvy candidates will be looking to engage with your firm in conversation well before they even consider your firm as a place they would want to work.

4.  Cover the Basics

Candidates crave information.  They want to know what to expect if they were to accept a position at your firm.  Not only will a candidate be interested in finding out what the culture is like and if they would be a good fit, they will also be looking for the specifics of what your firm offers to their employees. 

The goal of your job posting is to have the candidate become excited about the position and the firm, keep reading, and ultimately reach out with interest.  So if you would like that candidate to stick around and consider your firm, it’s best to tell them the following information:

  • Salary – Providing a specific dollar range of what you are prepared to offer a candidate is mutually beneficial.  The candidate is able to determine whether that range falls into their expectations or not, and your firm is potentially spared the time of considering over- or unqualified candidates. 
  • Benefits – Health insurance, 401K, continuing career education, days off, flex-time, company outings, etc. are all key benefits you will want to communicate with your candidates right off the bat.  As priorities of the incoming workforce change, being able to demonstrate work-life balance and modern perks will entice candidates and make them consider your firm over another.
  • Location – The difference of 10 miles could determine how much longer or shorter a candidate’s commute would be.  The more specific you can be, the better.
  • Hours – Maybe your firm is a standard 9am-5pm with an hour lunch kind of place.  Perhaps you let employees arrive and leave at certain times to avoid rush hour.   Or maybe you work a 9 hour / 4 hour workweek, allowing employees to leave at noon on Friday’s.
  • Type of Position – Is the opportunity a contract, permanent, part-time, or full-time position?  Candidates want to know!

Just as every AEC firm is unique, so will be their approach to recruiting.  If you’ve been burned in the past with online recruiting, I challenge you to keep these four tips in mind and try again.  Push the envelope with HOW you are attracting candidates and you might just be surprised with your results.  Happy hunting!

For more on online recruiting for AEC firms, you can download a free copy of our AEC Firms: Online Marketing Study.

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