“It’s still too hard to find a job and it’s still too hard to hire” says the vice president of marketing of the world’s largest online employment platform, Indeed.com.
The job search market has heavily intensified in recent years. Not only are traditional online recruitment platforms competing with each other, they now also have the social media monsters such as Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter now chasing on their heels.
But that doesn’t diminish the role of Indeed.com, which currently serves 250 million people across 60 countries each month, outlines its chief marketing officer Paul D’Arcy who is charged with ensuring the continued competitivity of the platform in the face of growing competition.
“The number one thing we're doing is making sure that that product is everywhere and a click away when people are looking for a job or looking to hire,” he explains, citing the ease of discovery through digital investments internationally as a key factor in retaining its position.
According to online analytics platform SimilarWeb, at the time of writing, Indeed.com was the 45th largest website in the world with 406.45m visits in September alone, with over half coming from the United States, followed by Canada (9.3%) and then Germany (3.1%), Japan (3.24%) and Australia (2.89%). 46% of its traffic comes to Indeed.com direct while search drive 42% of visits, emails drives 6.7% and social media just under 2% of visitors.
D’Arcy, who is visiting the UK on his travels around Europe, in an exclusive interview with The Drum talks about his core focus centering around 10-15 countries for marketing activations, with traditional methods proving most effective when it comes to recall.
The traditional marketing mix
“We believe that for us to fulfill our mission of helping people get jobs, they need to think of us when they're looking for a job and that they need to think of us when they're looking to hire. And so that requires a more traditional mix of marketing including advertising.
"We do a lot of advertising that's aimed at driving long-term memory and how people think of Indeed when they think of jobs knowing that if they think of us at that moment that they're much more likely to use us. And that building, that brand awareness and consideration is one of the most important things we do on the marketing side. And then we pair that with a lot of action-oriented marketing to help people take the next step to look for a job or to take that next step to hire on indeed.”
Alongside TV to drive performance, advertising activity also includes radio across its top markets as well as digital investment too, especially search, although in recent times the company hasn’t been at its highest level of spend in that segment he reveals, with direct user numbers continuing to grow on the platform.
“Our goal is to spend less on that [search] because it's a one-time activation that doesn't necessarily pay off. We're gaining a lot of brand strength around the world and so that's probably the most helpful thing driving that.”
Recently, the importance of newsletters and email has grown, offering job alerts in order to attract attention of potential candidates, reaching between 25% - 40% of the population within some countries, he claims, explaining that when relevant jobs are posted on other sites, including Indeed, they are notified to allow them to apply immediately.
“We do very little email beyond job alerts but we try to really make our email be part of the product experience… a lot of what we do is to have marketing be an extension of the experience as opposed to an intrusion and so most of our email strategy is around value added job alerts and things like that.”
And with the increased competition coming from Linkedin and Facebook, not to mention Google’s new foray earlier this year, Indeed must innovate to offer the best experience in order to stay ahead of the game. He expects the competition to grow further too.
“Hiring is important and it's one of the biggest industries in the world and so our expectation is that we're going to have to compete against every major platform company in the world. And that seems to be true… the way we do that is, is first of all through focus, all we do is help people get jobs.”
'Fightback' strategy against Linkedin and Facebook
D’Arcy denies interest in getting into content creation in order to fight back. “The space is enormous and there's a lot of opportunity; the size of the offline space remains bigger than the online space. A lot more people get hired through agency intermediaries and others, or a lot more revenue is in that space than there is in digital advertising for jobs and online job placement. And so we've got a lot of room for growth in those areas - we're pretty focused on the job space.”
The company has introduced a number of features to supplement its experience for clients including reviews and salaries and offers a full-service hiring business now as well. It has also recently launched globally a feature called Assessments. “Being able to match a CV and a job description is a really imperfect way to connect a person to a job and what we find from job seekers is that they want the opportunity to be seen for their skills. And what employers want is the opportunity to shine the spotlight on the candidates that are the best fit for the roles.”
Assessments was launched free-of-charge for job seekers and employers earlier this year through an acquisition – with 60 million having been completed as a result.
Another recent acquisition was Scottish company ClickIQ which he predicts will help create a platform that will allow employers to manage large numbers of jobs in an automated manner. Other investments and acquisitions are planned also in order to problem solve the employment sector conundrums further.
“There's really two problems that we're focused on right now. One is what we called ‘The Black Hole’ problem, which is still that when job seekers apply to a job, they don't always hear back from employers. And so, we're working hard to give job seekers more status updates on where they're applying, because so much hiring happens entirely on Indeed.”
The feature will allow appliers to view whether their application had been viewed and whether or not another candidate has been selected for example.
“We're sharing more information and making more connections to help job seekers better manage their job search and have more visibility to what's happening behind that.”
The second issue he highlights is around supplying the correct candidates for potential employers and offering short lists of people with the correct skills.
On becoming the 'post-agency' for businesses
While the business works externally with MediaCom but it doesn’t have an agency of record, instead choosing to employ inhouse a team, or as D’Arcy describes it as being ‘post-agency’, of around 400 advertising professionals around the world,
“We just want really great creative around the world and we're agnostic around where that comes from. We'll create concepts on our own. We all hire freelancers who have the right expertise and the right background for what we're doing or we'll work with.”
However, the business does outsource to smaller agencies around the world in order to source ideas, including on global campaigns.
“The traditional agency of record relationship was one where it was never structured right [for Indeed], financially it wasn't good for either side.”
He admits that most of the team was employed through the platform itself but that at times, specialized help is even needed by the world’s biggest job website.
“We source people of all levels from entry level to our first chief economist were all hired through Indeed.”
Finally, asked about his view on what the role of the marketer of the future will entail, he feels that the term ‘marketing’ is now ‘vague’ and means different things to every organization.
“There's actually a lot of different types of marketers and a lot of nuances but I do think that marketers are stewards of a few things… they're the ones who are tasked with communicating the idea of the company to all of the stake holders and making that idea as press been contained as possible.
“And then, using all of the channels of getting that idea out into the world and so that it really connects with people in a human way, so that you can build that love in the world in a way that's driving growth for our business. That's the heart of it.
"There's a lot of messiness of technology and data and the past to getting your creative work made and how you work with other functions across the organization. And for global organizations around the world, it takes different approaches to different markets that don't fit into any one view of the world. The marketer of the future is the one who can bring all of those things together in a way that really unites a company internally and externally and makes them the best version of themselves.”