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Susanna Cesar Morton


Marketing Director

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Source Tracking


Where did you hear about us?
How did you find out about this job?
What prompted your application?

Probably most important after asking the candidate’s name, is asking the media source question.

Why? Well, without this you have no idea as to which advertising method worked or not. Given that the biggest spend in the recruitment process is either an advertising campaign, or recruitment agency fees – this is important to get right!

The ATS/RMS (or spreadsheet) you use should then be able to spit out any number of reports based around the answer to this question.

These are principles everyone reading this blog will understand.

So it should all be simple, shouldn’t it?

There are a number of pitfalls with capturing media source:

Problem 1: Ask the question at the right time.
If you undertake any kind of filtering/killer questions, you need to know the source at this point. If you ask killer questions and then ask the source question on the application form, you won’t have captured the media source of those candidates that were automatically rejected. This is important information.

Problem 2: How big is the list?
If this list has greater than 15 entries, then candidates will get bored and either choose the top entry or choose a random one. Not good.

Problem 3: You have your own web site listed.
Contentious one this. I disagree with adding the client’s website into the source list. The reports we see when clients do this are that 80%+ of applicants will choose this.

Problem 4: Don’t ask if you already know the answer.
If you advertise your job online, then at the point the candidate clicks ‘Apply Now’ or ‘More Details’ on the jobsite, he will be transferred to your careers site. An important snippet of information is available to the careers site, namely, the “Referer” (it’s actually spelled that way). This piece of information is a reference to the exit page from the referring site. So, chances are that, if you advertise online, you don’t even have to ask candidates the source question. We already know.

I’m amazed as to how many systems DO NOT do this.

I saw Dan’s painful demonstration of a bank’s online recruitment process at a networking event in January and key to this was the media source being obfuscated on the application form. This would totally mislead the recruiters as to which advertising source worked.

Problem 5: List isn’t up to date.
If you’ve just spent £10k with a new advertiser, you must add it to the source list entry. If you don’t, it won’t be in the list for candidates to choose.

The solutions

If you have a long list of advertisers, go down the “double drop-down” route. This should consist of two drop down lists – the first containing media types, the second containing the actual advertisers for that media type.
Only add media sources in which you actually advertised for that job. Can your ATS/RMS provider do this? It’s probably a feature they just need to enable for you.

Don’t put your website in the list. If you do advertise specific jobs on your website, then the ‘Referer’ that I mentioned earlier will capture this and pre-fill the media source answer.

Have your provider properly implement the referer capture method, so that the media source question isn’t even asked.
Keep the list up to date.

Test, test and test again. Don’t trust your providers to do this for you. Typically, there are a number of companies involved in providing a recruitment strategy – there are numerous elements of technology involved. Don’t trust – test.

Now you can rely on those media source reports!

from Recruitment 2.0 (
Susanna Cesar Morton

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Susanna Cesar Morton

Marketing Director

Read more from Susanna Cesar Morton

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