So far so good

Launching a recruitment website in August is eminently sensible – because (other than December) it’s the quietest time of the year in our industry.  Actually, it’s a misnomer to refer to Gratis as a recruitment business.  We’re in the business of managing jobs boards and we rely on the world of recruitment to advertise through us.

Sensible because the inevitable glitches that emerge post-launch can be dealt with before there is a queue at the door.

Not that there have been too many problems at all.  Far fewer than we were anticipating.  We’ll be changing some things in the coming weeks, adding some things in the coming weeks, and certainly extending our reach in the coming weeks.  Gratis is now an entity in and of itself.

Our social media jobs boards go from strength to strength and are an integral part of our future.  More than 50,000 people are now registered with us in Norfolk alone and visit our sites regularly looking for their next job.  Facebook has introduced a great new feature for Group Admins, enabling us to collate precise data on our Members.  We know where they live, how old they are, how often they browse the jobs we post.  It’s fascinating stuff, especially if you are a numbers geek like me.

Let me share a statistic with you – we posted a job advertisement for ALDI in Norwich recently.  Within two hours of the job being advertised, 12,700 Members of Norwich Job Vacancies had seen it.  Within three hours ALDI closed the vacancy down having been swamped with applications.

ALDI are a great employer – they pay well and they know how to recruit.  Not all of our clients are as successful and that is why we like to adopt a ‘bespoke’ approach when dealing with them.  “Always include an image with your advertisement” is probably the most common piece of advice – to attract the best applicants you have to get their attention first.  “Always indicate remuneration” probably second.  I understand why employers are sometimes reluctant to advertise wages/salary but it makes a huge difference to the number of applicants.  Occasionally our intervention has to go a little further – one client recently attempted to advertise a vacancy for a Commis Chef at £4.50 per hour.  National Minimum Wage?  Needless to say, we politely explained the law and adjusted their advertisement accordingly.

But the point is this – what kind of response would a company get by placing the value of human endeavour at £4.50 per hour?  To attract and retain the best staff one has to value them in the first place.

Back to Gratis Jobs and the main problem we have is that most clients are still filling in the old booking form.  Once upon a time, when I had a proper job, I attended a ‘Communication in Management’ course at which the main point was “Tell your audience what you are going to tell them; then tell your audience what it is you are telling them; and then tell your audience what you have told them”.  Apparently that works.  I suspect it will be some time before all of our 200+ clients come over to the new system.  In truth, as long as they are filling out some form with us then it’s not really a serious problem at all.

Suffolk Job Vacancies is thriving thanks to the talents of our man in the driving seat, Craig Jackson.  It’s certainly our fastest growing jobs board offering a great selection of job vacancies across the county.  Essex Job Vacancies is up and running as is Cambridge.

The Gratis Partnership Scheme will launch in September and we’re keen to talk to people interested in working with us.  We’ll be providing more information on that in the coming weeks.  If you are looking to build your own jobs board business then our model may be for you.

In the meantime, we’re planning a short break to Prague – all work and no play etc etc.

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