If you’re having trouble attracting quality job applicants, it might be time to step back and rethink your advertising campaign. To attract quality applications you need to promote the job opportunity where your target audience hangs out. After all they can’t apply if they don’t know about your job.

The first step is to define your target audience.

3 Common Groups

In recruitment we already know some of the common groups candidates fall into.

1. Generation

  • Gen Z (*mid 2000s to present day)
  • Gen Y (*early 1980s to early 2000s)
  • Gen X  (*early 1960s to 1980s)
  • Baby Boomer (*early 1940s to early 1960s)
  • Silent Generation (*1925 to 1942)

(*birth date range).  Learn more about generation types here > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation



2. Type

These include: Career professionals, Returning to the workforce, Semi-retired, Student, School leaver, Graduate, Immigrants, Travelers, etc.



3. Job Seeker

  • Active (actively looking for jobs, serial applicants)
  • Semi Active (keeping an eye out, ready to move for the right job)
  • Semi Passive (not looking but open to hear about jobs)
  • Passive (less likely to want to hear about jobs)

(Ref: Lou Adler – Hiring with your head.)

Running through these common groups will help you think about suitable sourcing channels.


Where would you post a job if you are looking for an active job seeker? (Someone who can start immediately or ready to change jobs.) Job Boards are still a channel that can be effective, however some job boards are more suited to certain job types and industries.


Sometimes the ideal candidate is someone who is currently successfully performing in a similar job and not actively looking for a job.  They’re busy doing their job. You may already know the talent in your market and who you want to shoulder tap. But what if you don’t? How do you know where to reach them?


This is why you need to go a step further and drill down into demographics and psychographics.


The physical characteristics of a population such as age, gender, marital status, family size, education, geographic location, religion, income level, and occupation.



When you complete a job brief with the Hiring Manager, find out what they’re open to.  Identify the level of experience required, education and occupation background required, where the job is located and the income range. Some of the demographic details will be revealed through questions about team and culture fit, flexibility and training opportunities.


For example, is the Hiring Manager open to flexible or part time hours? If so, could this role be suited to someone:  a) returning to the workforce (perhaps a Mother looking to work 9am – 3pm), b) semi-retired (looking to work 3 days a week) or c) mature student looking to balance study and work hours.


Where might a mother hang out offline or online? What might their interests be? Compared to semi retired or mature student? This is where defining the ‘psychographics’ comes in to play.


The study of personality, values, attitudes, interests and lifestyles.



You can remove some of the guess work by facilitating an ‘Employee Values & Interest Survey’ with performing employees who are in the same or similar role you’re recruiting for.

Some survey questions you could include:

  • Cast your mind back to when you started in this role at our company. What was it about the job that appealed to you?
  • What do you like most about your role?
  • What are the top 5 things you value about working for our company?
  • What hobbies & activities do you like to do most outside of work?
  • Where have you previously searched for jobs?
  • What area do you live in?
  • How do you travel to work?
  • What social media networks do you frequently visit?

Another tactic, especially if you recruit a particular job frequently, is to include value and interest questions in your phone screen and interview questionnaires. Glean some information from your shortlisted candidates to help you with future campaigns.


Over time responses to these surveys and questionnaires will provide you with key insights into what’s important to the talent you really want to attract.

Where do they hang out?

Next it’s time to start selecting your sourcing channels. Where does your target audience hang out? Who do they hang out with?


1. Where might they hangout offline?


From your survey and phone screens, you’ll have some ideas. Such as:  Local cafes, churches, clubs, community centres, events, expos, library, sports clubs, supermarkets, university, backpackers, and schools etc. They might be reading a range of publications such as newspapers (local, national, community), magazines (industry, interest) and listening on the drive to and from work various radio stations, podcasts, spotify and more.


2. Where might they hangout online?


Once you know some of their interests, it’s a matter of doing some online research looking for online interest websites/communities/forums/networks/groups to see readership/reach, and how to put opportunity in front of the audience.

Wrapping Up

As you work through the above questions, you’ll start to build a Target Audience Profile. You may have a few per job type. This is why it’s important to consider mixed sourcing campaigns. Keep adding to each profile as you gather more insights.  Make sure you test, track and measure which sourcing channel generates the best quality response by job types. Different channels will work better for different jobs. Knowing what ones work will save you time and money down the track.


Mixed Sourcing Channels Recruitment



Note: The advertising content is equally important to engage the right talent to apply. We talk about this in Creating Compelling Job Adverts, and Selling the Job Opportunity. However, the first step in writing a good job advert is knowing what’s important to your target audience. It all dovetails.

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