Online recruitment needs a standard definition of applications _2

Every recruiter knows the real success of recruitment advertising is determined by whether or not it results in a placement. In an ideal online world, recruiters would be able to assess the merits of job boards by looking at independently audited placement figures. But, in the short term at least, this seems unlikely as many advertisers don't keep accurate records and those that do are not motivated to work with media owners to make this information available.

If we can't measure the placements made by advertisers, then we have to wind back through the process to the next most useful metric - the number of responses generated by recruitment advertisements. Unlike print media, with online we can easily calculate the number of people that view and apply for jobs online. Surely it would be useful for recruiters when assessing job boards if, in addition to the number of unique users and page views, they could also see the number of applications generated?The leading provider of audited internet traffic metrics in the UK is ABC ELECTRONIC, an industry-owned organisation that audits a range of metrics according to definitions agreed by the Joint Industry Committee of Web Standards (JICWEBS). But ABC ELECTRONIC is not yet able to audit applications because JICWEBS has yet to agree a standard measure.

Despite this, there is rising interest in the metric and two job boards have already audited what they claim to be applications. But they define applications differently and the figures can't be compared in a meaningful way. What the industry needs is a single definition of applications that can be agreed by JICWEBS and audited by ABC ELECTRONIC. Media owners could audit applications to the same standards and recruiters could compare like-for-like. The best way to gain agreement would be to present JICWEBS with a proposed definition of applications that has wide buy-in from the recruitment industry. We are currently consulting with ABC ELECTRONIC and interested parties to move this forward.

Applications aren't placements, but they are the next best thing that we can measure. If we can agree a standard definition we will: add to the current suite of metrics available; provide recruiters with data to aid their choice of online media; and ultimately help recruitment advertisers get a better return against budgets invested in online advertising.

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