If you’re connected to recruiters on LinkedIn, you’ve seen the Bullhorn Reach logo in your news feed. My attention was grabbed when I saw top recruiters from Deloitte, Dow Jones, and Twitter marketing the product. Scroll down the news feed a bit further, and an ace recruiter from Lookout was marketing Bullhorn Reach as well.

Now I hear what you’re saying, “they’re not literally marketing Bullhorn Reach, they’re trying to market their jobs”. This is true, and I totally agree. The point is that recruiters from top companies are advertising the Bullhorn Reach logo with consistency in the LinkedIn news feed.

The marketing by Bullhorn Reach struck me as provocative, so I decided to dig deeper. I wanted to look at the product, and figure out exactly why a top recruiter would use it. I also wanted to know if they are aware of how much they are helping market the Bullhorn Reach product.

Of particular interest is that most of the recruiters I see using Bullhorn Reach do not use Bullhorn’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS). The Bullhorn ATS is a database widely used in the staffing industry, with minimal usage by in-house recruiters.

It’s easy to see the rise of in-house recruiters using Bullhorn Reach in my news feed. That’s most interesting because the same folks use separate ATS systems like Jobvite and Taleo on the back-end.

As I dug in, I found a lot of meat on the bone with Bullhorn Reach. While there are definitely useful features in the product, I’m afraid not all of the news is good for recruiters using the platform.

Eating the dog food

Before rushing to judgment, I decided to give it a spin for myself. We recently wrote an article detailing how we used Ongig while searching for a UX Designer to join our company. It’s only fair that I take a closer look at Bullhorn Reach as well.

Since we’re hiring for a Full-Stack Engineer as well, I decided to place that job ad on Bullhorn Reach. The platform invited me in with an offer to post 2 jobs for free. I decided to start with one and see what happens.

First impressions seemed pretty good from a UI perspective, but connecting my social accounts always makes me nervous. That said, I do like that you can connect the pages you manage on Facebook. While I am nervous about doing it, it can be more effective and save me time.

As I worked through the system, I found navigation to be dead simple. That’s a good thing to me. There are 5 main calls-to-action on the top of the page for using the product to recruit.

The challenge is that there are a litany of prompts once you get into the system. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t need a system constantly telling me what to do. Think about some of the best products you’ve ever used. For instance, can you recall using an Apple product that continuously prompts you on the next action? No, because the product is super intuitive.

Another prevailing theme is the push for upgrading to the paid product. While this is understandable because they are running a business, it can also feel a bit much. On multiple pages there are 2 “upgrade” prompts within a few inches of each other on the page. I know you need to monetize, but how about just building a product I can’t live without first?

All in all, there were no complete deal breakers to this point. Thus, I decided to email a few friends who have used the product. I’d also move forward with posting my own job.

Ask a friend

I wanted to ask a few of my trusted advisors what they thought. These are recruiting pros that I know and trust. They’re also folks who have had experience using Bullhorn Reach. Their opinion matters to me, and here’s what they had to say:

Recruiter #1:

“Bullhorn Reach I have used for a while. Honestly, I like ReqCloud a lot better. However, it took me a while to get the licenses approved and now they are finally getting them so I had to use Bullhorn for a bit in the interim. I like Bullhorn because it is free, but I don’t really get many responses from it. It is more to get the branding out there and make the connections.”

Recruiter #2:

“I’ve used Bullhorn Reach because they say they post your jobs on other sites too. However, I don’t think I’ve gotten a lot of responses from my ad there. I also don’t think there’s an easy way for applicants to apply to the job and for me to receive their applications. I find myself having to post the Jobvite link on each of my job descriptions. I like that it has the social feature to it and that it posts to other sites (or so they say). Just needs some polishing I guess. I thought Bullhorn Reach would be able to do better, but it hasn’t been that great for me.”

I put a lot of stock into the word on the street, and these reviews weren’t exactly glowing. Alas, it was time to try posting a job for myself.

The Good

Not all is bad with Bullhorn Reach. In fact, there are a few features in the product that I really like.

1) Let’s start with the “Radar” feature. As recruiter #1 states above, you can “make the connections”. When people think of business connections online today, they primarily think of LinkedIn. Bullhorn Reach takes it to the next level. They do so by showing you which of your LinkedIn connections have been updating their profile recently.

Ask any good recruiter and they’ll tell you that frequent updating of one’s profile is an indicator that they are looking for a job. The “Radar” feature automates this by showing you which of your LinkedIn contacts have received the most recommendations and made the most updates to their profile in the last 30 days. That’s a nice feature for a free product, and could be quite useful.

2) Second, I see value in the “Promote” feature. As we’ve learned, in-house recruiters are tasked with hiring for dozens of positions at any given time. The “Promote” feature can automate the sharing of your jobs across Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

You can also customize a message, and include hashtags. You have the ability to edit the frequency of the sharing as well. The downside is that only two jobs can be posted for free. Thus, a busy recruiter may need the unlimited version of Bullhorn Reach. The catch is that it costs $59/month.

3) The third feature I view as beneficial is the analytics reporting. Even in the free product, Bullhorn Reach does a nice job of supplying analytics that are simple and easy to understand. For example, I receive an email update once per week that tells me how many jobs I have posted, how many views the posting has had, and how many inquiries I have received.

While these areas are basic, it’s surprising how many online recruiting systems do not give you this basic information. This is a good start in showing you the value of the platform as one of your recruiting tools.

The Bad

While there are some useful features to Bullhorn Reach. There is a trend of features that are big negatives for a recruiter trying to engage candidates. Here’s the most notable.

1) Candidates coming to your job page are given options to “Find Jobs”, “Find Recruiters”, or “Search” the site on the header of the page. This was on the free product.

I’d want this removed for sure if I was paying to use Bullhorn Reach. I would not want to send my network a job page that provides easy access to other job opportunities or recruiters.

2) The job page itself has a decent presentation. But there is a serious redundancy with the photos. In particular, I do not want my profile picture on the page 3 times. And it also says “False” next to one of the pictures. Call me picky, but that’s something else I’d need to clean up for moving to the paid version.

The lack of attention to detail is concerning. It seems that there is more time and effort spent on the virality of Bullhorn Reach itself, and not the quality and presentation of my own job page.

3) Bullhorn Reach made it clear and easy as to how I should be marketing the job page on Facebook, LinkedIn, Simply Hired, and Twitter. What I could not easily figure out is how to market the page on other sites.

For instance, my job page was down to page 6 of the search results within just a few days on Simply Hired. Engineers are in high demand in San Francisco, so I was not totally shocked by this. But because of this, I would likely want to promote this job page in other places. It’s just not intuitive as to where I should be doing this. While you can get creative in placing the job page, most recruiters don’t have the time. As we’ve learned, recruiters are a busy bunch used to posting jobs and having the job board drive the traffic. This will limit the effectiveness of Bullhorn Reach as a solution recruiters can rely on.

The Showstopper

I’m sorry, but I just can’t get by the biggest showstopper to the whole Bullhorn Reach system. I hate the fact you can’t choose your own image to be featured.

The fact you are forced to share the Bullhorn Reach logo is horrible. It does not attract candidates, and that’s the main reason you would put a job in your news feed to start with. Instead, you’re saying “hey friends, check out Bullhorn Reach…and by the way, I’m hiring”.

Nothing else matters after this point. You ask me to connect my accounts, prompt me to share repeatedly, then don’t allow me to edit the featured image?

I can see trying it out for the two free jobs to see what happens, but I’m only going to share them on each social network 1 time. And if I don’t see results I won’t come back.

Forcing people to share someone else’s logo is self-serving for Bullhorn Reach. I understand that the marketing effort brings people into their platform. It’s attracted my attention many times. However, I’m not going to stick around and use a platform that drives someone else’s brand. That’s an absurd expectation by Bullhorn Reach, and not one that will encourage repeat business.

That’s a showstopper for me.

A better way

Yep. I’m going there. If you want a free product that’s going to serve you well, use Ongig. I’m completely biased as I’m a Co-Founder of the company, but driving your brand is central to our recruiting philosophy.

Come to Ongig and upload your logo, photos, and videos. You can then place it as the featured image in any social news feed you desire. You’ll get to measure the effectiveness with our analytics reporting too.

Ongig is not the only option though. As one of my recruiting friends mentioned, ReqCloud is an emerging option that can be effective. They’ve got a nice looking home page, and perhaps they’ll be one I can try out next.

Don’t forget about Jobvite Refer either. Jobvite Refer is a paid solution, but is a strong player in the social recruiting space. While Jobvite also has an ATS, you don’t need to use it to use Jobvite Refer.

My money is on Ongig, albeit literally. It’s free, and you’re welcome to use it as much as you want. Try it out, and ping me with any questions or feedback. We’re new, so the feedback is welcomed.

by in Social Recruiting