Monday 7 March 2011

QR Codes In the Recruitment Industry

A little bit of background before i get into ideas on how to use these efficiently. QR codes are two-dimensional bar codes and i have just found out via Wikipedia they were invented way back in 1994 in Japan by a Toyota subsidiary as "quick response codes".  QR codes hold data (it can hold over 7,000 numeric characters) this can be anything from a vCard, text or URL and the best bit is they can be read by mobile phone!

So for those that have not seen one below is an example:

QR code

If you have a mobile phone such as an Android or Iphone you should be able to point the phones camera at it and be taken to the homepage of this blog! Neat. As an aside on my Iphone 3G i  had to install an app to make it work (recommendation is mobiletag). 

I first became aware of QR codes back when i had my N95 so at least 2yrs ago and remember pointing my camera at the back of Pepsi can while sat in a cafe one lunch time with my girl friend asking what on earth I was up to. So began the explanation that I was trying to enter a competition, via this weird image on the side of the can which should take me to a web page that i can fill out  a form and win! This did not happen as my phone did not have the right software but i thought it was great advertising as the can was just going to be recycled once i finished so Pepsi had a very small window of opportunity get me to enter and the QR code made it simple and fun to do. 

Since then I have seen QR codes used in many different ways for marketing products and services run and even on TV for Waitrose:

Since i initially became aware of QR codes i have slowly seen more and more information about them and obviously from the couple of examples above mainstream companies are already utilising them in may different ways.

So why do i think the recruitment industry should take note and possibly use them in certain instances? QR codes provide a way to bridge the gap between off-line and on-line campaigns. As the ad run by Waitrose and Pepsi both demonstrate when working with mediums that are difficult to engage someone in a short period of time or encourage them to make split decision a QR code is a simple and easy solution to implement.

Possible recruitment uses are in my opinion focused around off-line. Newspapers or Magazines both are used to display job adverts, but what if you also posted QR codes back to your website? Now that potential candidate on a train or in waiting room that picked a random paper / magazine can quickly be viewing the live vacancy and possibly even apply with a suitably enabled mobile website. Best of all you now have their attention so you could convert them to Jobs by email, provide further details on other similar vacancies or call them back?

Advertise jobs on TV? add a QR code into your advert and all those people sat a home with their mobiles could be viewing your site during the rest of the break without even having to get up to switch the computer on.

You could think about using QR codes in window displays along with the Job advert. Essentially what I a getting at it is that anywhere you currently use off-line advertising is a potential opportunity for the addition of a QR code to enhance the current information. They help to reduce a persons thinking as you no longer have to remember the long URL or that strange random shortened URL making life a little more convenient.

If you would like to see who's using them take a look at this Mashable write up it has one of those handy info-graphics - a 1200% increase in use in less than 6 months is not bad going!

Where is it heading? Until you can point your mobile camera at something and get information as well as meta data about it on screen expect to see an increase in QR code use. How ever i do think QR codes are only providing a bridge and that technology such as Google Goggles and Layar are where things are headed.

If you have any interesting examples of QR use let me know in the comments.

Further reading links: - company specialising in helping companies effectively use QR codes - Software fro reading bar codes and QR information. - Background information. - Siemens recruitment example

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