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QR codes: The next big thing or yesterday’s news?

By ZoomInsights staff

Have you mastered the art of using social media to meet your recruitment goals? How about mobile technology? Well, now there’s another tool to add to your arsenal: The quick response (QR) code.

You’ve likely seen QR codes popping up on advertising and in packaging over the past year or so, but the unobtrusive bar codes can often go unnoticed by those not in the know. What do they do, exactly? As Dr. John Sullivan put it on ERE.net, “QR codes are a second-generation bar code that allows potential candidates to quickly and directly access supporting materials and websites using a smartphone’s camera. QR codes have many uses, but they are most often used to direct target audiences to online content that cannot be easily conveyed in print.”

However, using a new technology just for the sake of using it isn’t a sound strategy. Like any new tool, you have to learn how to use it before you deploy it.

An extension of mobile recruiting

In many ways, QR codes are just another tool in your mobile recruiting toolkit, as the only people who will be using these handy bar codes are people with code readers on their mobile devices. But they can also add value to your traditional print advertisements.

For instance, if you run an ad in a trade magazine or produce a brochure for your company, you can insert a QR code that takes the reader to a video about your company featuring happy employees or a tour of your office. And since QR codes are free to create, they create exceptional value for your campaigns.

The benefits of QR codes

Even though QR codes are free, many companies still need to be convinced of their value, especially in a recruitment setting. As Sullivan put it, “These codes are also powerful because they easily allow for effective tracking analytics that can identify sources and usage rates. In addition, QR codes can be produced for free and because they are so small, will save space and advertising costs. These codes can also be used for non-recruiting purposes, including check-ins and to provide employee, vendor and customer information.”

One of the biggest benefits of a QR code is that it can go virtually anywhere: in a newspaper, on a poster, on a business card, and just about anywhere else. (See some good examples of QR codes put to good recruiting use on 4mat.com.) And the content you link it to is limited only by your imagination. Whether it’s just a quick way to get users to your mobile optimized site or the portal to a great recruiting video is up to you.

QR codes: Not for everyone

While many people will find QR codes to be one more useful tool among many, others look at them as just another passing fad. One of those people is Tim Sackett, vice president of HRU Technical Resources.

“What I found was that most potential candidates didn't understand QR codes; then their 10-year-old explained them to them, so they downloaded a scanning application to their phone, scanned a QR code, thought ‘that's cool’ and never did it again,” Sackett told ZoomInsights. “At the same time, mobile blew up and most companies went and got their career sites optimized for mobile and QR codes seemed irrelevant.”

You, like Sackett, might find that QR codes are not for your company — and that’s OK — but if you’re looking for a new way to deliver a wide variety of content, familiarizing yourself with these new tools may be a good bet.


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