A great recruiter is a Jack of many trades and a master of some. Being able to find a talented needle in a haystack is no longer enough. The hiring space has changed by leaps and bounds.
Subtle selling, brand building, hustling, communication skills, negotiations, candidate persuasions, copy writing, stakeholder management, recruitment marketing are just few that come up. According to LinkedIn’s annual report 2015, 75% of talent acquisition leaders say talent brand significantly impacts their ability to hire great talent. In this article, we will focus on recruitment marketing and the insights recruiters can learn from marketers.
Marketing exists to implant a positive impression on the mind of the customer. This allows sales to go for the kill. Recruiters are sales folks. You look at the open demand, hunt down prospects and close positions with top talent. Leaving a great impression of your employer brand is where recruitment marketing comes in. All recruiters could benefit significantly with a positive impression on candidates. And how do we leave that impression? It’s possible by finding the place where candidates exist, engaging them and then nurturing them till they apply for one of your jobs.
Sounds simple? Not really. Recruitment marketing is a science (thankfully, not rocket science). Science that keeps the candidate in the center of everything you do.
Currently, most companies/agencies reach out to prospective candidates with open positions by emailing them. Imagine the plight of the candidate for one moment. They keep getting bombarded with multiple open positions. Especially, when they may not be even looking for a job. How do you think they feel? Put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel? Irritated. The company mail gets added to the spam filter or ignored. The damaging thing is that the candidate forms an opinion about the company being pesky and annoying. Let us just say that it is not a flattering impression.
Now, imagine getting mails that talk about your interests and tell you things you can achieve. You still may not want these emails but what is the impression you are left with? Worst case scenario – This company thinks about me. Best case scenario – These guys are great. They get me.
There is a risk though. Having a great impression means that everybody wants to work with you. In which case, you are left with a larger haystack to find the needle. So, how do you build the right impression with just the right audience?
Marketing is always about the picking the right target group for every product. Communication for every target group becomes specific to that audience. In the case of recruiting, it is about picking the right target audience for every skill group.
You create or curate content around the interests of each group and approach them accordingly. There is no point sending technology architecture problems and case studies to a fresher group. Or, sending interview tips to senior managers either. It makes sense to send them specialized content that talks about the stage they are at. You could, however, mix specialized content with some common content. Testimonials from current employees, success stories, the culture at work, recent wins, growth plans will work across the board.
Recruitment Marketing is a long term investment. We often struggle to prioritize for actions especially when the results are not very apparent or immediate. Tough, when you have weekly/monthly targets to meet and beat. Tougher, given that the positions had to be closed today yesterday the week before. So, does it make sense to invest time in marketing when the outcome is more in the longer term?
Let us consider this with a real life situation. We all lose top talent at the offer stage. They are loved by everybody who interviewed them and seem the perfect fit. And right when you think you have nailed it, s/he rejects the offer for just a few more bucks. It hurts, right? It sure does. You are back at scratch and are now hunting desperately all over again.
Let us play this scenario out differently. The very same candidate is all eager and looks up to your company as a career aspiration. The process is smooth. They know your company inside out which everybody in the hiring team loves. They understand your culture so everybody on the team is now excited about welcoming them. You make them an offer, they negotiate a little and join you soon. It is smooth, you get credits for bringing in a Rockstar. That would be something, wouldn’t it? Recruitment marketing helps you achieve this.
Building the right impression with the right audience means that talent scouting/sourcing starts to gets easier. The candidates who apply know and believe in the way your company works. These applicants are direct prospects. And, it’s easier to close open positions with candidates who reach out to you than the ones you reach out to.
All the talent you are searching for is online today. You have to just spread the word and communicate accordingly. I know it seems like a lot of work. A smart way to achieve this is through your existing workforce. Get your internal messaging right. Give your employees an easy way to spread the word and get their friends to join the company. Rewards, recognition, non-monetary incentives, etc. are subtle ways to make employees feel important. Once you earn employee advocacy, it becomes easier to execute your marketing plans. Having a good employee referral software makes it easier.
Before we conclude, let's list down a few important pointers.
1. You can benefit significantly with a positive impression on candidates.
2. Recruitment marketing is about creating a great impression in the candidates mind.
3. Split your candidate pool by skill groups, demographics and establish different target groups. Identify interests for each target group and message them accordingly. This approach is better than bombarding them with information they won't even care about.
4. Share company's values, work culture, recent wins, etc. It gives them a better sense about what you are about and why they should aspire to work with you.
5. When creating a job in your ATS, make the description appealing. A job description is not the first or only place they should hear about who you are. It should depict the opportunities and challenges that they will get to experiment or work in. Talk about their benefits. Use "You will get..." instead of "We will provide..."
6. Leverage employee referrals. Make it easy for your employees to refer their friends and spread the word about you by leveraging a good employee referral software. A healthy referral is a strong indicator of your employer brand. Respect candidates through this channel and give prompt responses.
Post offer, get an employee of similar role to talk to them and give them a better perspective of the role. This will keep them engaged while they are on the notice period.
The world is shifting to inbound marketing over outreach. The shift to inbound is necessary for recruitment as well. After all, who wants to waste time, efforts and money on a disinterested or unqualified candidate?