Fantastic video on social recruitment.
WARNING: Do not read this article unless you want to increase:
- Your online shares and referrals
- Job distribution and visibility to passive candidates
- Candidate response rates
- Recruiter productivity when requisition loads are heavy and inbox recruiting is the
primary activity (The activities described below have reduced time-to-offer by over four days.)
- Traffic to your career site
- The total number of unique applicants into your ATS each month (The following activities have also resulted in the addition of over 20,000 new applicants in one year.)
Do we have your interest? We should. All of these results can be achieved by taking advantage of an asset you may be underutilizing—your applicant tracking system (ATS). When it comes to investments, the ATS often gets one of the highest allocations in an organization. What’s more, the total cost of ownership extends far beyond the platform itself and its support team. It also includes the expense associated with each uploaded resume and candidate profile. Companies can maximize their return on investment if they begin to use the ATS more like a customer relationship management tool and really leverage the data they currently have. Instead of focusing their efforts on candidates in their external networks, recruiters should be developing effective marketing strategies for the ones already in the system.
The reality is that candidates who have submitted an application through your ATS have already decided, either through their own research or perhaps speaking to an existing employee, that they are interested in your company as a potential employer. A person’s willingness to go through an application process represents meaningful decision and commitment of time; therefore, your ability to leverage this relationship is measurably important. In a case study, candidates who already invested in the brand resulted in a 17 percent higher response rate than cold lists. Similarly, candidates who had previously applied were more likely to refer on social networks at a ratio of 13:1 compared with candidates who were not familiar with a brand.
The following ten steps can help you achieve similar results by maximizing your existing database.
Step 1: Understand your ATS and the types of candidate data that can be downloaded from the system. The data elements that are important are: first name, last name, cell phone, email address, jobs applied, location and status. (Status is critical because it can identify who has previously applied and the outcome of their application. Additionally, it can identify if they are now an employee.)
Step 2: Know what you want to accomplish with this data. Here are some things to consider:
A. Is this a campaign to touch internal employees or new hires?
B. Is this to promote a job or a set of jobs geographically?
C. Is this targeted towards a specific job or set of jobs?
D. Is this to support a job fair or networking event?
E. Is this to support a campus hiring event or presentation?
Step 3: Decide how you would like to reach these candidates. Your options include texting, calling, emailing, or social media channels. Each of these outlets has a multitude of tools available in order to help manage, expedite and measure your strategies. However, as with any strategy, planning should take place on the front end to understand the best and worst case scenarios. You must determine, for example, who will follow up with the call to action activity, and what ultimately happens if the volume exceeds expectations.
Step 4: Plan the messaging and call to action. To connect with your candidates,it’s critical that you create strong messaging that is meaningful and clearly communicates your end goal, whether it’s showcasing how to apply to the company, explaining how to contact a recruiter and book an interview, or garnering interest in attending a career related event. Messaging should NOT be a one-size-fits-all approach. Consider having the message derive from a hiring manager versus a recruiter. This is especially helpful if the target population is in high demand, or the voice of a subject matter expert will have a bigger impact.
Step 5: Use imagery. A picture is worth a thousand words. If it’s a visual strategy, what are the images associated with those particular campaigns? Projecting consistency with the overall employment brand is important, but still leaves a lot of opportunity to convey the special messaging that you seek to communicate to your audience.
Step 6: Consider the voice. If the strategy includes a calling campaign that is pre-recorded or includes a video, what is the voice strategy? Consider the tone, whether the voice should be masculine or feminine, and the pace. All of these components make a difference.
Step 7: Review the approach with subject matter experts and your client group. This step is commonly missed, yet can be the most valuable. In many cases the candidates you are seeking will reach out directly to the business team. Determine with your team the appropriate response when a candidate circumvents your intended process.
Step 8: Ensure your project is measurable and reportable to the business team. Numbers paint a powerful picture. Some important metrics you should track include: percent of opened emails, click through rates, number of new applicants, attendees, returned calls or texts, candidate screens, interviews conducted and hires made. I further recommend capturing a baseline and measuring these data points over time to demonstrate the ongoing results of your marketing efforts.
Step 9: Monitor trends. What are the trends you wish to monitor—social referrals, opt out rates, hires per recruiter over time? Whatever it is, determine if your strategy influences single a point in time or an entire process. If it has process implications, then measure the results over a period of three to four months to understand if the hypothesized outcome was the actual outcome.
Step 10: Test and refine your strategy. Leverage your metrics, monitor trends and listen to candidate feedback. Based upon the outcomes, determine what components of the campaign can be adjusted. In a recent campaign for SEC accountants, we tested the effectiveness of two similar video emails; one was from the recruiter, the other was from the hiring manager, and discovered that the video email with the hiring manager resulted in a better quality of applicants.
Every year your organization makes huge investments to generate applicant traffic and each of these individuals has invested in your active jobs. Recruiters can maximize this investment and their own productivity by remembering that this wealth of opportunity lies within ATS—and with a targeted recruitment campaign, they are far more likely to achieve their hiring objectives.
Another great solution by Agile-1 RPO! The Philadelphia Airport now has a career center to connect airport employers with the local community. Our recruitment marketing, technology and programs team brought this to life with a great partnership from the Airport. Way to go! Love how our teams are leveraging technology to enhance the recruitment process.
For the fun of it, I want to provide a variety of insights around how a sourcing strategy may vary by industry. For the sake of this example, let’s assume you are a manufacturer of a product that is sold through a retail distribution chain. Additional assumptions are:
1. You sell product to big box retailers, however you have your own retail outlets
2. Holidays drive an increase in labor needs within your manufacturing, retail and distribution centers
3. Your company is founded on innovation and continuous new product development
4. Your product is a BRAND all into itself therefore EVERYONE wants to work for you
5. Your organization has high volume needs, high complexity needs and corporate staffing requirements.
Where do you begin?
Let’s start at the Macro level and work our way down.
Current state Assessment: Looking at the Data
1. Segment your data by retail, manufacturing, executive, professional, sales and
2. For each of these segments I want to explore:
A. Source of hire (Primary and Secondary)
B. Interview to hire ratio’s
C. Candidate flow
D. % Fallout due to failure of background and drug check
E. Total number of hits to career site
F. Total number of profiles created
3. Recruitment Process Assessment (Assuming I am coming into the organization new).
1. How do we manage the through put of candidates?
2. How easy is it to navigate the career site? Does it create a compelling story for each of the people areas?
3. What is the requisition load?
4. Source of hire by recruiter type. (What I am looking for here, is what
recruiters fill their jobs through inbound sources and who fills them
through outbound sources?)
5. Vendor relationships – Contingent staffing firms, advertising
agencies, research firms, tools such as talentseekr and resume mining
6. Web and bricks and mortar: What are our web and brick and mortar
7. Stakeholders: Who has interest in how we attract talent? Why? I.E.
Brand Marketing, Legal, etc. What role do they play?
Future State Strategy:
Now that I have gotten smart on our process, technology, stakeholders and rules to how we acquire talent – Here are the categories I will focus:
1. Technology / Website:
1. Optimize ATS to improve candidate source of hire capture, processing and outreach to talent.
I.E. Alerts for new jobs to keep talent coming back. (This is key – we want to reuse the data in
2. Optimize Website: Usability, flow, analytics and potentially content.
2. Holiday Volume Hiring:
1. Engage an RPO or my contingent workforce partner (should they be temporary or part time).
2. I need to make sure the volume triggered by holidays is effectively covered and it is not a cost
that is incurred during the down times.
3. Retail Hiring:
1. For our stores –I would look at posters, recruiting cards, etc. directing candidates to apply
2. Monitor regions that do not have candidate flow and leverage an internal sourcing team or a
firm that can assist with demand generation in those regions.
3. Advertising Firm: Depending upon the demographics I would explore mobile media, SMS
marketing and very targeted web advertising.
4. Manager Level Retail Professionals: Create an internal sourcing group that leverages
zoominfo, jigsaw and retail research firms as needed. This team would be responsible for
candidate identification and development.
Distribution / Manufacturing hiring
1. Look at an MSP or Onsite program for contingent labor.
2. Advertising firms: Posters and table tops in each of the centers.
3. Employee Referral: Mailers or email – to employee or family promoting you can make money
– refer a friend.
4. Local market relationship strategy – Schools, employment networks, PTA’s, etc.
Professional / Executive Hiring
Here is where my candidate experience is an important part of the attraction process. So the sourcing strategy will be our company employee’s and it will encompass an outreach effort and a relationship management effort.
This may look like:
1. Leveraging an Indian firm to do name generation inexpensively. Save me time.
3. Have my team focus on direct outreach to these people to:
A. Build a relationship
B. Present an opportunity.
4. The relationship may be a link to our Facebook and linkedIn – and work with our advertising firm to create an outreach strategy that touches these people in different ways periodically throughout the year. Focus is – promote the brand, gain referrals, build a friend so they want to do business with us.
Once trends are identified, negotiate fixed rates for services that WORK and have them help you measure your success.
Work collaboratively with your sourcing firm, RPO and research partners and include them in your business strategies. Provide them with data around what works and what is not. The goal is for everyone to be successful.
Tactical: The reality is there will always be that purple squirrel. I have done research over the years and it has show that purple squirrels can take over 55 hours of sourcing alone! The key here is to build a sourcing strategy checklist and focus on the activities that are generating results. Avoid doing things that are fun. This may require the special sourcing magic of a Maureen or Shally.
Measure … Monitor and Refine
Now is measure and refine. Business change and needs change therefore your sourcing strategy will change.
Sourcing strategies take time to develop and may not be done all at once due to stakeholder involvement and budgets. In some areas the near term solution may be to throw more people at the problem until the core issues can be fixed. Realistically you may need to do some botox treatments, because this is recruiting and nothing is predictable. However this strategy is designed to address the 80% and let you focus on the needs that may require some extra special care.
Tracey Friend is a Snr. Consultant with Brightfield Strategies. Brightfield Strategies core expertise is in Contingent Workforce Management. As an executive who has had exposure to both full time and contingent strategies, Tracey works with her clients to build a more holistic approach to attracting and retaining people. Tfriend@brightfieldstrategies.com
How people communicate and leverage the web today has significantly changed since 2007. These changes will challenge the recruitment and staffing profession to understand web trends, become experts in programs and only execute activities that align to both the brand promise and the brand experience.
What is a Brand Promise?
The brand promise is what audiences are assured of receiving as a result of their relationship with the brand.
A Brand is our image in the marketplace. Recruitment and Staffing is an extension of the brand and the brand experience. Therefore our customers, who are candidates, get attracted by our brand, the messaging and the opportunity. The activities we engage in as Recruiting professionals should communicate the brand and serve as a beginning of the brand experience.
Stop and ask yourself, what is your corporate Brand and how does that translate to the experience a candidate should receive? Would you segment your population? How? Keep that question in mind as you put in action your robust marketing plan. NOTE: ACTION and EXPERIENCE can impact referrals and hires. A poorly executed recruitment marketing program where the follow through is the missing link, can create a word of mouth viral marketing effort that counters all of the good efforts.
Now that we have walked through the definition of the Brand Experience, the next step is to understand how the web is used by every day people and how this can impact the success of our recruitment marketing efforts.
In 2007 – 52% of the population were inactive. 33% watched. 19% criticized. In recruitment the activities translate to a focus on Job Boards, banner advertising, and email communications. The critique factor came from websites such as Vault.com and corporatememos.com. Technologically applicant tracking system companies improved the candidate interface, support two levels associated with source of hire, as well as enable communication triggers and tools to communicate to a candidate. Candidate communications were very transactional and simple between the candidate and the employer. Finally the OFCCP began their journey around the definition of an internet applicant.
In 2010 – 24% of people used the internet to create, 33% converse, 37% are critics, 59% have joined and only 17% are inactive. How this translates to recruiting are the increased tools to source candidates; The evolution of Social networking websites such as Linkedin, Spoke and others; Real-time communications such as twitter and texting; Mobile media and interactive strategies to provide a candidate instant access to a live person or experience. An increasing number of corporate critic sites such as glassdoor.com and jobvent.com. Technologically applicant tracking systems which have focused on compliance must now merge with CRM tools to show the love. Finally, the start of an evolution to actively market to retiree’s, alumni and contingent labor as we move into the FREELANCE ERA.
The impact of these changes results into a set of expectations, that due to economic trends and the stretched role demands of HR and Procurement are not being met:
1. Instant feedback
2. Company insights and education
3. What they read is what they should expect
4. A clear path on how to enter a company whether it is full-time, part-time or project based
Whereas Recruiters are expected to:
1. Outreach to more people
2. Obtain quicker results
3. Stay focused
4. Provide quality service
5. In some cases move from a high touch to a high transaction delivery model
The reality of these changes are:
1. People can learn and experience within a very short amount of time.
2. Candidates do not get the instant feedback, if any.
3. Recruiters have many more people to sift through.
4. The candidate experience has suffered.
5. HR and Recruiting must execute programs and marketing with greater strategy and skill.
6. People are using and leveraging internet technology different and so must we.
7. Networks are alive.
We need to look at how we work differently and fine tune all of our strategies and practices to meet the changing world. While today we grapple with measuring our lead to hire ratios, we will also need to look at the brand and its impact over time to attract and retain quality talent. All of which tie back to an ongoing recruitment marketing strategy which is dependent upon an overall talent strategy within the organization.