Somewhere along the path to successful recruitment we lost our Rolodexes and our LinkedIn connections went from relationships to “all created equal”. Recruiters began to be responsible for filling 30, 40, or even 50 or more open reqs and everything moved to a just-in-time approach to tackling the search for talent problem. We asked Hayley Denker of Hayley Denker Marketing to join us and talk about strategy and tactics to supercharge your recruitment marketing efforts.
It begins with perspective. If recruiting starts at the requisition stage then the pool of candidates into which you are reaching, is by definition, smaller than if you expand your scope of the definition of candidates to anyone who could have an interest rather than anyone who does have an interest.
How to Identify Your Target Audience for Recruitment
The first step is to understand who you are looking for. It’s more than just saying ‘engineers’ or ‘hair stylists’.
Who is your audience? Are they your consumers as well? Can you leverage what your marketing team is doing to make an impact on your recruiting efforts, or are these very different audiences?
Create a baseline persona. Are your target candidates early in their careers? Might they be nomadic? Do they have children? Aging parents? Are they outdoorsy types or gamers?
Now translate that persona into topical interests. Will they nerd out about an AMA with your lead technical architect or will they love to see employee testimonials about a flexible work environment that supports working parents? Is training and their future key or the ability to work full time and then ease into retirement?
The one thing this audience identification shouldn’t include: ‘Actively looking for a job’. Not to say that we aren’t going to find those folks in the process, but that shouldn’t be how we define our audience at this point.
Spark an Interest in Your Candidate Pool
If ever spray and pray was applicable, it’s at this point. Start to translate those interests into campaigns designed to find and engage your audience of people who match your personas. Campaigns, by design, are not a one-and-done event, but rather something you should think about through the lens of multi-touch and even multi-medium platorms (online, offline, social, email, etc.). Whether that be a series of ‘day in the life of’ blogs that you advertise on social media and via email – to video testimonials from your employees or hiring events designed to generate more than just applications, always treating your audience like a group of people you don’t know, yet. But, you might have to remind them a few times that they want to get to know you.
Where Is the Best Place to Start Your Recruitment Marketing Efforts?
Recruitment marketing messaging that doesn’t have a vehicle to reach your audience doesn’t work. Your audience lives in physical and online places – where are those places and how do you target them to get your message in front of them? Don’t limit yourself to where the candidates are (like job boards) or where business people congregate online (like LinkedIn and GitHub). Reach further: local groups on Facebook, Tiktok, interest groups to QR codes on location.
Your Recruiting Content Matters
With your audience identified and your mediums defined, start to find ways to drive engagement to your content and to online and in person events. How-to’s on discovering if your company is the kind of place they should add into their career path or sharing community service your teams are engaged in, even providing a cheat sheet on how best to interview with your company; all of these welcome your audience to learn more. The more you give, the more you will get back from the audience.
Use the mediums you’ve chosen to the best advantage of your time – some recruiting content, some high-value messaging, some fun pics of your recruitment team with puppies.
Connect With People on an Emotional Level
People like engaging with content that makes them feel things so find ways to connect with people at that emotional level.
Hayley recommends following this simple set of guidelines:
People Like People Who Like Them
People Like People Who Are Like Them
People Like People Who Like People
This doesn’t mean that you should market for and recruit for people who are just like you – but rather it means that everyone is human, and there are clear human connections to be made by remembering what things move people.
Creating connected, meaningful relationships has more benefits than just getting a response when it is time to put a job in front of people. It will also keep those people engaged throughout the process, resulting in a marked decline in ghosting.
Don’t lead with cold, impersonal invitations. Instead, engage thoughtfully with either the content they are posting or with content they too are engaging with. Build rapport through common interests.
Recruitment Marketing Can’t Fail
“I never consider any marketing campaign to be a failure.” – Hayley Denker.
You learn every time you try something new. Dig in, figure out what you learned, what worked, and what didn’t. Take what worked and add some new magic and try again. Walking away without iterating is the only failure.
Measure, measure, measure.
Don’t measure the same thing you measured when you post a job on Indeed. Like all marketing, there should be clear lines of success to measure against. Unlike traditional recruiting, the line isn’t the conversion rate of a click on Indeed to a completed application (but if that’s important to improve for you, you should talk to us). It should be measured in a reduction of time-to-hire (over time).
Don’t forget the job ads!
Job advertising still has a place in your recruitment funnel, but so many recruiting teams have eliminated the key step of writing a compelling job advertisement. Job ads and job descriptions are not and should not be the same. Job ads are written for the reader.
A good job ad should help people imagine joining your team and doing the job. Job descriptions are written for hiring managers, recruiters, and lawyers – they are meant to be clear about the roles and responsibilities, but are not designed to sell the opportunity.
Hayley’s team built a guide to help you turn those reqs into ads. Check it out here!
Jumpstart Your Recruitment Marketing
There is no master plan that you can build and then execute and call it ‘Recruitment Marketing’. Marketing is fluid, reactive, and interactive. It takes advantage of the now and what is important to people today – recruitment marketing is the same. Building months and months of plans is a sure-fire way to never get started. Instead, do something. Hold an interesting hiring event (princesses and superheroes and invite the kiddos), an AMA, or an onsite with free skills training. Then, make sure to get the word out! Use Twitter, Facebook, postcards, and TikToks. Evaluate what worked and use it again. Recognize what failed and tweak it! But most importantly, just get going!