Reaching Your Customers: Why Recruiting Needs To Be An Extension Of Marketing


by My Say, SmartRecruiters

Job seeking and recruiting have changed forever. Technology has made a huge impact on talent acquisition in recent years. Long gone are the days of classified ads and sifting through faxed resumes to attract and identify that perfect candidate. Today, job seekers have gone beyond emailing resumes and cover letters and are now sharing professional profiles through social media, applying for jobs through mobile devices, and even submitting video cover letters.

Recruiters have had to adapt to change quickly, and the pace of change is accelerating. There’s a new normal for talent acquisition that requires companies to rethink their strategies, processes, and supporting technology related to recruiting. Successful hiring companies realize that recruiting is like marketing – from creating a brand presence, to attracting candidates through multiple advertising channels, to nurturing applicants by bringing them seamlessly through a talent acquisition funnel.

But why is this so critical? A recent study by the Robert Half HR consulting firm found bad hires can cost companies in many ways including productivity and team morale, with Chief Financial Officers reporting that supervisors on average spend 17% of their time – nearly one day per week – managing poorly performing employees. Hiring the right person the first time is crucial to company success. As such, 93% of CEOs find that they need to change their strategy for attracting and retaining talent, but a majority of 61% don’t know where to begin. So what can a business do to remain competitive in the battle for the best employees?

HR professionals now need to think like marketers in this new normal of recruiting. Reactive recruiting, waiting until there’s a vacancy, puts companies at a disadvantage. If a company is rushed to fill a spot, they have less time to engage with prospects and are more likely to make a bad hire. On the other hand, waiting too long to fill a position puts strain on other employees who must shoulder the workload, lowering morale and productivity. Or, worse yet, the work simply does not get done and the company’s growth stagnates.

Savvy HR professionals ensure they’re attracting the right talent by displaying a strong and consistent employment brand on their career site, including engaging photos and video, information about departments and employees, and providing up-to-date and relevant material about their corporate culture. This is incredibly important to job seekers as 78% agree that the look and feel of a company’s career site is “moderately” to “highly important” to their decision to apply. Not to mention that an increasingly mobile workforce has come to expect mobile-adaptable user experiences. So, if your company’s career site isn’t delivering a streamlined experience for mobile job seekers, you are significantly reducing your odds of connecting with best-fit talent. And, you definitely aren’t maximizing the valuable recruitment marketing dollars it took to attract traffic to your career site to begin with.

But ask any marketer what the best form of advertising is and they’ll agree: word-of-mouth. And the same holds true when marketing to potential employees.

Take, for instance, National Interstate Insurance Company, a leading specialty property and casualty insurance holding business. The recruitment team identified the current employee base as a source of referrals for quality candidates to identify and court passive, yet quality candidates for future openings. The team engaged current employees in a word-of-mouth marketing campaign to serve as the face of the company culture, attract candidates, and increase referrals. Through the use of specialized software, they created a streamlined referral portal and philanthropic incentive program, and employee referrals became the number one source of hire in 2014 nearly doubling the amount of referrals hired in 2013.

Social media and digital campaigning also are effective marketing-as-recruiting tools. Social media allows recruiters to engage with passive candidates by actively monitoring and posting on their company social media sites. Targeted email campaigns allow recruiters to nurture candidates at each stage of the sourcing and hiring process and send messages specific to a candidate based on their location, preferred job function, and other interests.

Bon-Ton, a department store chain offering a wide array of unique and limited-distribution merchandise from a variety of lifestyle brands, utilized this strategy to build talent pools for turnkey holiday hiring needs. In regions that weren’t receiving enough applicants to fill open seasonal positions, the company launched a geo-focused email campaign to send information about the benefits of working with Bon-Ton during the holidays to both passive and active job seekers in the area. The campaign also featured graphics to showcase the employment brand and background on available positions.

Through this effort, they had a 95% delivery rate and 15% open rate, which resulted in a 10% increase in applicants and another 10% increase in the candidates being hired. Bottom line: It’s a new world out there when it comes to job seeking and recruiting, and your overall talent acquisition strategy still needs to shift toward a dedicated software suite to support  a breadth of new recruitment capabilities.

Great companies are built with great people.  Employers need to recognize the importance of having dedicated technologies and marketing strategies in place to gain a competitive advantage for recruiting. Undoubtedly, the time is now for companies to update their talent acquisition processes and technologies to keep up with the evolving behaviors of today’s job seekers.

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