In recruitment marketing, we want to increase the visibility of the strong employer brand we’ve worked so hard to create. However, we have to remember that visibility and reach isn’t the same thing as engagement. In order to improve candidate engagement, we have to do more than broadcast our brand. As talent acquisition leaders, we know branding is a key function in recruitment marketing, but in order to see results in our hiring funnel, engagement is what moves candidates from top of funnel to application to employee.
How to Use Automation in Your Recruitment Marketing Efforts
There are a few ways to streamline engagement opportunities using technology like automation and channels that depend on our content marketing. This is where we can truly make an impact on candidate engagement and take advantage of our recruitment marketing outreach strategies.
1) Facebook Messenger bot. These messages are used by digital marketers as well as online publications offering instant engagement through resources, information and fielding customer questions. These are simple to set up, relatively low cost and offer response rates of over 90%. While you can pay a company or developer to set one up for you, Facebook has a quick start guide on its developer platform. You can build a simple bot yourself with starter code called “webhook” (provided by Facebook), or download starter code from Github and deploy it from there. While a little bit of tech expertise is required, the process is fairly simple. With a bit of work to set up predictive responses, you can have a Facebook Messenger bot on your page in a day.
2) Career site and job posting chat bots. Chatbots, powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and armed with machine learning, can interact with humans and become increasingly agile with each interaction. Chances are you're familiar with robo-assistants like Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana. If you've ever interacted with one of these tools, you were interacting with a chatbot.
A great example of using a chatbot in recruiting is how it can help with your screening process. With a chatbot on your career site, candidates can ask questions 24/7 in a simple interface. This can amplify your engagement efforts because immediate answers hold onto potential applicants longer because they provide instant responses that keep candidates interested. As a result, there will be an increased number of candidates that actually complete applications rather than abandoning the process because they had an unanswered question.
There are a lot of chatbot platforms out there, some that use AI and others that work more like the Facebook Messenger bot. At the least, you’ll want to make sure the platform you use has decision trees that let you build in assumptions (based on frequently asked candidate questions) so the chatbot can provide answers in real time. Ideally, the platform will allow you to continue to build out custom responses based on submitted questions, thus improving the experience over time.
Related article: Demystifying AI in Recruitment and Hiring.
3) Text messages. This is one of the most effective ways to drive engagement to high priority roles within your organization. A Pew study found that 33% of American adults prefer texts to all other forms of communication—regardless of who is sending that text or what the message is about. Additionally, texts are more likely to be read. Texting isn’t just another channel to get your job openings out there. The technology available to us today lets us set up personalized SMS relays for messages based on response triggers and allows us to segment candidates based on application or other status (like alumni employees) to engage, inform, ask questions about interest in openings, pre-screen candidates with programmed text questions, and to direct potential hires to your company career site via a mobile apply process. Texting is the Swiss Army knife of recruiting outreach.
Related article: How to use text messaging to improve your candidate outreach.
4) Eliminate the "do not reply" send on your automatic apply email. You can automate the apply message, which means you can also automate responses to the email, or allow recipients to respond with questions that go to a monitored inbox.
Instant Yet Automation Engagement is the Start of a Great Candidate Experience
All of the above have one thing in common: response. The key to improving candidate engagement, once you’ve amplified your job posting and your reach online, is to have response channels available to candidates who want to connect with your company. Whether they’re on your career site, Facebook page, or the receiving end of a recruiting email, instant responses are going to reduce the chance that a candidate’s quick question is the reason they leave your site and apply elsewhere.