It’s a tight talent market out there, and sometimes we need a quick boost to bring an influx of candidates into our hiring funnel. These tactics used to be “just in case,” but considering that current job openings in the U.S. now exceed the number of unemployed persons (Bureau of Labor Statistics data for March 2019 reports that the unemployment rate was 3.8% and the job openings rate was 4.7%), recruitment marketing and candidate engagement is a never-ending cycle. We have to be able to step back and identify where our best quality candidates are coming from and how we can create a jolt of awareness to bring in more of the same.
We’ve talked about next-level recruitment strategies in the digital space, including how to optimize your job postings online, candidate resources for your career site, and how video can transform your recruitment marketing. Sometimes we can get so caught up in looking ahead while recruiting like a marketer and trying to predict what the next best practice for recruiting is going to be (Google for Jobs? AI? Text apply?) that we forget about what’s worked for us before. How we managed to find these great people we work with every day, for example. No-one wants to go back to QR codes, printed flyers, classified ads, or job fair open houses, but if those worked for us five or 10 years ago, what’s the equivalent today?
Recruitment Marketing Strategies to Up Your Game
Here are five recruitment marketing strategies based on old school candidate engagement tactics, updated for 2019, that can help you fill your talent funnel quickly.
1) Event landing pages. Digital marketers have been using event landing pages as a quick and easy method of lead capturing since the early days of the internet. In recruitment marketing, we can take this same principle and apply it to online or in-person events (see items 3 and 4 on this list). We’ve talked about content marketing being a cornerstone of recruitment marketing before. Online events for engaging candidates include content marketing with industry-targeted information or how-to instructional webinars. You can record on-site informational events to host on a landing page and re-market the same event via email and social media to drive traffic to online registrations. This could be as simple as a Zoom registration link or Eventbrite inviting a candidate that is already on your mailing list, engaged with your social accounts, or in your ATS database to an event to get reacquainted.
2) Re-engage your past applies. If we think about this from an email marketing standpoint, we really are only as good as the open and click through rates of our email newsletter. If you haven’t sent out any email communication to past applicants or those within your talent community, it’s time to re engage them. Consider sending a quick hello email asking them if they are interested in receiving communication from you, or personalize an email that allows them to respond to a specific question, like: “I know you’re busy, but it’s been a while and we’d love to hear about what you’re working on now. Send me a quick update?” If only 10% of your past applicants (who are also now likely to be employed elsewhere) respond because they are interested if you do have openings that would be a fit for them, this could move them back into your hiring funnel with a single email. NOTE: This “quick question” strategy only works if you are able to personalize the email and take the time to respond to anyone who does reply. You don’t want to turn a re-engagement opportunity into a disengagement.
3) Host events for target candidate groups in your office. Whole Foods talent acquisition team in Austin regularly holds meetups for UX designers, developers, and other groups segmented by position or interest at their location. They have a great space, and you can certainly do this in a smaller on-site conference room or open area. These are informational and networking events, not open houses, but recruiters are available while senior staff members help facilitate the discussion. By having these at your office space led by your team leaders, you’re giving passive job seekers who are not only experienced, but willing to spend time outside of their jobs on learning more or networking with others, a look into your workspace.
Target industry groups on social media for these events, as well as your local Meetup site. Focus on a specific topic, like best practices in UX (source the passion projects of your team leaders for ideas), and cast a wide net for attendees. Have a sign-in station for attendees and capture email addresses to add to a list for follow-up communication.
4) Partnerships. Use your community organizations and job board partners, or recruiting awareness sites like The Muse and BuiltIn to engage target audiences by city, to help drive a quick engagement not just to an opening at your company, but to an event or meetup you are hosting to make a connection. This builds rapport but also gives potential candidates the opportunity to invite friends and ask questions without feeling committed to applying for your open job.
5) Text messaging. 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.
The Way In Which We Engage & Recruit Has Changed
As recruiting leaders, it’s important that we recognize trends, but it’s just as important to remember the strategies that are time-tested and helped give us big wins for our talent pipeline in the past. Just as jobs in the classified section of local newspapers have evolved online into Google for Jobs and CPC advertising has evolved to a higher level of control and targeting with programmatic, the structure and goals are the same: a robust hiring funnel with engaged candidates that decreases our cost and time-to-hire.