Part 1: What is a Talent Network?
Part 3: Building a Talent Network
In this series, we’ve gone over how you begin building your Talent Network and the different ways you can use to enable candidates to opt-in and be sourced so they can engage with your organization. In this post, we would like to go how to build actionable pipelines with these candidates and develop a targeted communication strategy to keep candidates warm until the right opportunity comes along.
A Custom Communication Strategy
With the increase of information online, we have more data on the candidates that we’re looking to attract than ever before. The key is how do we use this data and interpret it in order to create more targeted and personalized messaging for each candidate. While our systems and technology are evolving to make custom communication a reality, the first step to any good communication strategy is understanding the different candidate populations you want to communicate to and determine the appropriate messaging for the different groups. While each individual candidate is unique, it’s beneficial to group candidates in different pipelines of shared interest in order to create customized mass communications that hit home with these candidates.
When creating your Talent Pipelines, there are a number of ways you can group candidates. Here are a few of the most common criteria to use:
Job Types / Disciplines: Very simply you are grouping them by their areas of interest and past experience. This can be Sales Professionals, Marketing, JAVA programmers or any other subset. In many cases, the systems that you use should automatically tag candidates and create these pipelines for you. Whether it’s captured when they apply for a specific job or having the source captured via the Talent Network forms you use. This will help you send messages on Sales positions and what it is like to work in sales at your organization to this select group as opposed to the entire population.
Skills: You can also go into more depth in the questions you ask candidates in terms of the skills they have. For instance, for programmers you may want to ask what languages they are proficient in. For marketers, it might be around their experience such as SEO, social media, PR strategy, etc. This is used to dive deeper into the skills candidates have and can then be tags that you can use to segment based on your needs in the future.
Experience level: While basic disciplines and skills are the first steps, in many cases you’ll want to also filter by experience level. This could include entry level, experience, manager or VP. This is especially important with job updates as you’ll only want to send these to candidates that may have the skill-set or interest needed for the position. It makes no sense to send a VP level marketing position to a candidate that you know is an entry level marketing candidate.
Location: This is a simple add-on that can usually be automatically captured by IP address and can be helpful for localized jobs especially if your organization is not willing to pay for relocation. It also can be a great resource for events. Whether it’s a Career Fair, Networking Event or another company event, using location to sending messages to candidates in the area is a good best practice.
Opt-In permissions: In many cases, you have asked or set the expectation with candidates for what they want to hear about when they opted in. This is a good filter that can make sure that you are providing what you promised when they opted in.
In many of these cases you’ll want to create and save searches based on a combination of these criteria. These then can be used to create a more custom experience for candidates. One that provides targeted content based on the data available as opposed to a mass email that provides generic language and content.
The key here is to also make sure to set up pipelines that build without user involvement. As candidates come in they should be routed and added to the pipelines already created once they come in with the proper criteria. There may be times when you create pipelines manually but in most cases it should happen automatically after initial set-up.
Once you have your pipelines, it’s time to think about the type of messaging you will create and share with these candidate populations. The key is to create messaging and content that provides value to the candidates that showed interest in your organization. Great content can come in many forms, here are a few examples:
Newsletters: While this isn’t a new piece of content by any means, this is a great way to keep candidates up to date with what is happening at your organization. Company news, blog articles, new job openings and other content can be included in these campaigns that go out on a monthly basis.
Targeted Job Ads: The most common recruitment marketing email campaign is job alerts. But these alerts need to be better and more targeted. For instance, a new VP of Marketing job should go to only the candidates in your Talent Network that have the experience or skills necessary to be considered if they apply. And at the very least a Marketing professional should not be getting Sales position communications. The better we can target our job communications not only will response rates improve but you will also get more qualified candidates that apply as well.
Company Stories: When big company news hits or your organization creates compelling employer branding content, it’s important to share it on your Career Site and via your other communication channels. Using your Talent Network to spread these messages can be a great well to sell candidates that working at your company should be top of mind.
Continued Education: While some of your content should be company and job specific, you also can provide content that is helpful for candidates in their careers. From continuing education opportunities to helpful industry publications and webinars, there are a number of ways to help candidates get better at their careers and provide true value to the content you provide.
Career Blogs: For candidates that are interested, you should have an RSS feed that a candidate can subscribe to in order to receive an alert for every new blog post you create on your Career Blog. However, you may also want to provide the best posts in a clean monthly email letter to candidates as well. This is a great way to provide helpful advice to job seekers that can help them improve their job search skills.
Reminder to Apply: This is a quick lead generation tool that can be simple to implement. Basically this is an email message sent to candidates that have opted into to the Talent Network but failed to complete the application process. The message thanks them for their interest and provides them an easy link to continue the apply process.
With all these campaigns, it’s important to capture the right recruitment metrics to measure the success of these campaigns. This will measure how effective campaigns are at generating click-through and in some cases how effective they are in getting candidates to apply. It’s through this data that you can consistently calibrate your messaging and improve it.
Creating the content & messaging is an important step in the communication strategy. However, when you have this messaging created it’s time to think about how you are going to campaign to your contacts and the frequency that these campaigns should be sent out.
As an aside, your campaigning strategy needs to first start with setting candidate expectations. Whenever you have a candidate opts in to receiving messages it’s integral to let them know what they should expect from your organization. If you are going to send a daily email, let them know. This will ensure that you will get fewer opt-outs when you start sending them campaigns.
There are a few types of campaigns I’d like to point out that can be very helpful:
Trigger Campaigns: Trigger campaigns are communications sent when a specific action or criteria is met in a CRM type system. These campaigns are meant to take the burden off of recruiters to respond to candidates when certain actions are taken. For instance, when a candidate opts into your Talent Network, a trigger campaign can be sent that “Thanks them for their interest” and points them to areas of interest such as jobs or social recruiting profiles. As mentioned above, the “Reminder to Apply” email can be a trigger campaign set up to automatically go to candidates that don’t finish the apply process. It’s important to think out your process and think of areas where targeted automated engagement is possible and beneficial.
Manual Campaigns: These will be campaigns that you send on a weekly basis to keep in front of candidates. Normally a recruiter will work off a template and include new content for candidates. For these campaigns, you are typically sending to a saved search or some subset of your Talent Network to which the content applies. Therefore the language should be very targeted to the candidate population you are looking to attract. In all cases, these campaigns should have some sort of call to action that you can measure to determine the success of the messaging you use.
Scheduled Campaigns: These campaigns are recurring campaigns that your team sends out. Think newsletters or weekly job alerts. These campaigns can be scheduled prior to their send date and are aimed to be a continuous campaign series. A recruiter may schedule a bunch of these campaigns to go out prior or may schedule them prior to each month.
When determining your campaigns, it’s important to consider two things. First, in terms of timing for these campaigns, it’s important to provide a consistent schedule with all the campaigns you do. If you send communications too frequently it can sometimes be considered spam by the candidate and they will opt out. However, you want to send enough where you remain engaged and in the mind of the candidate.
The second big consideration is ensuring you are responding to candidate inquiries with timely communication. A few instances that apply:
- As candidates join your Talent Network you should acknowledge them opting in.
- As candidates apply, if they opt-in and fail to apply, send them an email to confirm if they want. This will help you limit candidates that think they applied but actually didn’t. One of the causes of the Black Hole.
As we get more and more data on candidates, we are going to be able to customize the candidate experience more and more. This is nowhere more true than in your Talent Network where your communications should and can get more targeted.
The next post in the series later this week will go over how we can obtain more data from candidates and ensure that this data remains fresh and correct for all your Talent Network contacts.