4th of JulyHappy 4th of July, everyone!  To me, Independence Day is not just a day with hot dogs, hamburgers and fireworks but represents a great time time to reflect on where you’ve been and where you are going.  We are 7 months into 2013 folks and it’s as good as time as any to evaluate what we have done and start preparing to be better in 2014.

If you are like most organizations, this time is also the heart of budget season.  Departments are putting together their plans and trying to convince senior level management that the need for specific tools to be successful.  With the mad dash to use any budget that comes their way.

Most likely your recruiting organization has already started to do some heavy lifting to prepare for 2014 and determine the budget and types of tools you need to remain competitive in finding qualified talent.

So as you continue your budget processes (and I’m sure you are in knee-deep already) and start to evaluate vendors, here are some tips that hopefully will help you in your process of improving your recruitment marketing strategy for 2014 and beyond.

Your budget might be siloed but your decision doesn’t have to be

OK, so you are looking to upgrade your recruiting technology.  And with this focus, you have secured budget for a particular siloed solution whether that’s mobile & SEO Career Sites, social recruiting tools, CRM, Job Distribution, Talent Networks, etc.  The budget is set for these tools and you are now evaluating vendors to based on this particular need. Because you have budget for this one point solution (let’s say CRM), that is the only thing you want to evaluate with vendors.  They try to show you other functionality and tools but you can’t listen because it’s outside the purview of the budget and this particular project for 2014.  Other solutions will have to be evaluated in 2014 for the 2015 recruiting season but not before.

Does this sound familiar?

These are the steps most organizations take to budget season but I urge you to take a quick step back at this moment.  While you have budget secured and can’t go too far outside the purview of the project, that doesn’t mean your future plans shouldn’t factor into your decision.  While you want to do X for 2013, you know you want to do Y & Z in the coming years.  And making a decision just based on X with no context on how X will be affected by Y & Z is a mistake.

Take a CRM project for instance.  You may be looking to purchase a CRM to better source, identify and engage with candidates.  There’s a lot of them out there including solutions that have CRM as a part of a larger solution (think Recruitment Marketing Platform.)  Even if you are hooked into just CRM due to budget, it’s important to think about how you envision your technology growing in the coming years.

Sure you can buy a solution that just does CRM well but in a years time will you be regretting that decision as you look to bolster the CRM with job distribution or Career Site technologies (and you realize that integration is extremely difficult with your selected solution.)  Also, keep in mind product road-map.  There is a lot of functionality that may not be too important today that will be integral tomorrow (think mobile).  Ask any solution provider how they look to expand their offering.  The results may surprise you (in both good and bad ways.)

Good Solution Providers will be creative and flexible

Have budget only for a specific solution but want to include additional tools and functionality into the project scope?  Ask your provider.  There are a number of ways that providers can be creative for how they can set up pay schedules and contracts to help you get the most for your recruiting budget.  The key is understanding what you need, what you can possibly afford and working with them to make it happen.  From multi-year discounts to case study deals to value identification, there are a number of ways to flexibly make the solution one you are able to reasonably afford.

Ask your provider what they can do.  The worst thing that can happen is they say no.


Better to be a year early on emerging trends than a year late

Many organizations like to see that technology and tactics work well before they jump into the fray.  They like to see documented case studies and best practices that they can use as blueprints for successful implementation and campaigns.

The problem with this line of thinking is that this does nothing to differentiate you from the other organizations you compete against for the top talent.  And this is a way to guarantee you don’t see optimal results from these solutions and tactics.  Think back to job boards.  The first organizations to use job boards got tremendous bang for their buck with more applicants than they ever imagine.  Once all other organizations have caught on, job boards while they still can be effective are less valuable as a way to differentiate your recruiting function.

By jumping on early, you are able to reap first mover rewards and reach talent in better more effective ways.  A few trends I’d keep an eye on as you prepare and choose solutions for 2014:

  • Mobile: While Mobile Career Sites and Mobile Apply are at the top but also think about how you use it for candidate engagement and sourcing as well.  Mobile is not a siloed solution but a layer to the world.  Ensure you are looking at how you can best leverage across your recruiting strategy.  Here’s a post that goes into what you should think about when it comes to Mobile in Recruiting.
  • Metrics & Analytics: What metrics are you using today to evaluate the recruitment tactics and sources.  There’s a big trend to better measure what we are doing from a job marketing perspective.  The key here is ensuring that the recruitment metrics you capture are not only accurate but holistic and centralized for better decision-making.
  • Comprehensive Recruitment Marketing: Like Talent Management Systems, there is a good deal of centralization happening with the tools that you use to do recruitment marketing.  I encourage you to look at offerings like Recruitment Marketing Platforms as they bring together tools like Mobile, Social, CRM, job distribution, Career Sites into one centralized solution with full visibility and metrics.
  • Talent Network: This goes beyond just having an opt-in form on your site but thinking strategically about all the places you can source candidates into your Talent Network.  This can include in your job apply flow, at career events, through Mobile or via proactive sourcing and having tools that are flexible to enable all these channels.  It’s all about getting better at capturing candidates at all levels of your recruiting process.

Make 2014 Better Than 2013

All your hard work to identify needs and evaluate solutions is not in vain.  Making the right decisions with your budget will have a positive impact on your 2014 recruiting results and will help you grow and improve talent acquisition’s influence on the organization.

Have a Happy 4th and good look with budget season!

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