It’s always fun and interesting to discuss new trends and technologies with analysts in the talent acquisition space ― and I thoroughly enjoyed presenting on this recent webinar with Kyle Lagunas of IDC. In it, Kyle outlined key findings from his report on recruitment marketing platforms. Here, we tackle some of the great questions we didn’t get to in the webinar.
What makes sharing one job post a day on Twitter more attractive than posting five or more?
Chris: In terms of the NPR example that Kyle mentioned during the webinar, NPR chooses to focus on one job post a day and then fill the rest of their content with resources, articles, employee stories, company news and more. That is a great example of an employer brand-focused social presence versus a job-focused social presence. I think the key here is that, sure, you could post five jobs throughout the day and it wouldn’t be overkill ― but a careers social presence has to be more than just jobs. There are a lot of organizations that strictly blast out job req titles, and that’s the entirety of their feed. Social is an important source of influence for candidates to connect with your employer brand, learn about your employees and figure out if you’re about what they’re about. It helps them become more educated and more interested, so when they do apply, they feel more aligned.
Kyle: Candidates go to career sites and job boards to find jobs. They go to social media to learn more about an organization – beyond the job description, beyond the About Us page. They want to know what you’re doing, what it’s really like to work for you, what conversations you’re driving, what’s different about you from other prospective employers. Social provides a unique opportunity for your organization to share dynamic content like employee experiences, company success stories, subject matter experts in your organization, things candidates can’t find anywhere else – all as part of evaluating your culture, your brand, and your career opportunities. With competition for talent so high, social is a great channel for employers to stand out.
With all the tools available on the market, many talent acquisition leaders are looking for one platform that can be viewed within one primary solution. Are we there yet?
Chris: Yes! I love to hear that talent acquisition leaders are looking for a more centralized approach, and I don’t blame them. It’s difficult to glean insights, understand where to put your dollars and improve the candidate experience when your efforts and data are managed through a bunch of different tools or third parties. For most organizations, that means two technologies that need to be integrated with one another. The ATS is tackling the process and compliance on the recruiting process. And for pre-application, the top of the funnel, a Recruitment Marketing Platform brings together everything you do to find, attract, engage, nurture and convert leads into applicants and includes job marketing, referrals, social media, email and SMS, talent networks, career site, events, CRM and of course, analytics across it all. Some solutions message that they do both, however, it’s important to understand the depth of capabilities in both areas.
Kyle: We’re not quite there, but we’re well on our way. We’re seeing an immense amount of growth and expansion in the TA vendor landscape, especially in talent discovery, attraction, and engagement. With so many point solutions on the market, there’s a lot of demand for centralization – which is why the platform model is rapidly growing in popularity. The best-in-class ATS has evolved into the TA platform, companies like SmashFly are establishing the recruitment marketing platform as its own category, and you’re seeing platforms upstream for talent management, HCM, workforce management, etc.
But that’s not to say everyone is going all in on best-of-breed platforms. Enterprise organizations will often opt for the legacy ATS that comes with an HCM or ERP suite – and these systems aren’t built to manage modern talent acquisition (especially not recruitment marketing). Until we see more imperial evidence of the impact of best-of-breed TA and recruitment marketing platforms among those organizations that have made the investment, building the business case for best-in-class systems will continue to be a challenge.
Is the all-important interaction piece of the pie measurable?
Chris: Yes, there are a lot of ways you can measure different interactions throughout the candidate journey. Most organizations either go without it or try and piece together this information from different point products built to monitor social or email or job marketing. You can also track a lot of career site interactions through Google Analytics, as well as social media interactions on the specific channels themselves through their analytics capabilities. In each case, this data can give you some insight into key influencing channels but it won’t tie back to end goal metrics such as qualified applicants or hires which are integral to understand because we really care about the best candidates and what influences them.
As we mentioned in the webinar, technologies like a recruitment marketing platform can help track these interactions centrally to make gaining insight into influence easier, consistent and predictable.
Kyle: Absolutely it’s measureable! All you have to do is look at consumer marketing to see how it’s done. You can track candidate interactions on a career site, what email links they’ve clicked on, if they’ve viewed one, two or three jobs, and if they ended up applying. There are a lot of individual marketing tools that can help with social and email marketing, but a consolidated platform will show all of these interactions side-by-side. The challenge is that recruiters aren’t data scientists – they never had to be, so it is definitely a skills gaps. But we will start to see more analyst types coming into recruiting. There are already a few good ones out there.
What is the next generation of recruitment marketing? Where/how does this category evolve?
Chris: Today, most organizations are still focused on the first hurdle of recruitment marketing, which is creating a strategy to capture and nurture leads. They are working to create their employer brands and EVPs and just starting to adopt lead generation and nurturing strategies of capturing talent outside the apply process through their recruitment marketing strategies.
With these strategies in place, it provides organizations with thousands of new warm leads to nurture and use to fill today’s jobs. And that brings with it the opportunity of context. Recruitment marketing, done well, will give employers more and more information on each candidate from their profile information, but also their interactions with content and other marketing channels. So it will then be about how we can provide candidates with the most valuable content to keep them warm while being able to identify the best candidate leads for current jobs. In short, the next generation of recruitment marketing is not about the sheer capture of leads, but about how we use data to better serve and identify the best leads.
Kyle: I think we’ll see an increased demand for recruitment marketing capabilities and skills on talent acquisition teams. Whether it’s systems administrators, brand managers, community managers, or even data analysts, there are already enterprise organizations adding specialized employees and leaders onto their talent acquisition teams. We’ll only continue to see this play out as the value of having dedicated headcount managing strategic, omni-channel marketing functions is pretty significant. That’s because not every recruiter wants to be a marketer – many want to focus on sourcing, on executive recruiting, on any of the more traditional elements of talent acquisition. I think it was iCIMS that published research based on a survey of their clients that found 56% of recruiters and HR professionals want nothing to do with employer brand or recruitment marketing. But talent attraction and engagement are too important to leave on the to-do list for another day – and the best companies are making investments (in technology and in specialized recruitment marketing pros) to get ahead of the curve.
Our company is interested in capturing talent information prior to their completion of an application, but the risk seems too high on the front end. Are there additional programs you’ve seen to be successful thus far in this process?
Chris: When you think of a talent network, the big takeaway is to set the right expectations with candidates. This is not part of the application process and it’s about capturing simple contact information like name, email address and more job family. Then you can capture more information over time and see what they are interacting with. It’s a fairly simple process and low barrier of entry. If the candidates want to opt out, they can. That’s the beauty of allowing candidates to opt in to communications, before they control their interest.
What we’ve seen is ton of success of organizations implementing talent networks in the apply flow. CH2M has built a database of more than 300,000 leads, and one of their most successful recruitment marketing initiatives ever was to add the talent network form within the apply flow. SmashFly found that 97% of talent network opt-ins happen within the apply flow before the application vs. a standalone form on the site. It’s a quick and big win for organizations especially in terms of building talent pipelines.
Kyle: I think it can be as simple as messaging here. “Want to learn more but aren’t ready to apply? Enter your email.” The risk is relatively low. They are self-identifying an email and name to keep in touch and it’s very straightforward and has nothing to do with compliance. I haven’t heard anything about compliance challenges or issues when asking leads to opt in to a talent network.