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Peppermint hot chocolate. Cold spells. Saturday movie marathons. Car rides by that one house that goes all out with the holiday lights. The charms of December are in full force. Along with all this holiday cheer, the season brings one question that keeps children everywhere up at night until the 25th: Who made Santa’s nice list? This year, children aren’t the only ones who should worry. Word on the street is that Santa isn’t thrilled with everything he’s seen in recruitment marketing this year.

But, fear not, talent acquisition friends. While at a recent trade show at the North Pole, I snuck a peek at Santa’s (recruitment marketing) naughty & nice lists. Take a look and find out if you’re getting a lump of coal or five gold rings next Monday.

 

The Naughty List

 

Not replying to candidates: Ok, this one’s just mean. And we all know where mean gets you—yup, the naughty list. Candidates spend a lot of time researching your company, updating their resumes, writing cover letters, applying to your jobs and, likely, excitedly worrying about when they’ll hear back. Not responding to them is the ultimate slap in the face after they put in all that time and effort. On top of that, it reflects so poorly on your own company, recruiters and candidate experience. Sadly, it’s not uncommon. As many as 82% of job applications go without a response. Candidates won’t be selected for every job they apply for. It’s a fact. And you’re probably sitting there thinking, “I know, I know.” So change! There’s a big difference between a personalized (or even automated!) rejection letter featuring a call-to-action for your talent network, and silence.

 

Not being mobile friendly: Not having a mobile friendly application process in 2017 equates to being the kid who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus. The general apathy is what secures the spot on the naughty list. In a world where over half of all web traffic comes from smartphones, there’s no denying that candidates are researching your company, learning about your culture, and even applying to your jobs from their smartphones. So, make their lives easier. Optimize your entire candidate experience, from discovery to application, for mobile. That doesn’t mean making your 8-paragraph long job descriptions fit on a mobile screen or simply having the log-in to your application mobile-friendly. It means thinking through a better, simpler, quicker experience entirely: shorter, bulleted job descriptions; fast-loading images; easy navigation; less content for less scrolling; ability to apply with LinkedIn; a call-to-action for your talent network so you can capture candidates’ email address and interest.  Put yourself in your candidates’ shoes and the rest should come easy.

 

Job-spam social channels: Think of this as the kid who’s behaved badly all year, but steps it up around Thanksgiving. It’s the kid who could have done worse, but is ultimately still destined for a lump of coal. Having dedicated career handles for your brand on social is a huge step in the right direction, but simply having them doesn’t do anything. And only sending job reqs is likely hurting you more than helping you (hello, naughty list!), depending on your audience. Mix in some employer brand content. Share employee stories. Be funny. Curate other content from publications your audience finds interesting and credible. Be a leader. Social is an opportunity to connect with candidates in an informal, personal way. Make the most of it.

 

The Nice List

 

Artificial Intelligence: Ah, AI. Artificial Intelligence is the favorite child. You know, the kid who is, without a doubt, going to receive everything on his wish list. Over the course of 2017, AI has been positioned as everything from recruiting’s savior to its downfall. So, what’s the deal? Once you cut through the noise, it’s clear that AI has brought positive change to recruiting—from helping eliminate unconscious bias to personalizing the candidate experience to cutting down on recruiters’ time on repetitive admin tasks. Anyone who understands how to use this technology to help both recruiters and candidates is at the top of Santa’s nice list.

 

Authentic, Useful Employer Brands: Honesty is a surefire way to earn yourself a top spot on the nice list, and the same goes for your employer brand. Leading with an authentic employer brand – think your employees’ words, not yours; think the truth, both great and not so great; think purposeful and useful and bigger than your company –enables candidates to determine if they will fit, and stay at, your company. Transparency means the wrong people screen themselves out and the right people screen themselves in. Showcase employee stories. Take real photos of your actual team. Share your philanthropy. Highlight your perks through how people utilize them, not a bulleted list. Get your CEO talking. Always be human and authentic! Santa knows when you’re not.

 

Personalized Nurture: So, if not replying to candidates earns you a spot on the naughty list, making them feel important is a foolproof path to the nice list. Nurturing candidates across the entire candidate journey with relevant, personalized content shows them you care. So, send them emails about how their skills match to your jobs and teams. Invite them to recruiting events based on their location. Send them interview tips once they’ve passed the phone screen. It’s a lot of work, but it goes a long way. And, with some CRM automation at play, it’s as easy as bringing a store-bought pie to the family holiday party.

So, you have the inside scoop. If you’ve earned yourself a spot on the nice list, I hope Santa is good to you. If not? Well, 2018 is right around the corner.

 

 

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