recruitment with wheres waldo

The Path to Hired | Combining HR and Marketing for Better Job Candidates

Do you feel as if hiring a qualified job candidate is like trying to find Waldo in a sea of people wearing red and white stripes? Is your organization overspending as you try to recruit top talent in a tight job market?

It’s a brand-new world for the human resources department. HR and hiring managers have an increasingly difficult job to do, and your company could benefit from taking a step back and evaluating its approach to hiring.

If you’re still posting jobs the old-fashioned way, it’s time to consider a fresh strategy … one that uses modern marketing to attract, win, and retain better employees. The question is, should you expect your HR department to understand how to craft marketing messages, establish a culture that resonates with job candidates, use digital platforms, and analyze the results of your employment ads?

Human resources departments are already overwhelmed with day-to-day duties. But, what if you got help launching a recruitment strategy that makes things more efficient and effective?

Challenges for HR and Hiring Managers

It’s a job seeker’s market. Unemployment is low, job vacancies are high, and there is a scarcity of talent across industries. Even during the Great Recession, many employers said it was difficult to find qualified candidates with the right skills. Making things even more challenging for recruiters, job hopping is becoming more likely as employees keep their eyes open for opportunities to make more money or improve their quality of life.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that younger workers averaged more than seven jobs between the ages of 18 and 28. That’s an average of less than 18 months at every job.

According to a study sponsored by enterprise software company SAP, 97 percent of U.S. HR managers say identifying qualified talent is the toughest part of recruiting. 82 percent say they’re overwhelmed by having to manage numerous job postings on multiple platforms.

It’s clear that human resources professionals are feeling the pressure and looking for some outside help. To ease the pain, many organizations are paying talent placement and recruitment agencies, hoping that these third parties will have more luck locating candidates to fill job vacancies.

It may seem like money well spent. But, are you getting a return on that investment?

Analyzing Your Recruitment Efforts

You need web savvy people to evaluate your recruitment efforts. Yet, most HR professionals don’t have the time or experience to review reporting and analytics from the services you use.

When Element’s clients ask for help with recruitment, one of the first things we do is audit their current efforts. Are their employment ads working? Is the staffing agency bringing in enough qualified candidates? Does the website make it easy to apply or contact hiring mangers?

Unfortunately, the answer is often, “no way.”

In one case, a client in the construction industry had paid a talent agency $150,000 in the first quarter. That investment resulted in just five new hires, which means the cost of the agency alone was $30,000 per hire.

In another case, a client was paying tens-of-thousands of dollars on employment ads and our analysis showed those ads produced zero qualified candidates.

Think about what else could have been done with the budget wasted on these unproductive talent acquisition efforts. If you’re going to devote that much money to recruitment, make sure it works.

Internal recruitment processes can also be flawed. For example, we helped one client streamline the application process for certain jobs. Candidates for entry-level manual labor were being required to upload a professional résumé to apply. But, it would be highly unlikely for such candidates to have résumés. We created a simple and effective 12-question online form instead.

We also made sure it was mobile friendly, allowing applicants to apply using smartphones. That’s crucial because more people are using their phones for everything. Pew Research found 95 percent of Americans own mobile phones while 73 percent own laptops and desktop computers. People expect your application process to be mobile friendly.

Recruitment from a Marketer’s Perspective

Recruiting new employees in today’s always on, always changing, digital world requires creativity and strategy. We believe applying a marketer’s mindset is the best way to develop solutions.

When the power is in the hands of the job seeker – and it usually is if you’re talking about top talent – you need to think of job candidates in the same way you think about converting prospects into loyal customers. That’s exactly how Element operates when we advise our clients on recruiting.

With customer-focused marketing, we create personas, analyze the competition, and develop a strategy that stands out and attracts the right job prospects.

In a recruitment marketing strategy, the personas are your ideal candidates. We form an integrated marketing plan that guides people from initially researching job opportunities to accepting an offer. Plus, we help you develop a company culture that builds a dedicated workforce made up of people who stick around. Customers have a buyer’s journey or path-to-purchase. New employees follow a job candidate’s journey – or a path-to-getting-hired.

Recruitment marketing goes far beyond online job boards and a social media post or two. It requires a cohesive approach involving Owned, Earned, Shared, and Paid medias.four media types for content marketing

Owned Media: What kind of user experience does your website provide? Can people engage with content and apply using a smartphone? Are you telling the right stories and expressing your organization’s values up front? Do you need a microsite for recruitment and job applications?

Earned Media: This involves both public and community relations. How is your company viewed by the public and portrayed in the media? Are people aware of how you contribute to the community as an employer and as a supporter of worthy causes? Is it easy for job candidates to see how your organization gives back?

Shared Media: Social media is the new word of mouth. What are people saying about your business? Are you doing things that are worth sharing with others? When prospective employees look for you on social media, what will they find?

Paid Media: This could mean more than employment ads. It could also be targeted paid campaigns to raise awareness around causes, events, and content. But, targeting the right audience is key, otherwise you’ll waste your money.

All four of these media types need to work together if you want the best chance of creating an effective journey for candidates to experience on a job hunt.

Why Culture is King

The truth is, a good recruitment marketing strategy can only get you so far.

I’m a big believer in the power of having a strong workplace culture. Element’s unique culture is something we’ve meaningfully worked towards creating and building upon over the years.

Our social media team effectively showcases the agency’s culture on our Facebook page, using it to highlight projects, show our expertise, celebrate employees, and display our personality. Nearly every recent job candidate has mentioned our culture and what they saw on Facebook during interviews.

Element’s workplace culture has even been a deciding factor for some rock star candidates who were weighing their options regarding area job opportunities in marketing and advertising.

But here’s the catch … just as you have to deliver on the promises you make to potential customers, you must follow through on what you’re promising potential new hires.

Authenticity is key! If a job prospect shows up for an interview only to discover a lackluster corporate culture, it’s the same as false advertising. You can post pictures of people in funny hats with Nerf guns on your Facebook page, but what happens after they encounter depressed drones in a sea of cubicles during the company tour?

How do you think a job candidate would feel picking up a greasy phone to get buzzed into a cramped lobby with a few faded photos on the wall and a grumpy receptionist at the front desk? They’re probably thinking, “Do I really want to spend 40 hours of my week at this place?”

Now, imagine candidates walking into your building and it’s well-lit and welcoming, decorated with inspirational environmental graphics, upbeat music is playing over the intercom, and everyone greets them with smiles and handshakes.

Remember, you’re not the only one forming first impressions during job interviews. Ultimately, one of the most important questions your job candidates ask is “Do people like me work at places like this?”

Can a Marketing Agency Help You Attract the Right People?

Maybe you’re a CEO who needs help defining and improving company culture. Or, perhaps you need to give your human resources department some secret weapons working behind the scenes to make recruitment more effective.

Bring in Element to advise and plan your recruitment strategy, and you’ll get something much different than the services staffing agencies provide.

  1. Audit of current recruitment efforts: We’ll dig in and look at the data to see what’s working for you and what isn’t.
  2. Competitive analysis: We’ll find out what you’re up against in your search for new hires. That could include organizations outside your industry competing for the same talent.
  3. Recruitment strategy: We’ll define your audience and develop an integrated plan to attract and retain the right people.
  4. Persuasive postings: Whether it’s on LinkedIn or Indeed, trade magazines or the local paper – we have copywriters who can craft job postings and employment ads that stand out. Then, we can work with HR to help manage them for you, too.
  5. Defining and developing culture: We’ll come up with creative ways to make your organization a place where people are excited to come to work and feel proud to be employed with you.

There has been a complete transformation in the way we communicate, and it not only impacts the way you reach customers, it impacts the way you connect with employees and build a successful company.

Contact Element today to find out more about how we can work together on big ideas that boost your bottom line!

Image Credit: By William Murphy from Dublin, Ireland – Where’s Wally World Record (where you there?), CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37141514

Lance PeroutkaPrincipal/Agency Director