How do you approach recruitment marketing? Perhaps you post about your latest vacancy on a jobs board like Indeed, or on your business’s social media accounts? It’s very easy to go through the motions of getting the word out there, but if you want any chance of attracting top talent that you know will add value to your business, the process becomes more complex and more expensive.
The likelihood is that you want to hire someone who fits within your work culture, will be engaged at work and is going to stick around to help you grow your business. However, when smaller businesses employ 60% of private-sector workers, there’s no shortage of competition out there. To find the ‘right’ candidate for your business, you need to know what to look out for, but you also need to understand how to convey your business’s story effectively.
This article aims to demystify what it takes to run a successful recruitment marketing campaign, and gives you helpful tips on where to start. It offers a contextual overview of recruitment marketing and what you need to consider before starting the hiring process. If you need help developing a recruitment marketing campaign, click on our article here.
How recruitment marketing works: another branch of digital marketing
Much like digital marketing, there isn’t a quick fix to run a successful recruitment marketing campaign. As a general rule in any digital marketing, your content is only as strong as the weakest link. For example, if you’ve created a lot of articles with perfect search engine optimisation (SEO) over time, but don’t post about the articles on your social platforms, you’re missing a whole pool of potential readers. Likewise, if you’re publishing content on a website with a poor user experience (UX), those clicking through to your site from social media are unlikely to stick around to convert.
In a recent study, 48% of people responded that the quality of a website is the primary determining factor of a business’s credibility, and 38% will stop engaging with the site if its layout or content is unattractive. Your aim should be to ensure that your online presence and branding is watertight to ensure any potential candidates researching your company have a seamless online experience and see your business as credible.
Setting up an engaging website dedicated to information about your business’s employee value proposition (EVP) is an effective means of appealing to potential candidates and communicating to them about why they should seek employment at your organisation. You can read more about how to shape your EVP further down in the article.
Competition for top talent
Competition for top-quality candidates is fierce. 76% of recruitment decision-makers say that attracting quality talent is their first priority, which means that the majority of businesses are after the same thing, so there might not be enough seasoned candidates to go round. However, this isn’t the end of the world if you’re committed to putting in some quality ongoing development and training. Plus, more experienced candidates are going to expect a higher salary, and so are more expensive to hire in the first place. You can find out how to create an employee development programme here.
You also need to decide what’s going to best for your business. Ask yourself: do you need an input of experience that will increase your internal resources but most likely cost more? Or do you base your recruitment on a candidate’s attitude and how they fit with the culture, but possibly lack experience (in which case you supply training through your employee development programme)?
There’s no right answer for this. You have to take each position on a case by case basis in line with your business strategy. If you haven’t looked at your business strategy recently, you can find out more here.
Experience isn’t everything
What do you consider to be ‘top talent’? If you envision your perfect candidate, they probably have years of experience behind them and can prove that they produce results. However, if you’re searching for a candidate purely based on their prior experience, you’re writing off a big pool of potential talent who have the skills but don’t necessarily have direct experience in the role you’re advertising for.
The candidate with all that experience you think your business needs might not be the right fit within your work culture. Hiring a candidate with transferable skills and experience, and is the right ‘fit’ for your business is likely to be a much better addition to your team than someone with an abundance of direct experience, but who doesn’t align to your work culture and values.
Use the EOS model
The EOS model identifies ‘people’ as one of the main six components that have to be managed and strengthened to build a great business, alongside vision, traction, issues, process and data. If you hire people who not only have the right skills and experience but are the right ‘fit’ for your culture and values, they’re going to make a much more valuable contribution to your business and its customers.
Don’t make the mistake of hiring someone who is ‘right’ for the job, but who is also out of sync with your business’s culture and values, making work much harder than it needs to be. For example, if you hire a website developer who prefers to work independently, but your company culture values teamwork and collaboration, they are going to disrupt the balance.
If you need more assistance in identifying your recruitment requirements, read our short article here.
Culture is more important than you think
Work culture isn’t just a case of having the occasional office takeaway or having regular social outings. It’s connected with every component of your business and how it functions. Your culture is a product of your ‘why’, which is a product of your values, which is ultimately a product of you.
Before we go into more depth on culture, first let us explain what it actually is. Whilst we all use the word culture in our day to day rhetoric, sometimes the meaning can be lost in translation.
Use the Hedgehog Concept
You can apply Jim Collins’ ‘hedgehog’ concept to your hiring strategy. It consists of three principles: what you’re passionate about, what you can be the best at, and what drives your economic engine. The concept suggests that you need an intersection of the three for a business to be more likely to succeed. Hiring someone whose principles are similar to the company’s will only increase this fortification. The crossover between the three principles is one way of defining your company culture.
So what does company culture mean for your business?
Only 12% of executives believe that their company is driving the right culture. While this could be a sign of widespread lousy work cultures, it could also be symptomatic of poor recruitment practices across the board. The remaining 88% of executives who don’t think their work culture is right might simply be in the ‘right’ job, but the ‘wrong’ environment, which doesn’t suit them.
Hiring staff who fit well within your business’s work culture and share the same values are more likely to be engaged at work. Only 13% of employees are highly engaged at work, and 26% are actively disengaged, suggesting many employees are not employed within a culture that suits them. Hiring candidates who match your business’s work culture are going to be happier at work, and happy workers are 12% more productive. Ultimately, if you don’t invest time in establishing an attractive work culture, you’re stifling the growth of your business.
One of the most significant aspects of this is ensuring there are enough development opportunities. 32% of people leaving jobs cited a lack of promotional opportunities as their reason for leaving. To find out how much your business is losing from employee turnover, have a go at our quick online employee turnover cost calculator.
Company culture promoting accountability
It’s worth bearing in mind that although culture arguably has the biggest impact on engagement, an employee’s level of engagement can also be indicative of work ethic. If you’ve got a fantastic work culture, you need to know that you can rely on your employees to be engaged. This actually contributes to your culture, too. If you can rely on your employees, you know they are accountable and trustworthy.
Click here to find out how to determine how engaged a candidate is before making them a job offer.
By establishing a positive work culture based on your values which you portray in your recruitment marketing, you’re more likely to receive applications from candidates who identify with your way of working. If you still get an array of applicants who have varying degrees of suitability to your culture, you need to be astute in the interview process and ask the right questions to determine each candidate’s values, and what culture they’re best suited to.
Here are some examples of how you can ask better questions
Ask candidates questions alluding to what they know about your company culture. This will give you an idea about how much research they did before attending the interview and how they see themselves fitting in with your business’s work environment. However, this will only be effective if you have disclosed enough about your company culture and values through your recruitment marketing and digital marketing in general.
Ask about your candidates’ values. This allows you to compare the values of your business to the values of the interviewees to see if they align. For example, if the candidate expresses that they’re passionate about taking care of the environment, and your company raises money for environmental charities, gives out reusable bottles to recruits and has in-office recycling facilities, you share a common cause. Hiring that person as opposed to someone who throws all their plastic in the bin rather than recycling will probably fit better within the company culture.
Find out what candidates expect from you. As mentioned previously, almost a third of those leaving their jobs do so because of a lack of development opportunities. However, even if you see your company as providing great development opportunities, your idea of development might be different from theirs. Ensuring that you both understand how the candidate can progress within your company is crucial for lowering turnover and increasing retention.
If you’re struggling to attract the right applicants to your job postings, click on our short article for practical advice.
Storytelling, brand awareness and Employee Value Propositions
Having an exceptional work culture is all well and good, but in order to attract top talent, you need to be able to convey how great it is throughout your recruitment marketing. This is where storytelling comes in. Encapsulating what your business’s culture constitutes, as well as the values and benefits you offer, means you’re more likely to inspire more of the ‘right’ job seekers to apply for the vacancy than a simplistic job description would do.
This includes spending time figuring out your employee value proposition (EVP) and how you want to include it in your storytelling. EVPs consist of more than just salary package, and various perks like discounted gym memberships, etc., the EVP you offer is a reflection of you and your values, so it needs to ‘communicate’ something attractive or desirable about your business at a glance. It’s all well and good ‘saying’ that you do the following things when you hire a new recruit, but if you don’t follow through you’ll no doubt leave the new employee with a bad experience and a lack of trust.
Ask yourself: Are you able to offer flexible working? What are your ongoing development and training opportunities? Do you offer benefits such as discounts that promote health and wellbeing? These are some examples of what can be incorporated into you EVP which promotes a positive work culture. Do the employees have a say in what benefits they would like within the business? For example, what type of work social they take part in?
Brand awareness is the underlying factor that gives the things that define your business a platform to stand on. It takes 5 to 7 impressions before people start retaining any brand awareness, but only 10 seconds for them to form an opinion about your brand. It’s therefore critical that your recruitment marketing is consistent with your wider branding, and that wider branding effectively conveys your values, your ‘why’, and what makes you a competitive employee (alongside your EVP and culture).
What can you do?
If you’ve read the first half of the article, you’ll know why it’s vital that every aspect of your approach to recruitment marketing is informed, consistent with your branding and backed up by a solid and effective digital presence across all platforms. But how do you achieve it?
In the next section of the article, we’ll present you with practical tips for running a successful recruitment marketing campaign. It is worth noting that if you’re attempting your own recruitment marketing, but struggle with your digital marketing in general, you could well need expert assistance.
Recruitment marketing funnel
The aim of your recruitment marketing should be to get a good selection of quality candidates through the recruitment marketing funnel, which details each step of the recruitment process. Every step is essential, but it’s more difficult to control the first couple of steps without putting in a significant amount of work.
The stages are as follows:
Awareness > Interest > Active search > Application > Evaluation > Hire
The remaining section of the article breaks these stages down and advises you on what approach you can take to each step.
Without brand awareness, job seekers aren’t going to identify with your values or culture because they simply don’t know.
How much brand awareness you will need to maximise the talent pool depends on the job role. More highly skilled job roles will have a smaller pool and are also harder to attract in the first place. 72.8% of employers find it difficult to find skilled candidates. The majority of top talent will already be in a role and won’t be actively searching, so the question you have to ask yourself is, how are you going to get your message in front of these people? That’s why many head to LinkedIn as a tool. Find out more about how you can utilise LinkedIn effectively here.
Once you’ve generated interest, you need to maintain and fuel it. Ensure information about who you are, what you do, and what drives your business and its values is easily accessible. Company culture is a big selling point, so implementing storytelling to showcase your culture and EVP at its best is key.
Can you make the job itself attractive? Employees are likely to be attracted to a job if they know they’ve got opportunities to learn and progress within the job.
Active search is the deciding stage at which a job seeker will either decide they want to apply for a role in your company or apply for the same role with a different employer. It’s essential that you have published in-depth information on the role and your company and what makes them attractive.
Moreover, potential candidates are likely to seek out reviews left by old employees, or contact employees on LinkedIn to inquire about what it’s like to work for you, what the opportunities are like, if the role is engaging, etc. This is something you don’t have as much control over- a disgruntled ex-employee could easily leave an unflattering review on platforms like LinkedIn.
To avoid this, you need to make sure the people you hire are a great match for your culture, and you deliver on promises of progression, as well as a variety of other factors you can effect that make their job enjoyable and engaging, and positive relationships are maintained.
If you’re a small company that hasn’t done any recruiting before, this is still just as relevant for you. The people you want to recruit now are the people future candidates will seek out to gain an insight into what it’s like to work for you. The actions you take now will undoubtedly have a long-term impact on your recruitment marketing.
There are a lot of job seekers out there applying for jobs only to hear nothing back. Even if you choose not to interview a candidate, sending an email to notify them that they haven’t reached the next stage but thanking them for their time and providing a little feedback can go a long way for your reputation, and avoids unsuccessful candidates spreading a negative impression about your business.
It’s also good practice to send an email confirming when an application has been received and providing a time-frame in which candidates will hear back. Make sure that you keep this window reasonably short- 90% of recruiters say they’re working within a candidate-driven market, so moving quickly is crucial for recruiting the best in-demand talent.
Evaluating applications and choosing who to hire following interviews can be a time-consuming process without a solid strategy in place.
One way is to create a colour-coded checklist. You can use a traffic light system to define who meets the most crucial categories.
For example, decide what are the most important for you out of company culture fit, skills or experience. E.g. culture: green, skills: amber, experience: red.
As you go through the applications and then interviews, you can create a tally under each colour category, determining which candidates are the best fit for the role and your company- this is also a great way to avoid unconscious bias in the candidate selection process.
It might also be a good idea to note down your initial impressions of a candidate when interviewing them. This way, you can confront your own implicit bias which might cause you to overlook great talent.
Not convinced by implicit bias? Harvard and Princeton researchers found that blind auditions increased the likelihood that a female musician would be hired from 25% to 46%. Essentially, what you’re conditioned to think success looks or sounds like could incur you to make a decision born of unconscious prejudice.
Find out more about what makes a good candidate selection process here.
Now you know how to avoid the pitfalls of evaluating candidates, hiring should be the most straightforward step. By creating a structure to evaluate each candidate fairly, hiring is simply a case of choosing a candidate who fulfils the criteria of the role and fits in well with the company culture.
Be conscious of not hesitating too long to long before offering the right person a job- they might take hesitation as a rejection and opt for another offer- if they’re top talent, other businesses will be quick to pick up on them.
From this point, your onboarding process also begins. This next step is equally as vital as hiring. A well-structured onboarding process means that recruits are 69% more likely to remain at the company for up to three years. This will lower the cost related to high turnover and improve your overall company culture (as employees who don’t stay long will create a feeling of impermanence for the rest of the staff). To find out about how to create an effective induction process, read our short article here.
Recruitment marketing is an essential part of any business’s growth. Without implementing a well-planned structure to your recruitment process, you’re unlikely to attract and hire the best possible candidates. Hopefully, this article has given you much to think about and apply into your own recruiting process. If you need any help in executing effective recruitment marketing, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
KUB has extensive experience in helping businesses grow. If you’re interested in improving your recruitment marketing and process, get in touch by calling 0333 050 9053 or email [email protected].