Hiring the best people is your most important task – Steve Jobs
The world of talent acquisition has perhaps come leaps and bounds since the late Steve Jobs made this claim. However, the truth in his observation has never been more apparent than it is today – especially when it comes to attracting Gen Z talent. The competition for early careers talent has been intense, with most employers struggling to attract this new informed cohort through previously ‘tried-and-tested’ traditional recruitment strategies. And this highlights a significant point.
Organisations need to identify that prospective candidates are customers too, and they deserved to be treated as such. And that defines the essence of recruitment marketing.
What is Recruitment Marketing?
Recruitment Marketing is a modern approach to talent attraction that combines the conventional process of recruitment with strategic marketing that lets organisations source, manage and nurture the best talent. In other words, recruitment marketing is an approach that adds value to your overall talent acquisition process.
While it has undoubtedly been an HR buzzword for a few years, we can’t stress this enough: Recruitment Marketing is not a passing fad. If anything, it is the evolution of a somewhat stagnant traditional hiring process that desperately required improvement. Suffice to say, it’s a paradigm shift that’s here to stay.
Why is recruitment marketing so crucial for early careers recruiters?
It’s common knowledge that traditional recruitment follows a five-stage funnel process:
- Advertising the role
- Sourcing applications
- Shortlisting candidates and interviewing them
- Making the offer; and
- Eventually hiring a candidate that fits the brief
Hardcore recruiters might argue that it’s a process that has been successful for decades; so why change?
The reason comes down to the new breed of candidates that form the Gen Z cohort. To reach out to this new talent, recruiters need to cut through the noise, and this is where traditional tactics lack effectiveness because of their reactive nature. Add to this the fact that a large portion of Gen Z comprises passive job seekers, who need that extra push.
Our recent research – The State of Careers Education 2019 – found that almost 86% of students had a good idea of what they want to do when they leave school. This clearly indicates the need for employers to engage earlier with this new group. And that’s where recruitment marketing can make a real difference.
If implemented correctly, recruitment marketing can:
- Convert passive candidates into interested applicants
- Build robust talent pipelines with engaged candidates
- Accelerate your hiring process by reducing time-to-hire and increasing the quality of hire.
- Strengthen your employer branding and help you be an employer of choice; and much more.
The Early Careers Recruitment Marketing Blueprint
This rapid rise of recruitment marketing means that recruiters of today need to start thinking more like marketers. A good recruitment marketing strategy, therefore, is SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.
We believe that there are three elements to building a strong recruitment marketing strategy for early careers talent acquisition.
Increase brand awareness to attract the right talent
For your recruitment marketing strategy to be successful, you need to think of all prospective talent as customers – not just the ones who apply. This means that factors such as Employer Branding and Employee Value Proposition automatically become a crucial part of this process.
Research has shown that 60% of young people struggle to remember who they’ve encountered as part of their career exploration. Therefore, communicating your employer brand in a way that grabs attention, is credible, perceived to be important and delivered in a way that young people can understand and relate to is critical today.
So, how do you improve brand awareness and pique the interest of young students who are already gearing up to make decisions about the career pathways they are eager to explore and follow? A sure shot way is to get your employer brand into the classrooms early through dedicated company profile pages that tell your story and through managed content such as careers broadcasts that showcase your various career paths. Both of these can help kickstart the conversion process from ‘passive students’ to interested prospective candidates.
Make every engagement count
Thanks to technology, Gen Z is a cohort that has multiple touchpoints with your brand – from careers pages to social media, and even peer-reviews. This means that you have the opportunity to proactively connect and engage with them through numerous channels. However, it’s quite crucial not to succumb to the ‘pressure’ of reactive recruitment at this stage and advertise to these prospective candidates right away.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to identify the most promising cohort of talent – ones that can potentially be the future torchbearers of your organisation and brand. So, while there may be immediate roles to fill, pay more heed to long-term engagement and identifying personas that can help you target the right group of candidates smartly.
That’s where company talent pools come to your rescue. Talent pools bring to light the need for a candidate engagement and candidate relationship management – often even before they reach the ‘active applicant’ status. It has perhaps been the norm for most recruiters to overlook the extra candidate information that CVs often contain, such as hobbies, interests and skills. However, talent pools offer the opportunity to use all of this information to build a ‘data-rich’ candidate persona.
This then enables you to go beyond customary (and often, impersonal) ‘hello’ messages and standard job adverts and effectively engage with prospects through personalised emails and opportunity notifications that matter to them. And that’s where the real magic happens because it sets the tone for spectacular candidate experience.
Nurture, Grow, Track Progress. Repeat.
By this stage, you’re well and truly on your way to having an active and informed talent pipeline. But how do you nurture and grow this pipeline, while ensuring they stay engaged? The answer lies in the numbers.
The adage – Data is King (or Queen) – is not without reason. Building and maintaining long-term relationships with candidates rely on both the quality and type of data you’ve collected as part of your talent pool onboarding, as well as during your various interactions with them. Use this wealth of data to build your nurture campaigns – including blog posts, email newsletters, social media content and more.
However, this is only the beginning. To truly succeed at your recruitment marketing efforts, you need to be able to measure it, track it and understand how it impacts your organisation’s strategic goals. You need to be able to connect the dots for your entire pipeline – from attraction to hire. And this includes your CSR programmes and school outreach activities – events that have historically been difficult to track.
Therefore a vital part of your recruitment strategy should involve ‘going beyond the basic metrics’, so to speak. Utilise digital solutions such as Springpod’s event tracking to measure the success of your CSR and outreach events. Pinpoint your efforts on revising engagement strategy and make data-backed decisions with advanced analytics that give you access to granular data. Remember, every bit of data you collect helps you create exceptional nurture campaigns and grow that talent pipeline.
So, what does this mean for your existing hiring strategy?
Never before have intangible benchmarks like brand and culture been more critical than when vying for the attention of the young talent of today. The way we see it recruitment marketing doesn’t replace your existing talent acquisition process. What it does is help your overall process evolve, bringing it up to speed with the changing needs of the new generation of talent.
Recruitment marketing simply offers a more efficient path to your end goal of attracting the best talent to your workplace – by marketing to them at the right time. And that could make all the difference in the ‘recruitment battle’ for early careers talent.