How Recruitment Marketing Strategy Can Improve Candidate Experience

How vital is candidate experience to a company’s recruitment marketing strategy? Look no further than a Talent Board study that listed the top three reasons candidates end the application process: disrespect of time (37 percent), poor recruiter rapport (32 percent), and length of the hiring process (29 percent).

Those numbers point to how pivotal creating a positive candidate experience is in attracting qualified, top-tier applicants. Candidates these days can be highly selective, exiting the talent funnel at the first sign of trouble. A customized, memorable experience keeps companies competitive and their talent pipelines brimming. Candidate experience should be a critical element of marketing your company and strengthening brand perception.

The candidate experience in recruiting should provide a picture of not only the duties and responsibilities of a role but also the culture, mission, and values of an organization. It should answer common questions: “What happens after I apply?” “When will I hear back?” “How many steps are involved in the hiring process?” It should set expectations and provide a realistic preview of how candidates move from one phase to the next in the hiring process.

A thoughtful, transparent, and candidate-friendly application experience can be a valuable part of any company’s marketing strategy. Finding the tools and tactics to round that approach into form is essential.

Creating a Positive Candidate Experience With Marketing

Even when you think you’ve perfected your candidate experience, perception doesn’t always match reality. A PricewaterhouseCoopers study found that 49 percent of candidates in high-demand fields turn down job offers due to a poor experience as an applicant.

Employing the right recruitment marketing strategies ensures everyone knows what to expect from the start. These tactics reduce any uncertainty or confusion during the critical stages of the candidate journey where talent can easily be lost. The right candidate marketing strategies also allow you to showcase why someone should choose your organization over other options.

You always want to build a foundation of trust with candidates. That’s what happens when you focus your marketing efforts on candidate experience. You develop a bond with those “right fit” candidates as they learn who you are as a business and why your company is the right fit for them.

How to Improve the Candidate Experience During Recruitment

Given all of this information, it’s natural to wonder how you can go about creating a positive candidate experience that will resonate with top-notch talent. Here are six places to start.

1. Spotlight the process in a variety of ways.

Not everyone consumes information the same way. And with that comes the need to vary the delivery format of essential information during the hiring process.

Besides telling candidates what to expect—both in the recruitment process and while on the job—consider incorporating educational content such as blog posts, infographics, and videos into your recruitment marketing strategy. A human-interest piece from an applicant’s perspective can also help pique the interest of potential hires and create a more marketable candidate experience.

Our company regularly features this type of content in our digital ads and on social media, educating while driving talent to our website.

2. Keep communication consistent during the process.

Clear and regular communication is essential to creating a positive candidate experience. As often as possible, keep talent informed on all subsequent steps and provide a rough estimate of the timing.

Let candidates currently in the queue know when to expect a response and consider communicating all pertinent information across different mediums. Email is an obvious choice, but you might also employ automated messaging, chatbots, and text messaging to be even more responsive while supporting the variety of communication preferences modern candidates have.

Many companies now use automated communication platforms, 24/7 live chat support, and help desk ticketing systems to meet the urgency people often feel during the application process.

3. Humanize the experience.

As the world gets more automated, it’s easy to lose that human element in our day-to-day interactions. Even when talent prefers to handle everything digitally, there are still opportunities for warmth and humanity within the candidate experience during recruitment.

Automation and other recruitment technology shouldn’t be reserved for only rare occasions, though. You can’t beat the speed and immediacy it affords your candidate engagement activities. But you still must ensure all messaging and visuals support your brand and effectively convey the culture candidates will be joining while building a relationship with your candidates. Each touchpoint is an opportunity to strengthen the foundation.

4. Leverage testimonials.

People trust people more than brands. If employee testimonials aren’t already part of your recruitment marketing strategy, you’re missing an opportunity to connect with job seekers on a more impactful level.

Share employee experiences with candidates, connect them with people on the floor, and never forget to capture feedback on the entire recruitment process to improve your candidate engagement strategies continually. You’ll never be able to spot any gaps if you fail to ask for this valuable feedback.

5. Customize the candidate journey.

Candidates are consumers. And like consumers, they want customized experiences during the recruitment process.

Make sure you have a solid candidate engagement platform. This allows you to tailor the experience to suit each person’s preferences. At the very least, choose recruitment technology that offers candidates a choice in the type and frequency of communication on job applications as well as career opportunities that fit specific criteria. The move will help in personalizing interactions and creating a positive candidate experience.

6. Align the candidate and employee experience.

The candidate experience should be a window into the employee experience. If one falls short, you’re doing a disservice to all parties involved—including your business.

Make sure talent truly experiences what it would be like to be an employee. We go as far as providing virtual reality job previews for many of our positions. This ensures candidates feel confident they know what to expect on day one. Conversely, make sure the employee experience matches all the pomp and circumstance of the candidate experience in the recruitment process.

Otherwise, people won’t stay. They’ll likely also spread the word, damaging your reputation with other potential recruits. Own all facets of your business and see it through from start to finish.

The importance of candidate engagement can’t be overstated. It requires time and attention to get it right. Even then, you might miss the mark a time or two. As long as you set clear expectations early in the process, stay in regular contact with candidates, and never lose the human side of your organization, you’re moving in the right direction.

New Year – New Employees: Energize Your Recruitment Marketing Strategy in 2017

As we prepare for the upcoming year, talent management may be the last thing on your mind. We still have many Sunday night football games, post-turkey naps, holiday treats, and family traditions to look forward to. On the other hand, we all have performance goals to meet, budgets to create, and strategies to strategize before 2017 arrives. Who has time for recruitment marketing and talent management, right?

But the reality is recruitment marketing and talent management are two things that companies should never stop focusing on. Talent is the foundation that your strategies and performance goals rely on. Talent is the key to innovation and growth. Talent equals success. Without the right talent, how will your company create, innovate, and grow profitable and thriving businesses?

Recognizing that recruitment marketing is an important part of your organization’s overall strategy and using data-driven initiatives and fresh thinking can help you build a solid pipeline of talented leads that could implement positive change—and that spells good things for your business.

Equally as important as using data as part of your recruitment and talent management operations is understanding that when it comes to a job search, candidates are like consumers. They research prospective employers the same way they research products. Their candidate journeys might involve as many as 12 touch points with your employer brand and the content that exists about your company on the web. That includes visiting your corporate website and blog, your LinkedIn company page, and the LinkedIn profiles of your key executives and folks with whom they are interviewing. That might also include following your company on Twitter, watching the videos on your corporate YouTube channel, and reading those all important Glassdoor reviews.

Smart companies and recruiting teams learn how to form relationships with candidates from the point of attraction and in a wide variety of different channels, and not later on, from the point of application. By doing this, you can influence a prospective candidate’s decision to take their next career step with your organization.

It all starts with you—recruiter and HR pro as change agents. New ideas about talent management don’t intimidate you; they motivate and inspire you to take a step back and look at the strategy behind recruitment. If you want to be a part of turning the recruitment marketing process upside down, you’re not alone. Want a deeper dive on this topic?

CNN Commentator Mel Robbins, Applied Futurist Tom Cheesewright, and SmashFly CEO Mike Hennessy are ready to lead the discussion of change management. To hear from these experts and learn more about the latest in recruitment marketing join this live stream and join the conversation starting November 2. Join Now.  This exciting event will feature stories and tips from key employer branding industry leaders including GE, PwC, Great Clips, Thermo Fisher, and more. We hope you’ll join us!

Join the online version of the Transform Event for free, you can listen to great content from Nov 2-4. Join Now.



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This post is sponsored by TalentCulture client, Smashfly

The Nature vs. Nurture of Sourcing

Sourcers are always finding new ways to effectively use technology, street smarts and process of elimination to find quality candidates. With the deep analytical skills that sourcers possess, we know they are driven to organize and look at each potential lead to find the perfect candidate for their organization. But what about how the candidate is researching you?

Sourcers: It’s In Their Nature

Sourcers have a very specific set of skills―this was evident in attending SourceCon this year. The two most important skills are critical thinking and intuition. It’s in their nature to dig, to optimize, to question. They have to be inherently analytical, extremely organized, self-sufficient and resourceful. If you find yourself a great sourcer, you hold on and never let go.

In the SourceCon keynote, Glen Cathey of Kforce validated the nature of sourcers by speaking to their inquisitive and problem-solving DNA. Cathey challenged every attendee to start with the “why” behind their search for talent, following up with a quote by W. Edwards Deming, Engineer, and statistician: “If you do not know how to ask the right question, you discover nothing.”

Sourcers must be intuitive by nature and always ask the right questions to get to the right candidates. Every job req is a problem that needs to be solved, and sourcers are the people who build the equation that leads to the solution: the right candidate. It’s critical thinking at its finest.

So of course, being resourceful and masters of critical thinking, with access to unlimited data, plus more and more job reqs to fill, sourcers are expected to find more of the better candidates, faster.

More, better and faster isn’t easy. In another SourceCon keynote, Jonathan Campbell of Social Talent had attendees literally jumping out of their seats as he shared the construct of a 3,000 character search string. He had people live tweeting (and live gasping) over talent mining hacks and Boolean tricks. It blew my mind! Sourcers want to find the candidates no one else can, and it’s these types of insider secrets that can help.

But it got me thinking: With all of this upfront research finding the right candidates, what is the path that candidates are taking to find you?

The Nurture Part of the Sourcing Equation

Just as sourcers have become more sophisticated in their research of candidates, candidates also are becoming more sophisticated in researching prospective employers.

Even the best sourcers can’t make a candidate respond. The candidate likely receives several creative email messages from a sourcer, and before she considers responding, she:

  • Googles your career site
  • Looks up the sourcer on LinkedIn
  • Searches your company on Glassdoor
  • Finds your social accounts

And probably even more touchpoints! If the candidate isn’t impressed, why would she reply? Your candidate experience and employer brand needs to be working for you to nurture these candidates in their research phase. Your recruitment marketing should be communicating a similar message, tone and value across all of the touchpoints between you and a candidate.

I read a great post from Kelly Dingee on Fistful of Talent that proves this nurture point: “I find people, sure. But like all good consumers, they want a comparison, and easily with the change in the job market, they find one. So why will they choose your company? What will make it stand out? It’s all about the wooing. The engagement. The experience. That is the most important part of recruiting right now.”

Nature has become a science, but it’s the nurture that is more art. What good is a perfect 3,000 character search string that yields 1,000 results if candidates just aren’t interested in choosing your company? Recruitment marketing tactics are vital in nurturing candidates once sourcers make that connection and, even before they make that connection, help your sourcers out with a strong and engaging employer brand and candidate experience!

The Insight

Sourcers need to be asking (and answering):

  • Once I find the talent, how can I continue to nurture them through the candidate journey?
  • How can I “sell” my brand to candidates more effectively?
  • How do I forge a relationship with them over time?
  • How do I get my organization to be a top contender if they’re not ready to apply today?
  • How do I engage with silver medalists differently?
  • How do I find and engage the candidates I’ve already sourced for new or better positions?
  • How can I learn more about them over time?

The insight here: You learn if you’re providing an optimal experience for your sourced candidates to choose you. Did they go to my career site? What actions did they take? Did they read employee testimonials or Glassdoor reviews? Did they go to Facebook to check out our culture? Your recruitment marketing tactics, plus sourcers’ one-to-one communication, are necessary to nurture quality candidates.

The answers stem from a recruitment marketing strategy enhancing every touchpoint in their journey to research your employer brand. Sourcers thrive on data and information on candidates, but they also need to be tracking and analyzing behavior of candidates. Technology like a Recruitment Marketing Platform can provide a holistic view of the candidate journey from the first point of attraction all the way through hire.

A New Goal

Our goal as sourcers is ultimate conversion, which as we know is unlikely with the first shot. So we need to have an interim goal of nurture: keeping them engaged until they’re hooked. Finding people is the science, and great sourcers know that―maintaining and nurturing relationships is the art that will make them choose you.

You have the nature. How will you improve the nurture?

This post is sponsored by SmashFly and was previously published on the Smashfly blog. For more content like this, follow SmashFly on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and SlideShare.

This post was first published on on 3/25/16


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Smashfly is a client of TalentCulture and sponsored this post. 

Recruitment Marketing: Your Key to Recruiting Success [Webinar]

Recruitment marketing has never been more important. Why? Today’s hiring economy is highly complex and competitive–and finding top talent is harder than ever. Unemployment is at a seven-year low, and it’s taking increasingly longer to hire. If you’re a recruiter in search of top talent, this is likely something you live and breathe on a daily basis. 

In fact, attracting candidates and retaining current employees is a lot like attracting and retaining customers. Consumers can take up to 12 touch points with a brand before they make a purchase decision. Candidates are researching your employer brand the same way: They’re following you on LinkedIn and Twitter, reading reviews of your managers on Glassdoor and checking out your latest blog posts and YouTube videos. That means your relationships with candidates don’t start from the point of applying; the begin long before–from the point of attraction.

Candidates seek a relevant, transparent, and personalized experience–and expect it in every interaction, before they even get to submitting an application. How valuable are your social media posts? How authentic are your career site stories or employee testimonials? And how transparent are your emails?

Bottom line: How you treat every candidate has a direct impact on your brand. In today’s digital age, where sharing experiences online is commonplace and even expected, a poor candidate experience can be bad for business, bad for branding–and translate to millions in lost revenue annually.

This changing talent acquisition landscape requires a more proactive, engaging, multi-touch approach. Today, we call that “Recruitment Marketing.” Recruitment Marketing is the process by which you find, attract, engage and nurture candidates–your talent acquisition leads–to build a more qualified pipeline of candidates and ultimately convert more quality hires. Today, it’s important to understand that the goals and day-to-day focus of your recruitment marketing team is completely different from the goals and day-to-day focus of your recruiting team. A recruiting team’s job is all about conversion. Their focus is on converting the most highly qualified, most sought after applicants into hires. Recruitment marketing’s job, which is completely different, comes first. Their focus is on developing strategies that allow them to attract leads and convert those leads into applicants, so that your recruiting team can choose from a larger and more qualified pool of applicants. Recruitment marketing’s job is to attract and qualify candidate “leads” that can be delivered to the recruitment team to convert–and “close” with a job offer that’s accepted. This process, and the collaboration between recruitment marketers and recruiters are what is driving today’s modern recruiting organizations.

Today’s job seeker doesn’t want just a job. They want career development opportunities, stellar company culture, employee camaraderie,and a purpose. As a result, transparency up front, and in every touch point thereafter, is an essential start to building a better candidate experience.

Being transparent isn’t always as simple as it sounds. But a step in the right direction is a clear understanding of what exactly recruitment marketing is, and how to structure your team to deliver the best results. If this is what you’re focused on now and as we move into a new year, I hope you’ll join me and my friends at SmashFly for a webinar on best practices for recruitment marketing and how it’s driving transparency in today’s modern recruiting organizations. The webinar will be on Tuesday, November 17, at 11:00am PST / 2:00pm EST.

Here is what you can expect to learn: 

  • The edge of the talent funnel in HR and recruiting
  • What recruitment marketing is and isn’t
  • The critical importance of transparency in recruitment marketing (and how to be transparent)
  • The primary components of a successful recruitment marketing strategy

Good stuff, I promise. Take a quick minute to register for the webinar using the link below and I can’t wait to see you there.

Webinar Registration Link: Why Transparency is Key to Recruitment Marketing Success & How to Master It, Tuesday, November 17, 11am PST/2pm EST 

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