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

Four Things HR Can Learn From Marketing

With the consistent growth of concepts like “Employer Brand” and “Recruitment Marketing,” HR departments everywhere are adding another role to their already burgeoning workload: marketing. And while some elements of marketing were already there for some HR and recruiting pros, the level of expertise required has grown exponentially. So if you are finding yourself marketing without ever having cracked a textbook in that territory, here are some things to learn from marketing.

Be Consistent with Messaging. Frankly, don’t be all over the place. Whether you are conveying information on open enrollment, a workplace wellness program or open positions, be clear and consistent across all platforms. Don’t have a different job description on your website than on a job board and don’t have three variations of the workplace wellness program. Treat each campaign like a true campaign, with some up-front decisions about the language, the look-and-feel and the appropriate channels to use.

Massage the Message. What action do you want people to take? Make your call to action palatable, encouraging and appealing. Forceful, jargon-heavy or boring language can be a main reason for slow conversion rates. Depending on your culture, make it hip and playful or strategic and savvy. Words matter. Ask any copywriter about the power of words and you may open the floodgates.

Sell the idea. If you need or want to sell a concept, sell it. Don’t just tell people the boring who, what, when, where and why; persuade them. You can use the old 5Ws format to start (remember the tip about clarity) but throw is some attention-grabbing language that makes it compelling. Answer the So What? Or Whats In It For Me? right away.

And this is absolutely critical when it comes to recruiting. If you aren’t already up to speed on Employer Branding and how to entice and engage candidates, hit the books. Make sure you know what to say and where to say it.

Change Messages to Audiences Based on Needs. You may have similar needs from a wide variety of audiences, from potential candidates to internal departments, but it’s key to also know their differences and pain points. Just as if you were forming a strategy to market to teenagers versus retirees, think about what will resonate with vastly different groups. This doesn’t need to negate the point of being consistent, but maybe think about the best ways to reach them. Is it through an App? Social media? Or is a poster more appropriate? Take the time to think about what will reach and influence them and make a plan that aligns with those realities.

HR and marketing really do have a lot in common. When it comes to reaching humans with needs, the leaders in these two industries know what’s up. So, my HR friends, as you consider rolling out a campaign to your internal audiences or are focusing on external outreach to potential candidates (Recruitment Marketing), put on some Mad Men and have some fun.

This post is sponsored by SmashFly. All thoughts and opinions are my own. For more content like this, follow SmashFly on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and SlideShare.


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3 Trends Defining Hiring Success In The Digital Economy

An organization’s ability to identify, attract, and plug in the most creative minds precisely when and where they are needed is the foundation for innovation. Therefore, designing and executing a strategy that does this well has become the competitive edge in a digital economy where the speed of innovation trumps all.

According to a recent global study by McKinsey, as digitization accelerates, the U.S. has a huge opportunity to boost productivity growth. Exploring three big areas of potential — online talent platforms, big data analytics, and the Internet of Things — the firm estimates that digitization could add up to $2.2 trillion to annual GDP by 2025. That’s an enormous boon for the economy, but one that won’t be enjoyed equally across industries or organizations because digital frontrunners who can apply innovation to hiring strategy will leapfrog their known (and yet to be identified) competitors and command the lion share of the growth.

Organizations that have embraced digitization as a part of their culture, structure, and strategy are already pulling away from the pack. Amazon has surpassed big box stores. Uber is disrupting transportation. AirBnB is changing the hospitality and travel industry.

Disruption isn’t just for “startups in the tech space” either. From now on, every organization’s ability to compete is directly proportionate to its ability to embrace digitization. But here’s a big distinction: Embracing digitization must not be confused with simply embedding technology — tech is just one piece.

Embracing digitization is about adapting digital strategies in creative ways inside the business to stay responsive and constantly innovate. That creativity could manifest itself anywhere from “leapfrog worthy” R&D to predictive advertising to proactive recruitment marketing. No matter where you find it, that creativity will always start with the same thing — people — which is exactly why talent acquisition leaders need to get focused, right now.

Here are three areas I see forward-thinking hiring organizations focusing on.

Over-invest in Strategy for Critical Roles

Here’s the hard truth: not all roles drive the same value to the business. The lead engineer designing your next product is more critical to the future of the business than the accountant who is tracking the production budget. Both are important, but they do not yield the same value long term. Not coincidentally, the supply of talent to fill that engineering role presents a greater challenge to your talent acquisition team. Why, then, would you design a talent strategy that consumes equal resources?

Competition to attract and hire that engineer is greater than it is for the accountant role. Therefore, an over-investment in the talent acquisition strategy and resources required to fill high-value roles makes good business sense.

If you haven’t already read it, I highly recommend Talent Valuation by Tom McGuire and Linda Brenner, which introduces the concept of over-investing in critical roles. It’s a smarter way to approach the talent acquisition strategy and an instant credibility builder when it comes to speaking “C-suite” (think CFO).

Facilitate the “Liquid Workforce”

Right now, entrepreneurs are standing up businesses with three people (Uber started with two). At a deep level, these digital natives understand the strategic alternatives of build vs. buy (vs. rent), and they know how to leverage a fluid org structure to speed innovation and time to market.

43 percent of the workforce is expected to freelance by 2020, and a recent Accenture trend report predicts that there will be a Global 2000 company within 10 years that has no full-time employees, save the C-suite. The appeal of the skills economy strengthens — just as the value prop for longer term, full-time employment weakens — every day. Accenture calls this more fluid movement of talent “the liquid workforce.”

As traditional organization structures wane in the face of project-based work, HR leaders must embed process and technology to identify both internal and external skills needed at the project level. Building fluid talent pools to get work done and embedding collaboration and training tools every step of the way will be key to facilitating this new way of work.

Embrace Hyper Automation

Organizations exceeding and pulling away from the competition aren’t just plugging in tech. They are reinventing their processes by combining insight, tools, and technology in new ways to drive huge efficiencies they couldn’t even imagine two years ago.

I love this periodic table of HR Tech from CB Insights. It’s visual proof that there is an opportunity to embed automation into nearly every area of the talent acquisition and talent management process. Through smart applications of digital technology, recruiting leaders can automate repetitive tasks, strengthen decision making, and get some valuable time back to concentrate on the work that requires more human interaction; for example, building relationships with their hiring managers who desperately need talent advisors.

There is no denying that the acceleration of digital is only going to get faster. From the McKinsey report, “Digitization is advancing in a series of accelerating waves that touch more and more participants. As each one builds on and amplifies what has come before, the waves are hitting in faster succession and with greater impact.” For instance, industries such as media, finance and insurance are light years ahead of hospitality and healthcare. Organizations that don’t keep up risk upheaval from innovations in outlier industries that aren’t even on their radar. Consider the impact of driverless cars on fast food. 70 percent of McDonald’s business comes from the drive thru; cue the end of impulse eating — riders will binge on entertainment instead.

By over-investing in critical roles, empowering a liquid workforce and continuously looking to automate and reinvent processes by using technology, the digital frontrunners will be those who put people first and expand the gap between winning and losing.

This post is sponsored by SmashFly and was previously published on It is published here with permission. For more content like this, follow SmashFly on Twitter, LinkedInYouTube and SlideShare.


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Why Storytelling Matters in Talent Acquisition

In early 2015, I was a remote worker getting through my job every day with very little oversight, very few challenges – and very little inspiration. I easily completed my responsibilities every day by 2 PM, no questions asked. I had freedom and free time. I needed a change and a push, but I wasn’t seeking it. Who wants to give up pool time in the summer?

I was also preparing to send my now husband off to the Middle East for a four-month deployment. I wasn’t about to put myself through a second huge change.

But a recruiter found me on LinkedIn. She hooked me with “startup,” so I took a call. Then she hooked me with “opportunity” and “a chance to build something.” So I took an interview with the hiring manager, who happened to be SmashFly’s Chief Marketing Officer. And it was Lori who really spoke to me: about both strategy and tactics; about working at a fast pace, but finding a balance; about building something great and learning along the way; about making mistakes every day, but never making the same mistake the next day; about having a mentor, not just a manager.

I flew to Boston shortly after in February (yes, during one of their worst and snowiest winters ever). It was the first time I was interviewed by a CEO and a CMO (and it was totally awesome). I walked through an empty floor looking out on a river in an old mill building (that now is the work habitat to more than 30 SmashFly employees). I left the office being hugged by not only one, but two, SmashFly employees.

The week my husband left for the Middle East, I started working at SmashFly. And people cared. My teammates cared and they didn’t even know me yet. Throwing my time, energy and dedication into a new position, a new industry, a new team gave me a sense of purpose and control that I felt like I had just given up in my personal life. It was simply perfect timing in my life.

A job can be more than a job. It should be more than a job. It should be a part of your life – and mine gladly is.

This is not a lesson in responding to InMail from recruiters (although it could be!). This is hopefully a lesson in storytelling.

Stories come in all shapes and sizes and voices. A quote can initiate a story; an image can tell a story; a video can show a story; a job description can be a story. Each individual at your organization has their own personal career story: how they got to your organization, what inspired them to get into their line of work, what keeps them happy and motivated to stay, what pushes them to come to work every day.

  1. Find them. And if they aren’t on the surface, just ask.
  2. Share them in their realest form, in the real voice they came from.
  3. Let the stories—not a one-sentence EVP, a standard job description or an explainer video—work to influence candidates.

Your Employer Value Proposition doesn’t live in a paragraph on your career site. It doesn’t live in About Us copy on LinkedIn. It doesn’t live in Best Places to Work awards (although they are awesome). Your EVP lives in your employees and their stories.

Be a recruitment marketer and learn how to find those stories within your employees, share them across every recruiting channel you use and influence candidates with authentic messaging. For more ideas on how to become a better storyteller for your organization, read SmashFly’s 2016 Recruitment Marketing Ideabook.

Smashfly is a client of TalentCulture and has sponsored this post.


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Why Talent Acquisition Should Own Recruitment Marketing

Recruiters and marketers used to sit in different areas of the office, playing distinctly different roles. But as we all know, that’s shifted quite a bit with the focus on recruitment marketing. A marketing hat is now an essential part of a talent acquisition leader’s wardrobe. The most successful recruiters and talent acquisition leaders have embraced the entire world of marketing, from tactics to metrics.

According to The MRINetwork Recruiter Sentiment Study, a biannual survey conducted among nearly 2,000 U.S.-based executive search recruiters of MRINetwork, 90 percent of recruiters say the market was candidate-driven in 2015, up from 54 percent in the second half of 2011. When the landscape looks like that, candidates need to be wowed and wooed. And let’s be honest, the best employer brand often wins the race.

Within this same study, 31 percent of respondents say that hiring managers are not finding enough suitable candidates. And when that happens, they have to fight that much harder to find, grab and retain high quality candidates – or someone else will.

So creating a brand that compels people to want to work there is absolutely critical. Whether it’s a perk like free lunches, a dog-friendly workplace or a generous vacation policy, those messages need to be blasted loud and clear. What are even more important to share are those deeper cultural messages such as commitment to transparency or the opportunity to do meaningful work. And who should be behind this communication? Talent Acquisition! (With the support of executives and current employees, as well.)

LinkedIn recently released Global Recruiting Trends 2016, offering both predictable and interesting findings. It states 59 percent of respondents are “investing more in their employer brand compared to last year.” So with this investment, it’s once again obvious who should whole-heartedly, passionately and strategically own the employer brand and the correlating recruitment marketing: the Talent Acquisition Team. Here are a few reasons why.

Consistency of Message. This is Marketing 101. When you want to send a message, make it clear and repeat it. When you are marketing to potential candidates, it’s the same concept. If there are inconsistent messages coming from social media profiles, job boards, talent networks, online employee reviews and other platforms, candidates are just confused.

When Talent Acquisition owns the employer brand and recruitment marketing efforts, it is a great opportunity to fully grasp the company culture, put it into compelling words and sell it. This requires savvy research, solid writing and constant management. Simply put, employer branding needs to be placed as a high priority and coddled a bit. With all the visibility that comes with our online culture, monitoring and engaging potential candidates is part of the big picture.

Universum’s research showed that “74 percent of respondents claimed to have at least a moderate employer brand presence on social media, only a third said they had dedicated employees posting content and responding to users on a regular basis. Even more surprising was that only about half of respondents said they measure their social media activities.”

Candidates Care More. I talk a lot about the candidate experience because expectations have changed. With a talent shortage and shifting generational demands, people want to be courted a bit. The process of the candidate experience is a slight jump from what we’re talking about, but it starts with effectively reaching talent. With companies like Google, Salesforce and Wegmans out there topping Best Companies to Work For lists, candidates want a little cultural dazzle with each job posting. Research continues to show that Millennials and Gen Z are more extremely interested in company culture.

Virgin Pulse’s report, “Misunderstood Millennials: How the Newest Workforce is Evolving Business” states that “73 percent of Millennials seek meaningful work at an organization with a mission they support, and a remarkable 90 percent say they want to use their skills for good, suggesting that Millennials seek workplaces with a culture of altruism that enable them to give back. Millennials also care about workplace culture, with 77 percent noting it is just as or more important than salary and benefits.”

And I’ll throw it out there again … who needs to own these messages, illustrating a commitment to altruism or a hip company culture? Talent Acquisition.


Here’s a little warning for you, though. If a talent brand is misrepresented – by flat-out false promises or simply poor word choices – or even through silence – quality of hire will be affected. You want employees to be there for the right reasons: They knew what they were getting into and they want to stay. They are more productive, visionary and committed. When Talent Acquisition effectively manages its marketing efforts, the overall workplace will reap the benefits.

So how do you put in into action? To understand how to become a modern recruiting organization, SmashFly offers a great resource that outlines some of the key skills and roles within the recruitment marketing discipline in 5 Essential Roles of the Modern Recruitment Marketing Team.

This post is sponsored by SmashFly. All thoughts and opinions are my own. For more content like this, follow SmashFly on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and SlideShare.

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Top 4 Reasons Talent Pipelines are A No-Brainer

Let’s take a look at the U.S. labor market, shall we? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in February 2016, the U.S. unemployment rate was unchanged at a low 4.9 percent; in addition, 1.8 million people were “marginally attached” to the labor force, down by 356,000 from a year earlier. By definition, these individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months.

Among the marginally attached, there were 599,000 “discouraged workers” in February, down by 133,000 from a year earlier. “Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them.”

But then let’s add to those figures the whole realm of passive candidates, people who aren’t actively looking for a job. Older definitions of passive candidates included people who weren’t on the hunt, but would be willing to listen to a relevant offer. Now, everyone is a passive candidate. In February 2016, about 121.76 million people were employed on a full-time basis, and let’s assume every one of them is up for grabs.

So, my math tells me that there are quite a few people out there who may one day be on your radar for employment. So how do organizations attract and hire the right people?

  1. They nurture them. Like baby chicks. If they don’t, someone else will. The candidate journey is a whole ball of wax, but I highly encourage you to think of a talent pipeline as a warm, nurturing, holding space for people who may be your next employee. It’s absolutely critical to have a functional, up-to-date, communicative talent pipeline for several reasons, but here are my top three.
  2. They use Talent Pipelines as major time-savers. Having potential candidates in a pipeline where you know their contact information, skill set, job and salary requirements (and more) obviously saves a whole lot of time. Starting job searches from scratch and going through the entire interview process is lengthy and apparently getting longer. Last June, Glassdoor released a study that stated the average overall job interview process takes 22.9 days in the U.S., up 80% from 2010 (when it was 12.6 days). The thought that any company starts at ground zero for each new job opening makes me twitch.
  3. Talent Pipelines Make Business Sense (in Dollars). According to Bersin by Deloite’s Benchmarking Talent Acquisition: Increasing Spend, Cost Per Hire, and Time to Fill report in April 2015, the cost per hire in 2014 was nearly $4,000. There are built-in costs here that would likely still exist in hiring from your talent pipeline, but a reduction in cost is evident. Paying to complete a search when there could be a properly loaded talent pipeline is simply wasteful. It makes business sense to manage this expense with frugality in mind. There will always be opportunities to utilize the recruitment function, but once a search is “complete” (that’s a subjective term), the remaining candidates need to be placed somewhere. Where, you ask? A talent pipeline, of course!
  4. Talent Pipelines are a place for nurturing leads. Like I mentioned before, if you properly build a talent pipeline, access to quality candidates allows you to communicate effectively. From job openings to employer branding initiatives, this pipeline of people can (and should) be treated with respect and dignity – which a lot of job seekers crave.

The TalentBoard’s 2015 Candidate Experience Report reports data collected from 130,000 candidates who applied to over 200 companies. According to the report, “communication with candidates is very weak.”

It states, “Although most companies send an immediate ‘thank you’, nearly half of candidates never received an indication of the status of the application, or information about why gender, race and ethnicity questions were asked or the option to save their application for a later date.”

Hmmm. I think we can do better than that.

If you build it, they will come. Build a talent pipeline and use all means you can to fill it up. Think of those millions of people in different stages of employment. A talent network on your career site is a great way to encourage people to opt in to your pipeline.

According to SmashFly, make your career network accessible from as many ways as possible and keep it simple. “Ask for a few key fields: name, email and job family they are looking into it. Once they opt in, you have time to build on their preferences, their skillsets and their interests. You can send preference emails asking the types of content they want to receive and the types of job positions they are interested in, as well as track what emails they are opening and which links they are clicking on.”

Depending on your employer brand, build a talent pipeline that suits your needs. Are you global? Do you have a wide or narrow variety of job reqs? Are you in demand as an employer? How can you communicate effectively with proper cadence? Whatever your nurturing style, just remember to keep it warm.

Click here to download an extremely helpful eBook on this topic, “Nurturing Candidates from Attraction to Hire.”

This post is sponsored by SmashFly. All thoughts and opinions are my own. For more content like this, follow SmashFly on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and SlideShare.

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How to Better Use Employee Stories in Your Recruitment Marketing Strategy

For more insights on recruitment marketing best practices employed by the world’s leading organizations, get a free download of SmashFly’s Recruitment Marketing Report Card for the 2015 Fortune 500

This September, SmashFly researched and evaluated every 2015 Fortune 500 organization’s career site 13 unique recruitment marketing practices. The research itself was pretty illuminating (see a snapshot here in the Report Card Infographic), especially as more organizations aggressively invest in better ways to attract, engage and convert candidate leads into applicants.

While I highly encourage you to check out all 13 practices in the report card and use the data to benchmark your recruitment marketing strategy, I want to focus on four best practices I consider crucial to how organizations find and attract the right talent to their organizations.

This will be a four-part series highlighting each integral best practice and how to use it in your recruitment marketing strategy. Up first: Employee Stories.


Employee Stories

Companies are increasingly trying to provide more transparency in their recruitment marketing strategies by leveraging employees and their unique stories in their messaging and on their career sites. Within the 2015 Fortune 500 companies, SmashFly found that 57% used employee stories on their career sites through either text or video. That’s a tremendous stat and probably one of the most encouraging findings in our report. However, that’s only Step 1. Step 2 is utilizing these stories better throughout the candidate experience journey.

As you look through career sites, employee stories are typically grouped together on their own page. A candidate interested in learning more will go to the employee stories page on the site and be able to consume content across various employee types and disciplines. This is great, but the problem is that candidates have to proactively find and choose to consume this content on their own. How can we get better at delivering this content directly to the candidate in their journey?

Employee stories are the best content we own in talent acquisition, and any good content marketer understands that great content should be repurposed four to five different times in your marketing program. So what can we do to repurpose, extend and highlight our employee stories? Here are a few ideas:

  • Job Descriptions: Most candidates that come to the career site will view or search a job. However, very few will complete an application ― 74% drop off based on the most recent SmashFly data. So how do we make job descriptions more compelling? We include our videos and stories in the job description. Only 1% of job descriptions today include a video or image on career sites (found in our 2015 Fortune 500 research), so there’s a huge opportunity to stand out and deliver employee stories at the point that candidates decide to apply for a job position.
  • Landing Pages: Most organizations are leveraging landing pages to deliver relevant content to specific job families and skills (think engineering page for engineering candidates). But while most only include sparse copy and targeted jobs, the most successful ones deliver employee stories and videos, highlighting “Why Work Here as a [CANDIDATE TYPE]?” and focusing on the compelling reasons targeted to that audience.
  • Email Nurture Campaigns: Our research didn’t dive into email nurturing for the 2015 Fortune 500 companies, but this is another area to better leverage your customer stories. Say an engineering candidate joins your Talent Network: What content are you going to deliver to them? First, you should send a “thank you for joining” email and set expectations for what they will receive. But an even better next step? A great video on your engineering team and the interesting projects they are working on.
  • Sourcer/Recruiter Talking Points: Whether in email or in phone calls, your recruiters and sourcers should know your employee stories and use them when talking with candidates. Create messaging for your team to use during these interactions and measure the success of when this messaging is used vs. more generic messaging. I assure you that employee stories will provide better interactions.


Most organizations put a lot of work into creating great employee story videos, but then they regulate them to a page that most candidates don’t see. As employers, let’s proactively get these employee stories in front of candidates at each and every touch point in their journey. This will help give candidates a clear picture of what it is like to work at your organization, providing a better, more personalized candidate experience as they decide on their next career opportunity. In turn, we ensure that we convert more candidates into applicants across our strategy.



Smashfly is a client of TalentCulture and has sponsored this post.