13 Jul

Improving the quality and to a lesser extent the quantity of applicants you get is the number 1 priority of all recruiting teams. It’s not quite your raison d’etre but it’s pretty darn close.

In part 1 of a 3 part series, we list some simple ways you can make those superstar candidates beat a path to your door. We’ll show you the techniques that marketers use to attract customers and show you how you can use those same techniques to become the employer everyone wants to work for. We list 10 things you can do right now to make you that superstar candidate’s number 1 choice. If the candidate is good, I mean really good, you just know that other companies will be flashing their corporate eyelids in their direction so you need to make sure you are at the front of the queue.

In part 2 next week, we’ll show you how to turn your careers site into a CAM: a candidate attraction magnet and in part 3 we’ll look at how you can attract inactive candidates with a direct approach to feed your talent funnel.

  1. Use social media to feed your talent pool - part i:

Depending on how much hiring you’re doing, you might want to create separate social media sites solely dedicated to hiring. That’s up to you but whether you create a dedicated site or you simply post to your company’s existing social media accounts…...get posting !!!

Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin……...every month, post out a message across your company pages encouraging people to drop their details into your talent pool …..

’Add your details to our talent pool. We’re always on the look out for great people…..blah blah etc’. 

However you want to phrase it - just keep getting the word out.

Remember the more people that interact with your posts, the more likely it is that other people they know will also see it and repeat the virtuous cycles of forwards and likes.

Use social media part ii:

Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Slideshare………..there are lots of visual based sites and their massive and rapidly growing popularity shows just how much of a visual world we live in.

You can create infographics or just a simple photo with a powerful strapline:

    “97% of our employees would recommend working for us. Want to know why?”

If that doesn’t grab someone’s attention, not much will.

But don’t stop there, work with your marketing gurus to create some simple videos or have a go at it yourself. It’s surprisingly easy to do with so many editing tools now available, oh and a decent smartphone. 

Also sites like www.biteable.com make it very easy to put together snappy 45 second videos which you can focus on hiring and who you are/what you do as a company/organisation. Just insert the content you want and their software does the rest. 

You could feature profiles of new hires, what people do on their birthday, stuff you do outside of the office, tell people you’re hiring, tell people to add their profiles to your talent pool and also add valuable content like:


    Mistakes we see from job applicants


    The 4 things all our top performers all do

It’s totally up to you but at least once a month, get a visual recruitment marketing piece out there on those sites, oh and don’t forget to use some relevant hashtags so people can find the content and don’t forget to put links to your current vacancies and talent pool wherever you can. It won’t take you long to reap the benefits. 

There are lots of fantastic, easy to use tools out there like Hootsuite that make this recruitment marketing process incredibly easy so if you’re going to be doing a lot of social media recruitment marketing (you should be), consider a tool like that (check with marketing first as they may already have an account).

As a minimum you should put together a 12 month calendar plan of content distribution so you can see exactly what social media marketing activity you will be doing each month for the next year. 

  1. Youtube………….we just bet you’re not using it

It’s a monster of a site so why aren’t you using it?

Make a general recruitment video (remember www.biteable.com) …

’Why we’re amazing to work for’

……..then put it on Youtube, oh and Facebook oh and Instagram….you get the gist.

Got a job? Great, now go and get the line manager to create a video introducing the role. Even if it’s just 1 minute, then put it on Youtube (and also add it to the job description - see below). It’s so easy to record a video with a decent smart phone or desktop these days. Encourage them to get a few prospective team mates to join in and say hi. It doesn’t have to be perfect, in fact a more relaxed, less obviously orchestrated style may suit some firms better, particularly if you’re in the market for younger applicants. They aren’t looking for perfection but they’ll appreciate the effort you’ve made and they’ll appreciate the personal touch from whoever is likely to be their next manager and colleagues.

A great tool to have would be a tripod or some other device to allow the person to position themselves in different locations (or just get someone with a steady hand to hold a phone, but a tripod is easier).

  1. Consider a PPC campaign

Ok so you’ve tried  the usual postings on your favourite job boards to fill a vacancy and so far you’ve had no luck. But before you start working with that staffing agency who’ll sting you for 20%, consider a pay per click advertising campaign. 

All the major job aggregators like Indeed, Simplyhired, Glassdoor, Neuvoo, Jobrapido will be only too happy to help you and there’s nothing wrong with trying them as you can set how much or how little you want to spend, but you can go further. Much further. Post your job as an advert on the google advertising network (Google adwords), then repeat for Facebook and Linkedin. The latter 2 will put the job you create onto profiles of people they think will be relevant and the level of targeting they now offer is fantastic and getting better all the time. 

Work with your marketing team to create multiple different adverts for each site and keep testing different combinations of content, strap lines and photos etc to see which works best.

Marketers call this A/B testing. It won’t cost you any more to do it as long as you’re careful to set a daily expenditure cap. You can run as many different types of adverts as you wish. You’ll soon learn what strap line, photos and summary text works and what doesn’t.

Whichever platform you advertise they’ll give you the stats so you can see which advert is performing best i.e. most number of clicks and if you’re really on the ball you’ll allocate a bit more budget to that advert (upping the cost per click: cpc) and lowering the cpc on ones performing less well.

  1. The rejection email - I’ll bet you don’t use it like this

A lot of companies don’t even bother sending a rejection email. This is a big mistake for 3 reasons. Firstly it’s just rude and will leave a poor impression of you as both a recruiter and company (applicants are also consumers !). Secondly they might become a real superstar in the future and are far less likely to apply to you if they have a poor impression of you when they applied 2 years previously. Thirdly, it gives you a priceless opportunity of making contact with that candidate. Specifically it’s a great way to sugar coat the rejection pill……’Whilst we found candidates with more relevant skills for this particular vacancy, your profile is very interesting and we may have opportunities coming up in the near future that could be suitable so click here to add your details into our talent pool...….etc etc etc’, so they get a great impression of you and you get them in your talent pool (they’re doing the work for you).

Not only that, encourage them to join any dedicated social media sites you’ve set up if they are exclusive to hiring.

  1. Try a billboard…..and don’t be afraid to be sneaky

Ok so it’s not the most modern of marketing approaches but that doesn’t mean it can’t work really well. You can advertise the company as a whole…….’We’re growing. Check out our current vacancies etc’ or a specific job. If the latter you’d probably be best focusing on a senior appointment. Obviously you want to try to target people local to the office so either target local sites or if you want to be a bit sneaky, place them near the office of a company you’d love to steal staff from. The downside of a billboard is that it’s not so easy to track response rates unless you encourage them to visit a specific url you’ve created something like: 


But the reason so many companies use them to advertise their products and services is because they work and (particularly vs a whopping great agency fee for a senior hire) they can be surprisingly cost effective.

  1. Don’t forget to track…….all the way

If you sponsor a job on Google’s advertising network or Facebook, from a marketer’s perspective it’s no different to posting it onto a job board. The same data analysis rules apply. Your ATS should provide you with a unique tracking url which you can use for each of the different advertising sources you use. So not only will you be able to track the data from them (i.e. number of clicks on the advert) you’ll also be able to track the most important number: how many actually apply.

Consider these 2 different sets of stats for a job you want more applicants for and you’ve decided to sponsor it on a few well known social media sites:

Social media site A:

Total clicks 125

Cpc (cost per click) $4

Applications received     36

Successfully hired       10

Social media site B:

Total clicks 500

Cpc (cost per click) $2

Applications received     46

Successfully hired       4

If you simply look at the top level (number of clicks) you’d think that site B was best but from the perspective of cost per acquisition (CPA) site B is clearly superior. But is it? Looking at site A yes you didn’t get so many clicks but the quality of those clicks (number of hires vs total clicks) is noticeably superior: 1 hire for every 12 ½ clicks, whereas site B has a much lower conversion ratio of 1 in 125. So site A has a CPA of $50 which is: $500 (125 clicks x $4 a click) / 10 (number of hires)  but site B has a CPA of $250, much less efficient. Site B might be cheaper with a cpc of $2 but you get what you pay for.

Drilling down on these numbers and (crucially) tracking the end result (hire vs not hired) allows you to work out which site is actually your most cost effective way of sourcing. Put another way, site A gets you way more bang for your buck. In this situation the savvy recruiter might consider shifting budget away from site B to site A by either upping the cost per click purchased or increasing the daily budget cap whilst reducing that spent on site B.

Next week, in part 2 we’ll look at how you can turn your careers site into a CAM:

A candidate attraction magnet

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