Look back over the last years and you’ll see there’s been a seismic shift in the recruitment landscape. The battle to reach enough of the right candidates is largely over. Whereas the battle to convert candidates into hires has only just begun. Employer branding has a huge role to play in this, with social media taking centre stage. Here we’ll be assessing this radical shift – and the steps you can take in your organisation to capitalise on the opportunities.
Why Reaching Candidates is No Longer the Challenge
Reflect back on how things were a decade ago and you’ll appreciate the seismic shift that has taken place. Back then, recruiters were incredibly reliant on advertising their openings and so shortlists were comprised primarily of candidates who were i) interested in a career move and ii) persuaded to apply for the job. A key skill for recruiters was therefore to know where and how to advertise their vacancies to generate the strongest possible shortlist from this pool of active candidates.
Fast forward to today and things have been totally transformed. Recruiters increasingly define what their ideal hire would look like – and then go out and find or advertise to reach those very people. Reaching passive as well as active candidates is the new normal. The pool of potential hires a recruiter can reach has been multiplied many times over.
This is what I mean when I say that the battle to reach enough of the right candidates is largely over. Whether it’s through LinkedIn searching or through targeted Facebook advertising, recruiters today can reach a volume of suitable candidates that would have been unthinkable even a few years ago. Reaching candidates is no longer a recruiter’s primary challenge.
Converting Candidates is How The Battle Will Be Won
From all my conversations with recruiting teams, one thing seems clear. The challenge today is ensuring that the ideal candidates for a role choose to apply and ultimately choose to accept the resulting job offer. Here, too, the goalposts have moved significantly over the last few years.
Back in the days of advertising your job openings, the scope for candidate drop-off was limited. Prior to applying for the role, a candidate would have limited insights into your company and what it was like as a place of work. Besides any friends working there, it would be unlikely they’d interact with anyone in the business until they made it to interview. Whether they continued with the interviewing process was mostly a function of how each stage of the interviewing process went. Then if made an offer, the decision to join would largely be based on the interactions the candidate had had with the business throughout the interview process. These elements were all largely within the control of the employer.
Today, nothing could be further from reality! Throughout the candidate life cycle, your prospective hire is forming impressions about your business that impact the likelihood that they’ll ever become a hire. Before even applying, your candidate will have formed impressions about you based on your employer brand presence in the market. They’re far more likely to have connections who work in your business, or access to insights about working at your company through sites such as Glassdoor.
Before, during and after the interview process, your ideal hires have the scope to be interacting with both your recruitment team – and the broader business – through social media and through groups and discussion forums. All of these insights and interactions impact the likelihood of a candidate ever becoming an employee, which is why today’s battle is all about boosting candidate conversions.
Employer Branding – The Secret Sauce
Think of these stages for just a moment:
Take these conversion rates in combination and it’s not difficult to see how the recruiting effectiveness of two competitors could differ enormously today. Figuring out all the ways that the team can influence each of these stages is therefore a key success factor for the coming years. Employer branding is a big part of this.
So what kinds of activities could you invest in on social media that would help build your employer brand and boost these conversion rates? Here are some ideas to consider:
Creating dedicated careers profiles on social media instead of relying on company accounts. As a recruitment team, you need accounts whose sole aim is to appeal to your target candidate audience. Company accounts trying to appeal to investors or customers simply don’t do your employer brand justice. Your recruiting messages become too diluted. So take control and build dedicated careers profiles on social media.
Growing the following and reach of your career profiles on social media so that you’re seen by an even larger audience of a) prospective hires and b) potential employee referrers for your business. Either organically or through paying to have your accounts made more visible.
Ensuring your employees are active on social media and coordinating company-wide sharing of the recruiting accounts’ messages to reach a wider pool of people and solidify the employer branding messages.
Running targeted advertising campaigns to reach your desired candidate audience on social media – not just marketing vacancies to them, but putting in place a concerted drive to win candidates over and educate them on why your company is a great place to work.
Paying for retargeting campaigns on social media, so that candidates who have visited your careers pages or registered their CVs are repeatedly exposed to your employer branding messages and have it reinforced in their minds why you’re a great place to work.
Putting in place a strategy to ensure that prospective hires have some interaction with your employees or your recruiting team on social media. Make your prospective hires feel they have a personal connection to your company and some people they can turn to for insights and opinion.
These are the types of initiatives that recruiters across the globe are working on today. Are you? If not, you risk being left behind and becoming an employer that’s always on the back foot.
About the author: Tony Restell is the Founder of social media agency Social-Hire.com and helps candidates and recruiters leverage social media. You can find Tony on Twitter @tonyrestell