Brett Minchington, a employer image guru, who visited Finland in March, once again emphasized the role of communications in building an employer image. I believe that many Finnish companies already are aware of this: recruitment is largely communications, marketing and brand building, even sales. Good communications alone are not enough.
Recruiters should use marketing methods
Content marketing, personalized contents, references and utilization of analytics and data – all familiar marketing methods. What could these mean in recruitment?
Content marketing efficiently utilizes message contents and channels suitable for the target groups. Recruitment is communications, where you should create a long-term content plan and determine the style and channels to be used just like in any other communications and marketing. It is not enough to communicate to a certain expert group, when you are facing a recruitment need. Image and recognition must be built over the long term with communications suited to the target group. Have you studied what your target groups really appreciate? Have you tried to find your competitive edge among various target groups? Same things do not appeal to everyone. Awaken interest with distinguishing contents and sell your job vacancy also to those who are not really looking for anything new.
Data utilization is typically insufficient, whether it is a question of marketing or recruitment. Markets often have even existing data useful for recruiters, which can be used to provide a better focus for messages. What kinds of people visit your recruitment pages? How do your target groups move in the web and what devices do they use? At what time and through which channels are they more most efficiently reachable? What are their interests? Basic data is available through website analytics, but there are also means for more in-depth analyses. You should take advantage of the affordable and efficient means of web and social media advertising also in recruitment.
Sell your job
Once you know the needs of your target groups, you will know how to tailor your messages to suit them and communicate through the most expedient channels. After all, isn’t recruitment advertising like advertising a job? Casual browsing of job advertisements reveals the grim truth: persuasion is still not the word of the day. The majority of the text in a typical job advertisement is taken up by enormous expectations and demands for the applicant. The “selling points” are hidden after these lists of demands. “We will provide you with up-to-date tools”. “We provide our employees with lunch and sports vouchers”. What? Are these not basic presumptions of a modern workplace? The things listed are often found in every job and they no longer distinguish the employer or, at the very least, they are not specifically considered from the point of view of the target group. However, there are some recruiters who understand the power of personalization and the sales-oriented approach, so there also good examples. More of these, please!
Applicant feedback as an indicator of success
Customer experience must have been a trendy concept for the past ten years or so. After that people started talking increasingly actively about applicant and employee experience. In principle, these are understood but how many people utilize them from the perspective of data collection and development. It is worthwhile learning from the applicants. Customer feedback is an everyday occurrence but how about applicant feedback? How many of you systematically collect feedback of the application process or functioning of recruitment communications? I have yet to see applicant experiences used as a reference anywhere. Maybe you should at least ask, how did we do, and learn from the answers.
A well-functioning cooperation between marketing, communications and recruitment is an asset of which you really should take advantage. Transparency and openness to experimentation pay off. It is not that you always need to implement reforms requiring extensive resources; sometimes dialog and efficient sharing of information may be the start of something new.