With over 27 million businesses in the United States alone, job seekers now have the ability to be more selective in their job searches than ever before. In 2016, around 70% of these companies were expected to ramp up hiring efforts, many of which were planning on growing their teams by over 10%.
Leading up to this hiring surge, 47% of declined job offers were due to candidates who had to choose between multiple offers, indicating that job seekers are well aware of this increase in demand and have begun to take advantage of the hot job climate. They've become more specific in what they're looking for in a job and have started narrowing their searches to prioritize company traits that matter most to them, like company culture and employer brand. As employers continue to scale their hiring efforts, this number will continue to climb and should serve as a wakeup call to employers everywhere that the focus of recruiting has shifted to become less about doing candidates a “favor” by giving them a job, and more about demonstrating the value they can provide to them in return as an employer. To put it simply (and in true JFK fashion): it’s time to start asking not what your candidates can do for you, but what you can do for your candidates.
Where recruitment marketing comes into play
Let's face it: the perfect candidate for your job is (more likely than not) currently spending their time being the best they can be and excelling in their current roles. In fact, according to LinkedIn, 70% of the global workforce is made up of passive talent. Passive candidates are those who are not actively looking for new opportunities. These candidates are so focused on where they are right now, they don’t know where they could be down the road. In other words, some candidates who are comfortable at their current jobs may not even be aware of the fact that they could be thriving somewhere else and using their skills to their fullest potential.
This sounds like a great selling point that would make anyone want to make the switch, except for one small detail. By asking a candidate to leave their job and come work for your company, you are literally asking them to change their life. That’s a lot to ask of anyone, let alone a complete stranger, and for good reason. So how do we get them to consider this wild proposition? Enter: recruitment marketing.
What is recruitment marketing?
Recruitment marketing happens when you apply a marketing methodology to the recruitment process as a means to attract candidates to your company.
In its broadest form, marketing is used to attract prospects to your organization with the goal of converting them into leads and ultimately into customers. We often think of sales and marketing in terms of a funnel: wide at the top and narrowing down as leads become more qualified. If you really think about it, the idea of recruiting candidates isn’t that far off. Candidates at the top of the funnel are at the most basic level of awareness about your company, if any. They are essentially the seeds to what will ideally eventually grow into a network of fully engaged candidates. This process takes time, and involves nurturing these candidates in a way similar to how you’d nurture leads. Because of this, it's fair to think of the recruitment marketing process as a marathon, not a sprint.
Develop an effective candidate sourcing strategy
The first leg of the recruitment race requires sourcing top talent. Recruiters typically look at candidates in two forms: active and passive. Active candidates are those who are actively on the market for a new job. These candidates express interest in your opportunity by regularly engaging with your employment brand and proactively submitting applications for your open roles. While active talent can be great, one concern most recruiters have about active candidates is that they oftentimes are under-qualified and may not completely fill the requirements you’ve set for the job.
Going out and sourcing according to your own standards allows you to target the true winners by focusing your search on those who you know will bring immediate value to your company. It’s important to first understand your ideal candidate profile and go from there. After identifying these key qualifications, it’s time to reach out.
Implement a comprehensive outreach campaign
If there are two things we know to be true here at Happie, they’re that Rome wasn’t built in a day and, in most situations, quality trumps quantity. We like to approach our outreach process with this same mindset. There are many ways to reach out to candidates, but Happie’s tried and true approach begins with a carefully crafted automated multi-touch nurture campaign that consists of emails, text messages, phone calls and LinkedIn InMails to prospective candidates.
These 8-12 highly personalized touches take place over the course of about four weeks, and highlight candidates’ qualifications, the role itself, and employer brand. These multiple touches exist to heighten awareness, educate candidates about each role and the company as a whole, and ultimately build trust and show candidates how much you want them on your team.
According to Recruitment Daily, almost 50% of candidates have no prior exposure to a company before applying. This means that for passive candidates, your outreach is likely the first impression they will have of your organization - so make it count! A month may seem like a lightyear when you’re in recruiting crunchtime, but the caliber of these handpicked candidates will more likely than not far outweigh last-minute hires that were made just for the sake of adding another body to the team.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember when it comes to implementing a lengthy outreach process is that you’re not just recruiting talent, you’re building relationships. By taking the time to reach out and educate candidates you’re opening the door to conversation, growing your network of connections, and hopefully getting candidates to consider the value they could bring to your team. And, as a bonus, even if candidates aren’t immediately ready for a change, when the time comes you’re likely to be top of mind.
So next time you’re getting ready to open up the recruitment floodgates, consider planning ahead and taking the recruitment marketing route. After all, slow and steady wins the race.