With increased expectations from top-tier talent for work that aligns with their personal goals, increased competition for that talent and a recruiting process that is anything but linear, employers are widening recruiting efforts to areas that used to be the sole domain of marketing.
A significant number of companies (38 per cent) plan to invest in a clear employer branding initiative within the next 12 months, according to the 2012 study The Future of Candidate Relationship Management: Employer Branding, Analytics and Technology by the Aberdeen Group, based in Boston.
Employer brand is an extension of a company’s master brand into the recruiting process. It’s a way to extend the reach of the mission, vision and values a company promises to customers and use them to attract candidates.
Employer brand is something that needs to be pervasive through the entire recruitment process. From the initial advertisements that encourage a candidate to apply, to networks that encourage passive candidates to stay in touch, to staying in touch with potential recruits for when a suitable opening comes up, there are three key technology areas available to recruiters to ensure their employer brand is compelling and consistent throughout the hiring process: job marketing, talent networks and talent management systems.
When it comes to attracting candidates to apply for jobs at a particular company, the sky is the limit for creative job marketing campaigns to highlight employer brand.
Twitter, for example, produced a “worst recruiting video ever” that went viral shortly after its release in January 2012, highlighting not only the creativity of some employees but the way Twitter as a company fosters that creativity. The video was published during one of Twitter’s “hack days” where employees are encouraged to spend the day flexing their creative muscles on prototypes and creative exercises in areas outside their usual responsibilities.
Creating labour and media-intensive content as special projects isn’t the only way companies are showing off their employer brand. LinkedIn and Facebook are also becoming popular places for employers to engage with candidates, leveraging the same conversational messaging that’s resonating with their customers.
Creating careers tabs and pages is an excellent way for candidates to engage with potential employers as the latest plug-ins allow them to apply directly from LinkedIn and Facebook using their profile information on the social networks.
Recruiters are also joining marketers on micro-blogging and social bookmarking sites such as Twitter and Pinterest to engage with potential talent whose expertise and online presence match up with the needs and values of their organizations.
Best practices in job marketing also include building rich career sites. When candidates click through to an employer’s page, they want to see more than a list of every job available. They want personalized content tailored to their specific situation and career. Employers do this by creating niche career pages that cover their diverse hiring needs. For example, a health-care company may have separate career pages for nurses, lab technicians, maintenance or administrative staff.
But it’s not enough to capture candidates’ attention with creative campaigns and compelling landing pages. The nature of multichannel online technology means there are many ways to connect with candidates — and an equal number of distractions a jobseeker will encounter online.
It’s vitally important to have a way for candidates to register their interest, even with limited information, at every point in their interactions with a company. This is where talent networks play a role.
With more robust job marketing capturing the attention of passive candidates — who either aren’t looking or can’t find a suitable position available — it’s important their attention isn’t wasted and they are able to indicate their interest in the company another way. The ability to join a talent network, where candidates can sign up for further information about the company and receive alerts about future events and job postings, fills that need.
Talent networks allow those interested in working for a company to stay engaged without necessarily applying for a job. The best ones allow candidates to be referred to the site through employees they may already know by “signing in” or “connecting” with their social profiles, to upload resumés or to be added manually by recruiters they have relationships with.
Once a member of a talent network, an individual is able to learn more about the company and can be encouraged to keep his profile updated so he can be notified as soon as opportunities open up.
Talent relationship management
The third piece of the consistent employer brand puzzle is talent relationship management (TRM). Functioning
similarly to customer relationship management (CRM), TRM is about applying contact management technology to the recruiting process, helping recruiters better manage their conversations with candidates by allowing them to track interactions and conduct effective followups. Depending on the way a company’s talent generation solution is configured, this can be part of a talent network or separate solution.
With TRM, recruiters can communicate directly with candidates one-on-one or broadcast messages to groups of candidates or their entire database. Being able to segment and select sections of their candidate pool and send custom messages allows recruiters to tailor their communications and interactions to align with candidate interests and experience. It’s also another opportunity to reinforce the key points of the employer brand most relevant to candidates.
This then closes the loop from when candidates were first attracted to apply to the company, through their experience with the talent network and then to a successful acceptance of a job offer.
By tapping into their employer brand throughout the recruiting process and using it to drive their job marketing, talent networks and talent relationship management activities, recruiters can leverage marketing tactics with technology purpose-built for talent generation to improve hiring speed and success at their companies.
Jennifer Watkiss is marketing and social media manager at Talent Technology in Vancouver. She can be reached at (604) 238-1574, firstname.lastname@example.org or, for more information, visit www.talenttech.com.