Making the hard cuts: A Recession Series Vol. 1
With the right tech stack and a strong re-engagement strategy, recruiters can source thousands of candidates at a fraction of the cost they used to spend on job advertising.
A recession has been born from the embers of a still active pandemic crisis. Along with every recession, naturally comes a discussion on cost reduction. We are offering a three part series of guided budget-slashing for high volume employers and their talent acquisition (TA) teams, a series of immediate actions TA teams can take to get the job done at a fraction of the cost. For more general tips check out last month’s blog: Recession-proof your TA Operations.
Before we dive into all the cuts you can make to your advertising budget, let’s remember that we live in unique times in recruiting industry history thanks to all the tools readily available (and all their free iterations) which means we can do our jobs efficiently from wherever we are.
Action #1: renegotiate your contract with your job board vendors
How much of your qualified traffic is coming from sources like CareerBuilder, Indeed, Jobstreet or Computrabajo? While the overall market share of those job boards has gradually been decreasing over the past 15 years (as social media hiring has been taking over), they still represent a significant part of the recruitment marketing budget. Most job boards work with an annual contract (if not bi-annual) in order to lock in the revenue, giving employers a fixed number of positions to advertise or applications to collect. For a job board vendor, the main cost of operating is twofold: acquiring candidates and acquiring customers. In a recession, the cost of acquiring candidates drops significantly as unemployment drives demand. In parallel, the cost of acquiring customers increases and it becomes critically difficult to get employers to advertise openings. This puts you (the employer) in a unique position to renegotiate your contract with them as the job board needs you now more than ever. You might be able to get a couple of months for free (no harm in trying), or if you haven’t paid upfront you could even threaten them to terminate the engagement if they don’t let you start a new (reduced) annual subscription early. Again, the job board vendors are expecting those conversations to happen and they will be ready to negotiate. Come ready for the battle! (Oh… and read the rest of this article before you call them!)
Action #2: Get all your jobs listed on Google automatically
Did you know that Google is the first place where job seekers go to start their search? It’s no surprise therefore that in 2017 Google decided to launch a global initiative called “Google Jobs” and to automatically list all the jobs they could find from job boards, career websites and other related listings. Your Applicant Tracking Software or Recruitment CRM should include those listings for free. Want to be sure? Simply run a general google search with your job title and location and see what pops up.
If your job listings are not automatically populated, then your software is either outdated or not properly configured. It may be time for you to switch to another provider. Maybe another cost saving opportunity? (More on that in a future post)
Action #3: List all your jobs (for free) on Facebook Jobs
Facebook Jobs is a powerful tool for a simple reason: popularity. The platform offers recruiters a vast talent pool with 1.6 billion users daily. To put it in perspective, LinkedIn has 310 million monthly active users. It also allows you to capture passive job seekers, as well as people who already like your brand.
Its accessibility makes it a referral booster — even if you reach people who aren’t interested in your job offer, they can easily share it with somebody who is. Did we mention it’s free? All you need is a Facebook Business Page. Posting jobs on Facebook increases conversions, since it makes it easy for candidates to research your company by looking at your profile and applying with a few clicks. 37% of candidates won’t apply if they can’t find information about the company.
We’ve also got our own data that proves the effectiveness of the platform when it comes to hiring. Our numbers show that Facebook Jobs has become the #1 channel for our customers in 2020.
Action #4: Keep your database engaged (and re-engaged)
Studies indicate that recruiters make 17X more hires from their own databases than leading job boards. Your database is your strongest sourcing opportunity. Right now is the time to get someone dedicated to reactivating cold leads, many of them have become active job seekers. You can use mass messaging to help you gauge their level of interest and take it from there.
Action #5: Update your advertising spend mix
Not all advertising is expensive. In a time of recession, ad traffic can become very cheap very fast. This month, Facebook and Instagram ads are about 50% cheaper than they were 3 months ago. Targeting candidates through paid social media campaigns can be very effective in generating thousands of leads. This is probably the most cost effective advertising channel, if you’re looking to hire millennials and Gen Z— demographics that job boards have had a hard time attracting. Most young job seekers explore career opportunities jobs by scrolling through LinkedIn or swiping away on Instagram. By refining your audience, testing and tracking your conversions you can increase the quality of traffic generated from ads. Here are 4 quick tips:
Create personas for each of your open positions
Adapt your messaging and visuals to each platform
A/B test with copy and CTAs
Create descriptive and accurate job descriptions
Action #6: Ramp up your social media presence to generate more organic traffic
While advertising costs are dropping, they won’t drop to zero. You may choose to scale back paid social media campaigns entirely, which is not such a bad idea: data shows that people engage more with organic content rather than paid, so instead you could focus your efforts on building an attractive social media presence. Post regularly about company culture and strengthen your employer brand, we recommend encouraging interdepartmental collaboration between Marketing and HR. With a thoughtfully curated social media experience, you’ll be attracting passive candidates who are now more likely than ever to become active.
It’s important to increase engagement from within, encouraging employees to participate in social media activity. This is the part where Marketing and HR can have some fun! Campaigns geared towards employee interactions can be creative, boost morale, and get your social media stats up. For example, in Talkpush we launched a remote work challenge using #MyNewManager, asking Talkpushers to send pictures of their pets in their work area at home. The results have been great. Employees interact with the posts, post their own and tag the company and help build a buzz around our remote culture in an entertaining way. Think of dynamics that will resonate with your team. At Talkpush we have a WhatsApp group solely dedicated to sharing pictures of our pets, so it made total sense to include this aspect of our personality on social media.
You can also ask them to post jobs on their personal Facebook and LinkedIn feeds, a “Social Media Sharing” Slack channel (or whatever platform you use to communicate) is a great way to get everyone sharing what they’ve posted so that others can engage with it. All these mini-strategies will help you achieve your recruiting targets, while also positioning the company in a positive light to the public. Active social profiles and employee participation are all signs that your company is doing well, even though we’re in a recession — and this is in turn is good for business.
Action #7: Simple career sites that improve conversion rates
If your advertising budget is being cut, it is likely your inbound traffic will drop significantly (even if implementing actions 2 to 6 will reduce the impact). With less traffic coming in, you will want to maximize your conversion rate to make sure you don’t miss out on that great hire. You will need a beautiful career site to encourage your candidates to hit that apply button. It’s time to critically evaluate how effective your career site is at converting traffic into applicants and to think of lighter alternatives. We have seen simple Google Form (that cost $0) that might work more effectively than websites that cost tens of thousands of dollars. There are also platforms like Unbounce or Webflow which make website design easy and intuitive, for a small monthly subscription, you can create your own career sites and integrate them with your recruiting CRM.
Your career site should elevate the candidate experience and your brand sure, but its first mission is to capture leads. Sometimes the marketing department seems to forget that! With attention spans shortening, and job seekers searching for jobs from their phones more often, there has never been a better time to rethink the way you welcome them on your website. P.S Talkpush just launched new career site services — we are designing career sites for our customers built for speed, conversions, and of course aesthetics.
Action #8: Shorten recruiting cycles to improve (the real) conversion rate
In addition to a lean and mean career website, you can improve the conversion rate that really matters: hiring rates. Doing that means maintaining fast response times, even with limited resources. Faster responses always equate to better conversions. An optimized candidate journey using automated scheduling can help you get back to qualified active job seekers before your competition does. How does an improved hiring rate affect your advertising spend? The math is simple: if you can convert leads twice as well, you can spend twice less on generating them. An effective and delightful process can get you the same number of hires with half your current advertising budget.
👉👉👉 That's a lot to think about. If you'd like to talk a little bit more about ways you can build a delightful candidate journey to increase conversions with less advertising $$$ you can schedule a quick call with us below. 🚀