Best practices from marketing applied to the talent acquisition world
The world and lingo of digital marketing is still relatively new to many talent acquisition professionals (though this is quickly becoming pre-requisite knowledge), so I’d like to begin with some definitions:
Lead nurturing: In the recruitment context, this is the process of building relationships with the talent pool. This includes interested applicants, passive job seekers who are not yet ready to apply and can even extend to candidates who are not (yet) qualified or even the rejected ones.
Content marketing: the strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive favorable talent response.
The end goal of lead nurturing is the same end goal of recruitment: getting a hire. Building valuable and relevant content to make that funnel deliver consistently is the key to nurture marketing. If you were to just put random content into your funnel without planning ahead, you would end up with a mix of messages that will confuse potential candidates and might reduce your chances of converting them to hire.
Nurture Marketing Process
Here’s a simple graphic that helps you visualize this the different stages of the recruitment funnel and help you bring order to chaos in your nurture marketing strategy:
Message 1. Welcome!
Assuming you already have candidate leads (from website/careers page, social media page, lead forms, job boards), your first message is to introduce your company. You can provide the basic information, which is usually found on your website, and put it in an easy to digest format like a blog or article. This will establish your initial relationship with potential candidates.
Message 2. Learn about us
Your next message is to share more information about your company and what sets you apart from other employers. This is what is often referred to as the Employer Value Proposition (EVP). Take this opportunity to explain your company culture by sharing an article with pictures of your office and your employees. If possible, you can also share a video blog instead. Video content translates to higher engagement compared to regular posts.
Message 3. You’re invited
Now that the potential candidates have more knowledge about your company, you can test their interest in application by inviting them to your recruitment activities like social media open hours, career fairs or on-site hiring events. The goal is to convert your interested leads into actual candidates.
Message 4. Online application
Aside from inviting them to your events, you can also send a message to encourage them to apply online. You can regularly update them with the different job openings in your company. Make sure that your call to action is clear — for the candidate to sign up and apply for the position.
Message 5. Ask for referral
After you have built positive connection and interaction with your leads, this is the good time to ask them for referrals regardless whether they have accepted a role in your company or not. Word of mouth is still the best form of marketing and taking advantage of this will help drive up your hires.
Creating Candidate Personas
To be able to deliver the right message to your potential hires, a good exercise is to create different personas. In marketing, personas serve as a guide for companies to reach their customers more effectively. For recruiters, these can help you create more relevant job descriptions, identify the correct recruiting channels (job boards, social, offline), and align your recruitment strategies to hiring better talent.
Here are some examples of personas with demographic, interests, behavior, goals, and pain points. Putting a name and a face to these personas will help you be more empathetic as you build content that builds emotional connections.
Content Is King
There are various forms of content that you can use for your nurture marketing campaign:
- blog posts
- social media posts
- messaging (e.g. Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber, Skype, etc.)
You can also choose from different topics but make sure you match the content and the tone of your message on the personas you have created.
- Different recruitment events and hiring initiatives
- Company anniversaries, outreach programs and CSR
- Articles that highlights your leadership in the industry
- Awards and recognition
- Company culture
- Employee feature — identify influencers within your company
Context Is Queen
When choosing what message to send, take into consideration at which stage of the the recruiting process the candidates are. If they are still in the awareness phase, they probably just want general information about your company. As their interest grows and you start building your relationship with the talent pool, you can now choose content specific to your types of candidates.
Updating profiles of candidates who are rejected or did not sign the contract is also important because you can still continue sending them nurturing messages. It’s like buying a new phone. Even if you have decided to buy an iPhone, Samsung will not stop marketing to you and try to convince you to switch because they know that in two years, you will be in the market again for a new phone. It follows the same principles for candidate nurture marketing. People regularly move jobs. Candidates become better after some training. So the fact that they were not hired now, it doesn’t mean you should stop talking to them.
Right Content at the Right Time
The last key to nurture marketing is knowing when is the best time to send your message to the talent pool. According to research, the best time to send emails is every Tuesday, 10AM. On the other hand, the best time to post and send message on social media is Wednesday, 3PM. However, these can differ per industry and per type of talent pool. For BPOs, it is okay to message talent in the evening because of the nature of the job. For currently unemployed talents, you can even message them on weekends. You need to experiment and find out when is the best time to message your candidates.
The frequency of your message can also change depending on the type of role you are looking for. The recruiting funnel can take a few months for entry level positions and up to a year for high level executives. The frequency or how often you can message your talent pool depends on how much content you have without spamming the candidates.
If you are dealing with high volume of candidates, it is best to use a recruitment software like Talkpush that allows you to accelerate your hiring by providing you with tools to manage your messages to the talents in various formats — email, social media, messaging apps and SMS.
You can’t improve what you don’t measure
It is important that you measure the results of your nurture campaign. Did it increase your quantity and quality of talents? Did it lower your Cost per Hire? Did it improve the employee participation rate of your Employee Referral Program? Did it help you raise your brand recognition in the general candidate population? What are the things you can do to improve your content?
Final word: invest in your TA team
Nurture Marketing, if implemented correctly, turns your talent acquisition function into a strategic competitive advantage for your company. Most recruiters have not received the formal training in digital advertising, content creation and social media analytics required to build a complete strategy, so remember to continuously invest in their training and development. Most strategies are refined over time, so encourage a culture of trial and error (A/B testing as it’s called in marketing) and you will witness the conversion numbers slowly improve month over month. This will empower your team to tap into a larger pool of talents and will help you turn passive candidates into applicants, into hires and eventually into ambassadors for your company.