The Facebook Recruiting Bible

The Facebook Recruiting Bible

12 years after Facebook launched, recruitment marketing still doesn’t quite know how to think about Facebook. I still go to meetings where legacy thinking drives expectations and conversations (“I read that we had to publish once a day” or “I thought social traffic was free or virtually free” and even the dreaded, “Can we make that go viral?”).

Everyone seems to have a piece of the answer (“It’s a media platform, so we need to spend!” or “No one uses Facebook to look for jobs”), but they are partial answers. They are looking at the largest social network through a straw and making strategic decisions from a very limited perspective. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Here is the most complete argument on how to think about Facebook for recruitment marketing. It takes into account active and passive candidates, mindsets and funnel position. With this understanding, you can build a comprehensive recruiting strategy that works with Facebook’s strengths instead of wrestling with its limitations.

It All Starts with the Funnel

The first step is to embrace the idea that all users are different, which means we can’t apply a one-size-fits-all solution to such a complex network. With 1.23 billion active users, there’s probably a million different ways to think about, approach and use Facebook. So let’s try to find a middle ground.

Let us start with the consideration funnel. At the top, you have people who don’t know you have jobs, in the middle are people thinking about applying, and at the bottom are people who are ready to apply.

Simple consideration funnel for recruiting

The people at each level are at different stages of consideration of the role. This means that people at the top of the funnel who are just getting started looking for a job don’t need to be shown a job. If they wanted to see a job, they would go to a job board. If they are at the top of the funnel and are on Facebook, they want engagement with the brand. Thus, the primary metric for people at this stage is engagement. If you delivered jobs to these people, they won’t click on that because they simply aren’t ready. The last time you could show someone who was at the top of the funnel a job and reasonably expect them to apply, that person was looking at the classifieds in a newspaper.

Further down the funnel, having done all their research and being ready to act, what people want is a direct path to a job. Once people have made up their minds and are ready to act, being shown a job will have a higher likelihood of action; thus the metric is more closely focused on applications.

Simple consideration funnel for recruiting - Complex

Even within the different levels of the funnel, we have different types of people. For example, at the top level, people who are unaware you have jobs might be unaware for different reasons requiring different solutions. They might simply not know your brand exists, or that your brand is hiring roles they can do. Conversely, someone would be considered “unaware” if they had a previous negative impression of your brand. They are unaware because they are filtering out awareness of your openings.

Through that lens, we can establish seven major cohorts within the recruiting space for Facebook:

Position Description Label
Top of funnel (active, unaware) These are active job-seekers who either don’t know your brand or don’t think about your brand for their careers (e.g., IT people don’t think about health care brands for roles) Job Board Surfers
Top of funnel (active, aware) These are active job-seekers who know your brands and have a negative impression Sourpusses
Top of funnel (passive) These are people who aren’t looking for a new role Potentials
Middle of funnel Job-seekers who are aware of your brand and are seeking more information before making a decision Considerers
Bottom of funnel (convert) Job-seekers who are ready to apply, but for some reason haven’t, either because they never finished the application, got distracted, or just need a nudge to convert Goldfish
Bottom of funnel (consider) Job seekers who are almost ready to apply, but are looking for a little more info before taking action Fence-sitters

In order to engage each of these cohorts, we need to align the content they are ready to see with a means of putting it in front of them. To that end:

Type Content Targeting Objective/CTA
Job Board Surfers Content worth sharing, brand content Ads promoted to demographics and interests Brand awareness
Sourpusses Positive and surprising stories Dark posts promoted to demographics, interests, job titles and companies Brand awareness and sharing
Potentials Content worth sharing Dark posts promoted to demographics and interests, job titles Engage and share
Considerers Employee stories None Click to career site
Goldfish Job groups Retargeting Click to apply, application
Fence-sitters Career path, the work experience, compelling reason to apply None Click to apply, application

Clearly, each audience has aspects that make it unique. Applying a single strategy across all audiences on Facebook guarantees that you will miss, or worse alienate, most of your prospects.

Let’s go through each of the seven segments and see how people interact with Facebook, which should help us understand how and when to leverage the social network’s power.

Job Board Surfers (Top of Funnel, Active Candidates Who Are Unaware of Your Brand)

This is the most obvious group, and in many ways, when we think about prospects, this is who we think about. This is why we spend so much money on job boards, ads and other tactics to get candidates to consider us. These are people who are already looking for jobs and need a reason to consider our brand when looking.

So in this space, our goal is to make our brand obvious to people who aren’t thinking about us, either because no one knows our brand, or because our brand isn’t top of mind for their role. Publishing content without promoting it is a waste because this audience doesn’t know you and isn’t following you. You need to spend money to reach out to new audiences and provide them not with job recs, but with stories that highlight the brand as a potential employer of choice.

For this segment, the most effective way to use Facebook in this situation is to push ads to people in likely demographic and interest sets. This means establishing an audience segment (newly graduated, 25-28-year-olds, 30-35-year-olds in Ohio, etc.) and tailoring the message to that audience specifically.

Examples of effective content for this segment:

Top employer awards, stories about people who grew their career with your brand, and how what the brand stands for permeates the entire work experience.

Sourpusses (Top of Funnel, Active Candidates Who Have a Negative Impression of Your Brand)

This is a tough audience. In general, we assume that most people have a neutral outlook of your employer brand, primarily because most people don’t know the brand very well. But there are instances in which a negative sentiment exists. Aside from global or national brands in the news for less-than-exciting reasons, perhaps you’re in a very competitive space with a number of relatively equal brands competing for talent – for example, a regional hospital competing with other hospitals and health care outlets for nurses. High competition leads to high levels of awareness, and not all of it is positive.

There’s an argument to be made that you should ignore this audience, as they are tough to convince even if you can reach them. The prospect journey is long enough without adding the extra step of having to prove that you don’t deserve their negative perception. On limited budgets, we recommend focusing on more “blue ocean” audiences if you can.

But if you need to reach this audience, start by building out libraries of stories that are both positive and authentic. Attempting to whitewash negative sentiment with a phony story will only make the situation worse. These stories should align to your core brand but be seen through more positive lenses.

These stories should then be published as dark posts (not on your feed) and pushed to people in the correct interests and demographic set. One way to increase the likelihood that you are reaching sourpusses is to include competitors as a filter, meaning that people who work for other companies (e.g., those inclined to hear negative things about you) will see these stories.

As people perceive word-of-mouth information as more authentic, your goal is to get your audience to share these stories. The act of sharing will lend them a higher level of consideration and adoption.

Examples of effective content for this segment:

Meet an employee who loves this brand, employee-generated content surrounding the idea “what a day is like here” or quotes from Glassdoor reviews highlighting that the brand isn’t perfect, but is true to its mission of XYZ.

Potentials (Top of Funnel, Passive Candidates)

Everyone loves passive candidates. They are mythic in our minds, possessing all the positive characteristics we are looking for without any down sides. Obviously, that’s never true, but we look for passive candidates nonetheless.

Remember, these people aren’t looking for a job, thus sending them jobs won’t work. Also, they won’t be on your page, so you are going to need to spend money to reach them.

To target this audience, again start with interests and job titles, but filter out anyone already a fan of your page (anyone who follows your page isn’t really a passive candidate). Also highlight select job titles to narrow down your search. But beware: it is very easy to create a very large target list of people who might be interested in this opportunity, which will spend your budget very quickly.

The smarter move is to focus on specific opportunities and target small subsets of audiences with content that is interesting, valuable and sharable. Content should have no direct connection to hiring (remember, this audience doesn’t care about that yet), but should focus on the brand’s status in the industry, interesting work being produced by the brand, or trends to look out for.

Remember, the goal isn’t to get them to apply, but to create a lead, someone who will add you to their consideration set and be willing to listen to your pitch when you approach them.

Examples of effective content for this segment:

Three ways IT is changing the health care industry, four ideas changing the future of accounting, and the five companies where new grads can make an impact.

Considerers (Middle of Funnel)

There is abundant research showing that with the growing economy and shortage of talent across the board, the process of finding and hiring talent is getting longer. Part of the reason is that tools and channels have emerged as legitimate sources of internal information about the brand. No longer do candidates come in blind to the work experience, but will read reviews and do research about the employer brand.

This is exactly where this audience lives: interested in your brand, but looking for more information before moving to the next stage.

The nice part is that people in this stage generally come to you. They are actively researching your brand, so you don’t need to spend money to push messages to them. Instead, focus on building stories that talk about employees and the work experience. The best content is that which comes straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Employee-generated content like stories, pictures and videos from your staff on and off the job provide a compelling picture of the work, one this segment will respond to.

The smartest play is to place the bulk of this content on your career site and leverage Facebook to drive people to it. While applications aren’t the primary KPI, showing more of the employer brand in action will drive some people to apply, so it makes sense to make that process easy.

Examples of effective content for this segment:

Collections of photos and videos from staff, quotes and testimonials of staff in their own words and examples of career paths.

Goldfish (Bottom of Funnel, Forgot to Complete Application)

This audience is easily the most transactional of all of them. These are people who know your brand, have formed a positive impression of it, and have likely done some research. They are ready to apply and something stopped them.

Perhaps the exact right opportunity wasn’t available. Perhaps they got distracted and forgot to complete the application process. Perhaps they switched computers and never got back to applying. Regardless, these people just need the right prompt to get them to convert.

Start by retargeting to them. If they have been to your career site and/or Facebook page, send them occasional ads about new openings and the brand’s desire to hire talent. In our other retargeting campaigns, we see high conversion rates just by re-presenting the jobs to them.

Don’t forget to leverage your internal talent pool or talent community email list. Break your list out by career area and send ads to these people with links to the appropriate jobs.

Note: In order to implement retargeting, make sure you have a Facebook tracking pixel on every page of your career site. This will ensure that you are reaching people who know you already.

Examples of effective content for this segment:

Hot jobs, newly available jobs and other listings of openings.

Fence-sitters (Bottom of Funnel, Need a Nudge)

This audience is so close to applying, but simply needs one more bit of information to push them over the edge.

This audience exists because most recruiting and employer brand content is overly broad, inauthentic, bland and hard to defend. Everyone says they care about their employees. Everyone says that they are committed to success. Everyone highlights staff quotes. But for people who are more selective (more technical, more senior, etc.), they need something more. They need something compelling. They need something real.

One of the biggest issues facing this segment is that of uncertainty. Uncertainty keeps people from taking action, be it buying a house, getting married, or taking a job. To this audience, your goal needs to be eliminating as much uncertainty as possible. That includes explaining the recruiting process, the duration, who they might meet, and who the leadership team is (not the “about us” material, but something more authentic about the people they are placing their trust in).

People at this stage don’t need that information delivered to them. Chances are they are looking for it on their own, but can’t find it. You just need to point to it from your Facebook channel and have it lead to the content and job.

Examples of effective content for this segment:

A personal story of one person’s career path within the brand, how we recruit and hire, and meet the team.

Many people have written Facebook off as “just a media platform,” and in many ways that’s true. You can treat it as a standalone media channel, but that misses opportunities to leverage the world’s most popular social network in attracting and compelling talent to apply. If you take the time to properly segment your audiences, you can speak to them about the things that matter to them, increasing traffic and conversion rates.

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TMP Worldwide
Written by TMP Worldwide

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