A Manifesto in 20 Theses
Bit by bit, little by little, the recruitment marketing world looks less and less like it used to. Your job has changed. The expectations have changed. The tools have changed.
Three years ago, you never heard of Snapchat, Tinder, Bumble, Slack, podcasts, programmatic ads, bots, augmented reality, machine learning, big data, crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, drones, Alexa, Siri, or geofencing, let alone how you could use these things to recruit.
This is no evolution, but a radical sea change in how people look for jobs, what they look for, and how you can shepherd them to your open recs. If you think you can make those changes bit by bit, you’re in trouble, like someone trying to jump across a great chasm in two leaps.
This is a manifesto for those who need it.
What is Recruitment Marketing?
1. Recruiting is the search for quality, not quantity
Recruitment marketing is not consumer marketing. We don’t want to get a million applicants. We want 5 amazing applicants for every opening. Everything beyond that is inefficiency. Thus, recruitment marketing’s primary purpose is to focus on the quality of candidates, not the quantity.
2. Anything that leads to higher quantity without higher quality is ineffective
3. Focus your attention
The candidate journey is getting longer and more complex, with new potential platforms and touchpoints every day. Don’t get distracted by the channel du jour. Rather than spread the budget thin, focus on areas where you can do the most good. Don’t worry about “missing” audiences on other platforms and channels. Once engaged, they will find you.
4. Outbound and inbound work together
A comprehensive talent acquisition strategy is balancing outbound marketing (ads, job boards, etc.) with inbound marketing (providing bait that entices people to engage). One is not better than the other, but one without the other is ineffective.
5. Content and social media work together
Inbound is made up of content (stories about your brand, locations, people, working experience, history, motivations, etc.) and social media (being interesting and attractive on platforms where people already are).
6. Step one is getting attention
The goal of social is to get people’s attention. It is relatively straightforward to gain people’s attention (it can be leveraged, bought, stolen and earned). But making sure you are getting the right people’s attention and that you know what to do with that attention is much more complex.
7. Step two is doing something with that attention
What you do with that attention is called content. Content is what leads to interest in the brand and job and drives action that you care about most.
What Is Content?
8. Content is not a tactic
It is a mindset focused on helping people understand who you are and why they might want to learn more. It can be incorporated into almost any other tactic (inbound or outbound) to increase each tactics’ value: An ad that is “selling” only does so much, but an ad that is “entertaining” or “educating” gives you a chance to do so much more.
9. Content is how your brand is expressed
Content is the only way people learn about you, your jobs, your employer brand and your unique selling proposition. It differentiates, positions and compels. Your brand is not that thing in the binder or that mission statement. It is who you are and how you behave every day. The only way to express that is via content.
10. Content drives fit, not metrics
Good content can both attract likely fitting and qualified candidates while at the same time repelling poorly fitting and unqualified candidates. The value is not in the quantity, but in helping establish likely fit. Thus, looking for a single metric to define content is impossible, as it will attract and repel in equal value (think about your spouse’s favorite movie and how much you hate it).
Respect the “Publish” Button
11. People’s attention is the rarest commodity
Publish something only when you’ve got something worth saying.
12. Work with a clear intent
Anything without a clearly stated audience or clearly defined purpose is worthless and should be stopped immediately. No amount of “filler” content, social content or marketing provides as much value as one well-written and well-positioned story.
13. Quality first
Everything is or can be content, but not everything is good content.
14. Good content takes time to build
15. Older content and social content isn’t bad
Recruiting content is rarely timely, so having used it once, or having written it six months ago doesn’t mean it’s worthless. It just needs to be repackaged, reframed and relaunched. Chances are almost no one saw it the first time organically.
Build for the Long Term, not the Fad
16. Never build on rented property
Followings built on Facebook or other social platforms are owned not by you, but by those platforms. And they have a history of changing the rules on how and when (and the cost associated with it) you can reach them. If you want to build a following, build it within the talent pool or CRM, not Facebook. Remember: You own your email list and can leverage it on social channels. You can still use those channels to attract attention, drive awareness and eventually applications, but you shouldn’t build a following there.
17. Think long-term and put your energy toward things you can own
Growing a recruitment-focused fan base on social channels is all effort without reward. Rarely is there a clear WIIFM to join a recruitment fan base. Once collected, it is hard to activate that base because the platforms are incentivized on a pay-for-play model. And people may be fans of a brand for years, but their job search may take only weeks.
Yes, You Can Measure It
18. Avoid vanity metrics
The only social metrics that matter are Clicks that move the prospect closer to jobs and Applications (or intent to apply). Everything else is fuzzy math. This is true today, but may change in the future.
19. Content moves people
For content, the metrics that matter are whether or not people seeing the content are taking the next step. A single idea or piece of content can’t encourage people to apply by itself, but it can carry people one step closer to applying or deciding not to apply.
20. Do not be a slave to the metrics
In the end, a compelling story may not have a clear ROI, like so many other useful things in business (your logo, your mission, your office, etc.). But they establish feelings in the people you are trying to convert. Content can have power for years, so don’t evaluate it only in the first week of its launch. Social is the commercial for your brand, so rather than evaluate the channel, ask if you can use it better.