Top 5 Recruitment Marketing Priorities in 2018

This article originally appeared on Rally Recruitment Marketing.
As you put your 2018 Recruitment Marketing strategy into action, it can be helpful to compare your priorities with those of your peers. From improving the candidate experience to expanding social recruiting channels to increasing talent pipeline engagement, it can feel like there's an endless number of initiatives competing for your attention and resources. So, where should you focus?
Well… it depends. At Rally, we don’t believe that Recruitment Marketing is “one size fits all.” Your plan should be customized to your responsibilities, your team’s goals, what resources are available, the company’s strategy, changes in the market, your industry, etc.
Still, there’s a lot of benefit to comparing notes. So we asked our RallyRM Mentors to share their priorities for 2018. They come from different industries and company sizes. Some have been in their roles for several years, while others are building Recruitment Marketing (again) at a new company. What they all have in common (and what we love about the RallyRM Mentors!) is that they’re always striving to learn new strategies, implement better tools and improve their results.
Here’s the Top 5 Recruitment Marketing Priorities for 2018:

1. Learn what matters in Recruitment Marketing analytics

Figuring out what Recruitment Marketing strategies work and which ones don’t isn’t a new priority in 2018 – it’s more like a quest that every Recruitment Marketer has been on since the beginning of time.
The funny thing is that every Recruitment Marketer feels that she/he is behind everyone else when it comes to analytics. That’s because most of us don’t have the systems we need to give us the visibility and accuracy we so very want. As a result, we sometimes just look at top of the funnel metrics like social media impressions or career site visits and applies, or report on activities like number of employee stories published or number of new leads in our talent network. These data points are good to know, but do they really tell you if you’re making an impact?
In 2018, a priority for Recruitment Marketing analytics is to learn what matters from the perspective of the candidate journey. New metrics include: the most frequent first touchpoint, where candidates go next, the number and types of content they engage with, on which channels, how long does it take from first touch to apply, where are candidates dropping off in our apply process, how many referrals are we receiving, and more. While it’s not always easy to marry this to hire data, it’s something we must strive for (and push our vendors and agencies to help with).
By understanding candidate journey data, we can know if all our strategies, tactics and channels are leading to the result that matters: attracting and hiring the right talent for our companies.

2. Humanize the candidate experience through better communication

We’ve invested a lot in improving the candidate experience, but most investment has gone into improving the process of applying for jobs. That’s super important, and there’s still much to do. But in 2018, a priority will be to ensure that we’re also improving how we communicate with candidates.
The latest research from the Talent Board shows that what sets Candidate Experience Award (CandE) winners apart is better candidate communication and engagement. Job seekers rated a company’s candidate experience higher when there was open, transparent and two-way communication (including feedback) between them and the employer across all stages in their candidate journey.
What does it mean to humanize the candidate experience? It means creating and seizing opportunities for real human connections between the people who may want to work at your company (or who you want) and the people who are working at your company. This includes: Recruitment Marketers, recruiters, hiring managers, company leadership and current employees.
Technology can help us to communicate better (see #5 below), but it’s also about changing our mindset to focus our tools and process on candidates first. Candidates expect to be heard and expect a response. If we don’t meet candidate expectations, we’ll not only lose them as applicants, we very well could lose their business.
As Recruitment Marketers, we have a unique opportunity in 2018 to “own” candidate communication across the candidate journey, from social engagement to career site chat bots to text and email messaging and beyond. The goal is to show that you treat candidates the same way you treat employees: with respect.

3. Find new ways to authentically tell our employer brand story

As more and more companies invest in Recruitment Marketing and Employer Branding, we need to continually up our game and differentiate ourselves from other employers.
First you need to nail your message. If you haven’t done so recently, it’s time to refresh your Employer Value Proposition (EVP) (here’s how to do it, from RallyRM Mentor Ben Gledhill). As Recruitment Marketing works more closely with Marketing, involve them in the process to ensure that your EVP is aligned to your corporate marketing message.
Then you’re ready to leverage employees to tell your brand story. Sharing the perspectives of our employees is a compelling way to authentically convey our company’s culture, values and purpose, as well as to offer insight into the day-to-day life at our organization – all key information that informed candidates seek out.
In 2018, a priority for Recruitment Marketing is to find new ways to tell employee stories and to ensure those stories can be found throughout all the touchpoints on the candidate’s journey. In addition, a priority is to get more employees involved in brand advocacy. It not only fosters your culture, it ensures your full organization is reflected in your recruiting efforts.
Video will become a bigger priority in three areas: 1) produced videos by our Recruitment Marketing team for our career pages and social content, 2) videos that profile our company on third party career sites and job boards, and 3) employee-generated videos on their preferred platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Snapchat.
The great thing about employee-generated content is that it’s organic and has a special authenticity that can connect with candidates, and it’s a great source of content to curate and amplify across your careers channels.

4. Understand how GDPR impacts Recruitment Marketing processes and touchpoints

If you haven’t had a chance yet to look into GDPR, now is the time. GDPR is the acronym for Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation. This is a new set of regulations that governs how you can collect and store a person’s private data, and the regulation will be strictly enforced in Europe as of May 25, 2018.
You don’t need to be a European company or have an office in Europe for this to matter to you. These regulations apply to any company that collects or maintains European citizen data. The aim here is to give European citizens more control over how their data is collected, used and stored. If you’re a small U.S. company that’s just dealing with U.S. candidates, then GDPR is probably not something you need to worry about. But if you have any European citizens interested in working for you, this is a critical regulation for HR, Talent Acquisition and Recruitment Marketing to understand.
The penalties for non-adherence are really severe, with fines of up to 20 million Euros or 4% of annual revenue (whichever is highest!). So, it’s important to ensure your Recruitment Marketing efforts are GDPR compliant!
Here are some examples of the types of things you’ll need to assess and address in relation to GDPR:
  • The messaging you share when collecting candidate information through any channel, including social media campaigns, talent networks, or regular applications
  • How you store information about and contact passive candidates
  • How you collect candidate information at European recruitment events
  • How to set up your ATS so candidate data can be easily removed as requested
The above is just a small sample of the things you’ll need to do a deep dive on. I’d recommend reading this blog post from Clinch, or downloading Beamery’s resource: GDPR: The Complete Guide for Recruitment Teams to learn more. For HR professionals, I'd recommend diving into SHRM's GDPR portal.

5. Explore new technology innovations and vendors

We all know the HR tech space is huge! Staying on top of trends is essential to retaining a competitive advantage. If you have the budget to consider new tech tools this year, here are a few areas the RallyRM Mentors say are worth exploring:
  • Chatbots: many companies are looking at recruiting chatbots to reduce their recruiters’ administrative workloads. These chatbots can add leads to your ATS, CRM or recruitment marketing platform, and boost your candidate experience by providing candidates with immediate interactions. A few vendors and products to check out: TextRecruit, BrazenMyaCrowded, and Olivia.
  • Employee advocacy software: getting your employees to share and create content about your company on social media can boost your reach and attract hires. Employee advocacy platforms give your employees the chance to access all of your Recruitment Marketing content in one spot and share it with their networks on multiple social platforms with one click. Vendors include: The Muse BrandBuilder, EveryoneSocialPostBeyondElevate by LinkedIn, and Bambu by Sprout Social.
  • Enhanced job descriptions: gone are the days when a wall of text would work to attract a candidate to your organization. Companies today are moving towards more innovative job description formats that convey details in a visually appealing way and/or that offer video footage to introduce and personalize the experience. Some vendors to check out: OnGigVizi Recruiter and VideoMyJob.
Remember, Recruitment Marketing strategy isn’t “one size fits all.” Everyone’s plan is customized to their needs, but hopefully this list provides an additional perspective on what some of your peers are working on.
No matter what, the top priority for Recruitment Marketing should be to ensure that you’re aligned with your Recruiting team and your Marketing team. At the end of the day, all of you are working together to attract and hire the best candidates for your company.
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