As a former corporate recruiter, I know that staying ahead of the competition by using new tools and creative recruiting strategies/tactics is always top of mind. With that said, one area that is often overlooked (or tried and given up on because it’s too complex or takes too much time) is advertising. I’m not talking about posting a job on a job board or LinkedIn. I’m talking good old-fashioned digital advertising.
The kind you see EVERYDAY when you search for something on Google or Bing; or the banner ads on your favorite websites; or the ever increasing promoted posts showing up in your Facebook feed. This is where most recruiting organizations are missing out on the benefits of digital recruitment advertising.
What does “digital recruitment advertising” even mean?
When you hear the terms “recruiting” and “advertising” you may think of job boards or LinkedIn postings. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about more ‘traditional’ forms of digital advertising. I’m talking about Google/Bing Search ads. Display ads and banners. Facebook and LinkedIn ads (not job postings or posts by recruiters on the company Facebook or LinkedIn page).
If you think about it, recruiting organizations are no different than any other organization within a business. Most companies have a dedicated marketing team that is responsible for driving leads to their sales team but most recruitment organizations put that burden on their recruiters, who, by the way, are sales people – whether they want to admit it or not.
Marketers create ads and the leads are driven to the sales team through phone calls or lead forms that prospective customers have completed on a website. Sales people reach out and qualify these leads. Recruiters create job postings (aka ads) and receive leads through applicants to their posted positions. Just like sales people, recruiters look through the leads, tossing those that aren’t what they’re looking for and scheduling phone screens to, you guessed it, qualify the lead. Also, just like sales people, recruiters often complain about the quality of these ‘leads’. However, recruiting, just like sales, is a numbers game.
You will invariably need to dig through the 100 applicants to find 10 that are good. It’s just how it works. But at the end of the day, you’re damn glad to have those 10 promising leads (aka candidates) that are actually happy to talk to you.
Also, similar to sales people, recruiters use tools like LinkedIn to prospect for candidates or leads and directly contact them, oftentimes as a cold call or cold email. This often results in a reply rate that is pretty similar to the hit rate you got when going through applicants. Funny how that works.
Following Up with Pipelined Passive Candidates is Hard
As a former corporate recruiter and salesperson, I can tell you the one thing that recruiters are inherently bad at is follow up. You do all of this work to get in touch with someone on LinkedIn or some other channel only to find out that the timing wasn’t right for the person to consider another job. Then the candidate thinks about it for a couple of weeks and your competitor calls and now they’re ready to talk. If only you would have continued to follow up with them. But I get it. Time is of the essence and you need to fill that open job NOW. Not to mention most applicant tracking systems aren’t as robust as CRM tools like Salesforce, which make it pretty easy to create a follow up process.
But what happens in a month or two when you have another job opens up that’s identical to the one you just filled? Do you reach out to people you’ve already contacted but weren’t interested in speaking with you at the time?
If I know recruiters, probably not. Pipelines are created but not followed up on. It’s often easier to start a fresh search and reach out to another batch of people, hoping 15%-20% get back to you.
That’s why it’s time to start thinking outside of the box a little when it comes to recruiting and consider the entire process that someone goes through when considering making a move from their current employer. It’s a big decision for most people and one that usually takes lots of thought and time before you’re ready to go for it. Usually the people that get back to you on LinkedIn have already begun looking for a new job and are also talking to several companies by the time you reach them.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could be the first person they talk to?
Digital Advertising to the Rescue
The process a candidate goes through when considering a new job is not different from the process they go through when making a purchase, albeit a large purchase.
They start off content in their current role but wondering what else may be out there. But, since they’re content, they don’t put in the time or effort to find out. That’s where display and social advertising come in. You can use these mediums to build brand awareness and promote things like your benefits, company culture and other perks that people outside of your company may not know about.
That will give people an idea of what exists outside of their current company and one of those things that may not have been important to someone when they accepted their current job, suddenly are due to a life event (i.e., marriage, kids, etc.).
What about that person that you reached out to on LinkedIn that clicked the link you sent them and took a look at the job description on your career site. They were interested enough to check it out, but maybe their still content in their current job and not willing to make what would appear to be a lateral career move.
That’s where retargeting comes in. You can create display ads that are only shown to people that view certain pages or jobs on your career site and, similar to display ads, can be used to promote other benefits and things that may make the role look more enticing over time.
Branding, education and staying top-of-mind are the primary goals of display and retargeting ads (and Facebook/social ads to some degree), whereas search ads, job boards and career site scrapers, such as Indeed and SimplyHired, are there to capture people actively seeking out new opportunities and are ready to apply.
Advertising can be a very powerful tool if done correctly. Because of the targeting and variables involved with advertising, you can reach people your competitors can’t or don’t know how to reach, giving you access to thousands of prospective candidates your competition doesn’t know how to reach.
The primary reason digital advertising is not more widely used in recruiting is because it can be complex and time-consuming. Which is exactly why most companies have dedicated marketing teams in place to support their sales teams. When recruiters are both their marketing and sales teams combined, that can be difficult and it’s not like recruiters have extra time on their hands to create and manage ad campaigns.
The goal of this article is to provide a 10,000-foot overview of the various types of advertising that can be used to promote your open jobs and company as a whole. I will be creating a series of articles as a follow up to this one that will go into more detail about each type of advertising strategy; discussing who the target audience is, what to communicate and how each form of advertising works.
Don’t want to wait for the next article to come out on this topic? Have questions about advertising and recruiting? No problem! Use this form to contact me and I’ll be happy to schedule some time to discuss things with you in more detail.