On the face of it, recruiting sounds fairly simple: there’s a job opening and you need to fill it with quality candidates. Right?
There’s just one problem – today’s recruitment is a lot different than it was before, because the job market itself is vastly different. For example, the official unemployment rate in USA in November of 2018 was 3.7%, the lowest in the past 49 years. Around the world, unemployment rates are getting lower, while the hunger for new talent increases, especially in technical/IT roles.
For recruiters, this means fewer people per every open position. Moreover, it means that just putting the job ad out there and hoping for great candidates to come flocking in does not work anymore. Nowadays, making the best hire means going out of your way and essentially marketing the position to candidates.
We’re here today to make a case that today’s recruiting is a lot more like marketing. Here are a few reasons why this shift happened and what lessons recruiters can take from marketers to excel at their job.
Great recruiters are expert copywriters
If a candidate has been on a job hunt for a while, it’s pretty likely that they’ve read a fair share of job ads. Having been on this side myself, I can tell you one thing – many job ads are simply copy/pasted from other sources with slight changes. While writing unique job ads and descriptions can be challenging, copying someone else’s words will do a lot more harm than good in your candidate search.
The words you write in your job descriptions matter, and great recruiters are also great copywriters. As expert copywriter Joanna Weibe says, recruiting is all about using words to attract candidates to apply to your roles.
So, how do you do this, especially if you’ve never written before? Don’t worry, as the largest part of copywriting is actually the research. In order to write great job ads, recruiters need to investigate their ideal candidate: who they are, what they read, what interests them, what makes them tick, what kind of language they use.
While you can’t (and probably shouldn’t) completely master the art of copywriting for job ads, you can take a look at this short workbook to learn some essentials. If you want a crash course, these are the main elements of great copywriting for recruitment:
- Write the way you speak (use natural language, not legalese)
- More you, less we (speak about the candidate and their needs, not yourself)
- Make features into benefits
- Mind the formatting (lots of white space, don’t spare the ENTER button – make the ad easy to read)
- Ease the candidates into the next step (don’t require large actions, instead ask for a series of smaller actions)
The good news is, copywriting is tons of fun. The bad news is… There is no bad news – picking up some copywriting skills will benefit every aspect of your recruiting.
Future recruiters need to master PPC
Since when do recruiters have to know how to do PPC? Well, ever since candidates stopped visiting job boards. If you’re a recruiter looking to fill a role with plenty of passive or hard-to-reach candidates, the only thing you can do is get the job ad in front of them, and this is where PPC comes into play.
Even though some recruiters may consider it intrusive, pay-per-click ads are actually a really effective way of getting high-quality candidates to view and apply to job ads. In fact, one agency claims anywhere from 14-23% of all their candidates come from using PPC.
As you can read from some of many guidelines on PPC for recruiters, there are multiple advantages for using this channel to attract candidates. Perhaps the best aspect is that you end up paying for performance, i.e. only those clicks that turn into actual applicants, as opposed to job boards that have a fixed fee for a certain time period, without guaranteeing any success.
As far as our own experience, we’ve used Facebook Ads for targeting candidates and we’ve found that we can get great applicants for as low as $11 per candidate, even in competitive markets such as USA. Besides traditional PPC, social media can prove to be an excellent platform for finding top talent, depending on the role and industry.
Pro tip: If you use Hundred5 to recruit candidates and you’ve never used Facebook ads, ask us for a free boost for your job ad. We’ll boost your ad with $25 at no cost for you and handle the entire process – you can add the budget as your results improve over time.
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Search Engine Optimization is a must
As many companies have proven in the past decade, SEO not only works, but it can be used as the main strategy to drive traffic, growth and revenue. As a recruiter, you don’t have to dive deep into the technical aspects of SEO, but it’s enough to be aware that it can get great results if used in the right way.
Simply put, using SEO for recruiting means optimizing your job ad pages for certain terms. For example, if you want to hire a Java developer, you need to do some on-page SEO and use this term strategically, ensuring that your ad comes up among the first results in search engine page results.
Needless to say, ranking for highly competitive terms such as sales representative job is going to be quite difficult, but it’s not impossible. Instead, aim for easier, more attainable long-tail keywords such as Michigan sales representative job if you want to have more success.
There are two things to note about SEO in recruitment. First, just like any other SEO, it takes time to rank for your desired terms and make an impact. Second, avoid using black hat tactics such as keyword stuffing and private blogging networks because Google’s algorithms are smarter than that and you’ll end up being penalized.
Finally, remember that great copy comes first and SEO comes second. Write the words your candidates want to read, not the words that make Google put you high in search results.
Email marketing is an excellent channel
Almost every year, there will be a blogger or two saying that email marketing is officially dead and that it has no future as a marketing channel. However, numbers don’t lie and they’re saying that 99% of all email consumers check their inboxes at least once per day. Moreover, email marketing experts state it brings $38 on every dollar invested. Among those people clicking away and spending money are also your potential candidates, so you should not neglect email as a platform for recruitment.
You can try cold mailing your potential applicants, which plenty of companies are already doing, with more or less success. On the other hand, it’s better to build meaningful relationships with your candidates through email.
If you have a database of applicants that haven’t made it to the final rounds of the hiring process, use it to create personalized content instead of aimlessly blasting with cold emails. Make sure to send them updates about your vacancies, important company news and share information about the company culture. Here’s an example of an email I got from a company because I applied to one of their positions a year ago:
They’re notifying me about a new position, reminding me who they are and what they do and asking to share the vacancy if I’m not a good fit myself. The ad they’re sending me is not for a developer or a data analyst – it’s closely related to the position I originally applied for. Even though I’m not likely to apply there again, I won’t delete their email or unsubscribe because they’re doing a good job of keeping their email list up to date.
(Employer) branding is a necessity for marketing and HR teams
We’re saving the best (and hardest) for the last. Employer branding is closely related to corporate branding, with one key difference. Instead of targeting buyers and clients, you’re targeting people who may want to work for you.
As we’ve written before, employer branding is essential to positioning yourself as a great employer and attracting the right people to your open positions. In fact, 9 out of 10 candidates say they would apply to a job from a company whose brand is well maintained.
This means that recruiters need to think like marketers and promote the company through all available channels. Primarily, recruiters need content about the company, its employees and culture. Blog posts, images, videos, testimonials, social media posts, workday highlights – if it spreads a good word about the company, you can and should share it.
Similar to how marketers think of buyer personas, recruiters should think about candidate personas and create and promote content for them to push them along a hiring funnel, aiming to get as many applicants as possible and hire their purple squirrel.
As the competition on the job market gets increasingly tougher, it will take more than just a regular recruiter to find the best talent. The recruiter of the future will need to wear many hats and think like a marketer in order to really stand out and attract the highest quality applicants.