Recruitment has evolved dramatically over the past decades and is now a multi-billion dollar industry, thanks largely to the development of and advances in technology. Up until the 90’s, the only way to advertise an open position was through bulletin boards or posting an announcement in the job section of the newspaper. Recruitment was heavily reliant on word-of-mouth and face-to-face applications. But now, with new technology and changes in candidate behaviour, recruiting is using modern marketing tactics to fill open positions.
The current state of the job landscape is very much symptomatic of this recent behavioural transformation of candidates, with many recruiters realising the importance of ‘inbound recruitment’ and technology. Before, there was always some element of marketing in recruitment but now recruitment and marketing have become completed intertwined. Today, we are exploring the 5 main marketing trends that will shape the future of recruitment.
Marketing has changed dramatically over the last decade and is now a more complex discipline as a result of many changes worldwide. One of the major developments has been the emergence of Information and Communication Technologies which has shifted marketers’ focus from traditional channels to broadcast their messaging to more digital ones.
Recruitment has followed a similar path. As we briefly mentioned already, recruiters primarily used bulletin boards or posted an announcement in the job section of the newspaper in order to announce new positions. But today, employers are increasingly using consumer marketing techniques to attract top talent. In fact, according to our 2016 Global Recruiting Survey, we found that 37% of respondents said that social media is the primary source of finding candidates. This shift towards a ‘digital hiring model’ has seen the traditional résumé be displaced by the online footprint of candidates which showcases their skills and experiences.
Jon Bischke, CEO of recruitment software company Entelo perfectly encapsulates this, saying “twenty years ago, the résumé was a piece of paper. Now, it’s a collection of all [candidate] data that can be found online, like participation in online communities, conferences and meet-ups. Recruiters can assess whether a person will fit, and learn if he or she has the right skills for a job.”
At the turn of the 21st century, developing a strong brand around their product became a full-time job for many marketers as a company’s reputation took a new dimension due to the proliferation of two-way communications over the Internet, allowing a new collaborative nature of the customer-company relationship. Companies are now compelled to respond to potentially damaging comments and criticisms of their products and services which can go viral. While best practices are constantly being developed to consistently manage product brands, the importance of developing your ’employer brand’ is slowly catching up.
Today, the scarcity of talent has put employer branding at the centre of company employment strategies and involves creating an image of employers as being great to work for in the minds of the target candidate pool. This means positioning your company favourably in the job market in order to attract the best talent out there. To do this successfully, you need to develop candidate personas so you can get a good understanding of the typical behaviours and goals of your target candidates. Candidates today, typically conduct as much research on your company as you do on them and want to know as much as possible about the role, company, the culture and values before accepting the job so it’s important to cater for their needs. Millennials are also starting to dominate today’s workforce so it’s important to understand their values too (see below). An employer brand is often reflected on employer brand-focused websites like Glassdoor so it’s critical than your company focuses on developing and establishing your employer brand.
In today’s digital world, it is now more crucial than ever before to provide a personalised and engaging customer experience that helps your company meet your strategic and marketing objectives. Customers today expect you to know who they are, what they want, and how they want to be addressed so marketers are starting to think more holistically about how the customer interacts with the brand across all channels. In the recruitment industry, the candidate experience is a similar concept and is one of the most important components of your employer brand. Your candidate experience is defined by all the interactions between a candidate and brand in the recruitment marketing and hiring process. Recruiters are starting to be more mindful of the candidate experience as it becomes ever more clear that candidate experience directly impacts on a company’s bottom line. Every single touch point between a candidate and the brand reflects on the employer so employers are starting to look more closely at the online application experience, the preparedness of interviewers, actionable feedback from interviewers, how a final offer is made etc. Personalisation is key.
A broad term which typically encapsulates all of the candidate experience elements is Candidate Concierge services where the goal is improve candidate engagement by using personal two-way communication throughout the whole recruitment process, from before the first interview to the offer stage. An example would be to provide an app for candidates to download which would give them location of interview, information on interviewer and the type of interview. During the interview, you will be expected to provide candidates with special care and attention e.g. giving office tours or developing presentations on the company’s culture.
It’s no secret that data has exploded in recent times, hence the ‘Era of Big Data’. As companies and individuals interact more, endless data is being generated. This shift to Big Data can largely be attributed to the activities of individuals such as social media activity and smartphone/PC use. Knowing that their companies would be at a distinct competitive disadvantage by losing their ability to connect with customers, marketers responded and have been collecting and analysing data to better understand their audiences for some time. According to a survey by Forbes and Acquia, 64% of respondents strongly agreed that that data-driven marketing is crucial to success in a hyper-competitive global economy.
The use of social networks and other online profiles has opened a new world of data for recruiting teams to explore. This allows recruiters to move beyond traditional recruitment methods and analyse everyday data with the goal of converting it into recruiting intelligence. Jon Bischke says that “one of the ways big data is impacting recruiting is around using social data to identify people who are more likely to be open to new opportunities. [Tools can use] people’s online public footprint to help predict when they might be ready to leave an employer and seek a new job.” The explosion of data also enables recruiters to move beyond traditional metrics such as time-to-hire and cost-per-hire and analyse things like competitor talent pools and what types of employees will bring the highest ROI. If recruiters use this data the right way, they will be better able to quickly and easily locate the best candidates.
A number of common themes are arising such as the increase in power and usage of mobile and other wireless devices, the ability to access information anywhere at any time and the gradual disappearance of the PC. Marketing again, has responded due to the growing need to tailor messaging and present information in different formats.
As a recruiter, HR professional or talent acquisition manager, there is huge need to embrace mobile in order to source, contact and hire the right candidates. Mobile traffic is growing at an exponential rate and the steps Google have taken to prioritise it, is a clear indicator that every company, including yours, must have a mobile strategy. This starts with optimising your careers site for mobile by ensuring the navigation on your site is optimised for mobile and ensuring the only the content that appears on the site is the content the user wants to see. The focus on mobile should also extend to the application process where candidates should be doing as little work as possible to apply for jobs. Take a look at the Jobvite example below. On the left is their old mobile site and on the right, their new mobile offering. The right hand side is much more user friendly as the user can clearly see what fields need to be filled out. It is absolutely essential you deliver a great user experience for candidates.