Relationship Building and Your 2016 Recruiting Strategy

Relationship Building and Your 2016 Recruiting Strategy

Mike Roberts

In 2015 almost 2 in 3 employed adults looked at new opportunities within three months of starting a job. A decade ago, few people would have been exploring new opportunities so quickly, but changes in both the physical and digital worlds have shaken things up quite a bit.

Question is, how do you capitalize on these almost-always-looking candidates from a recruiting perspective? We think the answer lies within strategies for building and then nurturing candidate relationships.

The Talent Board’s 2015 Candidate Experience study surveyed 130,000 candidates. Their research showed that 56% of candidates had some form of relationship with a company prior to starting the recruiting process.

candidate relationships data
Source: 2015 Candidate Experience Research Report

Considering the data, it’s by no means a stretch to say that more relationships will drive more applications.

Defining “Candidate Relationships” In 2016

In the conventional context, candidate relationships relate to people with direct associations to your brand—past or current customers, alumni, interns, partners, and so on. These types of relationships existed well before the internet, and will always play a role in recruiting. It’s no surprise that if someone falls into one of these categories, they’re more likely to apply to your jobs.

In 2016, though, we need to expand the definition of candidate relationships to include more modern types of relationships like social media followers, blog subscribers, or members of your company’s talent network. These digital relationships are what we call “recruitment marketing relationships.” And they’re the cornerstone of effective inbound recruiting strategies.

In a world where companies are fighting for sometimes just seconds of attention, if a person opts-in to your mailing list or chooses to follow you on social media, that’s a big deal. It means they’re providing you with the opportunity to communicate with them, while other companies still have to fight for their attention. Getting to this point is no simple task.

Getting Candidates to Opt-In to Your Recruitment Marketing

It’s important to consider the goal of building recruitment marketing relationships in the context of the broader recruiting funnel, which has three general phases: attraction, nurturing and then the point at which candidates apply.

Articles on the attraction phase of the funnel—the top of the funnel—are plentiful, but fewer discuss what to do after candidates get to your social channels or career site. In other words, how do you pull them into the nurturing phase?

From a recruitment marketing relationship building perspective, the idea is to get candidates who aren’t yet ready to apply to opt-in to your talent network and/or follow you on social channels. We may use amazing content to get them to those places, but transforming them into something more than yet another digital drifter requires an understanding of conversion optimization.

We’ve been saying for a while now, because of the nature of the internet in candidates’ decision-making process, the lines between recruitment marketing and digital marketing have blurred considerably. That said, it makes sense to approach the task of candidate conversion optimization like a digital marketer would.

Calls-to-action, also know as “CTAs,” are key to effective conversion optimization. A CTA can take the form of a button or a link, and its job is to provoke an immediate response for a person to do something. In this case, recruiters want them to opt-in to a relationship of some sort.

It’s recommended to use CTAs that navigate candidates to your talent network on your social media profiles, and also to mix them into your social media posts. These will typically come in the form of links. You could also instruct your employees to include these links in their own profiles/updates.

CTAs should also be included throughout your career site, and even your corporate company site where possible. We’ve seen companies put links to join their talent network in the global footer of their site, as well as others that have included pop-ups on their site that try to convert people who may just be visiting from social, Google or another source.

As mentioned, CTAs can come in the form of buttons of links. Here are a few examples of buttons and other visually appealing CTAs from HubSpot.

In digital marketing, some companies (think, eCommerce giant have dedicated teams for conversion optimization. Recruiting is far off from having that, but that doesn’t mean you should be ignoring it. In fact, there’s a major opportunity to grow your candidate database and consequently your talent pipeline by investing resources into it now.

Why Care About Recruitment Marketing Relationships?

We shared some interesting data not all that long ago. It showed application completion rates by source, based on 40 million career site visits (aggregated data from our global clients). Applicants coming from social media, email marketing, and Google were far more likely to convert than those coming from paid channels like job boards.

recruiting strategies and seo

Source: Aggregate data from Jibe showing career site visit to completed application ratio

What this means, especially for email and social, is that an existing relationship likely influenced application completion rates.

The differences between a stranger coming to your site from a paid channel and one who may have opted-in to your recruitment marketing is two-fold.

First, they have an existing relationship with you that you’re hopefully nurturing to some degree—which we’ve shown above to correlate with more applicants. In sales, you might call them a “warm lead.” And second, they are likely visiting your career site with intent to apply, whereas someone coming from a paid channel may just be clicking through to see what’s on the other side of the advertisement.

The idea is that existing relationships, coupled with intent will result in lower costs per hire, improve your quality of hire, and shorten your time to fill in the long run. Getting to this point is difficult, and most companies would rather just stick with the same (increasingly outdated) things they’ve been doing, but it’s worth the effort.

Candidates opting-in to a recruitment marketing relationship is only the first step. Next is actually nurturing them with good content and engaging interactions. Check out our new eBook, The Busy Recruiter’s Guide to Candidate Nurturing, for more on that.

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