Recruiting Campaigns: How to Pilot Them and Prove an ROI

Recruiting Campaigns: How to Pilot Them and Prove an ROI

Mike Roberts

We’re lucky to regularly speak with recruiters and talent acquisition leaders from some of the world’s leading employers. When discussing their approaches to attracting and engaging candidates, there’s a common challenge they share: getting new and innovative recruiting campaigns off the ground.

This challenge is not exclusive to recruiting. Across business functions—sales, marketing, other areas of human resources—ideas or campaigns face difficulty with ever materializing. More often than not, this happens because there’s too much focus on tactics rather than strategy. These groups are quick to jump in and execute without thinking their actions through.

Some of the best talent acquisition teams approach this differently. They’ve mastered the art of starting small with recruiting campaigns (piloting a program) and proving the value of it in the process (a.k.a. showing an ROI). In this post, we’ll discuss how that’s done.

Start Your Recruiting Campaigns With A Long-Term Vision

Sometimes it’s best to start small, but think BIG. You may be interested in equipping your recruiters with social recruiting skills, but having an interest and the budget to do so are two different stories. This is where tactics versus strategy comes into play. You may start this process by conducting a gap analysis.

Gap analyses can highlight what’s currently working for you, versus where you want to be in the future—and within the gap between those two points lies your challenge and solution. How will you get from A to B? Doing a gap analysis is not all that complicated—here’s more info.

In the case of social recruiting, your current state may be that every single one of your recruiters is using social media differently to connect with and engage talent. You may want your future state to look like a team of savvy recruiters who are fostering long-term social relationships and building their own personal brands on social media—with a standardized set of social recruiting processes and metrics, to boot.

Going from “everybody do what you want” to that future state may seem hard, and it is. But this is where piloting recruiting campaigns comes into play.

Piloting A Recruiting Program

When you think of a pilot, the first thing that comes to mind is probably a TV show pilot. Producers will put up money for an episode pilot, and then get feedback from a focus group to see if producing an entire season is worth pursuing. A similar concept can be used with recruiting campaigns. It requires looking at the gap from your gap analysis, and coming up with an incremental strategy from how to get from A to B.

Getting from A to B often takes a series of pilot programs that share these characteristics. First, especially at the beginning, they should not be too difficult to achieve. Quick wins! Second, they should be well-planned, so when you roll out the next pilot, it builds upon the previous in some way. And third, they should be quantifiable, so you can actually prove their value. This will help gain buy-in from others—even budget holders. The last aspect has to do with ROI. We will circle back to that at the end.

In the case of social recruiting campaigns, you may want to pilot several small internal campaigns. For example, research shows that candidates conduct more due diligence than ever before. They are scouring the web to learn about not only opportunities, but also everything they can about a company and who works there.

The Talent Board showed that LinkedIn company pages are the third most important resource for learning about employers. If you’ve ever looked at a LinkedIn company page, then you know one of the first things people do is see who works there. If a candidate is very interested, he or she may be looking specifically for your recruiters. A simple first step could be to ensure your recruiters have optimized their LinkedIn profiles. This is not hard, but it’s also easy to overlook.

That’s just one example. You could also optimize your LinkedIn company page, teach recruiters how to be engaging on social media, show them how to use different social platforms as well as social media marketing experts do, explain the do’s and don’ts of LinkedIn InMail…the list goes on. And it can get pretty long. But as we said, start small, think BIG.

Piloting Recruiting Campaigns and Showing a Return on Investment

Showing an ROI on your efforts is incredibly powerful. Many professionals are intimidated about the idea of this, but it doesn’t have to be scary. Doing so simply means setting a baseline with a set of metrics and then measuring the impact to those metrics over time.

For instance, you may measure quality of hire, time to fill, qualified candidates, cost per hire, and other recruiting KPIs. If you can do so by your different geographies, specific teams, or position categories, even better. Over time, as you institute different elements of your campaigns and programs, you will want to watch how these numbers are impacted.

Sometimes it’s difficult to associate a particular dollar amount to your pilots and overall campaigns, and that’s okay. You may, for instance, prove that more qualified candidates are delivered to hiring managers for each requisition three months into the program. That may be enough to influence your ability to get additional funding. It will, at least, help gain buy-in and support from both the recruiters who are participating and executive sponsors involved.

We’ll continue to discuss this topic in the future. If you have any thoughts on piloting recruiting campaigns, shoot us a message @RecruitDDR.

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