Lessons from our Recruitment Marketing Masterclass

Christine Del Castillo | |

Companies are working harder than ever to fill their jobs with qualified candidates. The knock-on effect of this is that recruiting has come to resemble marketing more closely than ever before. The emergence of new job requirements, often spurred by globalization and technological advances, have created skills shortages around the world. As a result recruitment marketing is no longer a shiny “nice to have” it’s now an essential part of an employer’s strategy.

At our Recruitment Marketing Masterclass, the latest installment in our Workable Ideas speaker series, our panel of experts spanning tech, talent agencies and the restaurant industry shared tips for identifying and investing in the right recruitment channels and building your brand as a great place to work. They also covered crossover recruitment lessons between startups and more traditional companies and metrics that help them measure recruitment success.

Sara DeBrule, Senior Recruiter at Wistia, notes that branding your company as a desirable place to work enables you to engage candidates very early in the decision-making process. “You should build your employer brand, so that when potential candidates start their job search, they’ll already have you at top of mind.” Putting your recruitment marketing materials to work and getting long-term value out of it makes sense to us.

Where to find your candidates, by industry

Our panel made it clear that different demographics require different sourcing and recruitment marketing strategies. Lola Sizemore, Talent Agent at Vitamin T, finds creative candidates at Dribbble, Github, Squarespace, and even the comment sections on AdAge.

Casey Winner, Talent Acquisition Lead at EverTrue, looks for startup talent and tech talent in Boston on VentureFizz and VentureLoop in addition to traditional channels like LinkedIn, SimplyHired and Glassdoor.

Kerry Noone, an employer brand expert whose clients include Amtrak and Sodexo, says that for a big corporation with multiple roles, content marketing is a great investment. At Amtrak, they hired a content marketer specifically for their employer brand, a rails fan who travels via Amtrak and writes employee stories. Kerry notes that Tweetmyjobs is one of their most affordable high impact recruitment tools.

Sara at Wistia says that her approach to recruitment marketing is thinking about where her job candidates eat, sleep and get their news. This train of thought led her to use the job board at Slack, a popular communications tool for teams.

Meg Pileggi, Director of Human Resources at Clover Food Lab, says that reputation is important in the service industry. Employee referrals are the top source of candidates at Clover, the fastest-growing food truck operator in the US.

How to build an employer brand

Lola and Casey say that companies should start in-house, with their best champions: their employees. The key is to highlight what matters most to your team in a visible, shareable mediums like videos or blogs. Recruitment content should focus on meaningful work, a positive work environment and opportunities for growth.

On that note, Sara’s team at Wistia uses their own product, a video hosting platform, for recruitment. Videos featuring their own employees are effective at engaging candidates in an authentic way. When candidates come in for interviews, they’re already familiar with the roles of specific team members and how their work impacts the business.

Kerry notes that Amtrak, a company with 90,000 employees, is more focused on improving the quality of applicants, not quantity of applicants. They do this by creating honest recruitment marketing materials–by being as transparent and realistic as possible with their landing pages, job descriptions, and images on their social feeds. Photographs of conductors working on trains help candidates decide if that job is right for them, resulting in a higher quality pool of candidates.

Lola adds that offline interactions are equally important. Vitamin T uses events to build relationships with their target community, creative candidates. They also make lasting impressions with thoughtful swag, such as notebooks with smartphone app templates for UX designers.

Crossover lessons between startups and traditional companies

What recruitment lessons can startups learn from more traditional companies, and vice versa?

Casey and Lola emphasize the need for speed in hiring tech candidates, such as developers. Larger companies often have longer hiring processes involving 3 or 4 interviews before making the hire. Startups are nimble, giving them an advantage in hiring top tech talent.

Sara says that having a structured interview process is a practice they’ve borrowed from large companies. This is a low-cost, effective way to showcase a unique company culture. Conducting structured interviews also helps them learn more about candidates, get the hiring team on the same page, and deliver a more effective and engaging interview experience.

Meg and Sara note that access to the leadership team is one of the major benefits of working at a smaller company, so they make a point to involve executives in the interview process. Startups and small businesses also have the flexibility to develop a more personalized and memorable hiring process, like taking candidates behind the scenes to see how new products are created. At Clover, Meg invites candidates for all positions to food development meetings. This helps candidates understand and be inspired by Clover’s mission to make fast food healthy, local and organic.

Measuring success and refining the process

Is your recruitment marketing working? Digging into metrics will show you. Casey’s team looks at “time to hire”, which measures the efficiency of the hiring process. Sara’s team looks at how many visitors come to their career site, and what percentage of those people apply to their jobs–the conversion rate, in other words. They also track the performance of new hires, to ensure that they’ve made the right hiring decisions.

Kerry says that Amtrak looks at a wide range of analytics: visits to the site, where visitors are coming from, how many people apply to jobs through their site, and also how many people drop off and don’t complete the application. The drop off metric helps them identify and resolve pain points in the application process.

Here at Workable, we’re opinionated about recruitment metrics and believe there’s four key metrics that are worth tracking. See part 1, 2, 3, and 4 of our recruitment KPIs series. For news about future Workable Ideas events, subscribe to our newsletter.

Looking for an all-in-one recruiting solution? Workable can improve candidate sourcing, interviewing and applicant tracking for a streamlined hiring process. Sign up for our 15-day free trial today.

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Christine Del Castillo

Christine Del Castillo is the former Community Manager at Workable. She wrote about employee experience, talent brands and our event series, Workable Ideas. She tweets @chrissachrissa.

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