How to use recruitment marketing data to attract the best job candidates

It has been said that people do not want to feel like marketing targets. It is true that people don’t want pop-up ads obscuring their YouTube videos and blaring at them from their Facebook walls. They don’t want irrelevant messages crowding their in-boxes. In short, people don’t want spam. But if someone’s been comparison shopping online for tyres and suddenly gets a pop-up tyre coupon… that’s a different matter altogether, according to eQuest’s David Bernstein.

This is the genius of good marketing: knowing where your audience is, knowing when they are there, and delivering relevant marketing messages that will get them to act in the desired manner. Sound marketing principles apply to selling tyres or getting people to sign a petition, join a monthly wine club and, as it turns out, apply for a job.

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Recruiters are constantly marketing. Their job is to sell prospective candidates on a company. Every bit of communication a recruiter engages in markets the employer’s brand and their positions. More and more recruiters understand this, as evidenced by the adoption of terms from the marketing function such as “candidate experience”, “value proposition” and “brand”. What has not always been as well understood is how these ideas translate into sound recruitment marketing practices. The marketing eye has not focused on where to post jobs. Posting to the same channels every time often goes unquestioned. Nor has it focused on the posts themselves. Titles and descriptions sometimes go unaltered from the recruitment manager’s requisition to their final destination.

Demonstrating effective marketing

Recruiting, as part of the overall people function, has been thought of until recently as a “soft” skill that couldn’t be quantified. But organisations pay, on average, hundreds of dollars per job posting. It’s not uncommon for larger companies to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on recruitment marketing. Now that technologies exist to accurately track recruitment activities, recruiters have the opportunity to demonstrate their marketing effectiveness with hard numbers.

Here is where marketing’s latest tool, big data, comes to the rescue for recruiters. The insights from big data analysis can prove that you are evidence based, strategic and able to plan ahead.

Michael Arena, head of General Motors’ global talent and organisational capability group, says: “Historically, we haven’t been able to definitively measure the things that we intuitively believe to be true. But HR is being held accountable to deliver business results. And the language of the business is analytics.”

Making your data work for you

But big data doesn’t have to involve large numbers of servers to process information or billions of records. It can be scaled to each business’s data and recruitment cycles. Just as big data enables marketers to see patterns and predict behaviour in their consumers, it can help recruiters know where and how to connect with job seekers most effectively.

Here are three steps you can take to make your recruitment advertising more effective:

  • Combine your internal data – applicant tracking system (ATS), HR informantion system (HRIS) and other systems as well as career site statistics – with data available from your external recruitment service providers, such as staffing and advertising agencies, job posting distributors and job boards.
  • Look at the data to identify what your most effective recruiting channels are and focus your budget on them. Cut the non-performers, even if they are beloved standards. Data analytics can also show you the best time of day to post specific jobs to specific channels and can help you predict how long it will take to fill a particular position so you know when to begin a campaign.
  • Focus on key metrics such as how quickly you get candidates, where you get them from, and which sources most often give you the candidates you want to interview.

Importance of job titles

Would you apply to be a “rockstar liquid comfort purveyor”? Could you guess what that means? Even a hip brand like Starbucks calls their baristas what they are: baristas. Jobseekers don’t have time to puzzle out your clever job title or your job posting’s jargon-filled, impossibly long set of requirements. Job titles and descriptions are marketing messages. They are meant to convey brand as well as information.

Make sure job titles reflect your marketing message with the following tips:

  • Keep your job titles clear and short. Think about what job seekers would type in a search engine.
  • Don’t load your job description with jargon. Yes, some jobs have technical requirements, but even engineers and coders want to be treated as human beings. Internal job requisitions written by hiring managers are not good marketing materials.
  • Distinguish between “nice to have” and essential requirements. Some job descriptions are so idealised that no person could possibly meet their standards. Job advertisements are meant to attract, not repel.
  • Switch your focus. Most descriptions contain a list of what the employer wants, but the job seeker has wants and needs, too. What do you have to offer? Your job posting isn’t the only game in town; you need to compete for the job seeker’s attention.

Recruitment is marketing – that has always been the case, and always will be. You are competing with other organisations for the best talent, and candidates can only take one job. Your job, then, is to make sure that you have the best messages, in the best locations, at the best times. It is essential for recruitment marketers today to borrow good messaging and branding strategies from the marketing world, along with its use of big data analytics.

David Bernstein is the head of eQuest’s Big Data for HR Division. He writes and speaks regularly on how data analytics can predict future behavioral patterns of candidates and create a competitive advantage in candidate sourcing. Bernstein has created HR strategies for Fortune 100 companies.

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