If you're like the majority of recruiters we meet, you'll recently have been tasked with broadening your team's candidate attraction strategy to counter the ever more challenging hiring climate. Quite possibly you're also being stretched to figure out ways you can consistently and swiftly attract candidate interest on social media.
If you're having a hard time delivering on that challenge, you're by no means alone... Indeed it's one of the most common issues we hear when we're speaking to recruiters on a one-on-one consultation.
So what can you do to turn things around? Well the following success factors should help - these are factors we consistently see contributing to our clients' success when running hiring campaigns across social media. How many can you genuinely say you're doing so effectively that you're way ahead of the competition (because that's where you need to be if you want to be attracting the best talent, right?)
Most recruiters who are getting disappointing results from social media are focused on pushing out job posts on their own social media accounts. This barely scratches the surface in terms of reaching your target candidate audience - and also risks alienating your network if you start to do it more than occasionally. Did people really connect with you on LinkedIn or follow you on Twitter to get nothing but a barrage of job posts appearing from you in their feeds? Not likely - and chances are they'll only tolerate this for so long.
So the first step in successfully attracting candidates on social media is to research all the social sites that your target candidates use - and then put in the hard miles to understand the advertising solutions that these sites offer. Each one differs - and each has its own things to focus on perfecting in order to get the maximum results. But if done properly, your job adverts and hiring campaigns can be put in front of a sizeable proportion of the entire candidate market that you'd like your employer brand and hiring message to be reaching. We're talking here about a totally different scale of reach from what can be achieved by simply advertising on a job board or posting a job on LinkedIn alone. It's not quite saturation of your target candidate market, but it's light years ahead of the reach that you used to get in the days of using mere job boards alone.
One word of warning though. When trying to attract candidates on social media in this way, campaigns can prove costly if not done right. Each social site has a bidding system of sorts for advertisers. The worse your adverts are at attracting interest, the more that site will charge you for each click or engagement that they do generate. So a recruiting team that masters how to get results can outperform their lesser rivals several fold. That's outperforming both in terms of the total market reached and also in terms of the budget required to make a campaign a success. To reach this pinnacle, always be testing to uncover what works best and what messages and ad formats produce the greatest response. Then tweak and refine accordingly.
If you want to attract candidates via social media, you have to be acutely aware that the majority of all social media usage takes place on mobile devices. The implications of this threaten the very success of your hiring campaigns (and if you didn't know that already, be sure to pay particular attention to what follows...)
The first question to ask yourself is whether the job advert you are going to direct people to is optimised for mobile? If you don't have a mobile optimised job advert then you need to either i) invest in getting this fixed or ii) restrict your social media advertising campaigns so that they are shown only to people using desktop computers rather than mobile devices (which in itself obviously undermines your efforts to reach as many target hires as possible).
Next up - and equally as important - is the question of whether the application process you'll be asking candidates to complete is mobile-friendly? If it's not then you'll get a lot of quality candidates viewing your advert on a mobile device, who are then frustrated when they find it almost impossible to apply from their mobiles (and many of the best candidates will just abandon the process rather than battle through). If you don't have a mobile-friendly apply option then you need to either i) invest in getting one or ii) restrict your social media advertising campaigns to only being shown to people using desktop computers rather than mobile devices (with the caveat again that you're leaving a large chunk of your target audience unexposed to your employer brand and hiring message).
This second point cannot be stressed enough. Data now shows that candidates are several times less likely to apply from a mobile device than from a desktop computer, unless you've ensured that your process allows them to do so with just a click or two whilst browsing on their smartphones. I sometimes hear recruiters say things like "well we only want candidates who are really committed to working for us - and those people will find a way to apply later when they're back at a PC." Fortunately I'm hearing this less and less nowadays - I say fortunately because this is dillusional thinking. Unless you're hiring for Apple or Tesla, great candidates will simply move onto other opportunities rather than fret about how they've missed out on applying to yours. So to attract candidates on social media you've got to have in the back of your mind that you're attracting candidates on their mobiles.
This one's simple. Or at least simple in concept, rather than necessarily execution. Your shortlist of candidates can only ever be as good as the pool of candidates who saw the role advertised in the first place. So taking the time to carefully target who will see your job adverts on social media is a key step in getting results. Targeting long tail results - much as you would do with SEO - is one of many approaches you must use to do this.
The benefits when it comes to attracting candidates on social media are twofold. Firstly, the likelihood of enough of the right people seeing your advert is greatly increased - and so your shortlist is strengthened. But secondly, what you'll be charged for generating interest will also come down in price if your advert is more effective at converting views into clicks - which is a spin-off benefit of getting your targeting right.
Using images in your social campaigns can dramatically increase response rates. Visually appealing social media adverts are more likely to be clicked on. And job listings that are visually appealing - even going so far as to incorporate video - are also far more likely to convert.
This is all part of having imaginative and engaging copy for your campaigns. Throw out the dull adverts derived from monotone job descriptions. Instead opt for something that excites your target audience and makes them want to take action. Why do people choose to work at your company, what are some of the exciting things that await a successful candidate, what does your ideal hire look like? Connect with candidates on a personal level and in an engaging manner and your job listings are far more likely to convert candidates attracted on social media.
This is just one of many ways in which recruiting has become more akin to marketing. You've got to master writing great ad copy as one of several key steps that maximise your candidate attraction and then maximise your conversion rates. Every stage of the process where you lose great candidates is a weakness in your hiring effectiveness. Amazon would plug those holes if they were losing potential customers on their site. You need to do likewise in your hiring campaigns on social media.
It's been talked about for years in sales & marketing. People are more likely to buy from those they know and trust. Word of mouth recommendation is a powerful motivator to consider a company you hadn't - to that point - been considering buying from.
The same is true of recruitment.
Every time a candidate sees your recruiting brand on social media, you're that little bit more familiar to them. Every time a candidate sees other people in their networks interacting with you or re-sharing your updates, they become more inclined to pay attention to what you have to say.
It therefore stands to reason that a recruiting team with a strong recruiting brand on social media will outperform other businesses when advertising jobs via social media. When candidates see your sponsored job listing in their Facebook feed or Twitter stream, the chances of them clicking through to check out the position are boosted if yours is a recruiting brand they already have some affinity with. Of course, attracting candidates on social media via a strong recruiting brand presence is a project all of its own. But it's nonetheless one you should consider investing in if you're serious about attracting candidates via social.
The overwhelming majority of recruiters I speak with feel they aren't getting the results they ought to be getting from social media. One key reason for this is that they've restricted their activities to reaching purely the pool of candidates in their own networks. Another is that they've limited themselves to paying for additional reach only on LinkedIn (reach ~350m people, many of whom are sporadic users at best) and neglected to invest in social media that reaches a far larger audience (1 billion+ additional people) in a far shorter timescale (active Twitter and Facebook users tend to use the platforms multiple times a day). Yet another is that their lack of a mobile-friendly recruiting experience repels the candidates they are succeeding in reaching via social.
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