Important things are happening in talent acquisition as we begin 2016, for sure: More companies see the competitive edge gained by providing a positive candidate experience, more companies are focused on building authentic employer branding rooted in a compelling EVP, more companies are getting serious about recruitment marketing as a highly effective method of attracting much-needed talent. But while these pioneers are making strides in the ongoing war for talent, the majority of companies are still stuck in the endless source-hire-repeat cycle inherent in a reactionary recruiting model.
There are many limiting factors at work here—some within our control, others beyond—but my hunch is that the most immediate obstacle talent acquisition faces is fundamental: We need to evolve how we evaluate recruiting performance; we need to redefine measures of hiring success. The continued maturation of recruitment marketing (and CRM in particular) is just the ticket we need to get us there.
Going Beyond Talent Attraction
For many recruitment marketing pioneers, talent attraction has been the primary goal of marketing campaigns and brand initiatives. “Fill the funnel,” we say, “and then let the recruiters do what they do best.” While this used to work for post-and-pray tactics, this really doesn’t work in recruitment marketing. These campaigns are designed to increase engagement, not generate applications. What can a recruiter do with a ‘like’ on Instagram or a ‘favorite’ on Twitter? As it turns out, not much. Does that mean social marketing and employer brand aren’t worthwhile elements of talent acquisition? Hardly.
Key practices in recruitment marketing have always drawn from elements of consumer marketing, and engagement has ever been a cornerstone of consumer marketing. The glaring difference between B2C marketers and recruitment marketers, however, is that consumer marketers (good ones, anyway) can quantify the value of engagement. They can (and do) correlate engagement with brand strength, they evaluate engagement to build more compelling CTAs, they foster deeper engagement through drip marketing campaigns, etc. We’re attempting to do the same in recruitment marketing, but with varied results.
As recruitment marketing continues to mature, some more modern hiring organizations are wising up to the notion that tallying new applications isn’t the best way to measure success. For the rest, however, the scope of measurement in recruitment marketing (and talent acquisition in general) is still severely limited. The problem for talent acquisition teams, however, is that the systems we have to manage recruiting weren’t designed to support modern recruitment practices, including correlating activities and outcomes with modern measures of success. And this is where I see two major trends colliding to drive meaningful change in the coming years.
Take Action Toward High-Performance Talent Acquisition
Recruitment marketing works. People are successfully broadcasting brand and amplifying EVP to attract talent. But whereas staid organizations are still preoccupied with cost per hire and time to fill, the most sophisticated hiring teams are leveraging CRMs to engage prospective candidates outside of the application and hiring process. They’re building talent acquisition teams that specialize in social marketing, email marketing, lead gen, etc. to develop better hiring personas, to better segment candidate lists, to go beyond talent attraction and actively nurture talent communities.
The end result is what any hiring organization strives for: more quality candidates and more quality hires. The workflows are different, as is the candidate experience and the measures of success along the way, but that’s the point in recruitment marketing and what most traditional hiring organizations have yet to grasp.
We’ve been talking about recruitment marketing and employer brand for years. We’ve been talking about Big Data and talent analytics for years. Some companies have done interesting things in one, the other, or both, but these instances are rare. By and large, we’re still paying lip service to industry buzzwords and hoping no one calls us out for a complete lack of either in our existing hiring organization.
As the CRM comes into prominence as the leading system for modern recruiting, and as solution providers continue to build robust reporting and analytics tools around these systems, recruitment marketing and talent analytics will become more concrete components of high-performance talent acquisition.
The steps you take right now will determine whether this future of talent acquisition leaves your organization behind or carries you toward greater success. Define your employer brand and outline a targeted recruitment marketing strategy. Research CRM technologies to determine the best tool for your organization. Then, put these plans into action to create and nurture strong talent communities.
This article was originally featured in Talent Tech Labs’ Quarterly Tech Trends Report.
Ben Eubanks is the Chief Research Officer at Lighthouse Research & Advisory. He is an author, speaker, and researcher with a passion for telling stories and making complex topics easy to understand.