In today's technology-driven world, companies that do not have a digital presence will not be successful. Many companies deploy inbound marketing techniques to help grow their business.
Through the inbound marketing approach, companies attract new customers by delivering relevant and helpful content and by adding value at every stage in the buyer's journey. Individuals are nurtured through the various stages of inbound marketing via blog posts, search engine optimization, social media, email campaigns and workflows.
Consumers are also doing a lot more research before they buy, relying on review sites like Yelp and Google to make informed purchase decisions. The shift in the way consumers make purchasing decisions can also be seen in the way job seekers conduct their own research and choose which companies they want to work for.
COMPANY-CENTRIC → CANDIDATE-CENTRIC
The job search has historically been very company-centric. Traditionally, companies have used techniques like classified ads, career fairs and brochures to attract talent. Today, the landscape has shifted; it is now a candidate market and the power has exchanged hands.
A candidate-centric approach is how many companies are now looking at their talent acquisition strategies. Companies at the forefront of this shift are using LinkedIn, Glassdoor and various other social media outlets to help tell their story, nurture candidates on their journeys and find their next employees.
At the core of this candidate-centric shift is the candidate experience - how job seekers perceive and react to employers' sourcing, recruiting, interviewing, hiring and onboarding processes.
If you don't think the candidate experience is important, consider this:
EMPLOYER BRANDING AND EVP
The way you can create an awesome candidate experience and set the tone for great employee engagement is through employer branding (defined as the discipline of defining, developing and managing a company's reputation as an employer).
At the root of any good employer branding effort is a defined Employee Value Proposition (EVP) or set of offerings, associations and values that can be utilized to positively influence target candidates and employees.
As important as it is to know your EVP, it is also important to know what your EVP is not. Although it is closely aligned, your EVP is not the company mission, vision and values. More specifically, it is the promise you make to current and future employees.
William Tincup an HR writer, speaker and advisor simply states that employer branding is, "your unique scent."
According to a recent LinkedIn survey, 75% of job seekers consider a company's employer brand before applying and 52% of candidates seek out the company's websites and the company's social media to learn more about a prospective employer.
Now more than ever, job seekers are behaving like consumers in their research and the way they think about a new career.
INBOUND MARKETING TO INBOUND TALENT ACQUISITION
When you look at the buyer's journey through an inbound marketing approach, you can see how strangers to a company's brand are nurtured through the attract, convert, close and delight stages to hopefully - and ultimately - become promoters. The journey through the various stages is cultivated by different tools and techniques, such as blog and social publishing, calls-to-action and forms, email campaigns and customer surveys.
With a few minor tweaks to the inbound marketing strategy, you can create an inbound talent acquisition strategy which adapts to the way job seekers are behaving today. Replace leads and customers in the inbound marketing strategy with candidates and employees in the inbound talent acquisition strategy.
If inbound marketing now matches the way people shop and buy, inbound talent acquisition now matches the way people find careers. We can look at each stage to determine the best approach to nurture candidates along their journey to ultimately become one of your next employees.
[Related: Recruiter's Hiring Tracker]
The ultimate goal during the attract stage is awareness. Here, companies can use awareness tools such as blogs and social media publishing aimed at developing and delivering content that is helpful to the job seeker. The savvy job seeker is also checking review sites like Glassdoor for a 'peak behind the curtain' of what it's really like to work at your company.
Stats of importance for the attract stage of the candidate journey:
● The average candidate uses 18 different resources to research a company before applying (source).
● 79% of job seekers are likely to use social media in their job search (source).
Getting visitors to convert to candidates requires great job site content, as well as a call-to-action like an online application or customized landing pages for job seekers. Many companies overlook the importance of job posting copy, but they're a strategic piece of content strategy and should be as equally engaging. In the candidate-centric market, your job site content should help tell the story of what the job seeker might experience should they come work for your company.
Stats of importance for the convert stage of the candidate journey:
● 60% of candidates quit an application process because it took too long (source).
● 73% of candidates say the job search process is one of the most stressful things in life (source).
Your hiring managers play an integral role in closing candidates into employees during this stage of the inbound talent acquisition strategy. Additionally, companies can deploy nurturing email campaigns as well as applicant tracking system workflows during the close stage to help move candidates into employees. Providing candidates with the LinkedIn profile URLs of the individuals they will be interviewing with or emailing them interview prep materials help to create a great candidate experience.
Stats of importance for the close stage of the candidate journey:
● 87% of job seekers see the interview process as a means of knowing the employer (source).
● 72% of hiring manager say the provide clear job descriptions, while only 36% of candidates agree (source).
Many companies think the candidate journey is complete when he or she accepts an offer - forward-thinking companies know this is just the beginning. Your employees are a treasure trove of referrals, and if they are engaged and happy to be working for you, they'll bring their friends. Perhaps the best indicator of a successful, thriving and envious company culture is a robust employee referral program. Many different employee engagement techniques can be used to ensure your employees always stay delighted.
Stats of importance for the delight stage of the candidate journey:
● On average, referrals make up 30% of a company's source of hire, decreasing time to hire by 40% (source).
● 57% of employee wouldn't recommend their organization as a good place to work (source).
Attract, convert, close and delight - the same stages of the inbound marketing strategy apply to an inbound talent acquisition strategy. Going digital with talent acquisition and treating prospective employees as you would treat prospective customers is essential to remain competitive in today's labor market.
Chris Skaggs is the head of talent and brand at TSP, a privately-held IT services company, and co-founder and president of Leighton's Gift, a non-profit with a mission of turning a tragedy into something positive. Branding, digital marketing, talent acquisition and HR are all functions Chris has developed building teams, processes and strategies from the ground-up. Passionate about giving back, he also serves on the boards of a variety of different organizations. A natural storyteller, Chris' work and experiences have been featured on CNN, Marketing Sherpa, CBS Radio, Recruiter.com and Glassdoor. Get connected online, @skaggschrisL.