The vast and fascinating topic of recruitment marketing is something that could fill hours of discussion between a group of HR and recruitment professionals but on Thursday 15 November we managed to squeeze it into 30 minutes at our latest Disclose. Discuss. Discover. Toronto event.
During the evening, our expert panel, Kathleen Teixeira, John Fleischauer and Natalie Pedrosa, led an open and honest discussion, sharing their recruitment marketing experience, learnings, and practical tips. Here, we summarise some of their priceless insights.
How would you describe recruitment marketing?
Kathleen: To me, recruitment marketing is about understanding your talent target audience. It is all the tactics we adopt and everything we do to engage and delight those people before they convert into applicants. Or even just before they convert to learning more about our company. And for me, it has to be considered at the very early stage of the recruitment process.
Natalie: Think about what you're marketing, too. When you look at the marketing team, they're advertising your brand, your products, that experience you can have from an organization standpoint. So for me, recruitment marketing is marketing your culture, your jobs, where your opportunities are, the people that work there. It's the people side of marketing, focused on potential candidates or future employees.
John: To me, it's really about getting the message out. Promoting what is it like to work in your organization before you've even met anyone or talked to them. A window into what you're all about, what the environment is like, what the purpose is. The core message here really is engagement. It's about not just putting an advert up, but engaging and determining if you’re the right fit for a candidate.
Which organizations are doing a good job of recruitment marketing right now?
Kathleen: I use the example of L'Oréal talent quite a bit. I think the one thing that stands out with L'Oréal talent is that they're very clear on their call to action in every single thing that they put out. So any ad that you're seeing or anything they post on social media, there's an action attached to it and it directs everybody back to the same website wherever they are globally. So it is a very standardized and seamless experience across the board. There are obviously nuances locally, depending on office locations, but I think they do a very good job, they’re very consistent and they really understand who they're targeting.
Natalie: Like marketing general, there are so many facets to recruitment marketing. There's Linkedin, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, your careers page, your job description. I think there are companies who are good at snippets of it. Like Heineken, they have a fun brand so their employer brand videos showcase what it's like to work there. I also think of Uberflip, which is a Toronto-based startup are great at it. I'd want to work with all of those people because their Instagram page is so fun and engaging.
John: For me the one that’s doing a great job is RBC. If you look at the financial must-haves we all have in Canada, you have five options basically for which bank to work with. For me, RBC is leading with stuff that people actually care about. It’s not just about a policy on diversity inclusion, and the job, it’s more about what they believe in and what their culture looks like every day. Even with the limited number of competitors, just by showcasing what their core values are, will have been really, really powerful.
What recruitment marketing campaigns have you run in the past and what did you learn?
John: I would say maybe the most successful campaign I’ve ever run was for my former organization and ultimately what made it successful was I took a picture of my bald spot on my head. Don’t worry - this is going somewhere! I had no team, no budget, no resources, so I was working crazy hours and I thought, how am I going to get through this? So I ended up taking a picture of my bald spot and sent it to my CFO and said. “Hey, now this is my bald spot and you can help me go bald a little slower if you help me hire another recruiter, any budget for this?”. He wrote back right away and he said, absolutely, let's do it and, by the way, you have to share to that.
So it wasn't even associated with a specific thing. It was just the result of growth. I needed help. And the thing took off - in 24 hours, we had half a million views. Over the next month, we were able to hire people because they saw humanity and the personalization around it. So I'm comfortable with using personal stories, self-deprecation because it's me as a person.
Kathleen: Right now we're probably running about half a dozen Facebook recruitment campaigns. Our distribution centers are, some of the largest in Canada, we're hiring about 30 to 50 people a week and turnover can be scary. And so the bottom line is they just need people. The main thing that I learned with running Facebook recruitment campaigns is they work really well for roles where there is a trend, there are transferable skills or where there are low-skill requirements.
Something else we’re learning is the types of campaigns that work. On Facebook, there are a number of different campaigns that you can do. What we learned really quickly was one of them wasn't converting as many applications. We were posting the job ad and we were asking people to go back to our careers site to apply and people were dropping off. We realized that what works best is a lead generation campaign, where you can ask people three or four qualifying questions and no resume is required. You can then use that list of leads to call everyone that showed interest in the role.
How did you measure the recruitment marketing efforts?
Natalie: We use LinkedIn and look at data kind of like a funnel. We see how many eyeballs we have on a campaign, then we'll look at clicks and then at how many candidates we got out of it. So that piece kind of measures the number of candidates that we have coming to a campaign and then there's the recruitment funnel. Of those people who applied, how many went to interview, how many went to offer and how many were hired? So we’re measuring the quality of the candidates that we're getting.
John: For years and years it's been perfectly acceptable for organizations to swallow recruitment agency costs. But the idea of putting $100,000 towards a recruitment marketing budget seems like a big deal and when you look at the costs associated with the outputs, it's really easy to measure agency spend. Even if you can decrease that spend by 20 percent, that money is worth it from a marketing standpoint.
Kathleen: I think another metric is the amount of time and money you put into your career pages. You can easily measure the amount of time that people are spending on your website. I would just advise you to be cautious with those numbers because what I've noticed, at least at Loblaw, is that we don't generally want to hire some of the people who apply via a career site. So you have to be careful about making your case to the business about spending a tonne of money to have a splashy careers page when people really just want to know what it's like to work here.
How closely are you work with marketing?
Kathleen: We try and include marketing in everything that we do. We’re going through our employee value proposition right now and we work with them to review all of the themes and all of the concepts that we've put together. It’s an education process, getting them up to speed with the value of this work and how similar it is to the stuff that they do every day.
Natalie: I say we have a lot to learn from marketing. We've looked at our recruitment marketing with a three-stage approach. We’re finishing up our EVP work right now and then we'll start moving into employer brand and really deciding what it is like to work at Indigo, what makes us unique, why do people want to work for us? And then I think we will get into more of the recruitment marketing side of things in terms of the campaigns we're running and how we are talking to people.
John: Marketers, in general, don't have an HR mindset and HR People typically don't have marketing know-how, so it's important to act as a bridge between the two. It's really tough to have the conversations like whether recruitment marketing messaging is on brand. So it’s my perspective that, in order to truly be highly efficient a successful, the marketing and recruiting relationship has to be a tight partnership.
When you begin, what tools should you use and what budget should you have?
John: To think about budget, you first need to consider your typical agency spend, your third-party spend per month, per quarter, per year. This is the conversation I start with when talking to customers. And then it’s about continuing the conversation to say, “if you spend say a million dollars a year on agencies or third-party recruiters, what would success look like to make this campaign look good for you within your organization - to build your credibility?” Unless there's really a large amount of trust, it's unlikely that you just get the money. So I always try to educate my customers to really think about what they’re already spending.
Kathleen: I would say first you want to think about what you're trying to achieve. And once you're clear on that and who you're targeting, you can then work backwards, using data to help you tell your story and socialize with whoever you need to internally to tell that story. I think the expectation is that the rest of the business is already working that way and we as HR people need to start talking in the same language and so the data helps to do that. So know what you're doing, know who you're targeting, know how much it's going to cost and who your stakeholders are internally.
Natalie: People often want to do employer brand because they feel like they should be doing it and it’s the cool thing to do in recruitment. But I think you have to start by considering if you actually have an issue and how much money should you be spending on it. Thinking through the objective and the reason why you're doing it should be the first thing you do. But I think with anything you do, where you begin is always the hardest question and we've talked a little bit about it today - there are so many different ways and campaigns and places that you can engage with people and sometimes it's always going to feel like the beginning. You have to test, adapt and change so it's like beginning over and over again.
And I think you simply can't take a one size fits all approach and try and use recruitment marketing for everything because you don't need it for everything. So what are those hard to fill roles? Where are those people?