Recruiters are no strangers to social media. In the realm of candidate sourcing, it’s now seen by many as indispensable. For candidate attraction, social media has become an essential channel. But what of employer branding? How crucial is it that your company invests in strengthening its employer brand on social media? My experiences suggest it’s absolutely essential – and here I’ll share why.
The War For Candidate Conversions
With the strengthening of the economy and the global hiring market, we increasingly hear of a recurring challenge…the effectiveness of all hiring channels is diminishing.
Do you use LinkedIn to find and approach candidates? If you do, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that it’s a lot harder to spark candidates interest than it was 12 or 24 months ago. For sure there are things you can do to bolster your LinkedIn effectiveness. But the heart of the problem is that there are now far more recruiters vying for the attentions of candidates – with diminishing returns an inevitable side effect.
Or perhaps you’re focused more on candidate attraction and use social media advertising or job boards to generate candidate applicants? If you’re like most recruiters I speak with, you’ve probably found your usual channels are also less productive than they were just a year or two previously. Does that mirror your experiences?
While many talk of the return of The War For Talent, I prefer to talk of The War For Candidate Conversions. In doing so, we focus on a key action that helps you address the problem – figuring out how to boost candidate conversions.
Understand Your Options
What this boils down to is that, in a tight labor market, you essentially have two options to address talent shortages. First, you can become better at reaching candidates. Or you can become better at converting candidates. Ideally you’ll tackle both.
There’s significant media coverage and training around becoming more effective at reaching candidates. You can invest in training and tools to become stronger at finding and approaching talent (candidate sourcing). You can read up on improving your copywriting skills and experiment with which advertising channels produce the greatest candidate returns (candidate attraction). Both will get your hiring message in front of more of the right candidates.
But what about increasing the likelihood of a candidate acting on that message? That’s where your employer branding comes into play – and most notably the investments you’ve made in your social media presence.
Consider two scenarios:
- A candidate receives an InMail approach from a recruiter with a relevant role for them to consider. The recruiter has done a good job of researching the candidate and tailoring their InMail to that specific candidate’s circumstances and background. But the candidate has never spoken to that recruiter before, doesn’t know much about the employer, and has never considered joining them.
- The candidate receives that same tailored InMail approach. But this time it’s from a recruiter that they’ve seen on social media numerous times before. The employer is one the candidate has interacted with on social media too – and has frequently seen appearing in their social streams (*through retargeting adverts). They’ve learned about the company and what it’d be like to work there via their social feeds – and had actually thought on more than one occasion that this looks like an interesting company and one that it’d be fun to join.
Now with your recruiter hat on, which of these scenarios would you expect to be more likely to result in an application being made by the target candidate? You’d want to be in the shoes of the second recruiter, right?!
This illustrates perfectly the importance of a company’s employer brand in the current hiring climate. It doesn’t matter whether you’re approaching target candidates directly, or trying to attract applicants through advertising. The company with strong employer branding and extensive reach on social media will outperform its competitors in converting candidates into applicants. Which begs the question, “Why aren’t more companies seriously investing in this?”
The answer I believe lies in the ease with which ROI can be measured. Invest in LinkedIn training for your recruiters and you can see an immediate increase in the number of candidates being found and approached. Spend more on advertising and the flow of candidate applicants increases. Whereas building an employer brand takes time – and the results are harder to quantify and feed through less immediately.
But return to the scenarios above and you instinctively know that this is something your company needs to address, don’t you? So what kinds of activities will you invest in on social media to build your employer brand?
- Having dedicated careers profiles on social media, rather than relying on company accounts. You need accounts whose sole aim is to appeal to your target candidate audience – and company accounts trying to woo investors and customers simply don’t do your employer brand justice. The message is too diluted.
- Building the following and reach of your career profiles on social media to be seen by an even larger audience of a) prospective hires and b) potential referrers for your business.
- Ensuring your employees are active on social media and coordinating ways in which they can support the company’s recruiting accounts to solidify the message and reach new people.
- Running advertising campaigns to reach your target candidate audience on social media – not just with vacancies, but with a concerted drive to win them over and educate them on your virtues as a desirable employer.
- Organizing retargeting campaigns on social media, so that anyone who has visited your careers pages or registered their details with you is repeatedly exposed to messages around your employer brand and why you’re a great place to work.
- Developing a strategy to ensure that prospective hires have had some interaction with your employees or your recruiting team on social media, so that they feel a personal connection to your company.
In writing this I’m reminded of the saying that it’s madness to do the same things over and over, but expect those actions to produce different results to what they’ve produced previously. Equate that to recruiting and we can’t expect our conversion of candidates to improve unless we invest in doing things to improve conversions that we haven’t done previously. So if your employer brand isn’t fully developed on social media, perhaps now’s the time to make this a priority in your business.
About the Author
Tony Restell is the Founder of Social-Hire.com and helps candidates and recruiters leverage social media. You can find Tony on Twitter; or join him on one of his forthcoming webinars where he’ll walk you step by step through the processes he uses to get results for recruiting teams on social media.