No matter how effective your recruitment marketing programs are at attracting candidates, they won’t help you much if these candidates don’t convert into applicants.
Candidate conversion is its own specific challenge, different from, say, setting a strong brand, or building a large, high quality pipeline. To engage with prospective talent, keep your name at the top of their inbox, and progressively bring them to submit an application for a given role, you need a deliberate plan of action. You must choose the right recruitment marketing programs to achieve that goal.
Of course, such a program will sit within a broader recruitment marketing strategy, but its goals and KPIs will be targeted specifically at converting candidates into applicants.
Candidate Nurture, a Consistent Recruitment Marketing Program
With career sites or job adverts, you have to rely on the ideal prospect to be there at the right time, but with a nurture campaign, you control the time and place of the interaction with your candidates, making it an ideal conversion tool.
A well-built nurture program gives you the opportunity to create a highly personalized experience, and personalized journeys create the kind of engagement and top-of-mind that lead to consistent candidate conversion. For that to happen, however, your candidate data has to be clean and well-set up to start with.
Hubspot estimates that email databases decay by 22,5% every year, so if you’ve been using the same one for a few years, it’s probably overdue for a deep clean. Otherwise, your nurture campaign will generate a high bounce rate and hurt your sender score. You can read more about email deliverability here to get into the details of email campaigns.
If you work with a Talent Data Platform, or if your CRM has an automated enrichment engine, then your candidate data should update automatically for the most part, including email addresses.
If not, you can set up a recruitment marketing campaign to ask for the right information from candidates, and use forms that are precise and prescriptive. If all the fields are free text entries instead of drop lists, for example, you won’t be able to use the resulting database as freely.
With a rich and well-organized database up and running, you can start thinking about the actual building blocks of your nurture campaigns, such as the personas you will target, the content you will use, and the timing and trigger of your candidate nurture campaigns.
Talent Networks, to Always Stay Relevant
What are talent networks? You’ve probably seen them before, and your team might have one in place. Essentially, a talent network is a group of candidates who might be interested in your company as a potential employer, for now or for an undefined future.
As a talent acquisition team, your goal is to provide a mutually beneficial exchange through this network by giving candidates information and updates about a potential employer, and getting their attention and an opportunity to hire them in return. There are multiple definitions that say more or less the same thing (even a wikipedia entry) but we think the reciprocity is an important piece that sometimes gets overlooked.
A talent network is different from a candidate nurture program, but both complement each other nicely. The talent network can stand alone in a section of the career site, and captuure leads that are not yet ready to apply, for example. It can offer a portal where candidates may sign in, ccheck for news, look at upcoming events or available information, etc.
Many companies go through the trouble of collecting information from candidates when they join the network, such as background and interests, and then never action on them. Some never contact candidates beyond a welcome email, unless it is to send out a job posting. That experience is closer to a job alert than to an actual network, and that is where nurture programs can be a complement to talent networks.
Make sure to clarify the purpose of the talent network when candidates join, and to offer multiple opportunities to ask questions or interact with your team and your hiring managers throughout the relationship. Send out event invites, offer to set up coffee chats or phone calls at regular intervals, or organize webinars where you open the floor for listeners to ask questions.
Recruiting Events, an Irreplacable Human Touchpoint
As a recruitment marketing program, recruitment events can be used to collect new leads and build the top of the pipeline, but they are also extremely effective at converting candidates.
The personal interactions that happen at recruiting events are impossible to replicate over email or on the phone. Video calls come close, but they still lack the same feeling of flexibility that a candidate gets from choosing when to walk up to someone and when to leave the conversation.
A lot of research has been done to document the differences between face-to-face and electronic communication. From the importance of non-verbal cues to our human instincts to mimic one another, there is a whole range of different layers to face-to-face interactions that you won’t find in a phone call or an email.
Think about the last time you met someone for the first time face-to-face in a recruiting process: how much more involved did you feel before versus after the meeting?
That is exactly why events can be a powerful tool to convert those strategic leads that you think need more than a casual automated nurture campaign to nudge them into applying or taking an interview. For that reason, the four suggestions you'll find in this recruiting event ideas article are meant to be used for conversion, and not for pipeline building.
Great talent is a powerful and consistent source of competitive advantage in business, and recruitment marketing programs give companies the ability to attract the best. Candidate conversion, especially, is sometimes a bottleneck that stumps many talent professionals.
We put together our Definitive Guide to Recruitment Marketing specifically to help with suucch challenges. You'll find more information on candidate conversion, but also on other types of recruitment marketing programs, and the best place to use them.