Recruitment Marketing and employer brand practitioners might not often think of “sizing up” their competition, but knowing what these organizations are doing differently can actually help you! If you’re aware of the tactics and strategies they are using (and even the ones they aren’t), you’re better equipped to position your company as an employer of choice — and capture valuable candidates.
On the other hand, if you aren’t analyzing your competition, you risk losing out on top-notch job seekers when they accept offers from other employers (who have been providing what candidates want).
Conducting a competitive analysis is not only about taking a deeper dive into what other companies are doing. It’s also about assessing your own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to recruiting. Your strengths can act as counterpoints to your competitors’ weaknesses (which can be a key attraction tool in your Recruitment Marketing content), while pinpointing your weaker areas provides you with the opportunity to improve upon them.
Competitive analysis might sound like a loaded term, and while many businesses outsource this task to specialized teams or organizations, you can conduct your own analysis on your recruitment competition. Here are steps you can take to gain a better understanding of what other companies are doing and how you can use that information to strengthen your own recruitment efforts.
Identify who your competitors are
You could probably name off a lengthy list of industry competitors from the top of your head when asked! But it’s a good idea to focus only on those companies that present the biggest challenges to capturing talent to ensure your analysis is laser focused. What are the organizations that you consistently lose out to with top candidates? Add them to the list!
Also, think outside of the box a bit. Your competition might not be in your industry. For instance, if you’re hiring for customer service representatives for a call center, those same candidates might have the ideal skill sets for retail sales associate positions at another company outside of your sector. And don’t forget about companies in your local area. For positions like accounts payable, the industry probably doesn’t matter as much as the candidate’s commute.
To round out your list, check with other departments in your organization, like Sales and Marketing, to see if there are any competitors you might be overlooking or if they have additional data on current competitors that can help you with your analysis.
Examine their careers page
Your first stop should be a competitor’s careers page. Each page of their site holds insight into what they might be doing differently. Ask these questions as you go through the site:
- What is their messaging? Is there something they are saying that we aren’t and vice versa?
- What different types of content do they have? Which formats are more engaging?
- What kind of images are they using? Do they use stock imagery or real employee photos?
- How is their job search functionality? Is it easy to find the right jobs?
- What do their job descriptions look like? What information are they providing candidates within these descriptions?
- What is their EVP? How do they communicate it? Are they delivering on it throughout their careers site?
Go through the application process
The application process can turn candidates into applicants, or it can turn candidates away from a company. Experience a competitor’s application process to analyze what might be missing or what your company can do to improve. Look for these aspects:
- Does each step of the process appear streamlined? Or are there clearly disparate systems in place?
- Is it personalized, even when a candidate returns to the page after leaving?
- Can candidates apply via a smartphone or tablet?
- Is contact information provided for job seekers to reach out with questions?
- Are details provided on next steps or additional resources that talent can check out while waiting to hear back?
Assess their digital footprint
Outside of the careers site, there are several other important places to look at how your competitors are messaging to candidates.
- How robust are their social profiles? Do they maintain a strong presence on the channels their candidates prefer?
- What SEO keywords and terms are they ranking for? Are there any that you can use to rank ahead of them?
- What are employees saying about them on employer review sites? What is their company rating and are they recognized with employer awards?
It’s no surprise that the hiring landscape is highly competitive, and you’re likely vying with many companies for right-fit talent. Having a deep understanding of what they are doing to attract top candidates can help you strengthen your Recruitment Marketing strategy. A competitive analysis puts your organization in a position to at least stay competitive if not out-compete for those quality candidates who will become valuable employees.