Driving an aggressive recruitment marketing and brand strategy for talent is vital for high growth, high scale organizations. Competition is infamously tight in today’s job market; in order to attract top talent, you must differentiate what is uniquely valuable about working for your company through content tailor-made to address your talent pools.
That is why at Wayfair we view recruitment marketing and employer branding as essential to successful recruiting. We know that a candidate’s journey begins well before a candidate gets on the phone with a recruiter, and we want to make sure that when she does, she is already familiar with our brand and excited about the prospect of becoming a Wayfairian. As such, our Strategic Talent Sourcing and Employer Branding team devotes concentrated attention to researching our talent pools, creating content that resonates with their experiences and interests, delivering that content in the forms and channels they use most, and continuously optimizing content performance through rigorous management of our recruiting analytics. These branding efforts span the gamut from digital and out-of-home advertising campaigns, technical blog posts, industry conference sponsorship and attendance, video content, social media engagement, and more.
Take for example the video post embedded below. We wanted to boost our brand engagement among MBAs, so we took a tactical approach. Our research told us that LinkedIn is among the top social media platforms for MBAs, that video typically outperforms text content, and that embedded video dramatically outperforms linked video content. So we went to work creating videos like the following, which have escalated our engagement rates.
But, as important as it is to generate informative, engaging, and authentic recruitment marketing content, content alone is not enough.
In order to build a truly effective talent department, recruitment marketing efforts should be developed within the broader context of organizational resources, systems, and priorities. This contextualization will ensure that your company not only attracts quality candidates, but can also track, process, hire, and retain them efficiently. Such collaborative work requires a comprehensive system that integrates sales, marketing, and technology across the recruiting funnel. At Wayfair, we call this our “talent architecture.”
What is Talent Architecture?
A talent architecture is the systematic integration of your talent workflows and technology into a high-efficiency, high-performance system. Such a system needs two main components to succeed:
- Prioritization of Core Capabilities: broad organizational agreement regarding the optimal resource allocation towards sales, marketing, and technology for the size, maturity, and goals of your talent acquisition organization, and the understanding that this allocation may shift over time.
- Technological Integration: the integration of your company’s HR technologies into a robust ecosystem capable of attacking problems across the entire recruiting funnel.
Neither of these conditions is easy to achieve, but both should be the long term goals of any talent department. We’ll elaborate on each of these below.
Alignment on Prioritization of Sales, Marketing, and Technology
Sales, marketing, and technology are each essential to a talent acquisition organization: sales tactics enable recruiters to source and convert leads; marketing draws in passive talent and boosts your reputation in the industry; and technology facilitates targeted tracking, engagement, and organization of candidates and their information. But the relative importance of and resources allocated to each of these elements should shift as a company scales.
Small companies can often rely on the tried-and-true tactics of sales without launching fully fledged marketing campaigns, or burdening their infrastructure with over powered technologies. But as a business scales and begins to hire more and more employees each year, brute force sales reaches a point of diminishing returns, and the ROI for marketing and technology tend to increase. Below we have included a figure illustrating our conception of how prioritization of these three elements should shift as your business grows.
The above is meant as a guide; the individual situation and goals of a particular company will determine its optimal distribution of resources. But once a decision is made, such distribution is more than a matter of fiddling with a budget: it requires a total transformation in outlook. You must regularly ask yourself as an organization: How is our channel mix between inbound and outbound? Do we have the right number of recruiters? Where could technology help to automate our efforts?
These are not questions to be answered in a “one and done” conversation with leaders and stakeholders. As your company evolves, your team should regularly confer to answer such questions and re-evaluate your resource allocation. This will become particularly important when developing your HR tech stack.
Technological Integration of HR Software Products
The HR tech market is booming, with dozens of companies ready to offer tools crafted to help solve any number of recruiting problems. It’s easy to be seduced by one-off tools promising to help you better find prospects, schedule interviews, enhance job descriptions, track or engage with candidates, and more. And in fact many of these tools may be a good fit to meet your company’s challenges. But to create a cohesive talent architecture, one should evaluate such offerings very carefully, aiming to build one integrated system rather than becoming bogged down with a patchwork of single purpose point solutions.
Systematic consolidation of your prospect, applicant, and employee data is necessary to create a seamless recruiting system. This consolidation can only be achieved through the integration of your three key HR tech components: your HRIS (Human Resources Information System), ATS (Applicant Tracking System), and prospect management platform (often referred to as a CRM). It is important to note that these technologies are still maturing, and it should not be assumed that any one of these components on the market will automatically play well with others. Careful research and probing questions are necessary when building your system in order to ensure that these pieces will in fact integrate.
But regardless of difficulty, integration of these systems is vital as it will allow for more efficient use of your recruiting analytics data across the funnel. This is true no matter the size of your company, but becomes especially important once you reach the enterprise level. At this size and organizational complexity, activities that may have been handled on a person-to-person level within a smaller organization become difficult to manage, and the layering in of additional solutions to decrease process friction and improve outcomes becomes particularly valuable. For example, you may want to implement a referrals platform to increase referral speed, volume, and quality, or introduce sourcing tools to provide differentiated candidates to improve outbound sourcing. Such technologies geared towards incremental improvement in specific sub-areas are most effective when not pursued as ends in themselves, but rather as extensions of an integrated system that is able to make the most use of its data.
The Importance of Cross-Functional Collaboration
It takes a village to create change: gaining broad organizational alignment on business priorities and building a technology system capable of total consolidation of prospect/applicant data cannot be done by one team alone. At Wayfair, for example, many teams come together to make this work happen: Talent Acquisition, Employer Branding, Engineering, Product Management, Product Design, TA Analytics, and stakeholders from across the business all take part in the discussions that drive our ultimate strategy and define our HR Tech stack.
This close collaboration ensures that our recruitment marketing efforts are never done in a silo. Rather they are a carefully orchestrated part of the operating system on which our talent acquisition runs: our integrated talent architecture.