Recruitment Marketing

Expert Q&A: The Content That Matters to Candidates in 2021

The Content That Matters to Candidates in 2021
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Written by Rally Team

What Recruitment Marketing content will attract and engage talent in 2021? Watch this video featuring Cisco’s Macy Andrews, Capital One’s Madigan Cochran and Rally’s Lori Sylvia to inspire your strategy this year.

Expert Q&A: The Content That Matters to Candidates in 2021
5 (100%) 5 votes

The more recruiting channels you have, the more Recruitment Marketing content you need. That’s a lot of pressure to create employee stories, videos, blogs and social media posts week after week! But what content matters most to attract and recruit your candidate personas, and how can you stand out through the digital noise in 2021?

To learn more about this, Rally’s own Lori Sylvia hosted a panel at the recent Talent Acquisition Week virtual conference to discuss strategies for the best Recruitment Marketing content to attract and recruit talent in 2021. Lori was joined by Macy Andrews, Senior Director, Global University Recruiting and Employer Branding at Cisco and Madigan Cochran, Content Marketing Strategist at Capital One. Here are just a few of the key takeaways and examples from the conversation.

Note: if you want to gain even more insights, you can watch the full video below to hear Madigan and Macy share their effective approaches to creating Recruitment Marketing content. This video will show you how to use content to move talent forward along their candidate journey to choose you as their next employer.

Meet the experts:

Macy Andrews

Macy Andrews, Senior Director, Global University Recruiting and Employer Branding, Cisco

Macy Andrews, Senior Director, Global University Recruiting and Employer Branding, Cisco

As the Senior Director, Global University Recruiting and Employer Branding, Macy works to inspire a global team of recruiters and storytellers to attract and hire the best talent for our future business success. Macy and her team are constantly creating, researching, implementing and measuring innovative strategies to create a stellar candidate and intern experience. Their team’s goal is to increase candidate pipelines in Cisco’s transformational growth areas of software, cloud, security and collaboration.

Madigan Cochran

Madigan Cochran, Content Marketing Strategist, Capital One

Madigan Cochran, Content Marketing Strategist, Capital One

Madigan is a data obsessed content marketing strategist who’s working to bring #LifeatCapitalOne to the world. Madigan loves discovering great stories, bringing them to life and finding the best way to get them to the right audience at the right time.

Lori: What are some of the key topics and themes you think are going to be important to candidates this year?

Macy: Gone are the days where you’re just posting “we’re hiring, we’re hiring!” — we need to go deep on the “why?” Why would you want to come to my specific company, what makes us unique, what’s our culture, who are our people and why would you invest your career in our space?

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has also become increasingly important, particularly after the year that we just came out of, so companies have to walk the walk in this area. That means showcasing what you’re doing in terms of social justice, how you’re protecting your most vulnerable employees and what you’re doing to help your community.

Job searching can be a stressful time for candidates, so they value content that can help them navigate your candidate journey — content that shows them what to expect.

And then lastly, we’re realizing more and more that people bring their whole selves to work — not just their professional selves. Candidates want to know if they’ll fit in as they are. We kind of have this funny saying of “tattoos, purple hair, I don’t care. You can be you, with us.” And so I think that’s also really important to showcase that you can bring your unique self to the table.

Madigan: Similarly to Macy, we’re concentrating on leveraging search engine algorithms and helping people find what they need to successfully navigate the recruitment process — and that means a lot of “how-to” content. This can be as simple as tips for how to make it through the virtual interview process.

We’re also shining a light on our DEI programming and how we support everyone at Capital One — highlighting the things that we’ve had in place for years that help associates thrive here. And then playing off that we’ve also been highlighting things like career development and the number of programs and ways people can access mentorship opportunities here so they can grow their career.

And then finally, thought leadership — bringing forward the amazing thought leaders that we have at Capital One in very different spaces, and letting them tell their story and their leadership perspective to inspire people to come and work with us here.

Lori: Last year, the candidate experience completely changed. Everybody had to pivot to a virtual candidate experience. And with the way things look right now for 2021, that’s not going to go away anytime soon. What are you doing from a candidate experience perspective now?

Madigan: My advice would be to tell stories that only you can tell because you’re the authority on that topic. And this makes sense from a candidate experience perspective for several reasons. Number one it establishes you as an expert. And it helps with search engine optimization (SEO) rankings, to get more people to your site. Search engines are always looking to connect people with the best content that will answer their questions.

For candidates, that means putting on your empathy hat and asking yourself, “what do I know, as an employee of Capital One, that someone looking to apply couldn’t possibly know?” And that can be as simple as how to apply for a job at Capital One (which is actually one of our constant traffic drivers giving us thousands of page views every month!).

To take that one step further, start building content that helps candidates through your application process — what are interviews like at your company? What tips or tricks could you get them to help them to be successful? People are always looking for ways to improve and get better.

For example, we launched this blog on virtual interview tips right after COVID broke out and it has driven tons of traffic. It’s an amazing way for candidates to feel more confident when they go into that virtual interview, they don’t have to wonder or be scared. We already know that interviewing is scary to begin with, so let’s take as much tension away from that as possible.

Unveiling the Candidate Experience at Capital One

Unveiling the Candidate Experience at Capital One

We also talk about the resources available at your company that will help them be successful when they get here. I call this “Capital One-01” content because it’s that foundational stuff that helps candidates and drives page views and establishes your career site as an authority, both for candidates and search engines. And most importantly, it’s super helpful. Helping make the hiring process easier will benefit everyone from the candidate to recruitment marketers, to recruiters, to hiring managers.

Rally note: You can read more about improving SEO on Madigan’s blog post The Surprising Way to Increase Careers Site Traffic.

Macy: I think an important piece of improving your candidate experience is demystifying parts of your process. That can look like posting frequently asked questions on your blog or careers site, as well as addressing some of the milestones that candidates might go through to better understand where they’re at in the process. Anything that you can do to help your candidate enjoy the journey — because we know that when you’re on that side of the process, it can sometimes be a little frustrating, particularly if you fall into a recruiting black hole. So the content we share can help shine a light on some of those moments.

The other thing that I can’t reiterate enough is that your content should help your candidates understand why they would want to work at your company. We approach this by using our different personas and finding employees within the company to help “talk” to the different people we want to recruit.

As an example, we recruit a lot of technical talent and while I can do a pretty good job writing most things, if you forced me to talk about security cloud architecture I can’t really do that. So we use our employees to help do the “talking” throughout the candidate experience and help reinforce the “why” in our candidates’ “language.”

Another thing that we found useful in our talent brand journey was unifying everything around “We Are Cisco.” So whether we post on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram or even TikTok — it’s all “We Are Cisco.”

This helped us move the candidate through the content experience in a really simplified way so that they don’t get lost. If you don’t unify the way that you talk about yourself and allow the candidates to find you easily, that doesn’t result in a great process. This is important to think about when you cross advertise on different platforms because every candidate might have a different platform that they prefer. You want to encourage them to be a part of or to see the conversation, no matter which platform they like to use.

Lori: 2020 really showed us how important DEI is, particularly for candidates deciding where they want to work. Tell us a little bit about how content is being used to help you support those diversity goals.

Macy: Last year, we set a new purpose for ourselves: to power an inclusive future for all. We’re lucky because we have fantastic employee resource groups (ERGs) and employees who have great insight into the diversity of our company. We can go to them as experts, to help make sure that all of our content is centered around what it means to drive an inclusive future for all. So, we’re not necessarily creating specific “diversity content;” but rather, we approach everything through the lens of diversity and inclusion.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging at Cisco

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging at Cisco

Madigan: It’s not enough to just do a one-off piece of content or a social post about diversity and inclusion and call it a day. Candidates are super savvy, and they’ll know if you’re not following through in this space. So when I’m looking at the content that I’m developing, we’re focused on consistent messaging that showcases the steady drumbeat of what diversity means to our culture, to our leaders and the associates.

When I was looking at how to build authority in this space, I brought in a content marketing staple, which is the hub and spoke model, and then applied it to each area, relying on our business resource groups (what we call our ERGs). I started with that Capital One-01 content.

Next, I built out an internal linking system so candidates can bounce around between related pieces of content. For example, I did a deep dive on our Blacks in Tech Business Resource Group. It’s a business resource group that supports Black technologists and their allies. Then I added in stories as proof points to back up everything that’s going on in that space.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging at Capital One

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging at Capital One

If you’re thinking about creating this kind of content, I think it’s important to understand your ERGs, the leaders in your company that are making an impact and the program offerings that you have already in place to support your employees. Once you have these built out, it’s so easy to find a ton of great stories!

Lori: Well, thank you Macy and thank you, Madigan. I’m so grateful that you both shared your strategies and your work samples with us so we can get inspired for 2021.

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We hope these expert perspectives on the types of content that matter most to candidates right now will help you in creating new and compelling stories and improve your candidate experience. Content that communicates your company’s employee value proposition, demystifies your recruitment process and demonstrates your commitment to DEI, is more important than ever to attract qualified talent to your organization.

Expert Q&A: The Content That Matters to Candidates in 2021
5 (100%) 5 votes

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