Employers are experiencing a labor shortage, and it’s not just because of the pandemic. Almost half of baby boomers are now retired, there’s record low workforce participation and the U.S. has seen the lowest population growth in almost 100 years.
If you’re experiencing serious drop-off (or worse, ghosting!) around the middle of your recruitment funnel (such as candidates who have already applied or even interviewed) like many companies right now, then you know this issue well. That’s why I dedicated my webinar at the 2021 Talent Board CandEs Virtual Conference to this very topic: “From Meh to Yes! Winning over candidates in the middle of your recruiting funnel.”
Even though you can’t control these macroeconomic trends, there are tactics you can use today to reduce candidate drop-off. In this post, I’ll share how to create content that answers the specific questions your candidates have, how to get that content in front of job seekers and how to keep them engaged at every stage of their journey. I’ve also included examples from 4 different organizations that are leading the way in Recruitment Marketing content strategy.
Rally note: Want to learn more? You can check out the full presentation:
Understand your candidate journey
Before you can create a targeted Recruitment Marketing content plan, you need to understand the path that candidates take to get hired at your company. This path is typically broken down into various stages, each with its own set of candidate questions that you need to address in your content.
The easiest way to understand this path is by plotting it out visually through a process called candidate journey mapping. For example, a typical candidate journey map includes the following stages:
- Open to change
- Search for jobs
- Apply for jobs
- Research employers
- Attend interviews
- Consider offer(s)
- Accept offer
- Start job
Rally note: Download your free Rally Candidate Journey Map & Content Planner Template here.
While the above stages are the most common, they’re not set in stone. You may find that your candidates’ journey consists of different stages or that they go through the same stages in a different order.
Whatever your candidate journey looks like, plotting it out will give you an immediate competitive advantage over employers who don’t. In fact, we found at the RallyFwd Virtual Conference that 64% of practitioners had never created a candidate journey map!
Give candidates the right information at every stage of their journey
Once you’ve created your candidate journey map, the next step is identifying what questions your candidates have at each stage.
This is super important to get right, as reducing drop-off in the middle (and rest) of your candidate journey can be achieved by anticipating your candidates’ questions and providing answers that encourage them to move closer to accepting your job offer.
Generally speaking, at the middle funnel stage, most candidates want to know:
- Is this company/team a good culture alignment?
- Is the product/service good?
- What is the interview process?
- Is this worth the change? (What’s in it for me?)
Beyond these, you can uncover the questions you need to answer by building out a candidate persona, which is a profile representing an ideal candidate who you’re trying to hire for a specific job. If you’re hiring various candidates for different jobs, it can be helpful to build out multiple personas and create content plans tailored to each one. And if you don’t have the resources to build out multiple personas, start with your most pressing hiring needs.
Rally note: Download your free Rally candidate persona template here!
To build out your candidate personas, you’ll need to figure out which questions your target candidates have about your company and jobs. To do this, we recommend conducting candidate persona research. The best way to do this is through interviews with your employees including:
- Recruiters who regularly recruit for the role.
- Hiring managers who know who they’re looking for.
- Employees who are already in the positions you’re hiring for.
- Candidates who are your ideal targets (e.g. through candidate surveys and contacting silver medalist candidates).
Another way to uncover candidates’ questions is to track their behaviors. For example, you can track:
- What questions candidates are asking your chatbots.
- What kinds of conversations and questions are taking place at your virtual hiring events.
- Q&A platforms. These platforms invite candidates to ask employees questions, who can then answer them directly. This employee-generated content (EGC) can be super persuasive, especially in the middle of your funnel.
- Content engagement. Be sure you’re using tracking links every time and place you share content (e.g. social media, career site, career blog, talent newsletter, etc.).
To summarize and synthesize your research and data, I recommend using our free Candidate Journey Map & Content Planner Template.
4 examples of companies leading in Recruitment Marketing content strategy
As the largest provider of mutual funds in the world, Vanguard operates in the highly regulated financial industry. Yet they found a way to create an employee advocacy program supported by leadership, called #LifeAtVanguard, where employees themselves can create and share candidate-centric content.
This content highlights day-in-the-life stories, DEI initiatives, employee resource group events, community involvement, culture and work experience, virtual hiring tips and all sorts of other topics relevant to candidates wanting to know more about the Vanguard experience. One blog post, in particular, addressed a topic on many candidates’ minds at the moment: what it’s like to change jobs during an uncertain time.
This is the kind of helpful content for recruiters to share with candidates when following up after the interview stage.
One question that is often overlooked but important to candidates is what tools and products they’ll be using, as that plays a big role in the culture and how their work looks on a daily basis. Sharing info about your tech stacks lets technical candidates know if the role in question is one that will allow them to develop their skills and help position them for their next role.
Capital One does a great job on their careers blog highlighting the tech stack they use and how innovative it is, which can help them be more effective in filling technical roles.
If you want to create something similar, start by developing questions in advance, interview an employee over the phone or send them questions by email to answer at their convenience and then turn their answers into a blog post just like this one.
And don’t forget photos of employees at work! Not only do they help with making your content feel more personalized, but they also help with search engine optimization (SEO).
Dell has announced that by 2030, they want 50% of their global workforce, and 40% of their leaders, to be team members that identify as women. With this in mind, they needed to create content that conveyed the supportive environment women could expect from working at Dell.
To accomplish this, they created a video series called “Our Women in Action” that showcases a diverse set of stories from their women-identifying employees. This content also aligns with Dell’s ReStart Returnship Program, which is a 16-week paid returnship that provides training, professional development and support to those transitioning back to the workforce.
The center-piece video for Dell’s “Our Women in Action” series.
As a recruiter, this video is a great piece of content to share with candidates who apply for the returnship program in the “thank you for applying” email.
Micron, a world leader in innovating memory and storage solutions, uses a Q&A platform that allows candidates to ask questions to employees, who can then answer directly.
This employee-centric approach allows their Recruitment Marketing team to show all kinds of employee perspectives, touching on everything from DEI to employee resources groups to women leaders. This content lives on their career site, but it’s also repurposed for social channels, emails and recruiter signatures.
Micron’s Recruitment Marketing team has reported this type of content has boosted candidate engagement and conversion rates from the top of the funnel all the way to onboarding.
The candidate journey is a quest for information
While these examples and strategies can influence candidates in the middle of their journey, they can also be useful to attract talent to your employer brand at the top of the funnel, and ensure your best candidates accept your job offer at the bottom of the funnel.
If there is one thing I’d like you to remember from this, it’s that the candidate journey is a quest for information. Every step starts with a question, and you need to ensure that your content answers those questions at every stage in a way that encourages candidates to take the next step towards accepting an offer.
To learn even more about winning over candidates in the middle of your recruitment funnel, take our digital course, Rally Content Rescue!