Recruitment Marketing strategy is becoming more and more data driven, not only to make decisions about what content, campaigns and channels to use, but also to defend recommendations made to business partners.
This was one of my key take-aways from the first Rally Inside User Conference, a half-day virtual gathering of current and future users of our Rally® Inside™ Recruitment Marketing analytics & benchmarking platform, along with other practitioners working to improve their understanding and use of analytics in their Recruitment Marketing and employer branding strategy.
I was so inspired by the user conference, that I wanted to share the top things I learned about how practitioners are using data to take their Recruitment Marketing strategies to the next level.
1. Building a business case for leadership
Getting leaders behind Recruitment Marketing initiatives is still a challenge for many practitioners. But I was so excited to learn how many practitioners are overcoming this resistance by using data.
Once you can begin showing your leaders concrete results of your employer brand and Recruitment Marketing campaigns, including the number of people your talent brand is reaching, the number of candidates you’re attracting and how much your talent audience is engaged, then it’s much easier to win over their support.
One practitioner recommended the “low-hanging fruit” approach: Find leaders or business partners who are experiencing hiring pain right now and pitch them on how your strategy can help solve their problems. Since they’re feeling hiring pressure, they could be more open to your help. This practitioner got the green light, tested her strategy and closely tracked the results. She now had hard data to show others in leadership and present her case, for example, “We produced 20 hires with this much money using these kinds of strategies, and I think we could double that with even more resources and support.”
2. Helping employees to create and share content
Compelling content and ads are how you’ll attract talent to your company, but having the time to create great content can be a real challenge for practitioners, especially for smaller teams and solo recruitment marketers. Lack of time is one of the reasons to solicit employee generated content (EGC). But another reason is that employee advocacy is just plain effective for recruiting!
One attendee shared how they created a “self-serve” guide — essentially a menu — breaking down every way that employees could create and share recruiting content with their networks. This can remove a lot of friction, as employees no longer have to think of content ideas from scratch and practitioners can continually update and share this guide with employees.
But what type of content should employees focus on? After all, employees will be more likely to participate if they see the impact of their efforts. So to track what types of EGC content is engaging candidates the most, Rally Inside users discussed the importance of using data to guide their Recruitment Marketing content strategy. By monitoring how different content topics engage and expand their talent audience, these practitioners are providing informed guidance to employees on what type of content they should focus on.
Rally note: For help building a successful employee advocacy program at your organization, read our blog How to Strengthen Your Employer Brand by Showcasing the People Behind your Products (Part 2).
3. Setting expectations with stakeholders and business partners
During the conference, there was an open discussion about challenges and solutions for using data to strengthen relationships with leadership, recruiters and business partners. Some of our attendees are constantly having to manage the expectations of stakeholders, who think results will happen overnight (like magic!).
An attendee who had experienced this herself said that she brings data and results from past efforts to level-set expectations with stakeholders.
For example, by measuring your Recruitment Marketing campaigns, you have data about what worked and what didn’t. Then you can use this data to project results and define a realistic timeline, like “with this budget, we can expect to see X amount of applicants by July” or “based on our last campaign, we can improve our reach by using these channels instead of these channels”.
Another Rally Inside user shared how she uses the benchmark data provided by Rally Inside to bring objectivity to her recommendations. Benchmarks help prove that what you’re doing can work, but also serve as objective information that stakeholders and leaders can look at and compare to their own expectations.
Objectivity is worth pointing out here, as it can neutralize any pushback that social and digital strategies can be even more effective than traditional recruiting. But remember that not everything you try once will work. Always start small, and use A/B testing to see what proves to be more effective.
4. Pinpointing small tweaks that have a big impact
Not every major breakthrough comes from a complete EVP revamp, careers site overhaul or some other big strategy change. Sometimes, it’s the small changes — the ones you wouldn’t think about — that have the biggest effect.
For example, when hiring for an application developer role, one attendee shared that she looked at Google Trends to see how people in her area were actively searching Google for this type of role. She found that people were using the term “software developer” more than “application developer”, causing her to change the title of the job description on their careers site. She also worked with the hiring manager to make adjustments to the job description (reflecting her findings) and saw the job’s view-to-apply rate go from 1% to 8%.
Another practitioner found that, against her strongest creative instinct, ads featuring the faces of people (not so shocking) with big bold type (shocking) performed the best with her talent audience, so she changed the creative in her ads. Without testing different options and following the data, she would have never known to focus on these attributes.
5. Honing in on top channels and content types
Have you ever felt pressured to invest in a grand campaign on specific channels using specific content because that’s what your business partner asked for? Or maybe you’ve been given free rein with your first Recruitment Marketing budget, but you don’t know where to start? Many of our practitioners said that they’d experienced at least one, if not both of these situations at some point in their career, and that data was their saving grace.
One of our Rally Inside users explained, “one of the reasons I was so excited to start using the tool is to really measure the difference between channels and how effective they each are so we know where to put our efforts (our dollars and our human resources).”
Another user shared a story about how her business partners are always asking for printed flyers and she’s now tracking how those flyers perform next to other types of channels. She explained that she looks at this across geographies as well as job functions to get a clear picture of what’s truly working to attract candidates.
It’s really exciting for me to see how our Rally Inside users are learning their most effective strategies by following the data. I’ve actually been surprised by some of the data we’re seeing. For example, did you know that one-third of Recruitment Marketing doesn’t get any engagement? The question is, do you know which third of your strategy isn’t working? Rally Inside users do, and through access to this data, they’re able to change and optimize their strategy in real time.
The use of Recruitment Marketing as a strategy is mature in some organizations but just beginning in many others. No matter your experience level, practitioners who use data to build their strategy and defend their recommendations are able to gain support for their ideas and drive better results for the organization.
The more you take a data-driven approach to Recruitment Marketing and employer branding, the more you’ll continue to develop a winning strategy. And, finally, remember that channels that are effective and the interests of candidates are always changing, so by continually monitoring the metrics and retesting your strategies, you’ll continue to find a competitive advantage.
Thank you again to everyone who attended the first Rally Inside User Conference, and thank you especially for sharing your knowledge and experience with all of us!
To learn how to get insights from your Recruitment Marketing, sign up for a free user account.
Rally note: We asked our users to provide their favorite high-energy, motivational songs, then played them throughout the conference to keep us inspired and having fun. Check out the playlist yourself and use it to stay motivated and inspired while you’re digging into your analytics!