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Turn Casual Browsers Into Engaged Candidates with Inbound Recruiting

September 1st, 2020 1 minute read
Louise Donadieu
Louise Donadieu
Strategic Marketing Consultant
In our last post, we touched on some of the different types of candidates and shared some best practice measures for attracting the right candidates at the right time for your roles.

Now that you have people engaging with your employer brand, it’s time to convert them into candidates. Your careers website is the single most important asset you have here, but most organizations are still getting it wrong.

Your careers website

The majority of your recruitment marketing is going to direct potential candidates to your careers website.

We’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how to create careers pages that convert potential applicants into qualified candidates here, but to help get you started, here are some key things to consider when designing your careers page:

  • Does it clearly explain why someone would want to work for you?
  • Does it help potential candidates understand whether yours is the type of culture they’d want to be part of?
  • Does it showcase what it’s like to be part of each of your teams or to work in each of your locations?
  • Does it help answer the main questions that potential applicants have?
  • Does it clearly explain the application process for each type of role?
  • Are you using stock photography? (Hint: you shouldn’t be).
  • Have you included real stories of real team members?
  • Is it easy to find relevant opportunities?
  • Is it easy to apply?
  • Is it easy to find your careers page from your main website or is it buried deep in your navigation?

A job description written by legal is NOT a job ad

Treat your job descriptions like product marketing copy.

If you were trying to attract more customers you wouldn’t have legal write a list of things the new client would have to do to make the most of your product or service. You’d explain the benefits of your offering, explain the purchase process, the support process, and give examples of how successful customers have used your service in the past.

So when it comes to writing job descriptions, why do we default to producing a bullet-pointed list of responsibilities and required skills with little or no reference to what the role will be like from the point of view of the potential employee?

When hiring teams aren’t getting enough of the right applicants, one of the first things we review is their job descriptions / job ads

The majority of these job descriptions are nothing more than internal compliance documents that have been produced to protect the organization that produced the document. While these documents do have their place, they’re not going to help you attract more of the best talent.

Job descriptions should answer the key questions that potential applicants are likely to have about the role

Things like:

  • What does a typical day look like?
  • What will I be working on?
  • What will I need to do to succeed in the role?
  • What type of people will I be working with?
  • What are the key benefits of working in this team/location/organization?

It’s also worth considering your tone of voice. Are your job descriptions written to appeal to a diverse audience or will they only resonate with a specific demographic? There are some great tools, such as Textio, that can help you to write more inclusive job descriptions.

Key takeaway: Job descriptions are more than just a tick box exercise. Time and thought should be put into creating them so that they are as relevant to candidates as possible.

Make the process clear

Candidates want to know what the process will involve before they apply.

You wouldn’t try to sell a five-year client engagement without explaining the process you’d take them through, so why would it be any different when you’re trying to hire the best people?

Putting potential applicants at ease and clearly managing their expectations will encourage them to apply and to stay engaged throughout the recruitment process.

But, it’s not just about explaining the process. Make it easy to find out how to apply. You’d be amazed by how many recruitment websites we come across that make it really difficult to work out how to apply for a role.

  • Are you expecting people to call someone?
  • To fill in an application form and post it to you?
  • To email their CV into a black hole and wait for a response?
  • To register an account on your over-engineered careers portal, ‘add the job to a cart’, then upload a CV in a specific format and size, only to discover they also need to fill out an unnecessarily long form that requires them to copy and paste the information already in their CV?

(Hint: all of these things are losing you applicants or giving a terrible first experience of your organization to the few that do decide to apply).

Make your application forms candidate-friendly

Now that an applicant’s found their way to your application form it’s important to make sure you don’t lose them.

Here are five other top tips for preventing applicants from slipping through the net:

Tip #1: Communicate that you take privacy seriously

Are you communicating and reinforcing this at every stage of the process? Are you clear about where data is stored? About who knows that the candidate has applied? About who can see the details of the application? About how the candidate can revoke their application?

Tip #2: Don’t ask unnecessary questions

Only ask questions that will help you make better selection decisions. Having to answer too many questions is off-putting, not to mention, time-consuming.

Tip #3: Don’t ask generic questions

Equally, don’t ask generic ‘catch-all’ questions where measurement is subjective and the answer is clear.

For example:

Do ask questions like:Do you have the right to work in the United Kingdom?’ (As you can use this information to make selection decisions).

Don’t ask questions like: ‘Are you a trustworthy person?’ (Let’s be honest, you’re likely to want trustworthy people so nobody is going to answer this with ‘no.’ So having the question on the form is just a waste of everyone’s time).

Tip #4: Tailor the application form and questions to the job/role/department

Don’t ask applicants for C-suite roles if they can ride a bike (no, this isn’t made up, one of our clients used to always ask this question…)

Tip #5: Don’t ask candidates to log in to apply

For every minute over five minutes that your application process takes, you’ll haemorrhage 10% of your applicants. Fact.

Consider the post-application experience

Just because somebody has decided to apply for a role, that doesn’t mean they’ll accept it if you make them an offer. A good post-application experience can make or break your ability to hire the best candidates – especially in a market where the best people have a choice over where to work.

Good communication is essential. At the most basic level this should include some form of personalized instant acknowledgement that the application has been received and some idea of what the next steps will look like, timing wise.

Great communication doesn’t stop here. Keep candidates in the loop with any changes to expected timelines or process, regardless of whether they’re a candidate for an open vacancy or they’re part of your talent pipeline.

Are you communicating with individuals in your pipeline regularly?

Think about these individuals as ‘marketing leads.’  If you’re trying to close a high-value lead, you don’t just hope they stumble upon your brand every now and again. You reach out to them, share relevant new information, and ensure they have all the relevant details they need. Whether you’re ready to hire people immediately or not, you haven’t ‘won’ when they hit your talent pipeline. You’ve ‘won’ when they’re officially part of your team. Keep them engaged. Keep them excited.

What are your triggers?

What content are you distributing to people in your talent pipeline? When do they receive it? How often do you reach out to them? Do you have a clear plan in place for this? Having a clear, documented communications plan for the people in your talent pipeline is critical to keeping those potential candidates warm.

Leverage your current team as advocates

Are any of the people in your talent pipeline connected to your current team? If so, how can you be leveraging your current team as employer brand advocates?

Make your experience stand out

Think about how you can make your experience stand out when compared to your competition. For example, interview scheduling software can take away the frustrating back and forth of email to schedule interviews while giving candidates a feeling of control over the process.

Next steps

Think about leveraging ‘storyboarding’ to map out every stage of the candidate experience, from seeing the first instance of your employer brand or hearing about your business for the first time, all the way through nurture. Engagement, application, interview, offer, pre-boarding, post-boarding, and so on.

Where are you strong? Where are you weak? What can you easily improve? You’ll only be able to see how it all connects together when you’ve mapped out the entire experience.

About the author
Louise Donadieu
Louise Donadieu
Louise has delivered employer brand design projects and ongoing recruitment marketing for a whole range of companies, primarily in the financial services industry. By getting under the skin of audiences, she builds tailored and uncomplicated marketing strategies that have a huge impact.

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