The Proper Use of Technology In Recruiting

Focus on the Front-end Using Analytics and Content

The most successful and truly value-added uses of recruiting technology have almost nothing to do with searching, sorting, retrieval, or information storage.  Instead, the real value lies in using the technology to actively source and facilitate communication with prospective candidates, to educate, sell and screen them, and to build networks of contacts and prospects.

Ideally, a prospective candidate is attracted to your firm, learns about what you do as an organization, becomes interested enough to find your career site, and looks at the openings you have.

Analytics and social media provide the power to create and nurture a compelling brand and the reasons to want to work for your firm. Success requires understanding the characteristics and skills of those you have hired before and what motivated them to work for you.

Analytics is the backbone for guiding the right content. Nothing should be included or excluded unless you have data to show that it influences potential candidates to continue their application. Firms need to use analytics to learn what brings people to your career site or what compels them to express interest in a position. It also provides information on where they come from and what they read or watch, and what social networks they use. You should be testing everything, including sources such as YouTube, Instagram, and even old-fashioned email campaigns.

Your recruiting budget should focus most heavily on analytics and developing compelling content targeted to the right people. Without data and the ability to analyze it, your content is just guesswork. But by using data wisely, you can create a career site with both content and design that improves candidate quality and volume.

There is no need for face-to-face or voice-to-voice contact initially with candidates.  What is defining here is that content can turn a candidate from passive and semi-interested to active by providing relevant content and putting them in control of what they see based on their interests and what they have looked at.

We often talk about automating recruiting, but that almost always seems to revolve around spending the most money on search tools, ATS systems, reporting, and administrative systems but very little on building the brand, developing robust analytics, or on content development. Today we spend 80 cents of every dollar on tools that help make the recruiter’s tasks easier and on systems that may be legally or administratively necessary and convenient but do not attract candidates or enhance the firm's attraction.

This diagram illustrates in red the areas where your focus and dollars should be directed.

Here are several specific actions we should be taking.

#1. Analytics. We need to use analytics to find the best channels to reach the hardest to find people. We should do extensive testing, whether these are social media channels, conferences, research organizations, professional societies, universities, or whatever. Then once we have identified the most productive channels, we can continuously pipe in compelling content or direct our internal employees to areas where they can develop relationships. Without gathering data and analyzing it, you are just guessing at what works and wasting time and effort. Every piece of content should be directly relevant to the targeted candidate.

#2. Job Descriptions.  There has been a lot of discussion on the value of job descriptions. I have often equated the ones we usually see to the sticker on the window of a new car: Legally required, factual, and completely useless as a selling tool. However, job descriptions that are creative, interesting, and realistic can be powerful attractors. We need to invest more in creating job descriptions written for individuals – not categories or types of people.  Each can be crafted to a specific set of skills and should generate excitement for the right candidate.  They should also be easily linked to or forwarded to others because one of the best ways to find people is by networking and referrals. 

#3. Chatbots. Chatbots capture a candidate’s interest, answer basic questions and provide screening.  Data shows that most candidates like chatbots and engage with them. Developing content that speaks to people candidly and that provides real information is essential. Relying on recruiters to contact candidates and use verbal persuasion may be useful at the end of the process but is inefficient and wasteful at the beginning. The goal should be to use all methods to direct candidates to your career site as the first step in getting information, learning about roles, and expressing interest. By directing all potential candidates to the career site, you capture invaluable data and have a record of who has visited, what they looked at, and whether they expressed ongoing interest.

#4. Content. Develop content based on data. Rather than searching the Internet for candidates that are hard to contact or building talent maps, develop active ways to attract candidates. Use virtual seminars or webinars on topics that attract the types of candidates you need. For some roles, even promoting contests and games can be a useful way to generate excitement and build relationships.  People respond to trivia games, contests, and online surveys.  They like the instant feedback and the ability to do something rather than just read or watch videos.  Contests and surveys are also ways to get people to return to your site repeatedly.  Each time they return is another opportunity to recruit them and keep them excited about your organization. 

We have the technology to facilitate relationships, provide information, build talent pools, and find rare skills. Passive search is highly inefficient and time-consuming. We should be focused on active sourcing using technology for this rather than for expediting our own processes. Build a recruitment budget that is heavily weighted to the front of the recruiting process rather than at the backend. Focus dollars and effort on learning what attracts and then develop ways to strengthen that attraction and turn it into a hire.

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