WARNING: Do not read this article unless you want to increase:
- Your online shares and referrals
- Job distribution and visibility to passive candidates
- Candidate response rates
- Recruiter productivity when requisition loads are heavy and inbox recruiting is the primary activity (The activities described below have reduced time-to-offer by over four days.)
- Traffic to your career site
- The total number of unique applicants into your ATS each month (the following activities have also resulted in the addition of over 20,000 new applicants in one year.)
All of these results can be achieved by taking advantage of an asset you may be underusing — your applicant tracking system. When it comes to investments, the ATS often gets one of the highest allocations in an organization. What’s more, the total cost of ownership extends far beyond the platform itself and its support team. It also includes the expense associated with each uploaded resume and candidate profile. Companies can maximize their return on investment if they begin to use the ATS more like a customer relationship management tool and really take advantage of the data they currently have. Instead of focusing their efforts on candidates in their external networks, recruiters should be developing effective marketing strategies for the ones already in the system.
Candidates who have submitted an application through your ATS have already decided, either through their own research or perhaps speaking to an existing employee, that they are interested in your company as a potential employer. A person’s willingness to go through an application process represents meaningful decision and commitment of time.
Make the most of this relationship. In a case study, candidates who already invested in the brand resulted in a 17 percent higher response rate than cold lists. Similarly, candidates who had previously applied were more likely to refer on social networks at a ratio of 13:1 compared with candidates who were not familiar with a brand.
The following 10 steps can help you achieve similar results by maximizing your existing database.
Step 1: Understand your ATS and the types of candidate data that can be downloaded from the system. The data elements that are important are: first name, last name, cell phone, email address, jobs applied, location, and status. (Status is critical because it can identify who has previously applied and the outcome of their application. Additionally, it can identify if they are now an employee.)
Step 2: Know what you want to accomplish with this data. Here are some things to consider:
- Is this a campaign to touch internal employees or new hires?
- Is this to promote a job or a set of jobs geographically?
- Is this targeted towards a specific job or set of jobs?
- Is this to support a job fair or networking event?
- Is this to support a campus hiring event or presentation?
Step 3: Decide how you would like to reach these candidates. Your options include texting, calling, emailing, or social media channels. Each of these outlets has a multitude of tools available in order to help manage, expedite, and measure your strategies. However, as with any strategy, planning should take place on the front end to understand the best- and worst-case scenarios. You must determine, for example, who will follow up with the call to action activity, and what ultimately happens if the volume exceeds expectations.
Step 4: Plan the messaging and call to action. To connect with your candidates, create strong messaging that is meaningful and clearly communicates your end goal, whether it’s showcasing how to apply to the company, explaining how to contact a recruiter and book an interview, or garnering interest in attending a career related event. Messaging should not be a one-size-fits-all approach. Consider having the message derive from a hiring manager versus a recruiter. This is especially helpful if the target population is in high demand, or the voice of a subject matter expert will have a bigger impact.
Step 5: Use imagery. A picture is worth a thousand words. If it’s a visual strategy, what are the images associated with those particular campaigns? Projecting consistency with the overall employment brand is important, but still leaves a lot of opportunity to convey the special messaging that you seek to communicate to your audience.
Step 6: Consider the voice. If the strategy includes a calling campaign that is pre-recorded or includes a video, what is the voice strategy? Consider the tone, whether the voice should be masculine or feminine, and the pace. All of these components make a difference.
Step 7: Review the approach with subject matter experts and your client group. This step is commonly missed, yet can be the most valuable. In many cases the candidates you are seeking will reach out directly to the business team. Determine with your team the appropriate response when a candidate circumvents your intended process.
Step 8: Ensure your project is measurable and reportable to the business team. Numbers paint a powerful picture. Some important metrics you should track include: percent of opened emails, click through rates, number of new applicants, attendees, returned calls or texts, candidate screens, interviews conducted, and hires made. Capture a baseline and measure these data points over time to demonstrate the ongoing results of your marketing efforts.
Step 9: Monitor trends. What are the trends you wish to monitor — social referrals? Opt-out rates? Hires per recruiter over time? Whatever it is, determine if your strategy influences single a point in time or an entire process. If it has process implications, then measure the results over a period of three to four months to understand if the hypothesized outcome was the actual outcome.
Step 10: Test and refine your strategy. Use your metrics, monitor trends, and listen to candidate feedback. Based upon the outcomes, determine what components of the campaign can be adjusted. In a recent campaign for SEC accountants, we tested the effectiveness of two similar video emails; one was from the recruiter, the other was from the hiring manager, and discovered that the video email with the hiring manager resulted in a better quality of applicants.
Every year your organization makes huge investments to generate applicant traffic and each of these individuals has invested in your active jobs. Recruiters can maximize this investment and their own productivity by remembering that this wealth of opportunity lies within ATS — and with a targeted recruitment campaign, they are far more likely to achieve their hiring objectives.