Your Job Alert Is the Lost Sock in the Dryer

I see you out there with your job alerts and your talent networks and communities. I sign up for them all the time. You know what you send me: Very little. And when you do send me something, it’s a job alert. 

And while people do need to be alerted to new jobs right now, there is a good chance that this strategy is backfiring. 

Training People to Ignore You

You see, your job alerts could be training job-seekers to delete your emails. With the massive amounts of messages people receive on a daily basis, how many do you think they view? How many do you view? 

For me, there are about three emails a day that make it past an instantaneous delete in my personal account. I delete all the sales emails, all the product-update emails, all the pay-attention-to-me emails. I bet you do, too.

And what about our candidates? How many emails do you think they get every day?

If you’ve been sending job alerts for the last few years when the market was saturated with openings and very limited available talent, you were getting deleted each week at a quick clip. You were training your candidates’ muscle memory to delete your brand every single time. It’s the same muscle memory that makes me delete the “on sale” email without ever looking at what’s on sale. 

For extra layers of context, the average inbox has 200 emails sitting in it, the average open rate in staffing and recruiting for emails is 21%, and the average clickthrough rate is 2.5%. That’s a lot of deleting going on. Basically, your job alert is the lost sock in the dryer.

Standing Out

It’s entirely possible that your efforts to stand out are having the reverse effect. In fact, over the 10 years I’ve been crafting email campaigns for talent, I’ve discovered a way to boost those click and open rates well beyond industry average. For example, one year for one customer, we sent out 76 email campaigns and averaged an open rate of 72% (three times industry average) and a click rate of 31% (14 times industry average). Yes, jobs are a part of the formula, they just aren’t the WHOLE equation.

If you think back to the emails you open or keep, you will likely identify some patterns. For me, the pattern is simple. I keep messages related to:

  1. People I know
  2. Things I need to do
  3. Things that will make me smarter, better, stronger, or more effective

What if instead of a simple job alert, you wove some of these elements into your emails? What if your job alert came with tips and tricks? What if you shared things from the third category? What if you made a simple task list associated with your job alert?

For example, one talent community that targets hair stylists sent me a link to fall hair trends for men as the lead article. Honestly, this was the best example I’ve ever seen from a talent community when it comes to helping their candidates be better at their jobs. 

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Think about what your candidates need, how your company can help them achieve it, and share content like that. If you’re a tech firm, interview your engineers about the blogs they read and compile a Top 5 list for your talent community curated by your engineers. 

Want more ideas? How about sharing day-in-the-life interviews with your people to get an inside look at the company. Another example I’ve seen included links to videos developed by the TA team about how to be a better video interviewee. 

Or your effort could be as simple as including an employee quote or interesting company news. Key word being interesting. For instance, interesting company news might be a new patent that your company has secured that will drive the industry forward or perhaps you won a huge new contract. 

Think about all the things you could do to turn the tide on deleting your brand’s emails. Maybe detail the steps to apply (like a checklist) for a job. Maybe tell stories about employees who are successful in these jobs. 

Right now, a job alert is an important reminder that recruitment marketing is not a “set it and forget it” activity. However, your talent isn’t stagnant, and marketing strategies shouldn’t be stagnant either. 

Look at your job alerts. Are they performing as well as they could? Maybe consider infusing some of the reasons you keep your own messages into your communications, and perhaps people will stop deleting and start reading. 

Tracey Parsons: At every intersection of the talent revolution, she seized opportunities to push innovation and be the change agent. She is the president at Parsons Strategic Consulting, a consultancy at the intersection of employer brand, recruitment marketing, and systems to create delight for talent and brands. She has extensive experience in talent strategy, social recruiting, and marketing, thought leadership, brand development, and consulting at companies like SmashFly, TMP Worldwide, and her own startup, CredHive. She’s also been a contributing writer at ERE, SmashFly, Work it Daily, and Social Media Explorer.

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