Courting Candidates

Recruitment marketing platforms are helping organizations get in front of today’s top talent.

By Madeline Laurano

Quality is not always easy to find. In fact, research from McKinsey & Company found that 40 percent of companies that plan to hire next year have had unfilled vacancies for six months or longer because they cannot find qualified applicants. In order for talent acquisition to be effective, recruitment needs to begin long before a candidate applies for a job. It needs to begin before that individual even knows they want a new job.This shift from a reactive to a proactive model can only happen when talent acquisition professionals stop thinking like recruiters and start to think like marketers. In consumer marketing, companies engage customers and educate them on their brands and products before they purchase a car or computer or take a vacation. This courtship between the individual and the brand gives buyers confidence in their decisions and establishes a sense of loyalty. Top-performing companies are beginning to realize that they need to take the same approach to recruiting talent.

For this reason, recruitment marketing is becoming one of the fastest growing areas of HR technology, with nearly 70 percent of enterprise companies investing in these capabilities. The challenge is that most companies have very little understanding of what recruitment marketing is and how to evaluate and select a partner. The recent Aptitude Recruitment Marketing Index revealed several trends in the space and shows how recruitment marketing platforms will likely have an impact on talent acquisition.

The need for greater simplicity. Despite the growth in this market, most companies are unsure of how they should leverage a recruitment marketing platform. Many of these solutions are designed for modern marketers, and recruiters can be wary of changing processes and adopting new technology. While the functionality of a recruitment marketing platform is user-friendly, these solutions are not always intuitive for talent acquisition professionals. Too often, organizations invest in a recruitment marketing platform with limited functionality. Providers need to help their customers by finding the balance between robust marketing functionality and a simple user experience.

Recruitment marketing is more than a CRM tool. A recruitment marketing platform is much more than a customer relationship management (CRM) system. It includes capabilities for job distribution, talent networks, employer branding, analytics, event management, SEO, career sites, campaign management, and social sourcing.

Opportunity in the mid-market. Enterprise companies such as GE, PwC, Schneider Electric, and others have been quick to adopt these solutions. Yet, midmarket organizations—those with 2,500 employees or less—have many of the same challenges when competing for talent. These solutions can provide immediate value to the candidate experience, efficiency, and time to fill. It is just a matter of time before providers start to move down-market.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a must-have. AI is not a passing trend in recruitment marketing. Providers are using AI to help companies stay informed about what content engages candidates, the campaigns that are most effective, and the likelihood of someone applying for a position. These systems use AI to help recruiters and candidates make better decisions around the right fit for their organization while optimizing cost and results.

Services take two forms and are now embedded in many technology deals. Customers have specific expectations about what they will get from their providers and, in order to keep customer satisfaction high, services need to be included. Services are either tactical (managing campaigns, events or content) or transformational (supporting change management, process optimization, candidate experience, and ongoing support.)

A different set of metrics. The metrics and data measured from a recruitment marketing system are different from an applicant tracking system (ATS). In addition to traditional recruitment metrics such as time to fill and cost per hire, users of recruitment marketing platforms should be measuring conversion rates, source of influence, source of hire, and candidate engagement. Some of the providers included in this report are even helping companies with conversion rates to interview and to hire.

ATS satisfaction increases with a recruitment marketing investment. It is no surprise that companies have long been dissatisfied with their applicant tracking systems (ATSs). Aptitude’s 2016 ATS Index Report found that two out of five companies were unhappy about or indifferent toward their provider. Most of this dissatisfaction stems from the fact that companies expect the ATS to support all of their recruitment efforts, including the identification and attraction of talent. Once companies leverage a recruitment marketing platform, they put less responsibility on the ATS and understand how these two systems can work together.

Companies want more use cases. Organizations want more use cases for a recruitment marketing platform. Today, most companies have use cases for specific areas such as employer branding but not for critical areas such as creating campaigns, developing content, or managing events. Without these use cases, companies will have a difficult time building a business case for a recruitment marketing platform.

Inbound marketing is a differentiator. When selecting a recruitment marketing provider, companies have to consider providers with not only outbound marketing capabilities that would reach large populations, but also more targeted inbound marketing capabilities such as social sourcing, talent networks, and employee referrals.

As organizations become more mature in their talent acquisition efforts, recruitment marketing is a critical investment for improving the quality of hire and candidate experience. Research shows that organizations that have invested in these systems are outperforming their competitors in the race to attract top talent.

Madeline Laurano is co-founder and chief research officer of Aptitude Research Partners.

Posted May 3, 2017 in Talent Acquisition

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