New research shows that even with the provenÂ benefits of recruitment marketing, adoptionÂ rates are slow.
By Elyse Mayer
The speed of business has accelerated significantly, andÂ it feels like the rate of change in talent acquisition isÂ moving even faster. People, processes, and technologiesÂ are in constant flux. In the past few years, talentÂ acquisition has moved closer to a function of marketingÂ for talent, or recruitment marketing. OrganizationsÂ are currently in a quest to deliver creative, experience-drivenÂ strategies to differentiate themselves by theirÂ brands and cultures, not merely by their inventory ofÂ jobs.
Likewise, talent acquisition teams have also progressed,Â requiring new skills to support new ways of recruiting.Â Sourcers and recruiters need to be experience- andÂ metric-driven, with the skills and knowledge toÂ personalize messaging by candidate preference; createÂ talent personas and pipelines; and craft and executeÂ social media and email marketing campaigns.
Recruiting teams have evolved their approaches toÂ attracting qualified talent to a high-touch, omni-channelÂ experience that is more intelligent, moreÂ efficient, and more insightful. This has caused theÂ market for specific technologies to expand, includingÂ candidate relationship management (CRM) systems,Â event management automation, and tools powered byÂ artificial intelligence. Industry researchers at AptitudeÂ Research Partners expect that investments in talentÂ acquisition technology will increase from $400 million toÂ $2 billion in the next five years.
The question is: If this is the way the industry has beenÂ trending, how far has talent acquisition truly evolved inÂ practice?
Data from Fortune 500 Shows Growth in RecruitmentÂ MarketingÂ
Recruitment marketing adoption among top U.S.Â companies has progressed in the last three years, butÂ with all the change in trends, technology, and talent,Â there still is a vast amount of opportunity to transformÂ the standard. SmashFlyâs 2017 Recruitment MarketingÂ Benchmarks Report analyzed how the Fortune 500 hasÂ embraced key recruitment marketing practices sinceÂ 2015.
Some of the top findings include:
- There are still competitiveÂ advantages to be had, even afterÂ years of talking recruitmentÂ marketing. There has been a 31Â percent decrease in âCâ scoresÂ (average performers) since 2015Â and a 70 percent increase in âAâÂ and âBâ scores (high performers).Â Still, A- and B-level achieversÂ account for only 46 percent ofÂ Fortune 500 companies (seeÂ Figure 1). While publications,Â influencers, analysts, andÂ vendors are talking about newÂ recruitment marketing strategiesÂ year over year, less than half ofÂ the Fortune 500 are successful atÂ change and adoption.
- Marketing-focused recruitingÂ generates better talent, andÂ better talent may equal betterÂ profitability. The companies thatÂ excel at recruitment marketingÂ strategies (âAâ) have 152 percentÂ higher average revenue per yearÂ than âFâ companies. This doesnâtÂ imply causation: After all, thereÂ are hundreds, if not thousands,Â of variables at play in a FortuneÂ 500 organization. But the storyÂ is interesting, and the starkÂ contrast between the âAâsâ and the âFâsâ leaves roomÂ for exploration about how high-quality talent affectsÂ profitability.
- High-performing talent acquisition companies focus onÂ building and nurturing relationships. Seventy-six percentÂ of âAâ companies have a talent network or community,Â while this is true of only five percent of âDâ and âFâÂ companies. And among âAâ companies with a talentÂ network, 89 percent send monthly communication toÂ keep talent engaged, while a scant seven percent ofÂ âDâ and âFâ companies do the same. This reveals a bigÂ difference in thinking, strategy, and technology useÂ between high performers and low performers.
- There is a correlation between strong employer brandÂ perception and recruitment marketing adoption. ThisÂ isnât surprising, but the data now proves it: The moreÂ recruitment marketing a company does, the more likelyÂ the company will have a higher Glassdoor rating andÂ recommendation percentage, as well as a higher volumeÂ of reviews (see Figure 2).
Areas for Growth
In reviewing the data, the business case for recruitmentÂ marketing seems evident, especially from these keyÂ findings. However, while more companies than everÂ are adopting marketing practices, there are still manyÂ underutilized tactics across the Fortune 500. Why isÂ that?
Itâs clear that the focus of recruiting and talentÂ acquisition is still on the economic supply chain of openÂ requisitions. Despite industry adoption of creativeÂ employer branding, proactive talent pipelining, and aÂ stronger candidate experience, recruitment teams areÂ ultimately focusing on jobs that need to be filled. ButÂ a job-led strategy fuels reacting to hiring needs versusÂ proactively seeking the right talent. It also means littleÂ differentiation against competitors: A job title is a jobÂ title is a job title.
Sifting through basic job posts puts the onus on theÂ candidate to try to distinguish which one might giveÂ them the best company, people, culture, mission,Â growth, and purpose. In reality, the onus should beÂ on the company to differentiate themselves throughÂ their values, their mission, and their employees. TheseÂ cultural elements must be communicated throughÂ content, stories, and videosânot job requirements.
Over the years, the research study has found that evenÂ top companies are still not presenting talent withÂ anything more than the job requirements:
- In 2015, only one percent of the Fortune 500 usedÂ videos or images in their job descriptions. In 2017, theÂ adaptation rate remained at one percent.
- In 2016, one percent of the Fortune 500 sent contentÂ other than job listings to their talent network. In 2017,Â this increased to five percent.
- A new criterion added this year revealed that oneÂ percent of the Fortune 500 use a career site chatbot toÂ improve candidate experience and answer candidatesâÂ questions about the company.
These statistics may imply that Fortune 500 companiesÂ donât have videos to use in job descriptions or contentÂ to send to their talent networkâbut in fact, many do.Â Fifty-eight percent of the Fortune 500 share employeeÂ stories through video on their career sites, and 53Â percent have written employee stories. Plus, 43 percentÂ of companies share content other than job openings viaÂ social networks like Twitter. The content is there, butÂ talent acquisition teams arenât repurposing it for theirÂ email marketing and talent network nurture efforts.
The biggest opportunity for talent acquisition leaders isÂ to think more broadly across channels when it comes toÂ their employer branding and messaging. This includesÂ breaking down organizational siloes within their ownÂ teams and communicating cross-functionally to deliver aÂ more seamless experience. Itâs time for organizations toÂ think beyond the career site and into the channels thatÂ will reach talent proactively.
The Path to Recruitment Marketing Excellence
There is a roadmap to a more mature, omni-channelÂ recruitment marketing strategy. High-performing talentÂ acquisition organizations such as CH2M, GE, Aramark,Â Thermo Fisher, Walgreens, Microsoft, and Intel separateÂ themselves from the pack by thinking proactively andÂ seamlessly across channels, focusing on branding overÂ jobs, building relationships with talent ahead of need,Â and personalizing the career search experience for keyÂ talent personas.
- Ninety-two percent of âAâ companies feature videoÂ employee stories on their career site, compared to 22Â percent of âDâ and âFâ companies;
- Eighty-eight percent of âAâ companies featureÂ diversity content on their career site, compared to 43Â percent of âDâ and âFâ companies; and
- Seventy-six percent of âAâ companies with a talentÂ network send personalized job recommendations,Â compared to no âDâ and âFâ companies.
In addition, more high-performing companies not onlyÂ offer the option to opt in to a talent network, butÂ they also deliver on their promise to send information.Â This is extremely important in building trust betweenÂ companies and candidates. High-performing companiesÂ are actively ensuring that the CRM and talent networksÂ donât become a black hole for talent. Instead, they areÂ building an experience that fuels trust and interest,Â step by step.
Looking ahead, companies can create a competitiveÂ advantage if they invest inâand actually adoptâthe right strategies to help them proactively andÂ consistently communicate with candidates about theirÂ brands, not just their jobs. And that communicationÂ strategy is contingent upon truly understandingÂ candidatesâ needs, challenges, interests, and behaviors.Â Talent acquisition is changing rapidly, and now itâs onÂ the leaders to meet that rate of change with actionÂ and adoption.
Elyse Mayer is director of content for SmashFly.