Many organizations remain stuck with outdated candidate generation strategies. Job titles and descriptions can go years without being updated to reflect the reality of the position or the ways that candidates look for jobs. Long, expensive contracts with specific job boards are common, even though the return on investment may be decreasing. There are several reasons why the old way is no longer working.
1. Employers look at the wrong metrics: Many employers assume that a large number of views, clicks and even applications indicate an effective strategy, even when those numbers don’t translate to strong hires. At the same time, candidates are left frustrated by applying to jobs that are different than advertised and then facing rejection because they don’t align with the true requirements of the position or with an offer or a job that isn’t a good fit.
If a job posting yields too many unqualified candidates, it creates the risk of harming an organization’s employer brand. This is because when there are too many unqualified candidates, there is the risk of poor communication. Those candidates could become frustrated with a lack of communication and form a negative opinion of the organization which they could share with their own networks.
2. The process is expensive: The practice of attracting large numbers of applicants is expensive. Employers pay to attract and process candidates who aren’t good fits. At one UK organization, we found that a dismissal at the CV review stage cost $2.49. This organization hired 6,000 employees for every 67,000 applicants. This means the cost of just the first stage was $152,100. The process of dispositioning an applicant after an interview is even more expensive.
3. Job postings aren’t optimized for the changing landscape: The changing role of job boards is also disrupting the traditional process. The rollout of Google Jobs, for example, has made it easier for candidates to search for job postings the same way they search for everything else on the internet – and candidates have grown to expect this. Because of this, employers need to optimize job postings and use SEO strategies to ensure candidates will see those postings.
Building a Centralized Recruitment Function: By centralizing the recruitment function, employers build a team that can adapt more quickly to change and work more efficiently to put new strategies in place. HR leaders find that a centralized function allows all members of the team better insight into the full hiring process and helps them better understand how each step impacts the broader candidate journey.
It is also easier to test new strategies and deploy successful ideas throughout the entire recruitment function. Because there is no need to get the buy-in of other offices or teams, a centralized function can deploy changes quickly.
A centralized recruitment team also helps maintain consistent metrics and employer branding. When multiple teams are accountable for different parts of the process, aspects of an employer brand or the metrics used to define success can look different from team to team.
When processes are siloed it makes it more difficult for leaders to get a full view of the recruitment team and maintain consistency throughout the process. When the entire recruitment team is accountable to the same leader, the process remains more consistent.
Benefit: An accountable and synchronized recruitment team that can more effectively share your brand message.
Sharing an Honest Employer Brand: An authentic yet aspirational, unique and dynamic employer brand is key for employers looking to stand out in the competitive talent market. This type of employer brand will speak to candidates who fit with the current company culture but can also be an effective way to keep current employees aligned with shifting organizational priorities.
A successful deployment of an employer brand will include the development of media toolkits, with language, images, videos, social media posts, emails and more that the recruiting team can use to disseminate brand communications. Materials like these can be used to make sure your employer brand consistently comes through in job postings and advertisements.
Benefit: A strong employer brand will generate applicants who understand and fit in with your culture and who are excited to work for you.
Swapping Vanity Metrics for Sanity Metrics: As your goal changes from attracting the most candidates to attracting the right candidates, you need to adjust what metrics you monitor to see if you’re achieving your goal.
Vanity metrics can include data like the number of clicks or views you have for a job posting and the number of applications. These metrics don’t tell you whether the people who are clicking on your job advertisements or the candidates who are applying are good fits for the position or enthusiastic about working for you.
Sanity metrics are numbers like the ratio of clicks-to-hires or applications-to-hires. Sanity metrics can also include data about the performance and tenure of your new hires. These metrics tell you whether or not the right people are finding and applying to your job postings. If you are looking at vanity metrics, you cannot tell if you are attracting the strongest talent.
Benefit: A more clear measure of whether you are meeting your goal of attracting the strongest candidates who are enthusiastic about working for you.
Data should be central to the candidate attraction process. Your team should consistently ask these four questions and make alterations to your recruitment process based on the answers the data provides.
1. Are you marketing your job properly for the audience you’re looking for?
Sanity metrics will tell you if your tailored approach to candidate attraction is working well. The exact ratios will vary from organization to organization and position to position, but your goal should be to decrease the ratio of clicks-to-hires and applications-to-hires while increasing performance metrics and tenure numbers on those hires. If you aren’t already tracking this information, you should gather historical data on the relevant positions and continue tracking performance and tenure data.
If, for example, you spend a significant amount of time and money reviewing applications from unqualified candidates, you can revise your job copy to reflect the more challenging parts of the job. One of our clients had challenges hiring for a door-to-door salesperson. The job posting gave a rosy view of the position, without mentioning the tougher parts.
This led to a high number of applications, but as candidates moved through the process, many realized they didn’t want the position. The cost of processing these applicants was high, as was new hire turnover once candidates started in the role.
By making the job posting more transparent about the challenges, applications decreased by 11 percent, despite a 10 percent increase in the salary for the position. The client saved 305 hours of hiring manager time over a three month period, made the same number of hires as before, spent less on candidate attraction, held fewer phone and face-to-face interviews and new hire turnover in the role dropped significantly.
2. Is your job title optimized for your audience?
Often, job titles at individual organizations are informed by organizational culture and tradition. These can lead to titles that haven’t changed in years or new and creative titles, like “digital prophet” or “crayon evangelist.” While these titles may function well inside an organization, they can’t attract candidates who search online for positions like “business analyst” or “design director” because those candidates will never find the positions.
Regardless of the job title you use internally, the job title you use in a posting should be informed by data. Tools like Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner can help develop SEO-friendly job titles that will help put your position at the top of search results. Popular job boards also provide click data, and you can perform A/B testing with your recruiting team to determine which job titles bring in the best candidates fastest.
One client was struggling to hire for a position they called “help desk advisor,” although the position was customer service related. Data showed that more people in the client’s location searched for jobs like “customer service representative.”