Recruiters are having trouble finding and hiring new job candidates these days, and it’s no wonder. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a national unemployment rate of 3.9% for December 2018. Plus, the skills shortage is seriously crimping the talent pool: In HCI’s annual talent assessment survey, Bridging the Skills Gap with Workforce Development Strategies, 62% of over 180 HR practitioners said a skills gap among their existing workforce negatively affects their ability to meet strategic goals. What’s more, 59% said external skills shortages are producing the same effect.
The shortage of talent is driving the use of new technology and strategies for recruitment marketing. Investment in recruitment marketing is forecast to reach $2 billion in 2022 according to a new benchmarking report from Smashfly. And the authors of the report note, “We’re at a pivotal point where if you’re not excelling at some (or most of) these strategies, it’s downright detrimental to your hiring, your brand, and your business.” Many recruiters and talent teams have already adopted effective inbound digital marketing approaches, for example, search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing (SEM), channel marketing and branded career web portals. But it may be time to step up your “outbound marketing” activities and whether you are leveraging the latest email marketing and prospect nurturing techniques. After all, in this tight job market, your company needs to step out ahead of your competition for new talent by adopting more strategic and innovative recruiting strategies that include:
- Targeting skilled prospects who may be employed but not actively job-seeking, those “passive candidates”
- Enhancing engagement and brand-building with these potential candidates
- Managing and nurturing talent pipelines with the most productive recruitment technologies
Yes, Email Still Works
At first blush, you may think it a waste of time to energize your recruitment and sourcing staff’s email marketing. Especially with the many unwanted emails we all get. But as the saying goes, “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Consider what emails – done right – can do. They build exposure to your brand; highlight your culture and values; draw attention to top news about your company; introduce your culture; showcase programs that promote career development and advancement; and explain your benefits package. And, with good preparation, you’ll improve your chances of having an email that reaches that person who is ready to make a move to their next job.
A good email strategy starts with preparation. Many organizations send an initial welcome email when someone enters their talent pool but then go silent. Once you connect with a potential candidate, you don’t want to ignore them until you have an exact match position. Stay engaged! Work with your company’s marketing team to craft a well-planned creative email campaign that can be used to nurture potential candidates. A January SourceCon article predicting sourcing and recruiting trends for 2019 cited storytelling as a powerful way to inspire job seekers and grab and keep their attention. According to the article, “if you’re going to take them to a cliff from where they will want to “jump” into your company, you can do so with the power of storytelling.”
Track, Test and Measure
Next, take a look at the specific methods your recruitment and talent managers are using to engage their targets. Are they following established industry best practices so that candidates actually open emails and follow through with a call-to-action (CTA). They address such things as creating succinct yet impactful communication spotlighting your brand’s mission and values; scheduling initial and follow-up emails (for example, 8 emails over 180 days); and driving candidates to your desired online content or careers pages with embedded links.
Fortunately, there are new technologies that can help your staff quickly become experts in email campaigns focused on sourcing and recruiting without spending a lot of extra hours on the tasks involved. Online dashboards can also give you a great bird’s eye view of the ongoing effectiveness of campaigns.
Here are some features to look for:
- Ready-to-use templates for writing emails as well as options for customizing them
- Automated transmission of emails
- Automated tracking of outgoing and incoming emails for each prospect
- Easy management of bounced emails and opt-outs and other activity on an online dashboard
- Integration with your existing ATS and CRM tools.
Source Passive Candidates While Reference Checking
Many companies have also overcome their hiring challenges by incorporating sourcing into their recruitment strategies, for example, when reference checking. While you’re connecting with your candidate’s managers and peers, it’s a perfect opportunity to find new highly qualified individuals in that field and build a talent pipeline.
Lever’s Recruiting Benchmark Report notes that, when approached about a new career opportunity, 90% of people currently in jobs are willing to at least have a conversation with a recruiter to learn more. When it comes to referrals, a 2015 iCIMS study noted that 88% of employers rate those above all other sources for quality hires.
The best way to leverage sourcing and recruitment together is via digital technology that lets your team quickly and easily invite references to join your company’s talent pool. Look for cloud-based tools that empowers references to submit their information via a web link.
Once you have your talent database, then you can activate pipeline-level email campaigns to actively inform and engage these references and get them interested in open positions.
Yes, recruiters face huge sourcing and recruiting hurdles today. But you can look at them as an opportunity to build the business case for more resources; create new strategies with the help of efficient cost-effective digital technology; and build close partnerships with peers in marketing and technology.