This is a guest post from Aleksandr Peterson, Technology Analyst at TechnologyAdvice.
Recruiting is tough. Unless you’re on the Fortune 500 list, you probably don’t have hundreds of applications streaming in every week for a single opening, especially if it’s a high-level position with unique skill requirements (such as a front-end web developer).
But that shouldn’t be surprising. More experienced job-seekers know they’re valuable, so they tend to be choosy about where they apply and what kind of offers they consider. By the time you discuss compensation and benefits, they might be talking to three other companies.
Recruiters Double As Marketers
According to a recent study by Jobvite, 69 percent of HR professionals expect recruitment to be more competitive this year. Seventy-three percent are considering increasing their budget for social media, 63 percent for referral programs, and 51 percent for mobile recruitment.
The way recruiters are hunting for qualified candidates in many ways resembles the tactics marketers use to attract business. Email marketing, which consistently yields the highest engagement and some of the most qualified leads, is one of those tactics. So, if recruiters can use marketing tactics to attract and engage job candidates, and one of the most successful marketing channels is email, then recruiters need to get up to speed on it.
Why Email Marketing?
Email marketing can target specific candidates and groups of candidates based on their demographics and behavior. And it doesn’t just engage them once or twice when they happen upon your site; it delivers content to their inbox and “nurtures” them, step-by-step, towards building a relationship with your company. Angela Zener, marketing VP at Findly, explains it this way: “As marketers build lead databases, target and re-engage customers, and work to make the sale, recruiters build talent pipelines, seek to continually engage talent, and encourage them to apply.”
The direct parallels between marketing and recruiting make email a smart choice for both.
How to Get Started
First, make sure you have the right technology in place to set up lists and automation rules. Some HR software for recruiters offers built-in email features, but the functionality can be somewhat limited compared to dedicated email marketing solutions.
Most systems are priced either by the number of contacts or number of emails you send. You probably won’t have a contact list as extensive as most users, or need to email them as frequently, so try to find a solution that provides the features you need (autoresponders, segmentation, analytics, etc.) but doesn’t blow your budget.
Next, create an email marketing strategy that supports your hiring needs: decide who you’ll email, how you’ll get their contact information, and what kind of emails you’ll send. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Careers page: Use your careers page as a hub for capturing contact information. Placing calls-to-action (CTAs) in the right places will give visitors a chance to subscribe to the mailing list. The CTAs should link to a web form that asks the job seeker for their contact information and area of expertise. You can use this information to send relevant email content.
- Welcome email: Once a visitor subscribes to job updates, you can send them an initial welcome email (personalized, of course) to let them know you appreciate their interest, and confirm their job preferences (We’ll send you regular updates about IT jobs at ACME). If you choose, you can also use the welcome email as part of a double opt in process (which is a general best-practice).
- Job Postings: Now that candidates are plugged in, you can send them updates about new job postings related to their area of interest. This demonstrates your brand is actively pursuing talent, and gives job seekers a chance to be the first applicants. It’s not always immediately rewarding, but if you build a targeted list of contacts, you’ll be one step ahead when you do have an opening.
- Newsletter/Updates: If your subscribers opt in to receive company updates or a newsletter, you can send them educational or informative content about the general job market, company changes, or topics relating to their field (of course, this means you’ll need to create content). Although this isn’t connected to specific positions, it keeps your employer brand top of mind.
- Transactional Emails: Transactional emails are usually associated with financial transactions (e.g. purchase confirmation, shipping update, etc.). But they can also be a powerful tool for recruiters when triggered by the flow of information between applicant and recruiter. For example, send an email to confirm you received their application, and provide a list of next steps. Transactional emails add transparency to recruiting, hiring, and onboarding and help the process flow smoothly. They also have higher open rates (above 100 percent, in some cases) than any other kind of marketing email.
Recruiters can be the next in a long line of professionals who use email marketing to stay engaged with their audience. Start simple — with welcome emails and a “job alert” feature — and see where that takes you. There’s a good chance you’ll see more applications from the right candidates and a smoother overall hiring process. The best part? You’ll never have to interview a stranger again.
Aleksandr Peterson is a technology analyst at TechnologyAdvice. He covers marketing automation, CRMs, project management, and other emerging business technology. Connect with him on LinkedIn.