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Omni-Channel Marketing Recruiting Trends in 2016

Posted by Sheridan Gaenger on November 1, 2016 at 4:08 PM
Sheridan Gaenger

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Recruitment marketing trends come and go. For example, did you know that a company in Brno, Czech Republic, recently used a drone to advertise job openings?

While a drone may not soon be on your list of hiring strategies, staying on top of trends is absolutely crucial in today’s candidate-driven marketplace where job seekers have all the power. In an ERE Media article on trends, Dr. John Sullivan states: “Not following trends can be a mistake because being first provides your firm with a competitive advantage and a notoriety that helps you build your employer brand … Not keeping up with trends probably also means that you are using dated practices, and as time goes by, they can only produce weaker results.”

In 2016, major recruiting trends revolved around the omni-channel—the wide array of media and technologies that candidates frequent and hiring departments use to look for talent. In today’s recruitment marketing atmosphere, a “don’t-call-us-we’ll-call-you” approach is basically the same as telling candidates you are stuck in the 90’s and have no interest in them.

The approach that candidates crave follows the values of transparency and openness, which is facilitated by creating a dialogue with individuals at every step of the process: recruiting, interviewing, vetting, onboarding, and even after hire. Kevin Grossman, from The Talent Board and Madeline Laurano, Aptitude Research concur: “As organizations mature in talent acquisition strategies, they must provide more opportunities to communicate with candidates and offer transparency through every stage of the candidate journey.”

With this in mind, here are some of the omni-channel trends that made a splash this year:

The Brand’s the Thing

More than ever, the brand an employer projects to candidates is key to attracting the best (and enough) applicants. In fact, an employer brand is becoming almost as important as a consumer brand. Why is this? According to HBR, “Many firms now highlight the quality and dedication of their employees in their consumer marketing, and this naturally affects how others judge them as potential employers. Likewise, the strength of the employer brand can have a significant effect on the quality, pride, and engagement levels of those employees involved in delivering a positive customer brand experience.”

Today’s workers, especially millennial and Gen Y workers, demand a workplace experience that appeals to their values and goals, and they now have their “pick of the litter” when it comes to choosing where to work. Your brand must stand out, nay it must be so amazing that it blows the competition out of the water, amid the other companies that will also be vying for top-shelf candidates.

Differentiating your brand must be a priority in planning for 2017 and beyond. To accomplish this, strategies might include:

  • Developing an Employee Value Proposition, communicating it to both candidates and employees, and making sure it aligns with reality (versus pie-in-the-sky thinking).
  • Creating an Employee Net Promoter Score to measure happiness and collect feedback regarding where the organization can improve as an employer.
  • Participating in social media with candidates in mind and encouraging happy workers to become advocates who further build and promote the employer brand.

Social Media Madness

Speaking of social media, the importance of social media in omni-channel recruitment marketing cannot be understated. According to SHRM, using social media for recruitment has increased by 54% since 2011 (87% of employers now use some form of social media to recruit). And it’s only going to become more imperative moving forward.

Hiring departments without a social media presence are officially behind the times, which will ultimately cost you talent. And it’s not just Facebook and Twitter: Companies are expanding their social media presence to other channels such as Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, and YouTube. Whereas expanding your reach just for the sake of extension is silly, reaching your candidates where they are spending time is how an employer can find talent who may not be actively looking. Reaching people where they are at—that’s the name of the game in 2016.

Instead of your company simply delivering a one-way flow of information to the candidate, social media must be leveraged to ignite meaning and action through conversations with individuals. This personal engagement will take your organization to the next level in attracting the right talent and not just relying on the resumes that come to you.

Engaging Candidates Throughout the Candidate Lifecycle

And that doesn’t mean spraying job openings 10 times a day or just reposting your career website over and over on social media sites. 

Madeline Laurano, co-founder at Aptitude Research Partners, addressed this point, explaining that as the focus on candidate engagement has transitioned online, “The online application process was originally designed for the recruiter to help manage an influx of applicants. The candidates, on the other hand, find the process to be time-consuming and cumbersome. Not to mention, they often receive little to no communication about the status of their application throughout the process.” With the job market becoming increasingly competitive, it is vital that employers offer a satisfying application experience, otherwise, they could be driving away potentially qualified candidates.
 

Engaging candidates on a personal level is truly the product of a strategic omni-channel approach where recruiters think of every interaction as a chance to nab that “big fish” (i.e. the perfect candidate) and not just another task on their to-do list. Each contact, including the multiple-touch points that occur during the application process, between a candidate and your company is a chance to build, nurture, and reel in an individual who may be the exact right fit. The rise of so-called “micro-engagements”—a job seeker liking one of your Facebook posts, for example—can be one stepping stone on the path that is the candidate’s journey.

To make this dream a reality, today’s best-in-class recruitment marketing solutions allow you to facilitate and interconnect this engagement anytime and anywhere during the candidate’s journey—all in one platform. This helps creates a solid talent pipeline that is so essential to companies in 2016.

The Rise of PESO (No, Not that Peso)

In 2016, forward-thinking recruiters implemented an omni-channel recruitment marketing strategy that follows the PESO model—an acronym that represents the following efforts:

  • Paid: Candidates responding to paid advertising such as PPC and paid social media

  • Earned: Candidates responding to a press article or industry publication featuring an organization

  • Shared: Candidates responding to social media shares by current employees and other candidates

  • Owned: Candidates responding to content on your blog or career site

In the paid quadrant (traditionally the bread and butter of hiring departments’ hiring tactics), static newspaper ads and “post-and-pray” methods are no longer cutting it. Instead, recruiters are looking for the ability to post jobs to multiple boards and websites with just one click. You can still pick and choose where to post (and you should be tailoring your strategies to demographics and what’s working best), but the best solutions guarantee you aren’t wasting time and effort trying to hit each site and channel individually.

No less important are the earned, shared, and owned components. While writing content and encouraging sharing that content typically fell on the marketing department, recruiters are taking a page from their book and using these tactics to get the word out about how awesome the organization is (as an employer). Earned media, such as press, used to also be solely a marketing function; now recruiters want in on it as well.

PESO is the methodology to deliver a message—which brings us full circle back to an employer brand. Due to the public nature and overlap between marketing and HR in regards to employer branding, the same study in HBR found that: “60% of the CEOs we surveyed said this responsibility [employer branding] lies with the CEO—which is a strong indication that employer branding is expected to gain greater strategic importance.”

Looking to 2017

What will 2017 hold for omni-channel recruitment marketing trends?

One trend will surely be the increased importance of complete, consolidated solutions that bring together every element of the hiring process under one roof. From first contacts with candidates all the way to empowering new hires to become brand evangelists, these platforms give you practically unlimited options to implement an omni-channel strategy that best suits your hiring needs. The vendors who offer these solutions become an extension of your brand promise, working with you to achieve your recruitment marketing goals.

Other trends may include interstitial advertising—full-page web ads that appear between clicking on a social media link and the target page pulling up. Interstitial ads hold great potential for recruitment marketing, especially when considering conversion rates. Also, live chat on employer job pages is fast becoming a mandatory feature, which makes sense because it further creates all-important micro-engagements.

More recruitment marketing trends will surely emerge; keeping on top future innovations will keep hiring departments from falling behind the competition.

As Ben Eubanks from Lighthouse Research & Advisory says, “It is no longer enough to source, interview, and select candidates. Recruiters and talent leaders must mind the candidate experience, build a powerful employer brand, and create partnerships with technology and service providers to drive the overall processes.”

Keep that in mind as you strive to stay ahead of the recruitment marketing curve.

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Topics: Recruitment Marketing, Latest Trends

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