Recruitment marketing has reached an apex of sorts. More than one person has mentioned the shift from search to predictive sourcing in the last few months and I happen to think they are right on the money. Today large companies are focusing their talent acquisition budgets in content marketing, and candidate research and nurturing.
That may mean that some of the long-held concepts about being a social recruiter are changing and traditional methods of convince and convert (candidates) are coming back into vogue (not that they every REALLY left). This is mirrored in consumer marketing as “inbound marketing” something coined by the folks over at Hubspot and a term coming increasingly important for recruitment marketers and recruiters themselves to consider.
As we apply this to the enterprise, we need to consider the goals of larger corporations. SMBs may not have to form a global reach (although that too, is changing rapidly) and focus on brand awareness and simply “being found”. Large enterprises, on the other hand have a significant marketing base from which to pull and often are focused more on “brand differentiation” since the large company with no competitors is a rare animal indeed. As most big corps are, the enterprise is focused on return on investment and attempting to reach more people…faster. This is less to optimize their budget and more to support a large talent acquisition team.
One of the reasons we celebrate large companies that have lean processes built into their marketing and talent acquisition efforts is because it’s so rare a thing. It’s a tough nut to crack to change the approval process, particularly when multiple people are involved. So in order to really take advantage of the precepts of content and inbound marketing in the recruiting process, companies NEED to implement lean processes in order to quickly move their initiatives through multiple levels.
How do you do THAT?
As recruiters, we’ve all seen lean processes applied in departments all around us, but rarely has the concept of moving candidates and hiring managers more efficiently through the sourcing, recruiting and hiring process been more important. While we won’t get into all the reasons the way we work is changing, the simple fact is, it IS changing and our processes must be altered to change with it. If your average employee is predicted to stay on the job 2 years, it’s flat out inefficient to take 45-90 to hire and take that person onboard.
Before the last few years and the consumerization of enterprise tools took hold (think Box.net, Dropbox, Skype, Google Docs, Evernote etc.) recruiting teams faced serious barriers to “going lean”:
- The tools we had for finding candidates were pretty inefficient themselves. If you weren’t of the generation of ringing phones and 3×5 index cards, you were drowning in a deluge of unqualified spray and pray resumes. From job fairs to newspaper ads and cluttered job boards and resume databases, everything started off useful and was quickly overrun by misuse.
- The seclusion from marketing and sales (two departments FAR more aligned with recruiting than the typical dance partner HR) made it so many developments in these areas took a while to resonate in talent acquisition.
However, recruiters and sourcers no longer have these issues. The tools available to help marketers are cheap or free and intuitive to boot! Not to mention the flurry of innovation that has taken place around sourcing and recruiting tools over the last 3-4 years. While many are waiting on the sidelines to see which of the new products will last the decade, smarter enterprise recruiters are jumping in with both feet, quickly testing and discarding or keeping the tools that work for their organization.
So we have the tools, what we need is a process. Lean process management is the same whether you apply it in programming, engineering, marketing or recruiting.
Develop a repeatable process. Creating a simple process that is available and doable for every member of your TA team is paramount. Why? Because the process will be turned on it’s head if it can’t be repeated and implemented like a mantra. The steps should include: planning, execution, adjustment, and alignment. By creating a plan for the beginning of campaigns (as opposed to requirements or searches) you shift the focus from “search” – something that many tools do for you now, to “attract” – a proactive way of reaching out specifically to qualified candidates in a timely, efficient manner. Gradually improving this process over time, allow you to optimize the tools you use and free your people up to handle the “convince and convert” process, something recruiters are great at.
How will this improve your recruitment function?
- Automating sourcing and search (either with technology or a solid process) will avoid wasted time. New tools that specifically analyze the bottlenecks and breakdowns within your tools or processes can be used to quickly identify and fix issues.
- Candidates that go through your process will enjoy it, whether they are hired or not. People naturally seek out boundaries and parameters. Once your process is solid, there is no reason not to use it to enhance candidate communications and your career site.
- Instant ability to solve problems when they arise rather than waste valuable time trying to pinpoint the issue.
Any recruiting team that decided to implement lean processes in their recruitment marketing and recruitment function will benefits not only from the process itself but from the resulting impact on additional processes, outsourced services (think RPO) and technology within their talent acquisition function moving forward.