It goes without saying that the digital age has significantly impacted all traditional business departments. Yet for some reason, certain departments seem to be better at adjusting to and adopting new technologies. My field of digital marketing is usually among the earliest adopters, while a field like HR always seems to be behind. Recently I’ve noticed that digital marketing has much in common with the recruiting side of HR, and so I’d like to share with all the digital recruiters out there a few tips and tricks that are pretty common in my field.
The technologies we’ll discuss here have become part of the standard repertoire of digital marketers and can easily be applied to recruiting. A few are so simple and easy, you’ll be able to make them part of your recruitment campaigns in a matter of moments.
You all know by now that social media is a critical part of the recruitment process. Be it LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, no doubt you’re integrating social into your recruitment campaigns. But are you taking full advantage of these channels? If you not using their “smart targeting” capabilities then you need to be.
Facebook and LinkedIn allow for targeting specific geolocations and demographics — this guarantees your recruitment postings will be seen by the people you want. Facebook lets you get quite specific and if you’re savvy, you can really do some great things.
For example, if you’re looking for entry-level candidates, you can target the “life event” of a recent college graduate. Or get even more specific with interests like design, nursing, or advertising. LinkedIn also offers an extensive list of targeting options which you can be creative with. For example, target specific Linkedin Group members to go after particular interests, or target the followers of influential companies or individuals in the field of the position you want to fill.
There are other alternatives to traditional job boards as well. You can utilize websites that are popular in the field you’re searching for. For example, if you’re recruiting programmers, you could consider posting on Stack Overflow which receives more than 50 million visitors per month. Quora, the popular question and answer site, is another good option. Of course, recruitment specific sites like Glassdoor are increasing in popularity with job seekers. These non-traditional channels are of particular importance with younger candidates, so if you’re looking for the best young talent, you should strongly consider using them.
Tracking your ad effectiveness
The next step, which is perhaps the most important and easiest, is to track your ads to see what’s working and what’s not. To do this, we can use a technology called UTM. A UTM code is a string of text that you add to the end of a URL. You use a minimum of three parameters: campaign name, medium, and source. The campaign could be the job title, the medium could be where the ad appeared (job board, careers page, specific Facebook group name), and the source could be the specific site (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn).
There are many tools that automatically add the UTM parameters to a URL for you. utm.io is an excellent free service.
Once your UTM codes are in place, Google Analytics (assuming you have deployed it on your site) will show you exactly how much traffic is coming from each parameter. This gives you an exact picture so you can focus your efforts on what works best. The amount of information available here is vast and it can be overwhelming at first.
A great technology to use together with UTM codes is Bitly, a popular link shortening service. Using it has two main advantages here. The first is that it hides the UTM code from the user. (Some people will notice and don’t like being “tracked.”) Second, it gives you stats on how many times a link has been followed. It’s incredibly easy and useful.
Another trick you can take from the digital marketing playbook is A/B testing. This is when we run two or more versions of an ad, and then receive statistics on which version was more successful. As a recruiter, you could try different wording in the requirements, job description, or even title, to see what works best. Another idea would be to run A/B testing on company culture videos or different types of “calls to action.” There are myriad services that offer A/B testing, with some offering more advanced features. Hotjar is a nice one and uses heatmaps to let you see exactly where people are clicking, looking, and scrolling — and where they’re not.
If you’re feeling ambitious and want a more advanced technique for aggressively pursuing potential candidates, then you should give remarketing, also called retargeting, a try. Here, you can track any visitor that has been to the careers page of your website and then using platforms like Google display campaigns, Facebook sponsored content, LinkedIn or Twitter to present them with your job adverts. Run an ad showing recent funding news highlighting how your company has recently raised X million dollars and is now looking to hire the top talent. This could have a big impact on attracting the best candidates.
These retargeting campaigns don’t have to be limited to social media. Your visitors can be followed and when they turn up in certain places, they’ll be served up you ad.
Mobile first approach
To make sure your ads have the best chance of being viewed, it is critical to have a mobile first approach — meaning everything that is part of your recruiting efforts must be mobile friendly. For example, your company’s careers page should be fully responsive, and you should limit the amount of text you’re using.
Together with this, the issue of personalization is of great importance. Tools like Google Optimize or Optimizely let you set a landing page based on UTM parameters. If a visitor comes from Stack Overflow, for example, you can direct them to a page that has software development specific content.
One final tool you can take advantage of is email marketing software, which will allow you to easily create effective email campaigns for recruitment. There are many excellent tools out there that will help you track and analyze the recruitment funnel. One popular and free option (up 2,000 subscribers) is MailChimp with which you can set up email campaigns and seamlessly integrate them into your website analytics. Then you’ll be able to accurately track the effectiveness of your campaign by seeing exactly how many visitors it brought in.
Things change fast these days, and it’s important to stay on top of the latest developments.
Countless companies are innovating in HR. As such, it’s crucial for HR professionals to stay in the know and make use of these technologies. Today, you either stay ahead of the curve or get left behind.