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Audit Your Recruitment Process Marketing Content to Delight Job Seekers

Use this audit checklist to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of your recruiting process-related content.

I’m not the first one to say that recruiters, human resources professionals and marketing specialists should team up to create content that engages top talent in your recruitment process. However, how many of you have actively engaged in measuring the impact of that HR/marketing “bestie” partnership?

If you don’t have a benchmark from which to grow, your organization will have a tough time figuring out which recruiting content is worth the investment of time and money.

Maximize the effectiveness of your recruiting content with a periodic audit of your hiring process-related promotional assets. Establishing KPIs for content will make it easy to quickly identify existing content gems, as well as guide you in developing additional content that will resonate.

Auditing your recruitment content is as easy as 1-2-3

Let’s examine the audit process and recap with a free recruitment process marketing content scorecard.

1 – Determine your recruitment content audit’s focus

You can’t decide if you’re investing your time and resources to produce recruitment content wisely until you settle on the scope of your audit.

Don’t sweat it if you can’t tackle a comprehensive audit in your first attempt. If you can–great–though it will depend on your recruiting volume and what you’ve previously tackled in terms of content analysis.

It’s okay to segment an otherwise comprehensive audit into smaller sub-audits–just have an overall plan in place for which audit type should be attempted first.

Potential content audit focuses:

  • Employment brand quality: consider whether your recruitment content is well written, and whether it aligns with what you’ve defined as your organizational employment brand.
  • Hiring process stage: analyze whether a specific hiring process stage is addressed in each of your content assets, and if job seeker questions characteristic of that stage are answered by the content.
  • Job board optimization and search engine optimization (SEO): review your job listing rankings on third party job boards and recruitment content performance on external search engines to identify improvements that will create better digital awareness for your employment opportunities.
  • Content compliance: examine whether your content meets any industry- and/or government-related compliance requirements for your organization, including an analysis of your career content’s ability to attract a diverse set of job candidates.

2 – Settle on your audit evaluation factors

Your recruiting content evaluation process will be based on the type of audit you select. The audit factors must be easily measurable and align to your project scope.

Because this audit is a wonderful opportunity to connect the human resources and marketing teams in your company, ask the project champions from each of those departments to determine the ideal recruiting content audit criteria.

If we select a hiring process stage audit as an example, then HR and marketing might jointly evaluate factors like the content’s

  • alignment with overall employment brand,
  • specific hiring stage focus (e.g. awareness, consideration, conversion, retention and advocacy),
  • attempt to answer stage-appropriate job seeker questions,
  • call-to-action for the next step in the hiring process,
  • current distribution and promotion method by stage type, and
  • likelihood of being easily utilized by hiring stage stakeholders

As you prepare for an audit, you should also plan your intended project deliverables. Aside from a quantitative score for each recruitment content asset, deliverables can include other action steps to enhance content quality.

Potential hiring process stage content audit deliverables:

  • Documentation of all current content assets by hiring stage
  • Content gap analysis for certain hiring process stages
  • List of questions that individual content assets should answer at each hiring process stage
  • Action steps for your content library – content to retain, revise, create or expire
  • Template for creating content for each hiring process stage
  • Distribution strategy for each asset based on hiring process stage and content type (e.g. owned media such as your own career site, earned media such as a guest blog placement on an industry website, or paid media such as a sponsored job listing on a job board)

3 – Rank your recruiting process content

After you’ve married the appropriate content criteria with each asset, you’re ready to score your recruitment process content!

Please recognize that some things can be quantitatively evaluated (e.g. how many out of X job seeker questions are answered?) while others are subjective (e.g. does the narrative’s language support our employment brand initiatives?).

Now’s your chance to create your own evaluation form to standardize your existing and future recruitment content.

Need some help designing your employer’s scoring process? ExactHire created this recruitment process content scorecard to help you hit the ground running.

 

ExactHire Recruitment Process Content Scorecard

Recommendations that resonate

Your audit data is chock full of ideas on where you can start making an immediate impact on your recruitment process marketing. Best of all, it’s backed by a standardized content scorecard.

Use your scorecard analysis to spot trends. Does one aspect of your hiring process consistently fall short? Could others help implement some of the action steps due to their expertise in one stage of the process?

Backed by your audit data, you’re on your way to constructing a high-level recruitment process content strategy that will reinforce your employment brand and help convert more new hires.

4 Ideas For Your Mobile Recruiting Mix

Mastering the art of social media utilization isn’t the only key to implementing an enviable mobile recruiting strategy. Factors such as external job boards, search engines, jobs page design and other communication channels can’t be ignored either. In order to thrive in what might be called the “mobile recruiting wild,” these elements must be addressed. In this post, I’ll present a survival guide for successfully incorporating additional external resources into your mobile recruiting strategy.

best practices in mobile and social recruiting | Download

#1 – Your Resources

When it comes to utilizing tools other than social media in your mobile recruiting toolkit, you need to consider the mechanism(s) by which your job listings are publicized, as well as how your own job portal may impact your use of third party resources.

Posting Opportunities to External Job Boards

Time is an ultra-valuable commodity today. Job seekers, especially mobile users, quickly disengage from employer sites and job boards that don’t make it easy to navigate opportunities and submit employment applications. Likewise, busy HR administrators and recruiters don’t want to use hiring tools that make pushing jobs to external job boards time-consuming and tiresome.

To expedite the process for employers, some job boards offer a pared down version of screening questions and therefore a means for candidates to “apply” to an organization’s positions right on the job board, itself. However, with this job-board hosted application approach HR professionals may feel restricted in their ability to customize their employment application experience to the extent they wish. Nevertheless, this may be inconsequential if an employer only wishes to gather basic information at an early point in the screening process.

For employers that have more robust application needs and/or wish to push a position to a number of different external job boards, a mobile-friendly applicant tracking system (ATS) or human resources information system (HRIS) with a recruiting component may be a better solution. These types of solutions will allow you to build a job listing within the portal, and then easily push that listing to many different external job boards with minimal effort.

Moving to Mobile Responsive Web Design

Even though this chapter especially focuses on your relationship with external recruiting resources, don’t neglect the fact that your “owned” resources (i.e. your own corporate website and/or jobs portal) can impact the success of your external resource utilization. Specifically, if the pages on which you feature your organization’s job listings aren’t designed to be mobile responsive so that job seekers don’t have to pinch and zoom all over the place with their fingers, then you are at a disadvantage when it comes to reaping the benefits offered by third party hiring partners.

Job Boards Favor Responsive Design

Most major job boards already have mobile-friendly sites and/or smartphone applications that make it easy for job seekers to view positions advertised on their sites. If you choose to push your listing to any of these boards, then your listing will be visible to mobile job seekers, too. However, you may not realize that if your own careers page is not mobile responsive, then the listing position for your job on the external job boards may not be as favorable.

Mobile Recruiting | Indeed Apply | ExactHireFor example, many organizations elect to post their positions to Indeed.com; however, if the Indeed listing redirects job seekers to a careers page description on your own site that Indeed detects as not mobile responsive, then your listing will probably appear low in Indeed’s job listing search results compared to employers with responsive web design. As a result, your job listings will likely be noticed by fewer job seekers on Indeed. Additionally, when it is seen by job seekers it won’t be marked with the notable orange text “Apply from your phone” that serves as a signal to job seekers that it will be relatively painless to apply for the position. To get the coveted orange text on your job listings, you’ll need to either post your jobs directly on Indeed or use an applicant tracking system that is integrated with Indeed Apply.

Search Engines Reward Mobile Responsive Design

In April of 2015, the biggest search engine player, Google, officially started rewarding mobile-optimized web pages with more authority in its mobile search results. And while many job seekers will initiate a position search on an external job board, there are definitely individuals who prefer to begin a job seeking quest with a query on a search engine such as Google. In light of Google’s significant algorithm update, know that the chances of your job listings page and specific job description pages appearing in a prospective applicant’s search results will improve when your recruiting software is designed for the mobile user…so that it automatically resizes to fit the screen of the device on which it is used.

RWD Benefits UX

While this nod to mobile dominance by Google certainly warrants the redesign of a static desktop careers page, be sure and consider the applicant user experience (UX) when executing the site rebrand with responsive web design (RWD) principles. Images and text should be spaced appropriately when viewing the site from a smartphone, tablet and laptop/desktop; but, the mobile devices should also feature a menu icon with collapsed links that mirror the navigation experience from a desktop.

An enhanced user experience will mean it’s easy for job seekers to navigate to different pages of the jobs portal, submit a complete employment application, share the opportunity on social media and/or subscribe to future job alerts via email and/or text message.

Mobile Recruiting | Responsive Web Design

#2 – Your Strategy

The overall talent acquisition strategy your organization chooses to use will obviously influence the methods you employ in your mobile recruiting efforts. Your approach to connecting with candidates, as well as the budget available for recruitment spending are critical factors for consideration.

Push vs. Pull Candidate Connections

Which scenario best describes the approach you take when it comes to sourcing talent for your entire organization: push or pull? Does your answer change if you ask the same question for specific job categories within your business?

The Job-Centric Push

A common approach among corporate talent acquisition specialists is to focus on open job requisitions that need to be filled immediately. This job-centric activity involves pushing details about specific job listings to the job seeker community. The intent is often just-in-time-focused and can be aided by recruiting tools such as

  • automatic job alert push notifications,
  • responsive web design to aid job description discovery by job seekers via search engine results,
  • and the ability to pool candidates for future database search since they won’t always be hired for the initial position to which they apply.

The Headhunting Pull

Prevalent in the agency recruiting space, when recruiters proactively seek out talented candidates but not necessarily for a specific position, they are in “pull” mode. Organizations utilizing this approach will make the most of tools such as

  • third party job boards with apps allowing resume database searches;
  • social media networks that allow frequent connections with unknown contacts (for example, LinkedIn Recruiter);
  • and, staffing agency-focused recruiting software platforms that make it easy to pull or “inhale” resumes and general applications into the platform.

Recruitment Budget

There’s no shortage of places for human resource professionals to spend money on advertising job postings. What works for one employer may fail miserably for another company. Here are some quick suggestions on how to prioritize your recruitment budget spending based on the needs and reputation of your organization.

Site Design First

If your job description web pages aren’t already mobile responsive, then spend money on a site redesign first. Or, if you use an applicant tracking system to manage your job listings, then work with an ATS partner that has a software platform already built using responsive web design.

Optimize Job Descriptions for Organic Search

While re-writing your job descriptions and job titles to be keyword-relevant may not result in a hard cost, it will take your HR staff time…and time is money. However, if your recruiting budget is restrictive or virtually non-existent, then attention paid to job description elements such as job titles, description headers, meta descriptions and interactive content will put you in a better position for organic (i.e. unpaid or unsponsored) search success.

Better Job Description Clickthrough | ExactHireFor ideas on optimizing your job descriptions for search, see 5 Steps to Better Job Description Click-Through Rates.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Traditionally, many recruiting budgets have had a significant portion of dollars allocated to paying external job boards to feature specific job listings. While employers will surely continue to take advantage of external job board listings on sites like Monster, CareerBuilder and Dice; and, sponsored jobs on otherwise “free” job board aggregators like Indeed and SimplyHired, other paid options are available.

Small- to mid-sized employers who have not ventured beyond traditional job boards yet may also consider sponsored social messaging, or paid search and display ads through behavioral ad networks such as Google AdWords. For example, if you discover that you have a large number of applicants viewing a specific job listing but then failing to apply for it, that job description page could be a good option for a display remarketing ad. With this approach, the job seekers who visited your page would then see text and/or display ads redirecting them back to your job description page as they view other websites that are a part of the Google Display Network.

#3 – Your Compromises

As your organization adjusts to a mobile-first mentality, it won’t come without compromise. However, considering some of the potential changes before they are in your lap will better prepare you to realign your expectations for what effective recruiting looks like with mobile technology as a driving force.

Employment Application Brevity

If your applicant tracking system utilizes integrations such as Indeed Apply and Apply with LinkedIn, then you’ll find that applications from those sources may have less robust information because the candidate hasn’t customized all of his information especially for your application. Additionally, even with a mobile-optimized employment application, mobile users are less likely to spend as much time typing answers to your screening-focused essay questions than they would on a desktop or laptop.

Compliance Reporting Conflict

If your business is a federal contractor or subcontractor subject to Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) reporting, than be sure and understand how your mobile implementation plans could affect your ability to capture key applicant information at the appropriate stage. For example, you should double check whether the mobile integrations you use will allow you to offer applicants the ability to self-identify veteran and disability information per VEVRAA and Section 503 requirements before an application is marked complete.

Candidate Communication Preferences

We live in a society of people with increasingly shorter attention spans. By making the job search and application process a better, faster experience for mobile users, you can expect to improve the time to fill metric for your organization. However, be prepared to field inquiries from job applicants about the status of their application earlier in the process and perhaps more frequently, too. Look for hiring software that allows you to easily and quickly communicate candidate status to individuals — either via email templates with personalization strings or an automatic external status that displays to candidates once they login to an application profile.

#4 – Your Compass

Any Discovery Channel survival show worth its salt teaches you that to survive in the wild you need to be aware of your surroundings. Know where you’ve been and then find the path with the best chance of leading you in the right direction. Likewise, to improve the outcome of your mobile recruiting activities, you need to evaluate progress and then forge ahead with the tactics that yield the best results.

Spend some time setting up a spreadsheet or reporting interface that allows you to easily monitor the impact of your mobile-minded improvements on your recruiting process. If you use an applicant tracking system, this may already be available to you. Build upon overall recruiting key performance indicators (that you hopefully already have in place) by looking at the ratio of mobile applicants to mobile job site visitors compared to the same ratio for non-mobile users, as a start. Dig deep in your hiring analytics to look for irregularities, unexpected changes and notable trends. Then take action to improve your activities as a result of your insights.

best practices in mobile and social recruiting | Download

Image credit: iPhone 5 and iPhone 4 Side by Side by William Hook (contact)

ExactHire Named a Nominee for 2016 TechPoint Mira Awards

It was a big year for the ExactHire team in 2015, full of many exciting developments including the addition of brand new positions and a steady stream of product enhancements. The positive momentum is continuing as we’re thrilled to announce that the Indiana technology growth initiative, TechPoint, has named ExactHire a nominee in the Innovation of the Year category for the 2016 Mira Awards.

In its 17th year, the Mira Awards annual program honors “The Best of Tech in Indiana” each year. This season, 98 nominees in 14 award categories were selected from 168 applications by an independent judging panel comprised of 40 subject matter experts who evaluated and ranked the applications.

It’s an exciting time to be a part of the tech community in Indiana, and we’re honored to be included in the following list of ground-breaking Indiana organizations:

Innovation of the Year

To learn more about the TechPoint Mira Awards and the organizations represented in each category, click here.

Want to bring more efficiency to your recruiting, onboarding & hiring processes? Schedule a demo today.

 

5 Steps to Better Job Description Click-Through Rates

In most organizations, marketers don’t own the task of writing job descriptions for new opportunities available within their organization. This responsibility generally belongs to people in human resources or recruiting.

And even if those folks have marketers review a draft before it posts (at least for marketing positions, that is), many times the urgency of the request prevents anyone from worrying about fine-tuning the job listing’s content. However, skipping this crucial step can make it even harder for you to fill that position quickly because the job description isn’t converting as many applicants as it could.

Fortunately, taking a little time up front to create a job description editorial checklist can make refining just-in-time job requests a piece of cake in the future. Here are five ways to garner better job description click through rates for your company’s opportunities.

1. Make Landing Pages Mobile Responsive & Job Board Friendly

Surprise, surprise, right? This goes without saying these days. However, while many organizations have corporate websites that have long been coded with mobile responsive design, the same doesn’t always hold true for the third party job portals they use to manage the job posting and application submission process. In many cases, the landing pages to which your paid and organic search listings point are actually the job description pages of an applicant tracking system (ATS).

Not only does Google reward mobile-friendly applicant tracking solutions, but major job board aggregators like Indeed.com will reward these sites with higher mobile SERP rankings as well. In fact, even if an employer sponsors an ad on Indeed, the ad won’t be placed as high in mobile search results as other sponsored ads that do point to mobile responsive job portals.

In addition, the best job portals have integrations with sites like Indeed and LinkedIn that allow job seekers to auto-populate their employment application with data from their existing profile. It’s clear that application submission CTRs have a greater chance of improving when your job listings are more readily visible and you make it easy for applicants to start the application process.

2. Don’t Write Vanilla Job Titles

Unless of course it’s some kind of French Vanilla premium custard, I suppose. But seriously, if you are looking for a Web Developer, be specific with your job title wording so that you can be found by the candidates that are truly qualified to do your Front End Javascript Developer job, even if you really just call it Web Developer II internally.

For hints, study your competitors’ opportunities for job title variation ideas that might accurately represent your employment need. Just remember that your job title can’t be so long that it will be cut off in SERPs or wrap to too many additional lines when applicants view your position listings page on their smartphone screens.

3. Model Your Snippets Based On Job Seeker Preferences

Depending on whether you host job descriptions on your corporate website or you use a recruiting software application, you may or may not have easy access to write a customized meta description for each job listing page.

In the event that you don’t have that functionality, you must carefully craft the first couple of sentences of your job description body text to include the keywords that will resonate with job seekers.

Above all, consider your labor market as a means to hone in on the type of unique selling proposition you should highlight in the first section. Here are some potential approaches:

  • Skills / Duties – This is the approach I recommend most of the time. Think about the occupation-specific keywords that job seekers are most likely to use to search for your job listing and include them in the first sentence so they show up in the snippet candidates see in SERPs. This will make it more likely that your organic listing will appear higher in results, too. Specifically, restate the job title in the first sentence.
  • Pay – Know that when you include numerical details about compensation in your job listing (even if they are at the bottom of the description) the search snippet may include the dollar amount. Some employers choose to include this information to attract and convert potential applicants who are especially compensation focused (e.g., sales professionals) or because they are paying a higher wage for certain positions relative to other competitors in the market.
  • Availability – If it’s difficult to source applicants for shift work in your area, then your leading keywords should include commentary on the working hours and days of the week required for the right job candidate.
  • Company Brand – If you are an extremely large organization, then you may be able to get away with leading with information about your company in the first paragraph. This would only be a viable approach if your potential job applicants are likely to search the internet based on your organization’s name. This approach is more suitable for sponsored job board ads that you know will have premium real estate, despite a shortage of position-specific keywords in the snippet.

4. Write for Readability First, Then Add Keywords

Instead of forcing a job description to use potentially awkward-sounding long tail keyword phrases, wordsmith a description that is both compelling and informative to applicant personas. Once the initial draft is done, go back and sprinkle in the most important keywords, as well as relevant co-occurring terms. Finally, be mindful of the keyword density for your job description so that the finished product isn’t keyword-stuffed.

5. Use Images & Video

Even though most job board search results point to landing pages that include familiar text elements such as job title, position preview, essential responsibilities and qualifications, that doesn’t mean you can’t break the mold and utilize images and embedded video. Many hiring software platforms will offer job description WYSIWYG editors that support the inclusion of images and video. Just make sure to include keyword-rich alt tags and video transcripts with your visual assets.

By giving potential job candidates a feast for the eyes, as well as more finely-tuned job information, you are more likely to engage them to click through to your landing page and start the application process. Use these five ideas to do exactly that and start converting more job applicants today.

 

This post originally appeared on Relevance.

Image credit: Teclado / Keyboard by Microsiervos (contact)

Improve Applicant Sourcing With Owned And Shared Media

With so many options for attracting job seekers, it can be daunting to determine which recruitment marketing tactics to employ to find top talent. However, if we put on our content marketing hats and think about how the customer buying cycle parallels the applicant sourcing process, our task at hand becomes much simpler.
Applicant Sourcing Mirrors Customer Journey
Like many other modern models, it’s helpful to think of this journey as a continuum rather than a linear process. Factors such as the proliferation of digital media and applicant scarcity in the market have created avenues for job seekers to jump in at what used to be “later stages” in the traditional hiring process.

In a previous post, I discussed ideas for creating awareness and interest among potential job candidates by defining personas and customizing an approach across different media types. Now it’s time to move job seekers on to the Consideration and Intent stages of the applicant sourcing cycle.

“Assisting” Job Seekers Through the Hiring Cycle

If we think about recruitment marketing from an attribution model perspective, Google research will tell us that marketing channels in the Consideration and Intent phases of the customer buyer journey will more often act as an “assist interaction” in the conversion process rather than a “last interaction.”

Job seekers in these adjacent phases of the cycle are warming up now that they are aware of your opportunity, but are perhaps not yet ready to commit to applying to your organization. Here are some ideas on how to use owned and shared media (which lead in assists) to further persuade individuals to focus on your specific job openings and initiate the employment application process.

Owned Media

Blog

In addition to mining analytics site search reports to come up with keyword phrases to convert into blog titles, you should also track the types of questions you receive from applicants during the hiring process. By posting blogs that answer the very questions that job candidates tend to ask, you’re already a step ahead when it comes to creating application intent earlier in the recruiting process.

Take it a step further and ask candidates for their comments and suggestions about your recruiting process during interviews and use that feedback as a source for potential blog content. The added bonus of this approach is the ability to weed out candidates that didn’t do their research during interview preparation and fail to give you a quality answer!

Your blog content should also include candid commentary (warts and all) on what it’s like to work at your company. Job seekers at this stage are comparing your corporate culture to other potential employers and your employee testimonials and embedded short videos can help entice them to take the time to apply (or not to) and that can be a good thing.

For example, ExactHire is a small organization. Small companies aren’t for everyone, so we publicly embrace our size frequently in blog content, job descriptions and social media posts. We can’t afford to spend time wooing job candidates that are looking for a big corporation environment when that’s not how we roll.

Email

With email, you’re more limited because you won’t necessarily have the email address of those first-time candidates in the Consideration and Intent stages yet. Make sure your job openings portal includes the ability for candidates to subscribe to future job posting updates via email.

Better yet, give them the ability to customize the types of alerts they receive and the chance to opt in to SMS/text messaging updates, too. This personalized approach will cater to their preferences and increase their chances of future conversion as you have positions available that more closely match their interests.

Depending on the size of your organization, it’s very likely that you will have individuals that apply to many positions with your company at once, or that at least return to apply to future positions on subsequent visits. Email is a significant factor in those passive applicants returning to your site to “repurchase” in the future, especially after they weren’t selected by you in the past.

Here are some ideas on using email to encourage previous applicants to reapply:

  • Send an applicant-focused newsletter to feature popular career-related blogs and tell candidates what to expect from the hiring process (i.e. interviewing steps, timeline for hiring, what not to do, etc.).
  • Ask them to participate in a survey designed to collect feedback for improving the recruiting process. Many applicants will be impressed that you actually take action to improve your recruitment brand, and are bold enough to ask individuals who weren’t selected for honest criticism. Your brand will improve and those individuals may be quicker to reapply, or to convince a friend to give your company a look.
  • Share information about changes that have been made as the result of applicant feedback. This action solidifies your organization’s dedication to improvement and earns points when compared to job opportunities with your competitor.

Jobs Page

Job seekers that move beyond the basic job openings page of your dedicated careers portal or corporate website want to consume content about what it’s really like at your organization. If they are going to invest the time to apply, then they want to make sure they could see themselves in your culture. Paint a “day in the life of” picture for them through content.

Include information on your site about frequently asked questions, benefits and employee testimonials. If you’re proud of your working space, post a virtual video tour of your office. If you’re ecstatic about your liberal paid volunteer hours policy, showcase a collage of photos showing employees working for charitable causes.

Shared Media

Subject Matter Experts

Take the idea of an employee testimonial a step further and amplify its reach using social media. Find your best employment brand ambassadors and give them the mouthpiece to demonstrate how they are subject matter experts in all things related to your company culture.

Host a regularly scheduled tweet-up on Twitter that gives job seekers a chance to ask your employees questions about the hiring process, employment experience and opportunities for advancement. Publicize the tweet-up schedule on your jobs page and organize the best post comments into a summary blog afterwards that gets featured in your next applicant newsletter.

If resources don’t allow for a frequent tweet-up, invite ambassador employees to join LinkedIn groups relevant to job seekers and/or your industry. Mine discussion strings for opportunities to have your subject matter experts contribute and send them the link with an invitation to comment.

Preparation Advice

The internet is overcrowded with content related to popular interview questions and how to prepare for an interview. Your potential job candidates will be more likely to hop on your job wagon if you give them advice about preparing for the hiring process at your company in particular.

Even if they haven’t yet committed to applying, help them see themselves succeeding in an interview later on so they are more likely to take the first step of applying now. Make plans to spotlight candidates who (smartly) mention your preparation-related content during the application process.

Create a presentation highlighting the most valuable characteristics of your top employees and/or how to make a great impression during your interview process. Upload the deck to Slideshare and then invite your employees to share it with their social networks and embed it in their personal LinkedIn blog posts.

Isolate the most digestible tips/facts from your Slideshare and then post a steady diet of them to social media over time using a consistent hashtag. If applicable (hopefully), include quantifiable, flattering statistics about new hire success, productivity and low turnover.

Automated Employee Referrals

You may be lucky enough to have willing employee brand ambassadors beating a path to your door, particularly if you have an amazing company culture with teammates that brag about your challenging and rewarding opportunities to their friends.

If you’re not there yet, or are slightly worried about employees failing to respond to your applicant sourcing battle cry, then there’s no shame in incentivizing referral behavior. In fact, even if you count yourself among the corporate culture elite, you’d be silly not to have an incentive. It’s staggeringly cheaper than always having to budget money for external job boards, headhunters and the opportunity cost of your staff members’ time in interviewing too many “just okay” candidates.

In addition to an enticing referral incentive, make sure your applicant tracking system makes it easy for applicants to name the referring employee during the application process. As your employees’ contacts begin to apply for jobs, the reporting dashboard will make it easy to note which employees have the greatest referral track record. As a result, tracking incentive payouts becomes simple for you.

By creating relevant owned and shared media to target job seekers in the Consideration and Intent/Preference stages of the candidate journey, you’re increasing the likelihood that you will get more chances to convert job seekers into actual applicants. Stay tuned for the next article in this series which will focus on optimizing content marketing efforts for the final two stages of the applicant sourcing journey.

 

This post originally appeared on Relevance.

Image credit: Times Square by Travis Wise (contact)

How Content Marketing Can Help Attract Top Talent

If you’re a marketer at a small- or medium-sized business (SMB), you’re likely no stranger to wearing many hats and thinking of creative methods for doing more with less. And while your earned, shared and owned media efforts may be overflowing their respective buckets, you might be faced with just a little trickle of budget available for your thimble-sized paid media opportunities. Or perhaps that has even run dry?

The SMB scenario can make it challenging to compete for market share with your Fortune 500 counterparts, so it’s no surprise that it can be just as tricky to attract top talent through dazzling content marketing efforts, too. But it can’t be ignored, either. In March of 2015, recruiting difficulty for companies reached four-year highs for the 11th consecutive month. And that’s for companies of all sizes in the U.S.

The key is to make the most out of available resources– starting with formulating a strategy for the recruiting process in the same way you would for customer acquisition. In this first article of a series, we’ll examine persona development and a few ideas for generating initial awareness and interest for your employment opportunities through the use of content.

Define Applicant Personas

Keep this simple at first, as you can always debate the finer differences between job category target personas later. Start off with two different persona definitions. For example, choose one of the following pairings:

  • Exempt vs. nonexempt employees
  • Executive-level vs. associate-level employees
  • Customer-facing (sales, customer service, marketing) vs. internal department employees (IT, HR, operations, accounting)

Once you’ve defined your initial personas, think about how each of their preferences will shape how they respond to recruitment-specific forms of content marketing. Use that info as a guide to map content marketing efforts to each stage of the recruiting and hiring process. We’ll use the executive-level vs. associate-level employee example in the next section.

Create Awareness & Interest Around Your Job Posting

Depending on the scope of your candidate search, it’s quite possible that your future employees won’t be familiar with your company before spotting a link to your job listing. If that’s the case, their first experience with content from your organization may be via a third party such as a job board or an executive recruiter. If you pique their interest, then you could eventually have a chance to grab their attention on your company site and/or careers portal, too.

Here’s how you might be able to appeal to the executive-level and associate-level personas with an integrated approach using earned, shared, owned and paid media:

Associate Persona

Earned

Free external job boards and job board aggregators arguably fall into the earned bucket because you’re not necessarily guaranteed that job postings will publish. Your odds of inclusion will depend on the reputation of your careers portal and whether you try to game the system by posting multiple positions by the same title and/or frequently refreshing the start dates for jobs.

Make sure your job description includes not only the key responsibilities of the job and the essential requirements, but also a brief description of your organization (including location and general size, since they don’t know you) that paints a compelling picture of the unique opportunities available with your firm.

Name the key benefits offered that make people passionate about working at your smaller company (e.g. flex time, work from home policies, casual dress, beer Fridays, paid volunteer time, etc.). Stand out from most other job postings hosted on third party sites with a video of an employee describing the highlights of the job and then embedding that video in the job listing.

Shared

Social media is a common means for savvy organizations to be discovered by job seekers. Automatically post new job listings to social media via an integration with your hiring software. Be sure to include relevant jobseeker hashtags, including those descriptive of the position, but also of the geographic area, to generate awareness for your positions.

Owned

Assuming you’ve intrigued job seekers enough to read through the bulk of your job description (and its ideal length will of course depend on the job, persona and company culture), give them links to additional information if they want to sink their teeth into the role details before committing to an employment application.

Appeal to a persona’s preferences with the appropriate writing style (e.g. entertaining top 10 lists for extroverted marketers or detailed flow chart graphics for operations professionals). Here’s one such blog that has worked well for ExactHire in the past. Take it a step further and publish these position snapshot blogs on Medium, LInkedIn and other platforms that may resonate with your persona.

Paid

Perhaps the most obvious source of this media type for recruiting is the use of paid job boards such as Monster, CareerBuilder, Dice and more. It can be a budget stretch for SMBs to use these resources frequently; however, if they are to be fruitful, make sure that the message is crafted in a way that captivates, informs and converts the job seeker to the point of application.

Smaller companies that don’t command brand recognition should focus on putting position-specific keywords at the beginning of the posting, and elaborate on organizational details at the end of the job listing. That way, the job listing snippet that appears to the job seeker will correlate with the search performed by the job seeker.

Executive Persona

Earned

Consider business, news and industry-relevant publications within the geographic scope of your applicant search and pitch them on spotlighting your organization for its unique employment benefits, planned growth increase, corporate culture, etc. Higher level candidates are especially likely to read these resources and appreciate the fact that your organization was news-worthy enough to command prime media real estate.

Shared

For executives, their first exposure to your organization may be the LinkedIn InMail a recruiter sends them describing your opportunity. Work with your recruiter to craft a message representative of your culture and position that will resonate with that persona.

Start or join a LinkedIn group relevant to your industry and regularly participate in discussions that may catch the eye of potential executive recruits. Use the forum as a means to advertise the availability of your organization’s opportunities, as well as to comment on desirable traits in successful performers.

Owned

Create content that describes the factors necessary to be deemed successful six months into the position. This resource can live on your own domain and should also elaborate on the corporate culture and convey the typical day or week (or why it is atypical, if that is a selling point). This is often an emotional, warm-fuzzy accompaniment to the typical job description.

Paid

If history has proven that a specific job is a beast to fill (i.e. it requires a boat-load of high-level certifications or is a highly technical job in a remote location), then even the thriftiest of recruiters may need to invest in paid media for this persona type. Conduct research to uncover the most likely outlet for your opportunity. Sponsored social posts with substantial targeting capabilities are a good place to start, and messaging should entice high-level job seekers by appealing to what makes your organization a special and rewarding challenge for the executive (e.g. “Even if you haven’t heard of us, you should check us out and here’s why.”).

By defining your applicant personas and thoughtfully considering what would initially attract them to a job opportunity with your company, you dramatically increase the number of chances you get to convert job seekers into applicants. Stay tuned for the next post in this series for tips on guiding intent within your potential applicant base and using content marketing to increase the number of employment applications your organization receives.

This post originally appeared on Relevance.

Image credit: SaaS Marketing Strategies by Seven Atoms (contact)

How Can My Jobs Page Better Engage Job Seekers? – Whiteboard [VIDEO]

If your company is looking for tips on how to increase the number of applications received for job openings, then check out this Whiteboard Chat. In this video, Jeff Hallam offers suggestions on how to streamline your Jobs page to make it easily navigable, and able to engage job seekers to share your career opportunities with others, sign up for future job alerts and easily complete an employment application.

Video Transcript:

Hi, today we are going to talk about how to make your Jobs page more attractive and more engaging for candidates. The reason this is such a big deal is there’s been quite a seismic shift in what’s happening out there in the job landscape over the last couple of years. It wasn’t that long ago that employers could do about anything that they wanted and require about anything that they wanted and people were so desperate for work that they would jump through about any hoop that was put out there in front of them. And that has changed dramatically with the improvement of the economy and with things getting better out there. And candidates, are starting to become a little more demanding and a little more discerning in terms of what they are and aren’t willing to do. So having a page that can actually catch peoples’ eye and get them engaged right out of the gate is often times kind of your ticket to entry to be able to play in that talent game. And so a lot of these are going to be things that you may have thought of before or may have heard of before, but maybe haven’t actually implemented from your end.

So one of the first of those is consistent branding with the rest of your corporate website. So instead of simply putting up a logo and a white page, make sure that the skin of the site, the images that are used, the frames, etc…everything matches up with the rest of what people would see on your corporate website. It makes it appear more natural, it makes it seem like it’s a little bit more a part of your organic site, and again it’s one of those things that can help people feel more confident about what group they’re actually applying for a job with.

And I mentioned images, and skin…no question that every opportunity that you have to inject images, and especially video, into your careers site is always going to be a plus. It catches peoples’ eye, people remember pictures, they remember videos, much more than anything we are going to write out there in terms of words and phrases.

It should go without saying, but maybe and I think this is important, I’m stunned at how often I can go to a page that’s set out there for somebody’s jobs and it’s not clear to me where I can actually find a job opening. So as you design this part of the site, make certain that it’s very clear to someone where they can find your openings so that they don’t have to look around for that. Again, while it may not seem like a big deal, you could lose people very quickly in that process.

This is also a great opportunity to tout any achievements of the organization…you know we were named to the top 10 employers in the region…we grew at a certain exponential percent, etc. Those are all opportunities, along with being able to get some perspective from current employees as to why do they enjoy working here. Those are things that are people, other than you as an HR professional, or as the owner of a company, talking about why this might be a great place to work.

Once someone has navigated to the site and they’ve found a job and they are interested in it, typically they are going to land at and should land at a page that will tell them more about that opportunity so they can determine if they really are a good fit there. This is fairly typical where you would find this…some issues that we sometimes will see that are fairly common. First off, only giving people the option of reading that job description and apply. If they don’t apply, one of the first things you can do now is use mechanisms, whether it’s social media, email or a combination of the two, to give them avenues to stay connected with your organization. Things change. They may like their job and are okay today, and they may hate it two months from now. You may not, this may not be the ideal job for them, but you may have a new job that opens up six months from now that may be perfect for them. So giving them a very simple and easy way to stay connected to you allows them to stay in an environment where once that change occurs there’s a much better likelihood that you will connect with them.

Likewise when you look at the description itself, try very hard even though we’ve been schooled from days gone by that we have to put every single thing about a job in the description, understand that very few candidates are actually going to read that full description. They’re going to look for bullet points, look for keywords and phrases and that’s when you drive whether they think they are qualified and whether they apply or not. So try to crunch that down as much as you can, make it as clear and concise as you can, but make sure you still keep all the relevant information in there about what will this job look like day to day, what are some key skills that somebody needs to have or qualifications to be considered for that opening.

Now when somebody gets to the point where they are actually ready to apply, again we talked about kind of the shift in the landscape. It’s not any more evident than here where that shift has occurred. So whereas, as recently as two or three years ago, I could require of my candidates a full online application and I would get plenty of applicant flow, that probably is not going to cut it in today’s environment. So, more and more you are seeing organizations make that process a little easier for people. Letting them auto-fill a lot of their application information from their LinkedIn profile. Letting them fill a lot of that information from job sites like Indeed where they can create profiles in advance. Doing those types of things once you’ve gotten to this point in the process now kind of continues to reinforce that perspective you’ve tried to set up up front with those candidates of being a welcoming, cool, neat place to work.

So, when you look at all of this, again, the idea of this is really nothing more than to try to bring to light some core things that you can do that can help make you stand out a little bit more in the eyes and in the minds of people who are out there looking at your career site. And again, doing it this way, making some of these changes and keeping some of these things in mind ultimately can help you as you go through and compete with other organizations in the war for talent.

Guide to Free Image Hosting Sites

Technology has improved business in many ways. Logistics has mastered just-in-time delivery of supplies and products, Quickbooks has made accounting quicker, industry-specific tools and machines have streamlined many processes, and the internet has changed the way businesses interact with clients and employees. Similarly, image hosting sites have helped to proliferate the distribution of images across numerous channels. No long is a picture worth a thousand words, but rather easy, instant access to thousands of pictures are perhaps worth millions of words.

Many companies find it helpful to use an image hosting site to add visually appealing aspects to their websites and job listings. Many of our clients use icons and images to spruce up their branded job portals and we are often asked how to host images.

Free image hosting comes with a slew of rules and regulations. It is imperative that your company review the terms and conditions of any site you choose before developing the permalinks you are going to use on your website or blog. Some sites require that you own the rights to the images uploaded or are the photographer. Many sites also share your images, so it may not be advisable to upload top secret developments (in case you have any, that is).

Popular sites for sharing images like Dropbox and Shutterfly do not offer image hosting, but do allow you to send a ton of vacation photos to your parents privately. Although we do not necessarily recommend any specific service, here a few free ones that we like and why.

Imgur: the simple image sharer

This site in a no-limits website that advertises itself as having the most viral images on the internet, sorted by popularity. And it is easy to see why once you create an account. You can easily upload, edit, and share images from this site. With a few clicks you can change the size and format of the image to your heart’s desire.
Imgur image hosting site

Photobucket

Tried and true, this website has been around since the early 2000s. They have kept up with the trends and demands of the users and offer a lot of features. The editing options are vast and you can also make images private and require a password to view them.
Photobucket image hosting site

ImageShack

Touting the idea that ‘your images have never looked better’ this site really tries to get you to sign up for the premium account. Photographers seem to flock to this site because of premium features like image stats, watermarking, direct linking, and more.

 

ImageHosting

No account needed, upload as many images as you want quickly and easily share on social media or embed into your blog. This site gets an A+ for simplicity, just make sure your image looks the way you want it before uploading because editing is not an option.

ImageHosting image hosting site

MojoImage

Free service and very basic. No account required and user-friendly for that quick upload to host an image for your blog.

xtupload.com

Offering quick easy uploads with a feature to keep your images private, this no-account-needed site is fighting for a top spot.

xtupload.com image hosting site

Flickr

This site is attached to yahoo, so you have to have a Yahoo account to use Flickr. With photo sharing and image hosting, this site is almost social media itself with an integration to add your friends from Facebook, see your friends’ photo streams, and create groups. But, if you don’t agree – you can upload to real social media right from the site.

flickr-embed-image

For more information about how our hiring software allows you to customize your company’s jobs page with pictures, please visit our resources section or contact us today.

Top image credit: Big Heart of Art – 1000 Visual Mashups by qthomasbower (contact)

My 6 Fav Features on ExactHire’s Website & Why They Matter to You

I’m pretty much euphoric to be writing this post as it is proof that our labor of website love is now bearing content-rich fruit. That is, we launched the new and improved ExactHire website in early December in order to improve the content-consumption and site navigation experiences for individuals like you. Or simply put, we’ve made it easier for you to find our website, and once you arrive, we’ve made it easier for you to find the information you seek.

And while the whole site caboodle is reason for me to jump up and down (as it was quite an undertaking), I still have my favorite areas. In this blog, I’ll show you the top six and explain why they will make your life easier when it comes to finding the latest hiring software trends and product resources.

#1 – Mobile Device Responsive Design

Perhaps one of our biggest initial motivators for making a change, a responsive theme allows our new website to automatically adjust to fit the size of whatever device is used to view it. Enjoy it on the “big screen” at the office or revel in its sharp, compact appearance on your smartphone. The mobile view even has a menu icon in the top right corner that allows you to expand and use the navigational menu. Plus, the slightly shaded upward carrot in the lower right corner propels you to the top of the page with a quick touch.

ExactHire website mobile responsive design

#2 – Multitiered Site Navigation in Header

We’re always adding new product-specific features pages to our site. However, previously it wasn’t always immediately apparent to our site visitors because they were buried in internal links within bodies of text. With the new site, simply hover your cursor over the primary navigation links and…voila! You’ll be able to dig deep into the site with ease as additional secondary and  tertiary submenus pop out to the site. Also, as you scroll down the page header and navigation menu will follow you as you go – pretty nifty.

ExactHire website multitiered site navigation

#3 – Site Search Capabilities

If you still can’t find exactly what you are seeking on our site with the navigation menus, then simply click on the magnifying glass icon on the right side of the header. It will expand to include a text box into which you may type a relevant keyword term or phrase. Click the green magnifying glass button and you will be presented with any pages on the site that include those keywords.

ExactHire website search

#4 – Resource-Rich Page Sidebars

In addition to the primary navigation available in the header of our site, many of the pages now also include a sidebar full of resource-related links. Let’s say you’ve just perused our applicant tracking system features page and are interested in learning more about specific ATS features, just check out the sidebar for cues on what content may be relevant to you next.

ExactHire website sidebar resources

#5 – Product Demos Accessible From Single Page

If you’re at the point in your hiring software product investigation that you’d like to watch one of our demo videos, then please note that you can easily do that from a single page if you are interested in more than one of our software applications. Navigate to the Resources>Product Demos page, and you’ll see a row of thumbnails representing each of our video demonstrations. Click on one and the thumbnail expands to display a more thorough explanation and allow you access to watch the video within that page. Once you’re ready for the next video, just click the little arrow icon on the top right of the preview pane to switch to the description and video of the next product. Fast and easy.

ExactHire Hiring Software Demos Preview

#6 – Blog With Engaging Images & Tag Suggestions

Gone are the days where our main blog page was a long boring list of titles without pictures. Enter our new blog area and decide which blogs are of interest to you by examining both the associated image and the text preview. Better yet, narrow down the blog results by selecting a specific category of interest from the sidebar menu.

Then, at the end of each individual blog post, take a glance at the “you might also like” section which populates with other blogs that have the same topic tag(s) as the one you just finished reading.

Or, if you just want to click through individual blog posts in the order in which they were posted, check out the nifty sideways carrot icons in the middle of each side of your screen. They pop out to preview the next blog in the list order and allow you to click through to that entry.

Engaging blog images tag suggestions

We hope you find our company website easy to navigate and enjoyable to search and read! If you have any suggestions, please share them in the comments section and/or contact us today.

Image credit: Untitled by eflon (contact)

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