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Interactive Recruitment Content Marketing

In marketing, content is king. With the widespread adoption of social media, marketers are becoming more like publishers, generating content to educate and engage customers, rather than promote their products.

Recruitment organizations are also reaping the benefits of content marketing. Good content has proven effective in establishing relationships with candidates and enhancing the perception of the talent brand. Such valuable information helps candidates professionally, builds trust, and creates positive feelings toward the company. The end result is an increase in talent acquisition effectiveness. According to research, a strong talent brand can translate into 50 percent savings in cost per hire and 28 percent reduction in employee turnover.

Unfortunately, the amount of recruitment content available today is truly overwhelming. Everyone is doing it. And that’s not all, 76 percent of recruitment organizations plan to increase their content marketing budget, according to the Content Marketing Institute.  Those who are using static content — like white papers, webinars, and blog posts — are finding it difficult to stand out. There is simply way too much to read and watch. Candidates can’t absorb it all and are confused as to which one to consume. Yes, one white paper may be better written or designed than another, but how much does it matter if it’s downloaded and never even opened? The expanding number of such content may exceed the limited supply of interest in what some warn as a “content apocalypse.”

So what does the future hold? We see a future of recruitment content marketing that is less about the impact of words, and more about the experiences created and actions triggered.

Interactive Recruitment Content Marketing

Interactive content is a seldom-used secret weapon for winning the intense competition for candidates’ attention. The purpose is to foster a two-way conversation that requires the candidate’s active engagement. Interactivity brings the enthusiasm and influential power of a real live interaction, to a job ad, career page, blog post — or anywhere else you might want to attract your candidate.

Unlike static content that may or may not even be consumed, interactive content creates an exchange of explicit data between participants. Engagement and consumption of interactive content can easily be tracked and reported on. Using the white paper example, the employer branding professional knows only if that content was downloaded — not if it was read or shared. On the other hand, the engagement with an interactive white paper can be specifically measured down to which actions were taken and for how long. Using this data, recruiters can measure with complete accuracy the relative effectiveness and value of their content marketing efforts.

Interactive content is a unique differentiator. Other than being more approachable, it offers clear usefulness and utility — less time and effort, and more value. And until every employer branding professional is an interactive content marketer, your recruitment organization has an instant competitive advantage.

Interactive content marketing is effective because it taps into our competitive nature to compete, share their opinion, and have fun. Winning interactive content encourages the user to interact, enjoy the process, and gain valuable insights about the employer and its culture without the feel of being targeted. The primary focus is on discipline while the second is on conversion.

If you are developing interactive content, gauge success of such recruitment marketing campaigns by total shares or average session time instead of click-through rate. But it’s neither about you nor about direct lead generation. The thinking should be around giving value to your candidates to make them want to apply to your job opportunities if there’s a mutual fit.

Are You Ready to Lead the Interactive Content Marketing Charge?

Building interactive content can be time-consuming and expensive compared to more traditional approaches such as blog posts and white papers. Not all recruiting marketing teams are avid publishers, and most brands don’t have adequate human and technical resources to easily produce interactive content. Not only will you need to come up with ideas and write great content around them, interactive content requires design and development skills. It’s hard enough to keep a steady flow of relevant and optimized content, let alone embed interactive experiences into such content.

Recruitment marketing organizations that put candidates’ interest at the heart of their interactive content marketing initiatives and not get blinded by lead generation tactics will flourish and lure candidates away from their competitors. As the content marketing surge continues, new and creative ways of building highly engaged talent communities will be required. Candidates will expect something special, not just an opinion and a well-written article.

3 Common Types of Interactive Content

Infographics

Infographics are one of the most shareable types of content. They generate 45 percent more search volume and traffic than most content. So how can you go a step further and make them interactive?

Infographics are already visually stunning, but they can still create greater engagement beyond simply scrolling to view them. An approach is to get users to click in different places of the graphic in order to reveal more information. Engagement is elevated because it encourages kinetic learning; that is, people will learn and retain information more easily through intervention (even minimal ones such as a click).

Quizzes

Quizzes can help you gather candidate persona information over time. Much like infographics, they increase engagement and generate leads because of their interactive nature. An example would be to use your images and create a sliding puzzle. Candidates would play the puzzle in order to uncover some information (e.g. company mission, employer values, corporate event, etc. …) about your talent brand.

Videos

In the content marketing world, video is still probably the most engaging format you can create. Still, videos are a relatively static medium. Interactive video gives your audience the choice of engaging and taking part in the video as opposed to simply viewing it. Viewers can interact with certain elements by clicking on them, or even touching the screen if the video is optimized for mobile devices.

Making one could be as simple as adding interactive hotspots, which are basically motion tracking tags that follow a person in the video. A viewer can click on these hotspots and learn more about what’s being tagged — giving you an opportunity to provide more information on your employees or even corporate culture.

Distributing Interactive Content

What good is content if people don’t actually see it?

In fairness, as with any content, the distribution of interactive content is a matter of getting it in the right places to the right people. As always, start with your owned media. Your candidate list from your CRM, and other connections, are the first source of traffic you should tap into. You should also distribute them on social media through paid ads to increase your reach.

Talent communities are also a great source of traffic. Generating awareness and connections with the members of niche communities can provide you with a loyal audience. The more people love your content, the more it’ll get shared on social networks.

If you’re not already using any of those, first determine whether your target audience is there. Then test on a small scale and increase your budget as you see results come in.

The common thread that ties these various forms of interactive content together is the word “yes”: When candidates interact with your content, they’re not just reading, watching, or scrolling; they’re committing to the content and giving you a “micro-yes” every time they click or progress through it.

And when they arrive at the end of a particular piece of interactive content, the likelihood of their clicking a call to action or applying to one of your jobs will have become higher. They’ve already invested in the content itself; conversions will therefore increase.

Gamification of Employer Branding

Gamification and Employer Branding

If you take a look around, possibly even in your own organization, human resources is not always the most popular department. The bigger the company, the less relevant and less visible their activities seem. As a result, HR departments are not only looking for ways to actively engage their existing employees, but are also seeking strategies and tactics that will differentiate themselves as an employer. What does your brand say about you as a potential employer?

With constant tech innovation, gamification has quickly become a buzzword in the recruitment field. But to take it beyond the buzzword stage and truly benefit your employer brand, you need to weave gamified recruitment into the fabric of your recruitment strategy.

Applying gamification to HR is not an entirely new concept. In his book, Employer Brand Management: Practical Lessons from the World’s Leading Employers, Richard Mosley explained that many employers, as early as the late 1990s, introduced elements of gaming to their career websites and portals. The trend “is moving toward a more immersive online environment that gives potential candidates a much richer taste for the kind of employment experience on offer to them.”

Despite early efforts and growing popularity, gamification is still just a concept for many. The Aberdeen Group published research that indicated that HR departments have been slow to adopt gamification strategies. In 2013, only 17% of organizations had applied gaming techniques to their HR activities. This is gradually changing as success stories begin to emerge.

Whether you use gamification for recruitment, testing candidates, building awareness, onboarding, continuous employee engagement, organizational change, or all of the above, gamification differentiates and boosts increasingly diverse, memorable and unique employer branding strategies.

Demonstrating your values

Gamification makes the HR process fun for potential and current employees, and keeps them engaged. Keeping that kind of positive attention it creates focused on you in an increasingly competitive and fragmented employment landscape is key to your identity as an employer. A big part of that is being able to show (and realistically simulate) your company and organizational values in an interactive way. A company can too easily be seen as a monolithic entity with a set of stagnant rules (the dreaded “employee handbook”) but gamification can breathe life into your company identity and show the world who you are and why candidates should clamor to join.  Through gamification, you can really showcase your employer brand and engage people to aspire to be a part of.

Fun and interactive HR processes = a memorable brand

Entertainment value goes a long way toward generating engagement and memorability. Particularly in highly competitive sectors, employers need to vie for qualified candidates in much the same way that candidates compete against each other to get hired. How can an employer in this environment offer a uniquely compelling candidate experience, maximize HR resources and ultimately make the experience entertaining?

Put it to the test!

Incorporate gamification into your employer branding strategy! There are lots of ways to do this, But whatever you do, do it now. Gamification in HR processes may be a gradually growing trend, but things are speeding up and you do not want to be left in the dust!

5 Levels to Social Media Recruitment Maturity

Social Media Maturity

In the world of talent acquisition, it is all about hiring the right person at the lowest cost and at the right time.

After talking to numerous global companies in a myriad of industries, it has become clear that recruitment has unfortunately become an afterthought. Sourcing and recruiting are done as needs come up, and there are very few repeatable processes or procedures in place. Interviews are done differently every time, based on interviewers’ skills, experience, and domain knowledge. The lack of reliable scoring mechanisms produces inconsistencies with no meaningful data to assess and compare candidate profiles.

Add to that scenario the hiring manager’s needs and inputs. The challenge then becomes how to make an effective hiring decision that can be justified with quantifiable data.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to become one of the best places to work, and we all wish that there was a magic formula to achieving that status. The companies that get there are the ones that are able to attract, engage and hire top notch talent through data-driven employer branding strategies.

But before crafting such a strategy, talent acquisition leaders first need to understand their organisation’s current level of maturity and social media adoption. The term “maturity” refers to the degree of formality and optimization of processes. Using “reactive” and “proactive” strategies as endpoints — a reactive strategy might involve copying and pasting job descriptions from one social channel to the next and then waiting for the applications to flow in, while a proactive one forecasts future openings, and relies on relevant data and social media outlets to engage and attract quality hires.

The Capability Maturity Model was devised by the Software Engineering Institute, a R&D center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense to help improve existing software development processes. In this model, organizations go through ad-hoc practices, to formally defined steps, to managed result metrics, to finally active optimization of these processes. Since talent acquisition is a process-driven activity, can the maturity model be effectively used to gauge its level of maturity?

The CMM model has five levels and businesses cultivate new tactics as they progress through each level. In software development, a truly reactive strategy could take about two to five years to reach the top level, although not every company will move through the model in the same way. Below is its application to social recruitment.

Level #1 — Initial (or Random Acts of Recruiting)
At this first stage, positions are filled as they become available. Organizations rely heavily on job boards and their not-so-mobile-friendly career site to advertise their openings. They are using outdated technology for applicant tracking, or even basic tools like spreadsheets and emails. Talent acquisition is really seen as an afterthought.

Social engagement is bottom up and led by individuals who have a passion for social media. An example of this might be a recruiter posting jobs or searching on social channels for candidates via their personal account.

Level #2 — Repeatable
Companies that have reached this level of maturity have developed a better appreciation for the importance of high-impact talent acquisition and social media. Recruiters may start building talent pipelines by working more closely with hiring managers and senior leaders.

Value creation is still limited to the ability to disseminate corporate messages to attract candidates. Engagement with external stakeholders’ is at its early stages. Technology needs become more apparent, but truly integrated systems are not yet in use. An example might include an organization manually posting company updates and jobs to a LinkedIn company page, or tweeting company updates and jobs from an official company Twitter account. Organizations implement cloud-based ATS to better manage internal workflows.

Level #3 — Defined
At this level, the adoption of social media extends to mass collaboration and becomes a part of the culture. Social engagement starts to materialize through these internal networks and external communities. Recruiters take a leading role in cultivating and formalizing the employer brand, and start nurturing their talent communities. Marketing see the positive impact of such social recruitment campaigns and begin to reap the benefits of such synergies. Essentially, what candidates experience when engaging with an organization makes an impression which they will eventually share across the social networks.

By enabling such collaboration across all levels and by capturing and putting into action the resulting insights, organizations can truly begin to realize demonstrable business value.

Level #4 — Managed
Reaching Level 4 requires more enterprise wide technology and more cross-platform strategies, combined with stronger external and internal relationships. Senior leaders start supporting proactively changes in HR and see it as a competitive advantage. Social media sourcing, employer branding, and community recruiting programs are all in place and running efficiently. Talent pipelines are healthy and growing.

Hiring managers now need to make sense of the data gathered from these programs in order to tweak their social engagement strategies for greater impact. KPIs start to be formalized and monitored.

Level #5 — Optimized
The highest level of social recruitment maturity is the ability to use big data to optimize business outcomes. Examples include the analysis of resourcing insights and people analytics to identify long-term recruitment challenges and anticipate changes in the workforce. Real-time website and social analytics metrics are driving the talent marketing strategy.

Action Plan to Get There

Having a proactive social recruitment strategy requires more than just having the latest HR technology and dumping career related or job posts on social channels. Recruitment leaders should view the progress of their organization towards maturity as a continuous improvement journey. In essence, recruitment organizations can become optimized when HR leaders have internalized the following four points.

1. Demonstrate a strong knowledge of the company’s strategy, and actively participate in the direction of the business and its human capital.

2. Adopt a forward thinking approach and try to anticipate cultural changes in the workforce (e.g. millennials). Some changes can be unforeseen; respond quickly to such challenges and avoid disruption to business operations.

3. Use data to improve hiring and social engagement decisions. This consists in collecting and analyzing meaningful insights to measure performance and optimize social recruitment campaigns.

4. Stay ahead of the social recruitment curve by investing in new products and services that will help automate and rocket fuel talent marketing and employer branding campaigns.

Social Media Recruiting on Steroids

socialmediaclutter

By now, you must have gotten on board social media in order to recruit new employees. However, due to the large amount of advertisement done via social media platforms, you are struggling to get your jobs noticed. Rest assured you are not alone. This is mainly due to the fact that your plain job ads are not standing out for candidates to see, and are being overtaken by creative content that your marketing team is creating and distributing.

Luckily here is hope for recovery if your business is struggling to make social media work for you. How are your recruiters supposed to find and hire the best talent unless they can attract them to the brand in the first place? This is where learning important marketing skills can come in handy.

So how can recruiters think like marketers? They need to promote their employer brand as something compelling and unique. For example, you can survey current employees and potential recruits to find how they perceive your organization and also how that differs from the image that you are actually trying to convey to potential hires. Another approach would be for your recruiters to survey employees to rank what they find most important about the workplace, in order to compromise and make the workplace inviting. Most importantly, you need to figure out what you can offer that your competitors cannot, and highlight this aspect during your recruitment campaigns. For example, Home Depot created multiple Facebook pages: in addition to a general page, they have a recruitment page where their job postings are listed, as well as a page showcasing the volunteer work their employees perform, which has shown to improve their employee engagement. The Social Media Examiner also listed a number of case studies on the topic. For example, Zappos, an online clothing retailer, uses social media to show their unique employee culture by posting inside looks at the company. They also tweet questions to their employees to answer publicly on Twitter.

In addition to thinking like a marketer, another thing to keep in mind is your “call to action” (CTA) mechanism. Is your job ad compelling enough to entice candidates to click on them and apply to your job opportunities? It is important to know the psychology behind call to action as well as how to make yours stand out. People using the Internet are overwhelmed by advertisements and emails all day, every day, and after awhile, everything starts to look the same and people stop paying attention. That is why it is so important to catch their eye and hold their attention long enough to get them to press that button. A blog by Hightower, a recruitment advertising firm, gives some pointers. For example, compelling colors are often what attract the eye on the webpage. Pick a color for your “CTA” button that contrasts with your design, so that it stands out. The button should also be large enough to be noticed almost immediately, as many people won’t bother reading everything on the page before they’re onto the next thing. Make sure your CTA is clear and tells the reader exactly what that button will do, and use active verbs such as “sign up.” Adding “now” or other immediate action verbs will create a sense of urgency.

There are other ways that posts are being structured to attract an audience in social media. For example, with increased Internet usage through mobile devices, the firm should make sure that their web presence is mobile-friendly. If it is difficult to read your text or reply to your ad through a mobile device, a good portion of the potential recruits could be lost because they could not navigate and gave up. Make sure that your call to action button is big enough to be easily clicked by those using mobile devices. Also surround the button with white space. This will make it stand out more and will also make it easier for mobile users to click.

Another key to attracting recruits is to create concise, focused job descriptions and utilize SEO keywords so that your ads are seen even in search engines. The concise job description will help narrow down the amount of unqualified recruits you get responses from, as well.

There is much to consider when it comes to making your ad stand out in the sea of social media ads. These tips will help make sure that the type of quality recruits you are searching for see your ad.