Why Talent Engagement Is More Important Than Ever

November 16, 2016 – To say that competition for talent is high is an understatement. In today’s candidate-driven hiring climate, companies big and small are all vying for the same limited resource: quality candidates.

And while candidate experience and employee value proposition certainly influence an organization’s ability to hire top talent, the more immediate challenge is something most recruiters haven’t had much experience with – namely, talent attraction and engagement.

According to findings from Lighthouse Research & Advisory’s ‘Modern Measures of Success in Talent Acquisition’ report, talent attraction has emerged as one of the most critically important capabilities in a modern talent acquisition function. In a survey of 498 employers, 74 percent rated talent engagement and 71 percent said talent attraction as very or critically important – compared to 48 percent that said the same for candidate search and sourcing (i.e., talent discovery).

The Move to Metrics and Analytics

The report also found that most recruiting teams aren’t measuring talent attraction and engagement metrics, such as job campaign click-through and conversion rates. Thirty-one percent of companies surveyed aren’t tracking campaign click-through rates, and 41 percent aren’t tracking conversion rates.

“Attaining good, trustworthy analytics and insight is a key reason why organizations are consolidating multiple point products and moving to a comprehensive recruitment marketing platform,” said Kyle Lagunas, Lighthouse founder, principal analyst, and author of the report.


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Fifty one percent of the companies surveyed still manually gather and analyze performance data, and 37 percent track it within individual systems, tools, and with service providers. Without a recruitment marketing platform in place, these companies end up lacking the insight needed to continuously optimize their talent acquisition efforts, according to the report.

Leading Ways to Find Talent

Employee Referral Management — Employee referrals persist as the No. 1 source of high quality candidates, and the most effective referral programs make it easy for employees to share job openings with their extended network. But keeping track of referrals – who referred whom, where each referred candidate is in the pipeline, when referral bonuses are to be paid – is an incredibly arduous undertaking. That’s why more talent acquisition professionals are leveraging tools built specifically to manage employee referral programs. While some ATS providers have employee referral management built into their system, best-of-breed point solutions are becoming increasingly popular.

Initiative Recruiting — Initiative recruiting programs, including diversity, veteran, and university recruiting, tap into rich sources of quality candidates, but often require heavy lifting to launch and to maintain and manage. In fact, diversity hiring is one of the greatest challenges for today’s enterprise organization. Attracting and engaging diverse talent requires a different approach to talent acquisition, and yet success in this area can be directly correlated with healthy company culture and improved business performance. With this in mind, many organizations are focusing time and budget to ensuring these types of programs are both meaningful and effective. As with any element of talent acquisition, technology itself isn’t a silver bullet for initiative recruiting — but having the right tools in place to manage initiatives makes a tangible difference.

Sourcing, Prospecting, & Pipelining — Modern sourcing functions require a more diverse approach to recruiting than before. For years, most recruiters have relied on ‘post-and-pray’ tactics inherent in most reactionary recruiting practices. Sourcers — respectfully deemed the ‘hackers’ of recruiting — have developed a number of methods for finding the perfect candidate, but finding them isn’t enough. Demand for tracking and pipelining prospective and potential candidates has resulted in a major increase in the number of technologies available today.

Talent Attraction

Brand Creation, Amplification, & Management — In recruitment marketing, the ability to attract talent directly correlates with the brand content and messaging it is built on. As many are learning, however, employer brand is an incredibly nuanced and challenging element of modern talent acquisition. Today, key practices include brand creation, brand amplification, and brand management in an ongoing, iterative cycle.

Job Marketing, Advertising, & Distribution — The most commonly used recruitment marketing tactics also happen to be the oldest recruiting asset: job postings. But with the emergence of new technologies, new media outlets, and new communication channels, this function has rapidly evolved in scope. Today, posting open jobs isn’t enough – you have to market them to highly targeted audiences, you have to distribute them across myriad channels and outlets, and you have to advertise them through increasingly complex PPC and SEO campaigns. With so many channels available, this function is about developing the optimal advertising mix to produce the best return for investment with limited budgets – and regularly monitoring those channels for effectiveness.

Social Networking & Marketing —The second most commonly used recruitment marketing tactic leverages one of the most pervasive and powerful technologies in the world: social media. Social media has made recruitment marketing extremely complex. As many recruiters have learned (often through trial and error), the scope of effective social marketing strategies go much further than broadcasting open jobs. In fact, measures of success in social recruiting aren’t limited to increased applications and reduced cost per hire. Rather, social media marketing has evolved as a leading source of influence – a powerful channel for strengthening employer brand and engaging with candidates outside of the apply and interview process.

Talent Engagement

Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) — CRM is the practice of managing interactions with present, past, and future candidates for lead nurturing. These efforts are powered by quality, relevant, value-add content and often involve using technology to automate and customize communications, as well as track and measure the performance of outreach campaigns.

Talent Communities — Talent communities and talent networks have been around for a while, but many have struggled to leverage them effectively. In theory, these channels offer prospective candidates an opportunity to opt in to employer updates and outreach before applying for a position. The fundamental problem is that most recruiting teams fail to deliver a key component of talent engagement: interaction. The most successful talent communities are built on brand-based engagement platforms where candidates have opportunities to engage outside of the traditional application and hiring process, interact with a larger talent community, demonstrate and draw on subject matter expertise, and share perspective on topics of conversation relevant to an organization’s hiring needs.

Candidate Experience Management — Because the scope of candidate experience is not limited to the application and interview process but all the touch points a candidate has with an employer along the way, managing that experience is a critical component of talent engagement. This means surveying candidates – all candidates rather than only those who are hired – on the application, the interview and assessment process, recruiter response time, and more. This means monitoring social media channels and websites like Glassdoor to keep tabs on brand sentiment. This also means leveraging insights generated from these efforts to address problem areas, align candidate expectations with employer brand, and optimize recruitment marketing efforts accordingly.

Enter the Recruitment Marketing Platform 

In today’s candidate-driven hiring climate, recruitment marketing has quickly become a primary driver of talent acquisition performance. As employers need to support business growth, pioneers in recruitment marketing have broken away from the post-and-pray model of old. But success in talent discovery, attraction, and engagement requires a multi-channel, multi-faceted approach, said the report.

As detailed in Lighthouse Research & Advisory’s ‘Recruitment Marketing Vendor Landscape’ report, the number of point solutions available for everything from employer brand creation and management to job marketing, advertising, and distribution to candidate relationship management continues to grow – and shows no signs of slowing.

“As best practices continue to mature, more companies are realizing the importance of having the right recruitment marketing software platform in place to support the myriad of campaigns and initiatives that encompass an omni-channel marketing engine,” said Mr. Lagunas. “Keeping these efforts streamlined and consistent while ensuring outcomes are trackable and measureable requires a dedicated system. As such, the recruitment marketing platform and all of its moving parts has emerged as one of the core systems in modern talent acquisition.”

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief and Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor — Hunt Scanlon Media

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