Have you ever seen a sales person in action? If not, make it your mission to seek one out and watch how they work. From making a client's day with an unexpected gift, to offering a smile and asking how the family’s keeping, sales people know what it takes to get their audience engaged.
It’s a craft, and it’s a craft that’s worth perfecting for you as a recruiter, too.
Why? Because an engaged audience drives conversions. In a product context, that means sales. In recruitment, it means applications over the line, and ultimately, hires.
In this age of inbound recruiting, content is the means by which you engage and build a relationship with your candidates.
In order to generate that engagement, however, what’s communicated in your content MUST resonate with candidates, and when you consider that less than 2% of content gets more than 100 shares, it’s evident that too many companies are falling short in this most essential of inbound functions.
"My content looks pretty and sounds good: why isn't it converting?"
Pictures and words count for nothing if they're not pieced together with a very specific audience in mind. Content fails when it's created with little to no educated understanding of who it’s being created for.
And it’s not enough to “know your audience” on a conceptual or anecdotal level, either.
A recruiter stating that they’re creating content “for candidates,” is like a gluten-free chef stating that he’s cooking food for people who eat. True, to a certain extent, but way too broad in scope.
The narrower and more informed your focus, the better the content you create as a result in terms of its ability to resonate with the right niche group of people, and drive conversions.
The strongest content is content created on a solid foundation of fact — data that tells you, at a fine-grain level, who your audience is — from what age they are and where they live, to their hobbies and media consumption habits.
Right now, 75% of recruiters do not use data to guide their talent acquisition efforts.
Imagine the competitive edge in talent acquisition your company could gain if you make it a point to incorporate audience insights into your recruitment content strategy.
Re-defining your audience in the age of inbound
As the lines that separate recruiting and marketing become more and more blurred, the audience for recruitment-related content has been redefined.
In the world of inbound hiring, every one of your company’s customers - both potential and existing - is also a candidate.
Why this is good news
First off, it means that you're speaking to an audience that's already engaged with your company brand — in a corporate sense, if not an employer one.
Secondly, it means that when it comes to gathering audience insights and getting to know your audience better, your marketing team will have already done much of the hard work for you.
Whether it’s Google analytics, software like HubSpot, or a social network’s own insights tool, your marketing team will undoubtedly be using something that helps them understand who it is they’re targeting so they can create relevant messaging that converts.
Collaborate with Marketing. Tap into their knowledge base for fact-based info on age and gender breakdown, where your audience of candidates live, details on their lifestyle, their preferred social networks for finding and engaging with content, and more.
If this option isn’t available to you, you can always access Facebook’s audience insights tool yourself via the Ads Manager item on the left navigation bar. (Note that first, you’ll need to be made an admin of your company’s page.)
Building a candidate persona
The most effective content doesn't speak to the most people; it speaks to the best, most relevant people for you and your business — people who you would value greatly as customers, or in this case, candidates.
So, with basic demographical information on your audience to hand, it’s time to dig deeper, and start thinking about your target candidate on an individual level.
This is where you’ll employ that most tried and tested marketing exercise: building a persona.
Drawing on HubSpot's definition, and adapting it for a recruitment-focused audience . . .
“A candidate persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal candidate based on market research and real data about your existing candidates.
A detailed candidate persona will help you determine where to focus your time and guide content development. As a result, you will be able to attract the most valuable candidates to your jobs.”
To create a candidate persona, first, make sure you’re clear on the responsibilities and requirements of the job you’re advertising.
Then, answer the following:
- Skill set: what skills should your ideal candidate have?
- Previous experience: in what kind of industries or roles would you prefer them to have worked in the past?
- Ambition: what are their goals - both personal and professional?
- Attributes: what personality traits and characteristics should they have in order to compliment or enhance the culture of your company?
- Hobbies: Who are they outside of work? What hobbies and passions might they share with other members of your staff?
- Values: what values does your company look for and celebrate in its employees?
Next, consider any possible questions, concerns, or objections they may have with regard to taking up a job at your company.
Remember, a new hire will only be as successful as his or her ability to embrace and enhance the existing company culture, so consider your company's employees — past and present — when carrying out this exercise.
Once you have all of the information squared away, you should put a name and an image to each candidate persona, based on the job to which you’ll be seeking to attract them e.g. Frankie, the Frontend Developer.
You now have in front of you, albeit on paper, the ideal candidate. With a clear picture of who you're talking to, creating recruiting content that speaks to that audience becomes a heck of a lot easier.
In the next post in the series, I'll explore how you take the information you've gathered and apply it to the process of creating content that converts customers into candidates.
Know Your Candidates
Knowing who your candidates are even before you meet them doesn’t just inform your recruiting content, it enables you to deliver a more personal, more impactful candidate experience, too.
With this having the knock-on effect of improving your employer brand and therefore your ability to attract the attention of even more great talent, you shorten your overall time to hire.
According to LinkedIn, 77% of recruiters are more efficient and more effective when they understand their talent pool.
With competition for candidates only increasing, can you and your company afford NOT to know your candidates?
For more on how content marketing can help your company land top talent . . .