Recruiting is a matter of marketing and candidate experience

HR and recruiting will, like any corporate function, face the consumerization of the work environment. By saying that I mean that practices, approaches and tools from the consumer world will be used  for employees. It’s about a true employee experience and the need to consider employees as internal clients.

The job market is a candidate-driven market

That’s no wishful thinking but the consequence of two trends. First there are the growing expectations of employees and candidates who don’t understand that businesses make so much effort for them when they are customers and turn their lives into hell when they’re candidates or employees. Second there are engagement and productivity issues that combine with talent scarcity  that make businesses focus on talent development and loyalty.

Bottom line, as shown in this recent study, the job market is a candidate-driven market.

candidate driven market

The result is as much attention to pay to candidats as to customers, recognizing that employers are not in a favourable position anymore.

So the concept of candidate experience is getting more and more traction. A candidate who has a poor experience on a recruitment site is more and more likely to drop off. More and more candidates want to be able to simply apply on mobile (and most of all the high potentials).

Source : Mobilize to realize: Job seeker insights for mobile recruitment success (IBM)
Source : Mobilize to realize: Job seeker insights for mobile recruitment success (IBM)

To read more about the impact of mobile on recruiting, follow this link.

Businesses know how to propose content and target based on customer data. The same must be possible for candidates, all the more since when they connect a recruitment site with their linkedin account it’s unthinkable to not push them relevant job offers. Like customers, candidates are looking for relevance and the more the recruiter will push relevant offers the less candidates will think they’re losing their time digging into offers. The home page of the career site must be personalized and the best way to display offers (even the job description) must be assessed through A/B Testing.

It’s unthinkable to invest in building a relationship with a candidate and throw everything away if, for any reason, the deal fails. As businesses have a client pipeline, they must also have a candidate pipeline to activate the right candidate at the right time, nurture the relationship over time and reactivate a known candidate without having to restart all the identification and qualification process from scratch. Candidates are concerned by the attention paid to them and even if they declined once nothing tells they won’t accept a future offer if attention is paid to them over time, if they think they’re being cared about, if they think somebody is thinking about them.

Candidates have the same expectations as customers

There are many ways to create engagement with candidates and offer them a personalized experience. It’s about content (being interesting and relevant as an employer), offers, interaction possibilities. To achieve that, businesses are capable of proposing contents, a coherent “brand universe” to customers, follow them on many channels to stay at the top of their mind, inform them, strengthen their interest and engagement. There is absolutely no reason not to do the same with candidates one wants to attract.

Last, like customers, candidates expect transparency on the completion of the recruiting process and want recruiters to share these indicators with them.

In other words there is absolutely no reason why customer experience does not have a  twin about candidate/employee experience and that Candidate Relationship Management won’t  become a major HR discipline.

Right now I think that recruiting professionals, in their large majority  :

• are aware of the challenges of the consumerization of their function but struggle to see what it really means

• buy the idea of Candidate experience but don’t have the marketing side in mind

• as a matter of fact, most of them don’t have the right technology so these use case have not come to their minds

• in short they may like the concept but don’t know where to go and even if it’s possible to go there.

I often say to those willing to take this path “turn to your marketing department…they have the technology you need”.

Towards the “marketingization” of HR Technologies

During the latest HRTech World Congress  in october, I spent some time asking vendors about their vision. Two things become obvious.

The first is that most of the exhibiting startups at this customer orientation in mind. Must of their products dedicated to HR could have been use by a marketing department with some rebranding

The second is that legacy vendors have already undertaken the transformation of their offer. I had the chance to spend some time with IBM’s Smarter Workforce representatives and Dave Millner. Enough to realize that this move was already a reality in their portfolio. The “Recruiting = marketing equation” was, in fact, their baseline.

From a practical standpoint, IBM picked some functionalities in their commerce solutions to implement them in their HR ones.

• A “Candidate relationship management” tool to create personalized experiences based on what one knows about the candidate, their search behaviors and, of course, predictive models based on data. The “lead management” approach allows to find the best ways and channels to proactively engage with a candidate and measure the success of such or such approach.

• web analytics allowing yo analyse the candidate experience and engagement, know where and why they drop off and increase recruiting efficiency. It includes A/B Testing.

• mobile capabilities that provide a unified and coherent end-to-end experience. No matter the screen or the device, everything must work the same way, be as simple.

A marketing approach to recruiting : a cultural revolution for HR ?

The idea behind all that has also been stolen from marketing : it’s the concept of Next Best Action. A any moment, the use of data, candidate understanding, knowing how candidates react to a given approach must help to make the best decision regarding to a given profile and open job positions, propose the right actions based on the goal to achieve and the expected candidate reaction.

That’s only the beginning and I’m curious to see at what pace HR will change their approaches based on these new paradigm and technologies. As a matter of fact the real challenge is not about technology but the cultural revolution needed to make the most of it.

And what about you ? How do you see recruiting changing ? Is this trend sustainable ? Desirable ?



Image credit : recruitment by ImageFlow via shutterstock

Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler
Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler

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