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Attract Top Talent in a Rapidly Evolving Job Market 

Over the summer the search engine behemoth Google made waves as it entered the recruitment space with Google for Jobs, and then, in October, rumors surfaced that Facebook began testing a résumé feature to boost companies’ recruitment efforts. These industry shakeups have job boards on edge, wondering if eventually Google and Facebook will monopolize job search and advertising.  

While Google in particular could reinvent how job search works, this represents only one way to reach candidates and savvy job boards are reinventing themselves by going beyond the job ad to help employers find more effective ways to better reach candidates. 

Savvy recruiters and HR professionals need to proactively engage a wider audience pool, embrace the new innovative recruitment tools on the market, and rethink their recruitment brands. Joe Weinlick, Chief Marketing Officer for Nexxt, a recruitment media company, and I spoke about tools and techniques recruiters can use in today’s tight labor market to capture a competitive edge in reaching and hiring new talent.  

#1 Proactively Engage Candidates

If you’re an HR professional, you probably use job boards as your main source of leads when filling positions – many companies do. But job boards as they exist today are no longer effective as a single-pronged recruitment strategy and it’s not enough to simply post an ad waiting for a candidate to bite.  

In fact, many eligible candidates aren’t necessarily scouring job boards every day. According to a recent survey conducted by Nexxt, 14 percent of respondents said they’re actively searching for a new job, but a much higher number – 58 percent – are open to job offers. Meaning, there’s a large gap between the number of candidates open to moving onto the next great opportunity and those actually applying for the job.  

Candidates who are not actively looking but are open to opportunities are referred to as “passive.” You might even be one yourself if you don’t feel hot or cold about your job. 

“There are a lot of really talented people who lack passion for their current job or company – and that is both a great tragedy and a perfect opportunity for employers to start conversations with these potential candidates,” says Weinlick. “But it takes a lot of effort to apply for new jobs, so employers need to get creative if they want to engage candidates who haven’t committed to that effort yet.” 

One of the most effective ways to reach the passive qualified candidate who is daydreaming of a new job is through text messaging 

“Like most people, I’m addicted to my smartphone and, while I might ignore an email, I never ignore a text message,” says Weinlick. “People live on their devices! So as a recruiter, you know any communication you send by text message will be read – and read immediately.” 

The personalized nature of text message is also a strength for this recruitment tool. A tailored text message addressed to a prospect is more likely to elicit a response than more traditional forms of reaching candidates, and with conversational text products allow recruiters to carry on live conversations with interested candidates.  

#2 Reach Candidates Through Retargeting  

In addition to text messaging, employers can also take a different approach to advertising their open positions through retargeting. This popular online marketing tool, also known as remarketing, has been used by retailers for years. That’s why consumers see those pair of shoes they’ve been lusting over popping up in ads on Facebook and Google days after they first clicked on them on the retailer’s website. 

This marketing technique is proving useful in the recruitment industry as well. With retargeting, that disgruntled worker who clicked on your job advertisement this morning and then got on with their day will now see your job ad pop up as they skim their Facebook timeline or check the score of the game online. It’s the perfect way to subtly nudge a candidate to commit to applying for your job. 

With job boards becoming more crowded and less targeted, retargeting is an ideal way to ensure your company’s positions get noticed. 

#3 Rethink Your Recruitment Brand 

In today’s tight labor market, a company needs to stand out from the competition to attract the most qualified talent. One of the easiest ways to differentiate yourself from the company next door is to strengthen your recruitment brand. Similar to a corporate brand, your recruitment brand communicates important details about your company, but more specifically, it shares with potential applicants what day-to-day life is like as an employee at your organization.  

The key part of your recruitment brand is a single strategic ethos or message that runs through all company communication, from the newsletter to the social media channels to the website. 

“Everything about your brand needs to inspire and motivate,” says Weinlick. “When candidates and employees read your corporate mission statement or job ad, they need to feel something. That feeling should give them the reason to apply to your job or get up and go to work in the morning.”  

There are a lot of companies with strong recruitment brands, sourcing incredibly qualified talent from around the world – Amazon, Facebook, Google, to name a few. But you don’t have to be a big Silicon Valley powerhouse or even a household name to effectively communicate why it’s great to work at your company. The first steps include revisiting what your brand stands for, fine tuning the feeling and message you give candidates when they visit your external channels, and weaving that message through all company communications.  

What we thought we knew about the recruitment industry is no longer true and the way jobseekers search and apply for jobs has evolved. To keep up with these changes, employers need to reevaluate the way that they recruit. A shrewd recruiter needs to target the 58 percent of jobseekers who are open to new roles, use new recruitment tools like text messaging and retargeting to do so, and take a fresh look at their recruitment brand to ensure that what makes their company unique is being communicated well to candidates.  

Job boards aren’t going anywhere – they’re still the backbone of any recruitment campaign, but recruiters and employers need to be innovative to get in front of candidates in order to remain relevant in today’s competitive market.

Thunderbird School of Global Management Alumna Dana Manciagli '84 is the author of "Cut the crap, Get a job". With her 'Career Mojo' column, Dana is the sole syndicated career columnist for the Business Journal nationwide. Her remarkable profile includes a career in global sales and marketing for Fortune 500 corporations like Microsoft, IBM, and Kodak. She has coached, interviewed and hired thousands of job seekers. This article was originally published on her website.

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