How to create consumer grade candidate experience just like an e-commerce brand?

'Creating consumer like' employee experience in HR services is somethng many organisation now aspire for and often we see a gap in the understanding of HR professional in terms of what it really means. As the talent scarcity is becoming increasingly evident in many markets, HR and recruitment professionals need to learn from basics of digital marketing. Here is an attempt to compare a typical e-commerce business with recruitment process to see how organisation can think about 'treating candidates like consumers'. 

Lets have a look at our experience as a consumer using e-commerce site and how we can relate these in the world of recruitment marketing which is the candidate facing part of ATS process. Remember candidates are our consumers and job roles are our product/services here. Just like there are categories in a product catalogue, your function or business unit are your categories in recruitment.
Recruitment marketing vs digital marketing

Personas: E-commerce companies design experience fitting the personas based on the ideal customers they want to target. Organisations can take a lesson from here by outlining personas of candidates/future employees they want to hire. This will help organisations in creating meaningful experience for these candidates through out the recruitment process.  Let's have a look at some of the concept in recruitment marketing and relate these to digital marketing concepts

Talent Community
When you visit an e-commerce website, you are always asked to subscribe to a newsletter , this is a way e-commerce companies convert site visitors to their customers. Same can be applied in recruitment, as an organisation anyone visiting your career page is a potential future employee and it is important to establish contact with them, so get them enrolled to 'Talent Community' gathering basic information (Talent community sign up pop-up would be great!).

Sign up and Social Logins
In most of the website consumers are encouraged to join with minimum information with facebook, google login. It is the same with recruitment, organisations should make signing up as easy as possible with Linkedin, Facebook, Google and any of these social logins. It is important to carry QR codes for campus drives and also encourage alumni's to sign up to talent community when they leave organisation.

Recruitment Talent Funnel
E-commerce busienss creates sales funnel to target their consumers by converting them from visitors to consumers by channeling right content marketing by taking them through AIDA framework - Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action. Same can be very well applied in recruitment
Awareness: When a candidate join your talent community or started following your LinkedIn page or glassdoor, it is important to create content for awareness, show them how great it is to work for the company, what is the purpose, how it can help them to connect to the bigger purpose. Use channels like SEO (this isnt anymore a nice to have), optimised web content, e-books for sign up campaign, white papers, online ads, direct email and employee stories in this phase to help organisations to connect to candidates. It is important organisation keep consistent messaging to drive EVP (Employer Value Proposition) and position the brand in the way the organisation want to portray infront of potential future employees. Organisation need specialist skillset to manage EVP just like e-commerce business invest in digital marketing contents.
Interest & Desire: Target the talent community based on their experience and interests. If you have a specific job role relevant to their experience, do email marketing campaign e.g. Top IT jobs for Compuer science graduate. Invite the candidates to webinar for categories/functions where you have hard to find skills. Invite them to annual results or CEO speak events. This is the time to build the right talent pool based on skills to get maximum engagement from the candidate. Show them the roles that is relevant to them based on past search just like that you see in amazon.
Action: This is the phase where organisation need to get commitment from candidates to persuad them to apply for a job that is relevant to them and then convert them into employees with the best possible experience during the recruitment process including a simple application process, well organised interview, smooth offer process, etc.
Organisations need to have the right content startegy to ensure full funnel content strategy is managed for an effective recruitment process.

Drop off rate and Offer acceptance rate
Once a candidate is passed into your recruitment funnel, it is important to focus on them as your treasures and focus on key performance indicators like churn rate and conversion rate that e-commerce monitor, try to keep your offer rejection to lowest (Organisation may use upsell/cross sell tactics used by e-commerce sites to avoid cart abandonment here by offering more responsibilities to the roles they are in the final stage of interview, agreeing career path discussion, offering other similar jobs. Organisation need to have practices in place to ensure that they don't loose candidates if they have reached further down in the recruitment funnel.

Targeted Talent Pooling
Once candidates have entered the interview process, you know what they are good at, capture this very valuable information and this is like the loyalty program in your e-commerce world.  Ensure you incentivise them to apply for new role by jumping the interview queue as you already know the potential and skills. This is also applicable to employees, organisations ranked high in employee satisfaction encourge employees to apply for other jobs internally, so best recruitment process should also think about targetting employees and thereby improving retention.

Recruitment ROI
The less your spend on on-boarding your new employees by using referrals, talent community, alumni network, targetted talent pool, using direct sourcing the better will be the return on investment for your recruitment process. It is important for recruitment team to keep an eye on spending on agencies, job portals and watch out for ROI to ensure recruitment advertising spend is used to the best use. Just like there are social media marketing spend controls and monitoring, in the new recruitment world, organisation need to have social media recruitment marketing managers to have the right paid/organic advertisement on linkedin, glassdoor or any other platform.

Candidate Experience
It is important to understand the website experience, delivery experience, customer service experience, etc. in an e-commerce world. It is same in a recruitment world, it is important that organisation conduct candidate experience NPS survey to check experience of candidates in applicaiton process, interview, offer and on-boarding processes. Customer service is a key area e-commerce companies focus on  with chat bots, contact page or a phone number on a website, but when it comes to recruitment this isn't the case with all companies, AI based chatbots and social media bots, etc. are now getting popular in HCM markets to give this sort of experience to candidates to make their experience seamless to get support. Also, having the right CRM system is important to ensure you know your future employees and keep track of those interactions.

Employer Value Proposition
This is similar to brand image of a business. e-Commerce businesses uses influencers , paid advertising, social media monitoring, etc. to build and maintain brand image. It should be the same with recruitment, organisation needs to invest in these skillset, start using influencers, employee ambassadors, social media champions, etc. to give a consistent EVP. Better the employer value propostion, more likely you are to get right candidate faster.

All these concepts are now embedded in to advanced recruitment marketing softwares offered by SAP SuccessFactors, Workday and other major softwares. However organisation still need to do something to embedd the digital marketing mindset into operating model by having the right roles and social media strategist in place (e.g. Instagram focussed to attract more Gen Z, etc.)

I would love to hear your comments!

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