The digital age is changing the way all fields work, across the board, and HR is no exception. As a result, a plethora of tools and platforms now exist to help HR departments work more efficiently. If you’re an HR manager, you probably already use one or more of them on a daily basis.
But what if I told you that you’re likely missing out on another category of tools and techniques typically used by other departments?
According to Reoot Peleg, an HR evangelist and the founder of HR for HR, the largest HR community, the fields of recruitment and marketing in the digital age have significant overlap. “Recruiters need to create branding for the company while marketers create branding for customers,” Peleg told me.
By and large, however, recruiters are still not taking advantage of today’s technologies the way marketers are, he added. “Things like tracking specific ads, or analyzing measurements to see what works and what doesn’t, are still not fully integrated in the recruiting process,” Peleg said. “Today, these two fields have become very similar. It’s almost the same job.”
In fact, the combination of the two has created a new breed of digital recruiters — recruiters who use the same cutting-edge tools and techniques that marketers use in order to actively pursue top talent for their companies.
Here are several of these tricks and technologies to help you take your own recruitment campaigns to the next level. The good news is that most of these tools are free and easy. You’ll add them to your recruitment campaigns in minutes.
Using social media more effectively
Today, no one needs to be convinced that social media is an important recruitment channel. From Linkedin to Facebook groups, even Twitter and Instagram, recruiters are active on social media, posting job ads. But which ones are the most effective? If you’re not tracking your ads, you have no way of knowing.
That’s where a technology called UTM comes in. A UTM code is a simple string of text that you add to the end of the URLs used in your recruitment ads. You add a campaign name, medium and source.
The campaign could be the job title; the medium could be where the ad appeared (job board, careers page, specific Facebook group name); and the source could be the specific site (e.g. Facebook, Linkedin). Then, by turning to Google Analytics, you’ll be able to see exactly how much traffic came from each parameter. This will give you a precise picture, allowing you to focus your efforts on what works best.
An example of adding UTM parameters to a URL. There are several tools that automatically add a UTM code to your URL for you. Check out utm.io for an excellent free service.
Another good tool to use in conjunction with UTM codes is Bitly, a link-shortening service with two advantages: The first is that it hides the UTM code from the user. (Some people notice such things and don’t like being “tracked.”) The second is that you can easily get stats on how many times the link has been followed, right on Bitly’s site. It’s easy and useful.
Recruitment: It’s just like marketing
Peleg told me that HR professionals need to think of candidates the same way marketers think of customers, and to create a detailed candidate persona. “The candidate is a customer in every way” he said. “We need to go after them with remarketing, blog posts, PR and more in order to increase the intent and push for a close — just like how a marketer would go after a customer. These two fields have become very closely related.”
One great way to emulate the strategies of marketing is to use the “smart targeting” capabilities of Facebook and Linkedin. By targeting specific demographics and geolocations, you’ll be able to make sure your job postings are seen by your target audience. With Facebook, you can get very specific; and, if you’re savvy enough, you can really use targeting to your advantage.
For instance, if you’re posting an entry-level position, you can target the “life event” of recent college graduates. Or you can get even more specific, by targeting interests like nursing, design or advertising.
Linkedin also has a long list of targeting options that you can use creatively. For example, you could select certain Linkedin Group members whose specific interests you could target, or you could go after the followers of certain companies or some important individual in the field of your job posting. Both Facebook and LinkedIn offer guides to help get started.
Options other than social media
Social media sites are not the only alternative to traditional job boards. You can find other websites specific to the field you’re searching for.
For instance, if you’re recruiting for software developers, you might consider posting on Stack Overflow and Github, which have more than 50 million visitors per month. For professional business positions, the popular question-and-answer site Quora could be a good place to post. And newer recruitment sites like Glassdoor are becoming increasingly popular with job seekers.
These alternative channels are particularly important with younger candidates, so if you’re looking for rising young talent, you really need to make the most of them.
Another trick you can borrow from digital marketing is A/B testing, where you run two or more versions of your job post, then get statistics back on which version was more successful. This allows you to test different wording in the job description, and requirements, and see what works best. You could also run A/B testing on company culture videos or other call to action buttons. Countless services offer A/B testing, some with advanced features.
Hotjar, for example, uses heatmaps and user recordings to let you see exactly where people are looking, clicking, and scrolling — and where they’re not.
An advanced technique to pursue top talent
Here’s a advanced technique to help you more aggressively pursue top talent: It entails remarketing any visitor who has been to the careers page of your website. Once that’s happened, you can then use platforms like Google display campaigns, Facebook sponsored content, Linkedin and Twitter to present ads to this person.
An ad showing recent funding news — perhaps explaining how your company has recently raised X million dollars and is now looking to hire top talent — could have a big impact on attracting additional applicants.
Here, you’ll need to use a conversion pixel, an image the size of a pixel that you add to your site in order to track visitors. This pixel records who’s been to your page and then allows you to display your ads solely to those visitors. Facebook offers instructions for adding the pixel, and similar guides are available for other channels.
One last tool you should consider is email marketing software. Despite the popularity of social media, email is still the preferred method for conducting business. Also, you probably have a large contact list in a CRM that is ripe for use.
Meanwhile, there are many great options to help you track and analyze the recruitment funnel. One of the most popular and free ones is MailChimp. Simply set up an email campaign, then seamlessly integrate it into your website analytics. You can accurately track the effectiveness of your campaign by recording exactly how many visitors it brought to your site.
What does the future hold for HR? Expect to see more analytics-related roles to help you analyze large amounts of data, as traditional administrative roles disappear. Developing technologies like big data and AI will also have an impact.
“AI is wrapped up in the world of big data,” Peleg told me. “The challenge for now is that we don’t know exactly what it is we need to extract from the vast amounts of data. It takes a lot of work to figure out what will give us insights.”
And, according to Moran Shoham, head of HR at GeoEdge, digital recruiters should be using AI-based SaaS tools, such as Gloat or Woo. ”Considering the rate of technological development, it’s clear that making strategic use of new technologies isn’t only for the digital marketer,” Shoham said. “Digital recruiters need to be just as savvy if they want to stay competitive.”
So, that’s a little bit about why it’s important to add these technologies to your recruitment campaigns. Joining forces with your marketing department could also prove beneficial, as those folks are already likely experienced in using these tools and tricks. One thing, however, is clear: The age of the digital recruiter has arrived.