Recruitment Marketing on Autopilot is a Risky Business

Employer brand set? Check. Social recruiting program? Check. New ATS? Check. CRM to measure it all? Check check check. Your talent acquisition program must be running so smoothly, it's like it's on autopilot. You took off and you're flying along nicely at 10,000 feet. Then you go to land and it's like you've blown a tire. Or an entire engine.

Recruiters still complain about lack of talent. 
Volume is high but quality applicants aren't. 
Retention numbers haven't really improved. 

And you're still scrambling to find money to spend on making the trip even better for the next fiscal year. Sigh.

Any pilot will tell you, that even when the machine is humming along, there many, many factors that play into a safe, on-time arrival.  And the same goes for hiring.

At exaqueo, we call it "source of influence." We coined the term several years ago when we realized through every workforce research project we did that there was no such thing as a source of hire. Sure, an applicant's last port of call might come from a job board or a company's career site. But that wasn't WHY they applied. 

Further, there was never one reason, or one source of influence that drove a candidate to consider a company or apply for a job.  It's not just product, price, place and promotion (the classic 4Ps of marketing). It's the influence of people and relationships.

Consider the classically simple process of a candidate finding a job. Candidates seek out information at key steps in the process. We call those "spheres of influence." And yes, digital plays a huge role.

But so do people.

Colleagues. Friends. Family. Professors. Personal connections.

In any given day we take our brains offline (albeit less than we used to). And we make decisions and take action based on a combination of online and offline resources.

Over and over again, employees and candidates tell us in our research what makes up their sphere of influence. And as much as it is online, digital resources, their offline relationships are the real influences.

For example, a candidate might show in your ATS as coming from a job board or website. But it's because a friend recommended a company as a place to work so the candidate went to the site or a search engine to confirm or dispel what his friend said. So that means the website isn't the source of hire. 

The inbound click from that website is just the last click, not the real source.

Yet, we all but ignore the role that the offline brain plays--the relationships and people who really influence the decisions candidates make. We throw all our resources into engaging online. But that's not where the real influence is.

What's the answer? Employer brand and recruitment marketing leaders have to find that balance between the online and offline brain. Instead of just spending money on online source of hire drivers, look at that sphere of influence--what are the most important influencers to drive decision-making? And are you spending enough on those? 

Talk (gasp!) to employees and candidates offline to really understand how they think, feel and what ultimately drives their actions. Pull it all together and it's called source of brand.

Or stay on autopilot and throw your money to the mechanic. I'm sure they'll sell you exactly what you need.

Susan LaMotte is the founder of exaqueo, a workforce consultancy that helps companies build cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact exaqueo to learn how to better compete for talent by building honest, authentic employer brands and powerful talent attraction and retention programs.

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