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Your Employment Brand is a Marathon

While an important function in your recruiting strategy, candidate nurturing is just one part of a longer and more complex recruitment marketing program and strategy. Candidate marketing consists of all activities for building and maintaining your employer brand, extending reach and exposure of career opportunities, building and nurturing candidate relationships, and management of messaging and advertising of talent acquisition efforts.

Your employer brand is the common thread that runs through all of your recruitment marketing efforts, and it’s also the first place to begin when reviewing your current processes to determine what you can do better and more efficiently. In this post, we’ll talk about evaluating your employer brand to assess the strengths, opportunities and weaknesses you are currently facing with your company’s recruitment branding and efforts.

Evaluating Your Employment Brand with a Talent Brand Audit

Often called a talent brand or employment brand audit, this comprehensive analysis looks at all aspects of your digital brand and the candidate experience your candidates experience online. It focuses on six specific areas.

1) Recruiting Technology

Your applicant tracking system is the heart of your recruiting and application process. Your ATS can streamline job posting to talent marketplaces, like Talroo, and enhance the candidate experience with customization,  making it easier for qualified candidates to apply quickly and easily for the jobs they want. You can also set up messaging automation with a FAQ for candidates and use your apply bounce back email to direct candidates to questions most asked by them during the interview and hiring process, as well as use the opportunity to re-engage previous applicants with content marketing.

Technology can help you move more quickly to secure a strong candidate. As the time these candidates are on the market gets shorter, taking the time at the outset to establish a clear process and plan for all those involved in the hiring process with your recruiting technology gives you the freedom to move quickly when it counts. A speedy process will help you lock in a great candidate before they move on to another opportunity.

2) Social Media

With 76% of all U.S. Internet users on social media (Pew, 2015), and 92% of employers using social media (The Muse), social channels are low-cost and necessary channels for amplifying your brand. Work with your marketing team and collaborate on a dual strategy to drive a strong presence on social media by cross-posting customer and employee stories to engage new customers and drive quality candidates to your career site to apply.

Facebook, especially Facebook videos, and Instagram stories can also give potential candidates insight on what it’s like to work for your company. Ask questions to engage candidates, create a unique Instagram hashtag and encourage current employees to use it when sharing workplace photos, and tap your existing talent to share their expertise in articles on LinkedIn showcase pages.

Employee testimonials are a powerful way to share what makes your organization unique and a great place to work. Companies such as Twilio combine video with testimonials that complement their employment branding and social media efforts. Beyond research and employee testimonials, visual media helps to set employers apart from one another. This includes photography, videos and other digital assets that complement your job posting. For similar examples, check out AT&T’s career site, T-Mobile’s career “tours,” and careers at Airbnb.

3) Job Descriptions

The best job postings provide information on the qualifications and skill sets needed in order to be successful in the role. The single most important part of your job posting is the title. Like an email subject line, it is the first piece of information your candidate will read. It should accurately describe the job, provide information about the skill sets required, and encourage the candidate to either explore or move along to another opportunity. A poor job posting headline can keep you from reaching the best talent and draw out the hiring process possibly indefinitely.

An effective job description should include key responsibilities for the position as succinctly as possible. You might consider a short version for posting to job boards and elsewhere online, with a link to the longer description on your career site. The second most important feature of a job posting is a call to action that drives candidates to apply. Keep your call to action short and to the point. It could be as simple as, “Apply here,” but you want your call to action to stand out from those of your competitors. Take a look at your competitors’ job postings and consider conducting A/B tests with different calls to action to see which drives better results.

Related: 10-Point Checklist for Job Ads That Convert

4) Career Site

Your career site is your company’s most important recruitment channel and the top resource candidates access during their research process. A 2017 report from LinkedIn discovered that not only do candidates spend one to two months gathering information, your company website is the first destination for research (53% of candidates), followed by LinkedIn (38%) and job search engines (35%). Candidates are looking for company values, what current employees have to say about working for your company, transparency (especially in job descriptions), and what makes your company stand out in your industry.

5) Candidate Funnels

Marketing teams are familiar with funnel engagement; if you haven’t already, consider adapting the same process for your candidate marketing. Developing personas, mapping out how you’re reaching them and where, and reporting on the results are inherently useful to the hiring process. Your talent funnel, or pipeline, allows you to not only recruit for the positions you have open now, but for those you may need to fill in the future. For high-volume hiring, a talent pipeline is a necessity.

Related: (eBook) How to Win at High-Volume Recruiting

A talent pipeline can also improve the candidate experience and the company-candidate relationship. When you are recruiting for future opportunities, you have to work that much harder to build trust with potential candidates. You are engaging in more meaningful conversations to gain perspective on the career goals of the talent in your industry. Talent pipelining also allows you to better personalize your messages, answer questions, build relationships, and most importantly, to automate your job postings. Your candidate database and social media platforms become more than sourcing tools; they become relationship-building platforms.

Because your candidate funnels are built on strategy, this is where programmatic advertising comes in. It’s one way for your company to drive qualified and highly targeted traffic to your job postings more efficiently than traditional job marketing with job boards. In the talent marketplace, programmatic advertising has one significant difference from standard CPC ad buys. While job ads can be created and scaled, unlike traditional digital advertising, job ads have an end date. Once a position is filled, it should and can be immediately pulled from an ad buy. The biggest benefit to this type of advertising is that you can set specific rules that are directly related to your ad budget, to reach a specific audience, for example, or to target a specific conversion rate.

6) Candidate resources

Content marketing is important for candidate nurturing in the mid- to lower hiring funnel. All candidates should get a list of resources to help them in their job search, whether it’s with your organization or with someone else. The key is to create a referral source that continues to drive high quality job seekers to expand and grow your employment brand in far reaching ways. This can be in the form of an FAQ along with other candidate assets that can help provide information about your company, unique qualities and custom content and resources targeted to your job candidate personas.

Finally, your talent brand exists whether or not you actively manage it. It includes the perceptions of prospective, current, and previous employees and influences whether or not people choose to apply, accept offers, and stay at your company. A talent brand audit is an excellent way to measure this information with regards to where you are now, set goals and define where you would like to be, and implement or change processes based on the information gathered via your audit. This is how you control (most of) the information that is out there about your company, your messaging, and the perception of your company for the long-term. It’s dynamic by its nature, which means that a long-term candidate marketing strategy that supports your employer brand must be maintained and audited frequently.