Candidates are (just like) consumers

The candidate journey: Maybe the title appears a bit cliché, ‘candidates are just like consumers’, but many recruiters will agree. Candidate behavior has changed drastically over the past few years. The reason: Candidates are developing themselves the same way consumers are. As a logical consequence, recruiters have to take on the role of a marketeer, in order to maintain an understanding of candidates and their journey. This is crucial to be able to adjust to their rapidly changing demands.

 

TRANSPARENCY

The world around us is changing. As consumers, when we look for a new car, we browse through the whole internet for information. We become aware of all the newly released models, what brands offer interesting promotions, what ins and outs every vehicle has and how others consumers value the different models. Simply put, we only visit a dealership for a test drive and to negotiate the price. Nobody has to tell consumers what specific gadgets a car has because they essentially already know what they are buying.

The way information is acquired is also developing rapidly in recruitment. Glassdoor, for example, makes it increasingly easier for candidates to learn inside information about a potential employer. The company offers a platform for (ex-)employees to leave elaborate reviews about their employer. And they do, sharing information about the average salary per position, company culture, etc. Having access to information channels like these makes candidates much better informed and smarter when applying for jobs and negotiating their terms.

THE CANDIDATE JOURNEY

Because consumers acquire an increasing amount of information, their journey also changes. ‘Customer experience’ is a well known concept in the marketing domain, which simply stands for how consumers experience their journey leading to a purchase.

This journey can be split up into three stages: The awareness stage, the consideration stage, and the decision-making stage. We can identify and act accordingly to these stages when recruiting too, because of the similarities between consumers and candidates. Candidates travel down a similar path when applying for a job, as consumers do when purchasing a product. For example, they find inspiration online by reading interesting articles or blog post, explore company websites and job boards, apply for a position, have conversations with recruiters/hiring managers and finally get hired. The better you organize this process up front, the lower the chances are that candidates will drop out during it, or that you will have to reject candidates that do not belong to your desired target audience.

It all starts with reaching the ideal candidate. Two of the most frequently asked questions we encounter from recruiters are: “How do I reach the desired candidates and how to I improve the quality of our applicants? This all has to do with online recruitment marketing and we will explain why.

REACHING THE RIGHT CANDIDATE

Posting a vacancy on your company website, sharing it on social media channels and waiting for the right candidate to appear isn’t enough anymore. You are in essence ‘selling a job’, so similar principles apply as when selling a car. Customers are exposed to 1500 – 3000 communication incentives each day and filter what they deem interesting for themselves and what not. As a recruiter, you have to be aware of this & adjust your practices accordingly. Meaning you have to make sure that the information you distribute is relevant for your target audience and choosing your recruitment channels wisely, picking multiple that lead to the platforms (like job boards, social media, and communities) where your target audience is present. On average, candidates have encountered 10 or more online touch points before they apply for a job. Touchpoints being moments a potential candidate is confronted with your company.

In our experience, the key to successfully reaching the right candidates is a combined effort of recruitment channels like generic job boards, niche job board, social media and Google Marketing. Why? Because:

  • You reach to active-, as well as passive candidates
  • Candidates need about 10 touchpoints before applying for a job
  • You generate online visibility among relevant target audiences
  • You generate quantitative, as well ass qualitative applications
  • You deploy your recruitment budget more efficiently and effectively

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Rinske Lichtendahl
Online Marketeer at VONQ