Applying Marketing Strategies to Sourcing

Hiring organizations last year spent an average of $3.2 million on their talent acquisition (TA) budget, and 19% of that budget went to sourcing candidates, according to Brandon Hall Group’s research.  That’s a considerable chunk of the TA budget used for sourcing, ranking just behind the actual hiring (21%).

recruitment marketingThe lack of success companies have in finding high-quality candidates raises the question of how effectively they are spending their sourcing budgets to utilize tools that lead to quality hires. While I was at the HR Technology Conference and Expo in October, there was much buzz about the “consumerization” of talent acquisition and the availability of marketing tools to help in that endeavor. However, few organizations are taking advantage of those resources, and perhaps don’t even understand all the implications of their actions.

First, while “consumerization” of talent acquisition may refer to making the candidate application process easy and intuitive with compelling messaging, it also implies that HR professionals need to use their marketing skills to track the effectiveness of their recruitment and branding strategies.

Evidence points to a lack of understanding of what is involved. Based on our 2015 Talent Acquisition Research, 61% of organizations rely on their Applicant Tracking System (ATS) for source of hire. Yet, an ATS usually only provides the last touch point, where the candidate learned about the job, such as a job posting on a job board.

Candidates usually research employers using a variety of techniques. They could use a search engine, review the organization’s career site, visit the organization’s social networking page, speak to a friend, and more. It is important that the organization understands the entire process in order to best allocate their sourcing budget and get the most-effective results.

There are several ways to determine the effectiveness of your organization’s sourcing and brand efforts. Some talent acquisition solution providers track the last brand touch point and/or sources of influence. There is also ad tracking software, or source codes, that provide source of application and source of hire.  There are other predictive solutions that identify the best sites to promote the jobs.  In addition to all those methods, research among your target audience (new hires, candidates, likely candidates) can determine:

  • Employer brand awareness
  • Brand positioning versus the competition
  • Job search behavior, including media usage, association/group memberships, activities
  • Employment motivators, preferences, and behavior
  • Feedback on the hiring process

Strength in talent acquisition strategies comes from understanding your audience and measuring the effectiveness of your organization’s recruitment/sourcing and brand strategies. As an analyst, I believe that Knowledge is Power, and the more knowledge the better.

Daria Friedman, Principal Analyst, Talent Acquisition, Brandon Hall Group

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