Micro-targeting for the perfect high-tech recruiting campaign
By Dennis O’Reilly
Most of us are online most of the time, which means we’re creating reams of data — data that can be used by advertisers to serve up stuff they hope we want, including new jobs.
In recent years, recruiting has undergone a paradigm shift. Where candidates were once at the mercy of large companies, job-seekers now have the upper hand. Today, employers recruit the best and brightest right out of college, wooing them with perks like catered meals, unlimited vacation and cryogenic egg freezing. Competition is fierce and the major players know they’re targeting a tiny pool of super-talented, highly-specialized recruits. But most employers are learning that over-the-top isn’t want candidates want.
This trend is most evident in the tech sector, where the quest to land engineers, coders and developers who are brilliant and experienced is all-consuming. The appeal of a snazzier title or an insane salary increase isn’t enough to lure them away. These candidates have strong emotional attachments to their work; asking them to make major life changes, even when you’re dangling a bushel of the industry’s best carrots, is a tall order. Assuming you can get their attention in the first place.
That’s where many recruiters turn to what we like to think of as the recruiting trifecta. As a communications marketer, your job to convince candidates that your company is the place to pursue — and realize — their dreams. To break through, consider these three steps:
- Build an audience-first messaging platform
Using tools like comScore (media planning and website audience analysis) and Sysomos (online conversation analysis across social media and blogs), create a profile of your ideal candidate, their demo- and psychographics, and an analysis of their behavior, both on- and offline. Pore over their social posts, see where they get their news and how they talk about work online. Then, develop a messaging platform that appeals to people with the same skills, experience and passion you seek.
Once you have the right messaging, reach this audience where and when they’re most likely to be amenable to your pitch. Use data to determine the perfect candidates, and then concentrate your paid promotions on them. Behavioral data, keyword searches and job searches can help you target people most likely to change jobs. Digital and mobile display ads, paid search and promoted social content can help you articulate your vision, while driving qualified candidates to a campaign-specific landing page. Once you get them there, don’t waste those valuable impressions. Use the data collected to re-target interested candidates down the road.
- Don’t stop at contact
Many partners leave support to internal PR teams. Don’t. Partner with your public relations, employee engagement and internal communications teams to ensure a consistent experience — especially when your search spans multiple teams, regions and countries. Optimize talking points and campaign messaging for each audience segment. In many cases, local teams provide will prove invaluable — folks in Munich (or Bangalore or Buenos Aires) know their home turf better than your team in Seattle ever will.
Spend a lot of time crafting your messaging. If you don’t know what to say to get these people to consider your company, your other efforts will be wasted.
Once you’ve finalized your messaging, micro-target the right candidates with the right message at the right time. Then, when they consider your offer, give them the support to seal the deal. Fail to deliver at any point and you’ll lose your dream candidate to one of your competitors, who are likely doing something similar. Nail these three elements, and when these candidates decide to take their talents elsewhere, you’ll have the upper hand.
Dennis O’Reilly is a Creative Director at Edelman, a leading global communications marketing firm in Seattle.
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