Recruitment MarketingWhat do you use for Recruitment Marketing? Video! Podcasts! Just-in-time recruiting content! Candidate experience! Job descriptions written for people by people! Analytics! Big data! Remarketing campaigns! Alexa and Siri! Programmatic advertising!! Branded content!! Social advocacy!!! Google Freakin’ Glass!!!!!!!

Hyperventilating – good lord, I am hyperventilating.
At some point in the last three years, I have been told by various people that each one of these ideas or tactics was the most important and impactful thing one could apply to their recruiting processes. These were no raving loons. At least they were mentally competent, vaguely intelligent and were wearing decent shoes. However, each one of these had discovered the magic bullet.

Recruiting FOMO

Recruitment MarketingToday, I spoke to someone who was interested in learning more about companies implementing artificial intelligence to make sourcing more efficient. This was a company who could not attribute candidate sources with any kind of accuracy and confidence, and yet they were trying to leapfrog to a great future sci-fi future.
Maybe, everyone is looking for the big sexy idea that makes headlines to suggest that they are at the forefront of recruiting, that they are the cool ones and the rest of us are chumps. However, the breathless pronouncements that this or that thing, idea or technology is the magic bullet is getting tiresome. Moreover, they set expectations that no one can actually meet.
My guess is that these people and companies are feeling like they are behind the curve, that the world is passing them by. The see the video for the flying lake car, the sheep gestated in a plastic bag  (the video is… intense, so be forewarned), Mark Zuckerberg telling people they will be typing with their brain. Moreover, they look around them to technology that feels… what’s worse that outdated? Archaic? Antediluvian? 

The Wonder Years

Recruitment marketingYes, the future might be amazing, but it is not really here. As a matter of fact, it is not ever really here. It emerges slowly, nudging away the old at first at glacial speed until it seems everywhere. Remember email? It did not magically appear on our desks one day. For years most of us had better email and internet connections at home via phone modems and AOL than we had at work. Years. We saw the commercials and magazine articles about an amazing emailed-enabled future and looked down at having to move files between computers via floppy disks (the “sneaker-net” as we walked the file from one machine to another). 
Consequently, the email did not change everything overnight. Once we got the darn thing installed, we were expected to check it once or twice a day. Then again at lunch. Fifteen years later, we read books telling us to manage our time by disabling our email notifications across a series of devices. It was a path to get from “cool future” to “huh, neat” to “oh god, more?”

The End of the World as We Know it.

This is how the future arrives, not packaged up in a bow, but in sad and weird fits and starts. The fact is, we could not have jumped from the beginning to the end if we wanted to. Which is what we want. We want to take the lessons of a Target or Amazon and apply them to our business, forgetting all the steps Target and Apple had to take to get here. Moreover, I guarantee, they complain as much as you do about their technology and process.

So what now?

Let’s stop pretending that our magic wand is back-ordered and get to doing smarter better work right now. To that end, here is a list of things you need to get good at now before you can play out your science fiction recruiting fantasies:

  • Email/InMail: No more form messages. Every message personalized (and by that I mean written for a person, not with the part that says Dear [name]) needs to be written for the person and request. The fact that spamming people is easy should indicate how useful it really is.
  • Content: Regardless of channel or form (go ahead, tell me that text is dead while you are reading this article. I dare you), they goal is not to flood the market with a message, but to have a message worth hearing. Don’t invest in Snapchat and 360 video until you know what story you are telling and why anyone would ever want to read it. 
  • Mobile: Stop it. Everyone has a phone. Everyone lives on their phone. They look at it in the bathroom, while watching TV, and while waiting for some other thing to happen. We are a far more mobile world than not, so mobile can’t be an after-thought. It has to be the first thought. In many cases, it should be the only thought.

But Wait There’s More!

  • Application Process: Find someone amazing? Ask for their resume. Everything you need is there. Don’t demand they run through your application process because “that is policy.” You have what need to start the consideration and evaluation process, so treat them like a person, not some raw material to be processed by your ATS.
  • Job Titles: I have no idea what an SDE L2 is. However, you are trying to hire four of them. Best of luck.
  • Refusing to See: There are companies who make a lot of money telling you why people do not like working for you, what issues you have, and how things see from their perspective. If you refuse to look at that and take it seriously if you are not willing to make changes based on that feedback, do you think a chatbot is going to turn things around?

The Future is not Magic

Recruitment MarketingConsequently, the future is coming (as it always is), but it is not a panacea. It is not magic. You need to focus on what’s right in front go you. Get good at the basics before you expect to fly new prospects in on jetpacks. For every crazy dunk, LeBron James practices a hundred simple layups. The fact is, he has to nail down the basics before he can think about the amazing stuff. 

In conclusion,  focus on the hard work, the million little steps every candidate makes through the process. That is what really differentiates a company from its competition. Cool ideas make headlines, but well-considered and properly-executed recruiting gets the hire. 

About our Author:
James Ellis currently runs The Talent Cast podcast (found on iTunes, Google Play and wherever you get your podcasts) where he can be found doing deep dives all all things employer brand and recruitment marketing.. Previously, James has spent the last three years helping companies get serious about the recruiting content and inbound recruiting strategies. James currently lives in Chicago, where he hosts the Talent Cast podcast, and spends his time partnering with Fortune 1000 clients to develop recruitment marketing, digital and content strategies to find and attract the best talent.

By James Ellis

James Ellis is an authority on employer branding, focusing on companies who think they have no choice but to post and pray for talent. He is the principal of Employer Brand Labs, a bestselling author, keynote speaker, practitioner, and podcaster with a wealth of experience across multiple industries for almost a decade. You can find him on LinkedIn or subscribe to his free weekly newsletter The Change Agents.