We’re hijacking the three R’s of the waste hierarchy (reduce, reuse and recycle) used to improve waste management processes and programs, and spinning them around for your 2020 recruitment needs. The three R’s you need to make it out of 2020 in good shape are Regroup, Reassess and Re-scale! As the shaky new normal slowly begins to solidify, it’s time to take a good hard look at your strategies and goals and be rigorous in the reassessments of your needs so you can shift your budgets around to maximize your campaigns. While COVID-19 may have hit you hard, you will be amazed what a little rearranging of your budgets can do to help you get the results you want for your recruitment programs.
1. Diversify Your Strategy
With all the upheavals of 2020 rocking the job market, there has certainly been some panic in the recruitment industry, resulting in cutting costs or stopping spending all together. The good news is many parts of the world are finally adjusting to the “new normal” and things are picking back up. Even if budgets are limited, now’s the time to spend wisely and strategically. This is your opportunity to make data and fact-based decisions that match your current and future staffing needs to find the perfect combination of sourcing methods to build your all-star team.
Before the pandemic, you spent plenty of time finding, cultivating and nurturing various partnerships with publishers. It might seem like a good decision to cut spending with partners completely in this current climate, but while that may save a few dollars and cents, it throws all that hard work out the window. Instead of cutting down on spending completely, think of scaling down so you don’t have to start from scratch when your budgets are healthier. Remember, any new strategies or systems you devise take time to optimize so the word of the day year should be re-scale, not restart!
The importance of diversifying your talent acquisition strategy and using a performance-based approach to allocate your available budget is what will help you climb out of 2020 relatively unscathed. Look at the data you have available and see if mixing it up between generalist and niche job boards for specific campaigns will help improve areas that may not be performing well. Whether it’s scaling back or up in one or another recruitment channel or moving a campaign to a more appropriate platform, these adjustments will help you cast a wider net without breaking the bank and target the candidates you want and need.
Use performance based strategies
2. Advertise with Intention Through Online Job Postings
Choosing your words wisely never rang so true as a maxim than when creating your job posts. Your job postings are like advertisements for your company, engaging current and future employees from that first job title they encounter. Which is why those job titles are so crucial and need your undivided attention. Many job boards use algorithms to suggest the right jobs to the right job seekers, so if you’re looking for a specific set of candidates, you need to have the right titles to match what they’re looking for.
Your company may have super fun internal job titles, but will those titles make sense to a potential candidate? While it is important to showcase your employer brand and culture in your job postings, leave the titles for the most crucial information job seekers need. Calling out for “Marketing gurus” or “Ninja Developers” might be fun, but such flair isn’t necessary to effectively engage current and future employees. Keep it simple! Don’t include too much information in your job title, such as adding unnecessary words like “immediate openings” or including an estimated salary.
You can also add relevancy to your job titles by using specific prefixes to engage more appropriate candidates, such as “veterans only” or “remote work” if you have such criteria. In the current climate, if the opportunity includes working from home, those keywords rank high in job seeker interest right now and will go further in attracting the candidates you need than including “$$/hour.”
Tailor your job titles
3. Set Realistic Goals
At the same time as you re-evaluate and re-scale your spending, perhaps your goals need a review too. Look at what has become most important to you in the mess of 2020. Maybe having low CPCs as a goal has become important for budgeting reasons, but it may not be serving you as well as you think. Your CPCs should be only a part of your larger bidding strategy, rather than a goal by themselves. One of your goals, therefore, could be to optimize your bidding strategy in combination with other objectives like CPAs and job volume.
When publishers manage and optimize campaigns, they look at the current average bids in different industries to recommend bids to clients that make the most sense. If you are recruiting in multiple industries, you cannot spend the same CPC in each, no matter how much easier it may feel. Conversations with your publishers telling them your requirements and goals will help them give you clear guidelines to help you make informed decisions.
Just as having a diversity of traffic sources and different kinds of partners help optimize your campaigns, having a combination of goals will serve the same purpose. You may just want quality candidates, or a large volume of candidates or you just want your budget to last the month. These are all important goals and often work best when combined. In Europe, most players tend to use a combination of CPA, volume and setting a budget pacing goal for the month. In North America, often the combination of goals used is simply CPA and volume. Now is the time to look at your industries and your needs to find the best combination of strategies that will help you achieve your goals. Your publishers will be happy to help you shape and work towards those objectives.
Pre-define your campaign goals
4. Set and Review Geo-Location Tags
Setting appropriate geo-location tags has been an important step to consider when sending your job postings out into the online world. Most publishers have a job search algorithm in place that considers both keywords and location. In Europe, geo-expansion has been part of the norm with more open borders and easier movement for candidates. In North America, it’s important to be more careful about how far, geographically, you advertise for a posting as movement between states or provinces can be a bit tricky!
It’s important to talk to your publishers regularly to check in on how your jobs are being geo-localized. There are always those instances where city names or abbreviations might mistakenly be attributed to the wrong place. For example, CA can stand for California or Canada, or the city of London can appear in Canada or the UK…big difference! If you or your publisher notices anomalies in a campaign, perhaps the geo-location is the culprit and can be easily fixed.
It’s important to make sure jobs are being geo-localized properly since this can impact your CPAs. If you often have to advertise in an area that has the same name as another place in the world, flag it to your publishers by explicitly telling them you only want candidate clicks from the US or Canada for example. It makes no sense to receive foreign clicks for your jobs and it certainly doesn’t help your Cost Per Application (CPA) metrics either. It may seem like a small thing to put a location on a job, but it can have far reaching effects if done incorrectly. Most publishers are aware of the problematic location tags and can help you stay on top of and quickly fix any issues.
Get your location right
5. Adapt Your Budget to Local Needs
As you adjust your strategies and goals to the realities of 2020, don’t forget to look at how you can creatively adapt your budgets as well. Though budgets are decreased, it doesn’t mean they can’t still be effective. When budgets were healthy, having a centralized approach probably made a lot of sense. Now, as needs shift depending on industry and location, your budget might have to adapt accordingly.
It could be that a centralized approach still works, but it’s important to pay attention to your regional trends and requirements. The end goal is always to make sure your recruitment needs are met at every level. In the current climate, job volume and job seeker interest are fluctuating constantly depending on how well, or not, a specific country or region is handling the pandemic. For example, in the restaurant industry hit hard by the crisis, some regions are recovering faster than others, so the best approach might be to de-centralize your budget to allocate funds to support local needs.
Your publishers can help you spot areas that have heavier hiring requirements and find where the most active candidates are hunting for work. As you monitor your campaigns, you can give your publishers new requirements for specific segments, and they in turn can tell you what the best practice might be, such as targeting keywords or locations, to make sure your jobs are visible to the right candidates.
De-centralizing your budget or further segmenting your campaigns doesn’t have to last forever. Perhaps for this quarter it makes sense to provide more budget for your UK campaigns than other markets as that country seems to be recovering quicker than others. At the end of the quarter you can always adjust again and return to a more centralized approach if your regional requirements call for it. We all need to have a bit more creativity and flexibility to adapt to all the changes this global event is throwing at us. In the end adapting your recruitment strategies with the help of your publishers will ensure your campaigns keep performing well and stay relevant during these uncertain times.
Decentralize when needed
6. Measure Your Progress
You have now taken the time to re-evaluate your goals to answer the needs of 2020. You have rescaled and diversified your budget spending with partners, set the right job titles and checked the geo-tags for your job postings and have taken a good hard look at what regions may need more budget than others. Now it’s time to track your objectives and continuously monitor how all the elements you’ve put in place are performing and adapt as needed.
This means you should be using all your HR tech providers to measure performance at the campaign, industry, and job levels. Publisher dashboards are a great resource for helping you track and manage the progress of your campaigns. At the campaign level, you and your publishers can monitor the evolution of those campaigns and see which industries are performing well, or perhaps notice one industry has a higher than normal CPA. Your publisher can then find the root of the issue and help propose solutions.
Another reason why it’s great to work with multiple publishers is to take advantage of their different strengths. Not only does working with several publishers diversify and increase your traffic, you can also make sure you give them the right jobs for their audiences. If you notice one particular industry, such as nursing, is not doing well with a particular publisher, perhaps give them more IT jobs, which they do well with and that are more suited to their candidates and move your nursing jobs to a different publisher.
When measuring progress at the job level, you can spot trends and use them to your advantage. In pandemic times, look at the performance of jobs that have “remote” or “Work from home” in their titles and see how best to respond to the trend.
Even if you spot issues in your campaigns, by tracking closely and communicating regularly with your publishers, these flaws are easily fixed. And if you are running the most perfect, dream campaign, measuring still comes in handy when it’s time to re-scale or adjust to any new developments to make sure it stays dreamy!
Track and measure your campaign
Optimizing your recruitment outreach in 2020 doesn’t have to be so hard, or at least doesn’t have to be so lonely a venture. Your publishers are invaluable resources for helping you set up strategies and campaigns that will help you reach your objectives and adapt to every bump in the road. With limited resources all around, efficiency is key to all aspects of your recruitment programs. Learning how to effectively stretch each dollar and cent of your budget to maximize the results of your campaigns will help you reach the end of 2020 in one piece and prepare you for whatever 2021 has to offer. So, regroup, reassess, re-scale and reach out to your publishers today to see how you can work together and better connect the world to work.
About Johanna Donovan
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