Branding, Building Relationships and Getting Social

By Sarah Fister Gale

Jan. 12, 2017

The days when automated screening tools and mobile-enabled job sites were considered innovative have long since ended.

In today’s tight talent market, recruiting technology is all about building the brand, developing long-term relationships with passive candidates and integrating recruiting into the broader talent management process.

“The post-and-pray days are pretty much over,” said Lisa Rowan, an analyst with IDC. “The current trend is all about candidate relationship management.”

Companies are beginning to recognize that even if they only hire one candidate, they may be getting hundreds of qualified applicants who could be perfect for the next role — and it is foolish to throw that connection away. That’s where CRMs, candidate relationship management tools, come in, said Rowan.

This software, from vendors like Avature and Greenhouse, expands on application tracking technology, to provide companies with a platform for capturing candidate data, and organizing it in a way that makes it easier to sort them into targeted talent pools, and communicate with them.  “It’s a way to keep them involved with the company’s social circle, so that when a position opens up they are still warm,” Rowan said.

It also ties in with companies’ efforts to build their brand as a “great place to work.” LinkedIn’s 2016 Global Recruiting Trends report shows 59 percent of companies are investing in their employer brand as part of their recruiting program.

“Companies are thinking a lot about how to proactively build their brand,” said Kate Hasting, director of insights for LinkedIn. That includes fleshing out company websites with “day in the life” videos, employee testimonies, executive blogs and detailed job descriptions, and adding branded language to all applicant communications. They are also expanding their social media presence to appeal to passive candidates through blogs, photos and posts that highlight the company culture and values rather than just referencing job openings.

This proactive approach helps them attract a better candidate pool, and begin to win over hard-to-find talent before they ever engage with a recruiter. This is particularly important among highly skilled millennials who choose the companies they want to work for long before they apply for the job, Hasting said.


The Challenge: Close the Onboarding Gap

Once candidates are recruited, companies are also looking for ways to link the recruiting process more directly to onboarding and talent management as a way to better engage new employees and track performance, said Holger Mueller, principal analyst and vice president at Constellation Research. “It’s the natural next step for recruiting,” he said.

Many talent management software vendors have some onboarding tools, like Silkroad’s RedCarpet, Oracle’s Talent Cloud and Cornerstone On Demand’s ResCare. They all address administrative tasks pretty well, but customers want them to do more, said Rowan. “Onboarding is an opportunity to socialize new hires, introduce them to teammates, and get them connected on internal social platforms,” she said.

Over the past 18 months, vendors have been scrambling to make their onboarding tools more robust, she said. SuccessFactors for example, integrated its social platform Jam into the onboarding suite and links new hires directly to learning, goal setting and other talent management tools; CRM vendor Avature offers clients a customizable onboarding portal where new employees can connect with managers and teammates before their first day. Rowan believes this category of recruiting software still has room to improve.

Mueller noted that the link between recruiting and the broader talent management programs is also driving demand for more sophisticated workforce analytics. They want to know things like where their best hires come from, what skills and education they bring to the table and why they leave when they do.

The challenge is not the lack of tools, it is lack of access to the data, which often sits in a siloed system. “Companies need better data to do better analytics,” he said. “The only way to get that information is if the recruiting data is merged with the rest of the talent management system.”

Insider Intel: HR and Recruiting Need to Get Along 

Mueller urges HR leaders to look for vendors that can help them link recruiting, onboarding and the broader talent management system, and to create stronger links between HR and recruiting so that data is more easily captured and shared.

“There is a big disconnect right now between recruiting and performance management,” he said. But if companies want to track their high performers and replicate them in future hires, they need to close this gap.

Companies also need to think more strategically about branding and what their social persona looks like, Hasting added. “Whether you want candidates to think you are innovative, or fun, or professional, that has to come across in all of  your marketing and branding efforts,” Hasting said, and the more proactive they are the better. “If you want to go after passive talent, you have to build a brand that will capture their interest long before they apply for the job.”

Sarah Fister Gale is a writer based in the Chicago area. Comment below or email Follow Workforce on Twitter at @workforcenews.




Sarah Fister Gale is a writer in Chicago.

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