Years ago, if you wanted to buy something, you would go to a brick-and-mortar shop, assess your options, select one and take it to the counter. But times have changed and the competitiveness of the online marketplace demands new strategies to attract and convert buyers.
Likewise, in the past, talent attraction involved an ad in the classifieds section of your preferred newspaper and waiting for applications to flood in. But now, it’s not nearly as simple for employers to attract good talent.
Savvy retailers are ‘always on’, seeking multiple touchpoints for advertising messages including re-targeting customers with ads or emails once they’ve left a brand’s website.
And the smartest Employers will be doing this, too.
Do you have a branded, designated careers website?
If not, you’re already behind the eight-ball. This is your crucial first step towards candidate engagement and talent attraction, promoting your workplace and making it easy for potential employees to contact you. But if a retail store put up a website and assumed that consumers would just start buying, it would be a risky approach. That’s why strategic online retailers use a conversion funnel – which can also be a savvy employer’s secret weapon.
So, what is a conversion funnel?
A funnel is an object with a wide entry point that directs its contents towards a narrow, very specific destination. In the case of retailers, the ‘contents’ are potential buyers. And in your case, they’re your potential future employees.
In this case it’s passive job seekers – (candidates who may not necessarily be on the hunt for work at this present moment, but open to persuasion) - who are your target.
How does it work?
As talent comes closer and closer to applying to join your team, they will pass through four stages of the conversion funnel: Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action.
Think about the last time you bought something online.
You were already aware of the brand. You had an interest in the product, but you didn’t take steps to buy it until a seed of desire was planted in your brain; something inside you clicked, and then so did you. Action.
Depending on the stakes of the purchase, this process might happen in one visit, or it might take days or even months for you to follow through.
And when it comes to talent attraction, that is the key takeaway. A job switch is a high-stakes decision. It’s going to take time and repetition to get results. When you’re dealing with passive job seekers, particularly in skill short industries, you want your team top of mind when they decide to move and here’s how you might go about setting one up.
Awareness:do people know what it’s like to work with you? If not, it’s time to get busy online. Social media such as LinkedIn and Twitter are a great first steps, but you can also run cost effective digital ads with a focus on your employer brand. All roads of course need to lead to your careers site. Make it easy for candidates to find you. It’s important to understand that your company’s brand and your employer brand are different commodities; if you’ve got a big name, that’ll help, but it’s not everything.
promote your employer brand. What kind of benefits or culture would convince someone to jump ship? Constantly advertise and promote these. Make sure they’re enticing, so they lead to:
Desire:If candidates receive enough positive messages over a sustained period of time they will start to wish they worked for you. This is particularly important in industries with a skills shortage. Candidates aren’t on the market long. Desire leads to a decisive course of
Action:Think about how easy it is for your candidates to find vacancies and lodge their interest. Email? Easy. Simple application form? Very easy. Elaborate questionnaire requesting credentials, referees and well-composed responses? Less so. You might need that info from them down the track, but now is not the time.
Be prepared to lose potential candidates at each stage. If you can, though, use analytics to track where they’re dropping off so that you have the power to engineer a better solution.
With a consistent and sustained approach, you will have a pool of interested candidates willing to learn more about working with you. Rather than advertising anew each time a vacancy emerges, you you can simply use your Candidate Management System to cherry-pick from your talent database.
Which, as far as we’re concerned, is the place to be.