As we’ve learned over the last few weeks, recruiters are taxed for time in their pursuit of top talent. This is largely due to the fact they are managing between 15-50 job openings at a time on average. The end result is the dreaded “cookie-cutter” approach. We’ve heard from leaders in corporate recruiting that they want to get away from this approach. They want to get away from the “cookie-cutter” because it is killing their brand in the employment market. Candidates don’t pay attention to them, and when they do it can be a miserable experience.

Innovative hiring leaders we’ve talked to want to approach top candidates with a more “personalized” approach. The challenge is doing this at scale. You want to speak to a candidate’s specific interests, background, and location but don’t have the time. But what if you did? The impact could be tremendous.

As we talk with candidates, we ask them how they select the jobs they pursue. The most common answers it comes down to who they would work for, work with, the culture, and the problems that the company is solving. Imagine the power of introducing addressing topics with candidates more specifically. We’ve looked at our own data and see a direct correlation between a “personalized” approach and candidate engagement.

If a recruiter was freed up to focus on a handful of key jobs, how would they personalize the experience for candidates? Here’s what I would do.

1. Create better job descriptions

When’s the last time a recruiter took the time to write an awesome job description? And if they did, did it pay off? The process of writing a job description is one detractor, the other is finding the time to do it.

The outcome is that recruiters grab a job description off the HR shelf that was written 6-12 months ago. They’ll polish it with a few keywords specific to the role, but the job description is boilerplate copy that has been used time and again. This is killing your Employer Brand.

Rarely does a top prospect want to read an entire job description. Candidates have told us they scan the specs to make sure it’s a match before investing additional time. And if they do invest time, it’s by going to several websites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and your Careers Page to size you up. Top candidates behave as a shrewd consumer, and do their homework.

Here’s the good news. Visual recruiting is changing the game, and making it easier to create better job descriptions. You can show candidates what they went to LinkedIn and Glassdoor to find: who they’ll work for, who they’ll work with, what is the culture like, and how the company impacts the world. Recruiters can capture simple video mobile device, and make it look good using Instagram. We used to see people using a full camera setup, tripod, etc. to create a hiring video. That is rapidly changing, and making the creation of “on-brand” hiring videos much easier.

To make matters better, Instagram recently allowed the embedding of their 15 second video clips. Imagine your most important job descriptions having 15 second clips of your people and environment. It’s possible, and starting to happen.

What do you suppose that will do for “personalizing” your Employer Brand with candidates? It’s a quantum leap from where most companies are today.

2. Market each job description to a specific audience

Yes, there is something to be said for casting a wide net. I’d suggest you continue to do that even with top-notch job descriptions. Also make sure that you’re making the most of your Google SEO strategy. Candidates are searching Google, and you want them landing on your pages.

The challenge in marketing jobs is many recruiters are using platforms like Ziprecruiter to blast an awful job description out to 40+ job posting sites. Again, not always a bad thing to cast a wide net. You just need to know your hunting with a shotgun. This can cost you more time as the rate of unqualified applicants goes up.

Then there’s the cost to your Employer Brand. Are top candidates frequenting the sites you just blasted it to? If so, are they impressed by the message you’ve put out there? Attracting a top performer to your organization can happen this way, but the percentages versus the time spent can be inefficient and costly.

Now let’s think about taking that awesome job description another route. Using visuals can increase engagement with top candidates, as well as your own team. Your employees are more likely to share on their social networks because it’s not a crappy ad. This gives you access to your team’s social networks. Their networks contain many of the referrals recruiters are pushing them hard for every day. Ongig’s platform sees 4.2 visitors to a job page for every social share…not bad.

Beyond sharing, you can do a much better job of targeting candidates. Imagine you can send a quick clip of the manager, team, and culture to a candidate before you talk to them. You can include a few important details in the description, then put together a “personalized” package. Search your “hot list” of candidates right now, and sourced a list of 50. These could people people that didn’t have enough experience two years ago, or newer contacts that weren’t quite ready to switch jobs. Now you send them this message, and follow it up with a “customer service” call.

What does that do for your Employer Brand? Whether they get hired or not, they’ll have a favorable impression and will tell their friends.

3. Measure what works…and what doesn’t

Look, an awesome job description in the hands of a relevant audience may still not be the answer to your recruiting challenges. Recruiters taking the “personalized” approach will want to see how the approach is working, and be willing to fine tune it.

Innovative recruiters we talk to use email campaign tools like ConstantContact to track messages they send, even if it is simply a one-to-one message. The reason is because a piece of HTML code is attached. This allows you to see who opened the email, and who clicked on any calls to action. Imagine taking 50 people from your “hot list”, messaging them, then being able to see who clicked on your Instagram video. Do you think that would enable you to hunt with a rifle versus that shotgun? Most likely.

The data may also show that few candidates are clicking on your messages, and that’s good too. You want to know if you need to change your approach, target audience, messaging, etc.

Beyond email campaigns, there’s a ton to be learned by looking at the data. The challenge is that many recruiters have no idea where their traffic and candidates are coming from on the web. You need to find a way to figure this out. Whether it’s your ATS, a platform like Jobs2Web, or my favorite…Google Analytics.

To get reports from Google Analytics, make friends with the SEO expert at your company (or learn it yourself if you can). When you see the data, you get much better insight as to how the awesome job descriptions you create perform. You want to know if channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and others drive candidates to your job description, and what the quality of traffic is like. It will tell you where to spend more time…and where not to.

You have to start somewhere

To get out of the “cookie-cutter” mode of advertising jobs you have to take action. Take the hottest job that you have. Simplify the text in the job description. Get the most social savvy person on the hiring team to do a quick introduction on video. Perhaps 2 or 3 people if you can get them. Take the embed link from Instagram or YouTube and put it in the job description. Pull a group of top candidates relevant to the job that are on your “hot list”. Email it to those people. If you can track them through an email tool, do it. Start sharing it out across your social networks, and get your team members to do it too. Once the job description has been distributed, try and find as many analytics as you can. Take your measurement, get candidate feedback, and refine the process.

No more “cookie-cutter”. Drive your Employer Brand. Get great hires.

by in Employer Branding, Recruiters