Recently, Parqa had the opportunity to write for one of the leading companies in the staffing industry: Bullhorn. You know the name, you know what they offer, and you know how they’re changing the recruiting landscape as we know it. Bullhorn tapped us to write about one of our favorite topics: content. Specifically, the kinds of content your candidates will respond to best. We hope this illuminates your own recruiting strategy. If you have questions or want to get started on your own content strategy, contact us today!
Like every consumer, candidates respond to content that best relates to their interests, desires, and pain points. Sounds easy enough, but there is art, science, and not a small amount of strategy in creating timely and relatable content and delivering it when needed. Doing it right takes:
- Depth of understanding of your unique candidate segments
- Insight into their unique journey to successful career choices
- Recognizing triggers that tell you when to deliver the right content based on their pain points
Communication strategies must go beyond brand awareness or thought leadership content. In today’s digital world, your communication strategy needs to solve candidate pain points and drive value for your candidates throughout the entire candidate lifecycle.
First, we’ll uncover key aspects needed in your engagement strategy before discussing the different stages of the candidate journey, and what types of content are most important each step of the way:
Depth of understanding of your candidate segment
Yes, this means persona understanding. What makes your segments unique? Who are they? What do they care about? What do they worry about and when? How do they define success? What pressures and demands do they face?
Candidates are people, and people want to work with organizations that understand them and can continually offer them value when they need it most. Many staffing organizations have a deep understanding of their offerings and develop excellent thought leadership content for brand awareness but struggle to connect marketing content on an individual candidate level. Audience understanding is the core of valuable content for your candidates and unique market positioning.
Insight into their unique journey to successful career choices
Once personas are clearly defined, layering on their unique activities across different stages of their journey allows organizations to develop content that resonates across the candidate lifecycle. What are they thinking, feeling, and doing as they go through their journey? Not what are they thinking about YOU, but what are they thinking about their own needs? The result of the exercise below will vary drastically depending on the candidate segment (persona).
Here’s a sample framework for Customer Activity understanding:
The candidate may or may not know that your staffing firm even exists. What they do know is that they are unhappy in their current position and are open to exploring a new opportunity.
Maybe they are THINKING: What do I want to do next? Who can help me get what I want?
Maybe they are FEELING: I don’t like change. I’m busy and searching for a job is a lot of work.
Maybe they are DOING: I’m applying to jobs and/or researching staffing firms. I’m updating my resume/social profiles.
Potential Content: Establish your organization as a trusted advisor and guide in their journey. What are their options? What can they expect from a recruiter? How will you put them in a better position professionally?
The candidate’s big questions have been answered, and they have decided on a preferred path to find their next position.
Maybe they are THINKING: Which recruiters that I have talked to do I like? If I get an offer, am I prepared to take it?
Maybe they are FEELING: I’m uncertain of what to expect. I’m excited about a potential new role.
Maybe they are DOING: I’m preparing to interview. I’m talking with family about potential and impact.
Potential Content: We’ll help you move from ideation to execution in finding your next role. How does the process work? What potential (open) jobs may be a fit for you? What is your market value?
The candidate is interviewing, has identified a position(s) that they are interested in, and are looking forward to accepting a new job.
Maybe they are THINKING: Is this job right for me? What will my day-to-day to look like? Will this company/team/manager value of my skillset?
Maybe they are FEELING: I’m excited for something new. I’m nervous to tell my current employer. I’m hoping I picked the right job.
Maybe they are DOING: I’m consulting with my inner circle to make the decision. I’m working on employment eligibility documentation. I’m negotiating an offer.
Potential Content: We’ll help you manage the emotion and stress of change in your life. How can you tell your current employer? How can you adjust to a new environment? What details do you want to discuss with family or friends?
The candidate has accepted a new role and is in the process of preparing for the job to start and then adjusting to the first couple of weeks in the new role.
Maybe they are THINKING: How am I doing? Do I like it here? Who am I going to be friends with?
Maybe they are FEELING: I’m loving this honeymoon stage. I’m worried about too much or not enough work. I’m not sure I like it here.
Maybe they are DOING: I’m learning a lot very quickly. I’m trying to make connections within the company. I’m busy onboarding.
Potential Content: Continue to deliver value even though the “recruitment process” is winding down. Your recruiter still cares about you and supports you. How can you manage the onboarding phase? Are there tips to building relationships in a new organization?
The candidate is settled into their role, the honeymoon stage has worn off and they have reached their new normal.
Maybe they are THINKING: Will they hire me full time? Do I like working here? Am I being challenged? How do I know if I’m providing value and my employer is satisfied with my work?
Maybe they are FEELING: I’m happy/satisfied/dissatisfied with this job. I’m attached/unattached to this organization. I’m not sure I want to continue this contract.
Maybe they are DOING: I’m getting embedded with the team. I’m learning and advancing my career. I’m adding value to the organization.
Potential Content: Make them feel part of a community that is helping them continue to grow. Provide performance feedback and continue to be there and are available when it’s time for their next role. Can you provide news or professional development opportunities relevant to their industry/skills?
Preparing to Redeploy
The candidate’s contract end is imminent, and they begin to think about what is next for them in their career.
Maybe they are THINKING: Do I want to reengage with my last recruiter? What staffing firm has the best opportunities for me? What do I want to do next? Do I want another contract vs. time off/permanent role?
Maybe they are FEELING: I’m ready to move on. I’m uncertain/nervous about what will happen when my contract ends. I’m not prepared to start the process again.
Maybe they are DOING: I’m networking and applying to jobs on my own. I’m updating my resume and social media. I’m dealing with contract extension ambiguity.
Potential Content: Establish that you are still their trusted guide and are hard at work to understand what they want next and are ready to find their next role for them. How exactly are you going to guide them? What opportunities exist because of their additional experience?
Recognizing triggers that tell you when to deliver the right content
Blogs and social postings are a great way to deliver thought leadership content and establish brand credibility. But what guarantee do you have that you are reaching your candidates at scale and with content that meets their needs at the right time?
Do you use job boards for new candidates (or the same candidates) every time you have a new contract? Do your candidates ghost you? Do you have candidates that redeploy with competitors? Is your content self-serving while they are on contract (surveys and referral requests vs. also giving them something to help them/show them you continue to invest in them and their career)?
CRMs and ATSs are overflowing with data points that are clear trigger points in time along the candidate lifecycle. Is your data and tech connected to allow you to deliver value at those individual trigger points? Do you have automations in place that serve your candidates with personally relevant content at scale throughout their journey? Do you have automations in place to continue the conversation when your candidates interact with your content? This is the content that your candidates will respond to the best!
The whole premise of Bullhorn’s Connected Recruiting methodology is to engage your talent at EVERY stage of the talent lifecycle. If the candidate is engaged back, you know you are adding value and establishing yourself as a trusted advisor. Candidate attraction is no longer just a top of the funnel activity, and your communication strategy needs to encompass the entire candidate lifecycle. The best place to start is by building a culture that is invested in understanding the hopes, fears, and pain points of your candidates and finding scalable ways to solve them.
The staffing firms leading the pack are investing in scalable processes, technologies, and communication strategies to ensure long-term growth and drive enterprise value. Parqa exists to get you there faster, with less risk and stronger returns.