8 steps to create a conversational recruiting strategy

Jul 08, 2019 - Cat DiStasio

Today’s top talent wants a personalized recruiting experience that makes them feel valued and understood. Conversational recruiting delivers exactly that — and then some.

In addition to an improved candidate experience, conversational recruiting can actually help your organization attract more quality candidates and even make it easier to source hard-to-find candidates. Conversational recruiting also means you can answer job seekers’ questions around the clock, elevate your employer brand, and improve the overall quality of your hires. With so many diverse benefits, it’s no wonder conversational recruiting has become such a buzzword in the recruiting world.

Smart talent acquisition leaders approach conversational recruiting thoughtfully, and take the time to develop a winning strategy. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps to create a conversational recruiting strategy that reflects your unique employer brand, while attracting quality candidates and offering the personalized candidate experience they demand. 

Step 1: Identify your employer brand archetype

Job seekers want to work for organizations that have a clear personality that speaks to their values and interests. This is called an employer brand archetype. As a recruiter, if you don’t know who you are or what you represent, it will be difficult to attract and connect with your ideal candidates. As such, identifying your employer brand archetype is an important first step and it’s as simple as answering the questions in this article.  

Step 2: Create candidate personas

Once you define your employer brand archetype, the next logical step is to create profiles of your ideal candidates. Enter candidate personas, which help recruiters focus on the needs and priorities of the job seekers most likely to be a good fit for each position. Tailored candidate personas also help recruiters  improve the effectiveness of their conversations by delivering more of the things candidates want: human connection, empathy, and consideration. To get started, learn how to outline candidate personas in this article

When building your candidate personas, include information on their preferred methods of communication. By identifying the best channels for communicating with different types of candidates, you can easily determine where to invest your efforts while offering a more personalized recruiting experience. In our experience, the candidate market is so fragmented that you’ll need a plan that encompasses many different channels, so read on to learn how to use each conversational recruiting method to your advantage.

Step 3: Develop a strategy for your recruiting chatbot

While the ultimate goal of conversational recruiting should be human-to-human communication, it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) always start there. A recruiting chatbot extends conversational recruiting around the clock, on demand, and helps human recruiting teams save time while simultaneously enhancing the candidate experience, if used correctly. And that’s the key. In order to get the most out of your recruiting chatbot, you must build a recruiting chatbot strategy using proven best practices. This relies on a number of decisions, like defining the role of your chatbot, making wise decisions about where and how to implement your chatbot, and identifying hand-off points where human recruiters will take over the conversation. 

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Step 4: Visualize your virtual career fairs

Taking your career fairs online can save time and money while helping you reach top talent outside your zip code. For the best results, talent acquisition leaders need to outline how virtual career fairs fit in with the larger conversational recruiting strategy. Consider the best days and times for hosting your virtual career fairs based on the preferences of your ideal candidates. (Consult your candidate personas if you’re not sure when this is!)

Are there certain roles you hire for in high volumes? Do you understand how far in advance you need to plan a career fair, so that you have enough time to attract job seekers? Your strategy should also include a promotion plan. How and when will you promote your virtual career fairs on your website and social media? Will you promote them via emails and text messages as well? Answering all of these questions will help you create a virtual career fair strategy that extends from and aligns with your conversational recruiting strategy.

Step 5: Create a video strategy

Video is the easiest way to humanize the recruiting process and deliver a personalized candidate experience, so take the time to think about how your recruiting team should be using video. With just a smartphone and a few minutes, recruiters can make a video for each stage of the recruiting process and send it to multiple candidates at the same time. Candidates love this personal yet scalable approach, and it fits into every organization’s budget. This article outlines four ways to add video to your conversational recruiting strategy.

Step 6: Establish text recruiting guidelines

If your ideal candidates want to communicate with recruiters via text message, you need to devise a text recruiting strategy. Text recruiting can be a highly effective method for continuing conversations with candidates after their initial application or interaction with a chatbot. Recruiters need to be considerate about how and when they use text messaging, whether it’s to re-engage past applicants with job post updates or invitations to virtual career fairs, or following up after interviews. You can create a successful text recruiting strategy by reviewing the key best practices and understanding how texting can work in conjunction with recruiting chatbots and virtual career fairs.

Step 7: Invest in human recruiters

While listed as Step 7, this is arguably the most important investment because all the technology in the world can’t replace a skilled human recruiter. Make sure your conversational recruiting strategy includes ways for your recruiters to get feedback on their performance and continuously build the skills that AI won’t be able to replace any time soon. Give recruiters access to tools and resources to improve the quality of their conversations. Recruiters should continuously work on improving the effectiveness of conversations with candidates, developing their skills of persuasion, and avoiding implicit bias

Step 8: Document your strategy

If you’ve worked through Steps 1-7, your conversational recruiting strategy is complete. But your work is not. The crucial final step is to document your strategy. If you’ve been thinking about how much your conversational recruiting strategy seems like a marketing strategy, then it’s worth noting that most marketers create a strategy but less than half of them actually document that strategy. Don’t make this mistake. Keep your team on track by documenting your conversational recruiting strategy. It can be as simple as a document or PDF that lives on a shared drive where all your TA professionals can access it whenever they need a refresher. This should also be a living, breathing document: as you learn what works and what doesn’t, make sure you track your updated learnings.

Create connections through conversations

Once you’ve spent the time and energy to create your conversational recruiting strategy, commit to it. Make sure everyone on your team understands the strategy and how to implement each step. With a strong conversational recruiting strategy in place, your team will be well-equipped to crush your talent acquisition goals.

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