Lessons from SmashFly’s 2019 Recruitment Marketing Benchmarks report

Mar 12, 2019 - Cat DiStasio

Once upon a time, companies could simply post job openings and the applications would pour in.

Today, that’s not the case. Whether it’s a fairytale or ancient history, the days of passively sharing job postings and expecting top talent to knock on your door are long gone.

In today’s competitive labor market, talent acquisition is a proactive game. Employers that just collect (or expect to collect) applications without offering value to job seekers are already lagging behind in the competition for top talent. And the organizations that aren’t doing something special for candidates are likely creating a reputation that is at best unknown orat worstbad. On the flip side, organizations that invest in recruitment marketing have more (and better) reviews on sites like Glassdoor. This a much better reputation, which gives them a leg up on the competition for talent.

That’s just one finding from SmashFly Technologies’ recent research on recruitment marketing trends among Fortune 500 firms. Now in its fourth year, the 2019 Recruitment Marketing Benchmarks Fortune 500 report delves into 20,000 data points across all 500 companies on the Fortune 500 list. The result is a treasure trove of insights on 32 recruitment marketing issues that any talent acquisition team can use to improve performance—and experiences.

In 2018, recruitment marketing pulled ahead as a top challenge for employers. The market is growing, too. IDC research from last year predicts that investment in employer branding and recruitment marketing will total $2 billion by 2022. Yet, many organizations still struggle to implement a recruitment marketing strategy that gives candidates what they want and produces the results that lead to overall business success.

We took a deep dive into SmashFly’s annual report to share what Fortune 500 companies are doing (and not doing) so your organization can build and implement recruitment marketing strategies that will help you compete for years to come.

Adoption rates are stagnant

While recruiters have been getting cozy with other forms of technology for the past few years, SmashFly notes that recruitment marketing hasn’t grown at the same rate. “Despite the clear rise of and investment in recruiting technology, we’ve reached a stagnancy in actual recruitment marketing adoption and excellence,” Elyse Mayer, SmashFly’s director of marketing wrote.

What does this mean? Not enough companies are flexing their strength in this area. SmashFly’s report found that more than half of Fortune 500 companies were using recruitment marketing at an introductory level or below in 2018, the same percentage as 2017. Those who have adopted mature recruitment marketing strategies, however, have more positive reviews on Glassdoor as well as higher revenue. Simply put, the recruitment marketing technology is there but the investment in learning how to get the most out of the technology is not. Therefore, there is a crucial need to invest in educating your recruiters on how to become better recruitment marketers,  which includes getting better at using the technology.

The Recruiting Chatbot Revolution ad

Share more than just job postings

Recruitment marketing isn’t supposed to translate directly to ‘advertise jobs.’ It’s actually about a whole lot more than that. Similar to the way companies use content marketing to reach potential customers through informative articles, videos, and podcasts, recruiters need to take candidates’ full spectrum of needs and desires into account. Job seekers aren’t solely interested in the requirements and responsibilities of the position they apply for. They also want to get a feel for the company culture and to have a sneak peek at how their life could change if they come to work for you.

SmashFly’s research found that Fortune 500 companies are doing a better job at creating talent networks (they’ve doubled from 22 percent to 44 percent since 2016). That’s great, and it means that more recruiters are using a candidate relationship management system (CRM) to organize that network. The problem is, many recruiters aren’t using their networks in a meaningful way. A whopping 45 percent of the Fortune 500 with a talent network never send out communication post-confirmation, and 95 percent share nothing but job postings, the same percentage from last year.

SmashFly wisely points out that investing in a CRM makes little sense if you’re going to use it simply as an applicant tracking system, and we have to agree. Recruiters should use their talent networks to tell the whole story of their organization—from company culture to future career paths. In addition to those stories, it’s important to engage with candidates through meaningful conversation, which can happen through online career events or simply by inviting them to come chat with your recruiters.

Leverage existing content to improve candidate experience

Most organizations don’t need to create complicated content strategies to support their recruitment marketing efforts. In fact, SmashFly found that more than 60 percent of the Fortune 500 with talent networks already have employer brand content on their career sites, such as employee stories.

Talent acquisition leaders who want to differentiate their organization from the competition can do a lot with a little in this respect by reviewing the full inventory of content that already exists and designing a strategy for sharing it with your talent network. And in case you need more convincing, hold on to your hats. SmashFly found that 51 percent of the Fortune 500 with talent networks don’t send monthly communication and only 28 percent share personalized job openings. In other words, they aren’t giving candidates much motivation to engage. It’s easy to understand how regular, insightful communication with your talent network can boost engagement and leave candidates with a radically different impression of your organization.

Build recruitment marketing strategies that work

It might be safe to say that many Fortune 500 companies are relying on brand recognition to do the heavy lifting in recruitment marketing. SmashFly’s insights tell us the organizations that invest in technology, as well as in the people and processes to bring it all to life, are outperforming those that don’t. If adoption rates continue to stagnate, that divide will only grow in the years to come.

If your organization wants to attract top talent, stand apart from the competition, and get your employees, applicants, and interviewees saying really nice things about you on Glassdoor and on social media, invest in recruitment marketing.

To read the full report, click here.

And looking for more ways in which AI can help your recruitment marketing? Check out our post on 4 ways AI has changed recruitment marketing.

The Recruiting Chatbot Revolution ad

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