Category: Recruitment Marketing

What is recruitment marketing?

Recruitment marketing is the term I use to describe outbound recruitment efforts that involve some sort of advertising or strategic group communication aspect.  Let me explain.

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Forget the job search. Start a business today for $10.

For the first time in a long time, I’m considering working full-time for somebody else.  This is primarily due to the pending acquisition of my company’s largest profit center, but I also want to get off the farm and actually work with people for a few years.  Most people want to quit their office job and start their own business, while I (as usual) am moving in the opposite direction.  As I assume the role of job seeker, I thought I’d share some insight into just how easy it is to start an internet business.

I’ll go on record as saying internet businesses have the highest potential ROI of any business.  You hardly have to invest anything beside time, and you need very little else than a laptop and an internet connection.  Depending on what type of internet business you want to start, most of the components you need are freely available.  Here’s what I recommend:

1) Skip the hosting and web design.  Get a free blogger account and a $10 domain name.
Blogger blogs usually have a URL of something like, but you can easily point any domain name at your blog, changing the URL to (or whatever).  Although this is technically blogging software, you can edit it so it looks like a “normal” website.  All of your content will already be optimized for search engines.  Get a domain name from GoDaddy for $10, then map your domain to Blogger.  Boom, no other payments for a year, until you have to renew your domain name.

2) Are you selling content or products?
Most websites are selling one of two things; content or products.  If you are selling content, you are most likely going to be blogging, generating traffic, and monetizing that traffic by selling advertisements on your website.  Use Blogger’s interface to plug in Google AdSense ads on your pages.  Use color combinations and positioning to make them non-intrusive yet still likely to be seen and clicked.  AdSense ads are usually pay-per-click, which means you earn revenue from Google for driving clicks to their ads.

If you’re going to be selling products, the approach is a bit different but can be done just as easily with the Blogger + custom domain approach.  Here’s a sample eCommerce T-shirt selling website I started as a demonstration.  This site acts as a search engine optimized store front for products I created with a free CafePress account.  Again, this is just a demonstration site, but if I were to drive users to it I would earn $5 for each T-shirt I sold, with no inventory to maintain.

Alternatively, you can use your new website to post information about products you actually possess, and use a free PayPal account to process orders.

3) None of this matters unless readers/customers can find your website. 
The best free (besides the time investment) methods of driving traffic is through search engines and social media.  You can read my blog or hundreds of others about how search engine optimization works, and once you master the basics you should be able to get some hits.  The other thing I recommend is blogging about your product/industry/knowledge (lucky your new website has a built in blog), then share links to your posts on social networks like facebook, twitter, and linkedin.  Those links will, I think, be spidered by search engines, and you’ll receive direct traffic from them as well.

Most people think you need thousands of dollars to start a business, but you don’t.  You just need a good idea and $10.

My thoughts on auto DMs on Twitter

I’m not a Twitter “power user”, so I don’t receive many direct messages (DMs).  When I do, I pretty much immediately click through the email notification to read it.  Most of the time it is an automated DM, saying something like “thanks for the follow, check out my website.”  If it is relevant, I’ll check it, and send a (non automated) DM reply letting them know who I am, and what I do.  In the rare instance I get a unique DM (“read your blog, saw you know this person, etc.”), it really stands out and prompts a more detailed DM from me, and hopefully a more close relationship.

I read a lot about automated DMs, and most people don’t like them.  I think they can be abused, but I don’t see a lot of that, because I’m selective of who I follow.  I don’t automatically follow everybody who follows me.  Rather I look at their profile, see if there is relevance to what I do, and follow them if there is common bond.  By not auto-following everybody, I don’t open myself up to spammers.

I always thought of Twitter as a killer app because it can be “spam free email” if used strategically.  By only accepting DMs from people you follow, you can’t receive junk DMs from random spammers.  That leaves the occasional auto DM as less of a nuisance, and maybe even a bit of a positive.

Why you can’t automate SEO

More and more recruiters are using SEO as a means to get their jobs to the masses, and reduce their dependency on job boards.  I’m thrilled that SEO is becoming more widely utilized, but at the same time, I’m concerned recruiters are buying into tools that promise SEO automation without knowing the full slate of SEO best practices.

Having an optimized site is great, and some of the tools I’ve seen do a great job at this.  Title tags and URLs are optimized, and there are internal links driving spiders throughout the hosted careers page.  The one thing that these service can not provide, at least not in an automated fashion, is inbound link building, the holy grail of SEO.

If you are trying to optimize for the keyword “Seattle developer jobs”, you may grab the top spot on Google for a few months, until your competition notices and begins optimizing against you.  With both sites equally optimized, the key remaining variable is inbound linking.  If company #2 makes an effort to get other sites and blogs to link to them with the anchor text “Seattle developer jobs”, this will ultimately result in more “link juice” and a higher ranking.  Company #1 will be paying a ton of money for their hosted solution and a #2 ranking on Google.

My advice to those that are using (or considering) a platform that incorporates an SEO’d careers page?
1) Hire a consultant to manage your link building efforts
2) Have visibility into traffic analytics (such as Google analytics), so you know where your traffic is coming from
3) Determine how much traffic is coming from search engines (vs. direct requests, vertical aggregators, etc.).

Integrating recruitment with the overall marketing efforts of your business

I was having an email conversation with another recruiter yesterday about foursquare.  His company utilizes foursquare as part of their overall mobile/social marketing strategy, but not so much for recruiting (as far as I know).  This got me thinking about how companies can tap into the existing brand initiatives of their business to increase their employment brand as well.  Can this be done successfully without diluting the overall marketing message?  What other pitfalls might arise?  Does your company do it?  Why or why not?

With regards to the foursquare example, it seems as if retail outlets are already using this tool to engage their customers, they can take it a step further and ping them with job details here and there too.  I’m a bit of a mobile luddite so I am still holding off on using foursquare, thus my grasp of it is very limited.  That being said, if people are connecting with your brand while at your physical location, why not connect with them to a degree beyond brand marketing, and engage them as passive candidates.

To take this a step further, if foursquare users are checking in while at your retail location, that at means they a) like your product and b) probably live relatively close and c) have disposable income, thus they are employed, and therefore, employable.  That doesn’t necessarily make them a grade A candidate, but if you are already making the media spend, why not mention that you are hiring?

This isn’t specific to foursquare.  Print and web advertising could easily incorporate your recruiting message without diluting the overall brand message.  For instance, Amazon could place some text like “Love shopping with Amazon?  You might like working here too.”  Or Microsoft “Think you can make Windows 7 better?  Join us”.  Maybe they already do something like this, but overall, I would say most companies don’t.  Seems like a good way to reduce duplicate advertising spend while reaching loyal passive candidates.

Facebook Recruitment Advertising in 3 easy steps

Facebook ads offer a way to target your recruitment ads toward a very precise candidate demographic.  I’ll show you how to show your ad to targeted Facebook users in your area by education, company, and location.

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Top 5 steps for optimizing your careers website

With so much focus on social recruiting, SEO, search engine marketing, etc., it is easy to overlook a very important part of the online recruiting process.  Your careers website is where all of those marketing efforts ultimately drive candidates, so follow these tips to maximize it:

1) Integrate it with your applicant tracking system
This is an important measure from both a data integrity and candidate experience standpoint.  Candidates don’t want to email you their resume, or apply via a job board (or both, ugh), then “formally” apply via your ATS.  To reduce steps and ensure information capture, point all applicants directly to the “apply” URL.  If your ATS doesn’t provide you with an easy way to do this, or if it doesn’t effectively capture candidates and tie them to a job order, get a new one. 

2) Integrate social media and automation for referrals
Your careers website needs to use automation and social media to keep your brand in front of your candidates.  You need to have RSS feeds and/or email job alerts that send new job orders out to subscribers.  Prompt all applicants to sign up for these, and tie it into your referral program.  With an RSS feed, you can stay in front of candidates by automatically post your jobs to twitter, facebook, MyYahoo, and more.  Set this up once and walk away, it will take care of a large piece of your referral marketing.

3) Use it as a candidate attraction tool
Using proper search engine optimization techniques, you’ll be able to put your careers website in front of a large audience of both active and PASSIVE job seekers.  If your company is in the renewable energy space, you can include renewable energy keywords in your SEO efforts which may result in your careers page showing up on related searches.  So people who are interested in your core business may come across your careers page by chance, realize a career with your organization fits with their interests, and view your job listings and apply. 

4) Link it to your social media profile
By creating a company profile page on LinkedIn, you can engage potential candidates on LinkedIn while putting a face on your staffing team.  Candidates can connect with you while learning more about your company and its people.  If you are a small business, you can add a link to your personal LinkedIn profile which is valuable from a referral perspective.  This may not be preferred by the organization, however, as if the individual leaves their LinkedIn contacts leave with them.

5) Make it into an employment branding machine
For every careers website that is visually appealing, engaging, and strategically developed, there are 20 that are static HTML pages automatically churned out by the ATS or CRM powering the back end.  This is fine from an information capture standpoint, but keep in mind your careers page is usually the first contact potential employees have with your company.  If your site is appealing, easy to navigate, and better yet, incorporates your company’s employment brand, you will more effectively define the candidates expectations of the organization and the interview/hiring experience.

Contact me to learn more about how I can help you optimize your careers website.

Search Engine Marketing for recruiters

Search engine marketing (SEM) is also known as “paid inclusion” in search engine results.  Typically paid inclusion is purchased on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis, whereas you bid on keywords and set a price you are willing to pay each time your ad is displayed alongside standard search engine results (aka natural or organic results).  Your ad may be shown 1000 times and clicked only twice, so you get some exposure while only paying when users actually visit your site. 
This model revolutionized online advertising and made Google the earnings monster they are (I think Google AdWords revenue makes up over 95% of Google’s annual earnings, but this may be out of date).  Besides Google, other search engines such as bing, yahoo, and, as well as larger publishers like offer PPC advertising.

Recruiter can take advantage of this advertising model in a couple of ways.  First, PPC advertising is a great way to market your overall recruiting needs to your target candidate demographic as a whole.  So if you have an ongoing need for outside sales reps in Boston, you can bid on keywords such as “Boston sales” OR “sales jobs Boston”, and when somebody searches for those keywords your ad will be displayed alongside the organics search results.  Alternatively you can bid on more broad keyword combinations such as “sales” or “jobs” but choose to have your ad shown only to people in the Boston area (I believe the search engines can narrow this by the user’s IP address).  The interface of the advertising platform will help you determine the results you will get from certain budget points, allowing you to define how much you will spend to reach this audience without going over your budget (or spending too much per click).

Alternatively, you can conduct a SEM campaign for specific job openings.  For instance, if you are looking for a VP of Marketing, SEM allows you to bid on a very specific keyword string (“VP of Marketing” OR “vice president of Marketing”) and run that ad across a wide swath of the internet.  Since this is a very narrowly defined keyword string, the cost per click may be quite low, allowing you to run the ad without geographic constraints.  VP-level roles often require relocation, so this allows you to cast a national net.  In all likelihood, you ad would appear next to results when people are searching specifically for jobs with this particular title.  The click through rate will be low, but the responses you do receive will be very targeted and probably of high quality, thus reducing your cost per hire.

Google AdSense allows non-Google websites to run these ads as well, so your ad will be displayed on sites with content related to your ad.  This means it will probably show up on blogs and other content sites with articles/posts dealing with marketing (although I’d be curious to see if the “VP” or “vice president”) keywords lead to your ad being displayed alongside articles about Joe Biden, Dick Cheney, etc. (vice presidents).  If that is the case, your traffic will reflect this, and you can adjust your ad accordingly.

Contact me if you’d like to discuss search engine marketing as a recruitment method in more detail.