Dec 04, 2018

Understanding the 'conversion funnel' is key to attract passive job seekers

In the past, recruitment involved placing a job advert in the newspaper and waiting for applications to flood in. But today with skills shortages across many industries, it’s not nearly as simple for employers to find and hire good talent. Moving beyond the 'active' job seeker and engaging passive candidates who are not actively looking but are open to new opportunities takes strategy and planning. Here's something retail marketers have known for years: how to work the 'funnel'.

A physical funnel has a wide entry point that directs contents towards a narrow, very specific destination. In the case of a retailer, that's potential buyers. And in HR's case, they’re your potential future employees. 

How does a recruitment funnel work?

The metaphorical funnel is the process a passive job seeker will go through before they make a decision to apply. In the world of marketing this is called a conversion, or the step you want someone to take to fulfil a business goal. As with a  shop, it's very rare that people convert and buy straight off the bat. They go through a process of consideration  that we can identify in four key stages: Awareness, Interest, Evaluation and Action. 

1. Awareness of your company and your job opportunity

Think about the last time you bought something online. You were made aware of the brand - or luckily for that brand you were already aware. You had an interest in the product, but you didn’t take steps to buy it until a seed of desire was planted in your brain; something inside you clicked, and then so did you. Action.

Depending on the stakes of the purchase, this process might happen in one visit, or it might take days or even months for you to follow through. For example relatively speaking, buying a house requires much more involvement than purchasing a carton of milk.

And when it comes to talent attraction, that is the key takeaway. A job switch is a highly involved decision. It’s going to take time and repetition to get results. When you’re dealing with passive job seekers, particularly in skill short industries, you want your team top of mind when they decide to move. If you regularly have the same vacancies, a recurring job ad is not the best solution.

2. Make them interested in your job or your company: 

Do people know what it’s like to work with you? Do they even know you're hiring? If not, it’s time to get busy online.  First step,  a focus on your employer branding. All roads of course need to lead to your careers site. Make it easy for candidates to find you. It’s important to understand that your company’s brand and your employer brand are different commodities; if you’ve got a big name, that’ll help, but it’s not everything.Promote your employer brand. What kind of benefits or culture would convince someone to jump ship from their current boss? Create effective job adverts and promote these across multiple channels where  your target market may be. Make sure they’re enticing, so they lead to the next step: 

3. Evaluation of your offer vs their current job situation:

If candidates receive enough positive messages over a sustained period of time, the aim is to get them looking at their options. If they decide to make a move, you want to be top of mind. Candidates aren’t on the market long. Desire leads to a decisive course of action. 

4. Make it easy for candidates to take action

Think about how easy it is for your candidates to find vacancies and lodge their interest. Email? Easy. Simple application form? Very easy. Elaborate questionnaire requesting credentials, referees and well-composed responses? Less so. You might need that info from them down the track, but now is not the time.  You want them interested, engaged and ready to talk. 

Be prepared to lose potential candidates at each stage. If you can, though, use analytics to track where they’re dropping off so that you have the power to engineer a better solution.

With a consistent and sustained approach, you will have a pool of interested candidates willing to learn more about working with you. Rather than advertising anew each time a vacancy emerges, you you can simply use your Candidate Management System to cherry-pick from your talent database.

Which, as far as we’re concerned, is the place to be.

*It’s also something we can help with. Visit our website or for more info, or give us a call any time!

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