Talent Circles

Monday, March 30, 2015

How to Increase Candidate Conversation on Your Career Site

By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

Your career site is one of the best tools you have to engage candidates but you could be missing the mark. It’s an unfortunate fact that most HR and recruiting teams don’t have a careers site that fosters and encourages conversations, interaction and engagement – even those with seemingly stellar websites. The truth is, you can have a beautifully designed and branded site that is comprehensive and easy to use, but you still might be forgetting a few keys that could unlock candidate conversations.

The vast majority of potential candidates who visit a career site will not apply for one of your job openings. As a recruiter or talent acquisition leader, you might pride yourself on the fact that your career site leads to higher quality candidates, but statistically speaking, you’re still probably missing out on a lot of great candidates that visit your site but never take the plunge. You might point to candidates who visit the site and see they’re under-qualified, or say that there wasn’t a position that matched their needs as reasons for low conversion and no engagement, but I believe a lot of candidates are leaving your website for reasons within your control.

You most likely post job listings on your career site in a standardized format for 14 to 30 days, and that’s about as far as your careers page goes. By relying just on these postings, you limit your qualified candidate pool. Stretch your career site’s reach and influence with these four tactics:

Create landing pages
Landing pages give your careers site much more visibility in searches and allow you to attract candidates who may not know to search for your company but are looking for a job in your industry or a position in a specific area, such as IT. From your landing page you can link to current openings and encourage interaction even when there isn’t an open position, such as joining your talent network, giving you the ability to build a candidate pipeline.

Build a talent network
A talent network truly is the best way to encourage engagement through your careers page. This kind of environment makes talking to a recruiter easy and takes the awkwardness out of starting conversations. Technologies like TalentCircles have made it easy to create this space within your careers page and I would argue that it’s an essential piece for any organization that prioritizes candidate conversations as part of their strategy.

Optimize your site for long tail keywords
Long tail keywords are phrases made up of three to four words that are typically very specific, and they are perfect for employers looking to recruit. You can optimize your career site for long tail keywords and take advantage of SEO by finding out what searches are leading candidates to your website already. These are especially useful because candidates using these phrases obviously know what they’re looking for. By optimizing, job-ready candidates looking for the exact positions you’re hiring for are being delivered to your website. Creating a conversation with them is a natural next step.

Provide downloadable candidate resources
There’s an essential question that every corner of the Internet, including recruiting, must ask. What value do I provide? Think beyond the job opening itself and consider what you have that makes a candidate want to visit, re-visit and hang out on your careers page. Give them a reason to by providing downloadable candidate resources that help them in their job search. This could be resume or interview tips, FAQs or industry-specific topics. You could make these available by entering an email address, or better yet, by joining your talent network.

All these tactics make your careers site more visible and give candidates a reason to engage.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She's the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.

Friday, March 27, 2015

5 Things I Want From My Talent Community

By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

Talent communities provide a unique value to recruiters and candidates. They give both the opportunity to get to know each other without taking the plunge. Essentially, talent communities make relationship building easier and provide more opportunities for interaction than any other type of platform. It’s perfect for building relationships with job seekers for the long term.

Recruiters can invite potential candidates to join your company-branded community, then both parties can get to know one another. When the time is right, both the candidate and recruiter will decide if they want to make things more official and consider each other as an employer or an employee. It’s one of the most powerful tools a recruiter has, but not all talent communities are the same. The formats, platforms, services and functionality can differ greatly, so it’s important to understand the product and find what’s right for your company and candidates.

Here are my must-haves when it comes to a stellar talent community:

Focuses on engagement
Relationships are a two-way street with conversation that flows both ways. If I wanted to sign up for a simple jobs broadcast, I would do so in the form of a simple text or email service. What I’m looking for in a talent community is something that supports and even encourages two-way conversations, because those conversations can lead to so much more.

Multiple mediums
Just like social networks, talent communities come in all shapes and sizes. I want a talent community that takes on many different shapes, giving me the ability to engage using chat, email, video, blog posts and document sharing. It’s all about choosing a platform that supports all the mediums and methods that work for you.

Candidate notes
Within a talent community, members might spend months engaging and interacting with an employer before the time is right and they want to get serious about working at my company. I want a place to record notes, information and details of those interactions, activities and engagements. Your talent community needs to operate like a CRM as most recruiters are working on many different job openings at a time and need a centralized place to keep it all straight.

Custom experiences for candidates
An employment brand is absolutely invaluable, so my talent network has to be a branded environment that my team and I can customize to meet our functionality needs and fit our brand. When candidates visit or join a talent community, there should be no recognition that it’s segmented from the company’s careers page, other than the functionality.

Provide analytics and reporting
My talent network needs to provide analytics and reporting that tell a story. It must go beyond the standard number of members and look at activity, engagement, visitors and potentially, how interested in my company are the people in my talent pool.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She's the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

HR: The rest of the world moves on – without you

By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

If you think back to where our society was 20 years ago, there are few things that look or sound the same. We don’t use floppy disks to save files, music is less grungy and the hairstyles we wear have vastly improved. But one thing that hasn’t changed much in the last couple of decades is the way we recruit and hire. HR itself and the role we play is vastly different today, but if you’re racking your brain to think of all the modern ways we source talent and how the hiring process is more polished than ever before, you probably won’t come up with much.

Even if you do come up with a list of innovations – and I use the term lightly – in HR and recruiting, when you break them down, they’re probably more like improvements than advances. In fact, since the invention of the applicant tracking system, there has not been a fundamental change in the way we hire, select and find candidates.

The rest of the world moves on – without us
It’s amazing to me that technology has come so far in the last 20 years and yet recruiting and hiring have basically stood still. What’s even more mind blowing to me, though, is there have been a number of technologies and tools that have come on the scene, especially in the last five years or so, that could have turned HR and recruiting on its head, and yet, here we are. Even for all the new types sourcing, video interviewing and CRM technologies, there has been no fundamental shift and I think that is a shame.

New name, same game
The biggest change to HR and recruiting has simply been where we hire. Rather than placing ads in newspapers, we post on job boards or even social media. However, that hasn’t changed how we hire. After the candidate sees the job opening, is the way they follow up with you and the way you pursue them vastly different than the way it was done 10, 15 or 20 years ago? Probably not. Candidates send their applications via your career site or through email instead of with a stamp at the post office, but there’s been no fundamental change.

The problem(s)
Depending on who you ask, you would probably get a number of answers as to why we haven’t been heavily influenced by technology. They’d probably range from the fact that HR is so reliant on human interaction that people don’t know how to make the most of the technology, to the idea that there is no problem at all. In my opinion, it boils down to three big issues.

First of all, there’s the fact that HR and recruiting is centered around the connections you build with candidates, potential candidates and employees, so HR pros either don’t know how to use technology to enhance and manage those relationships, or they don’t think there’s a huge need for it. Secondly, there hasn’t been a widespread adoption of the majority of the technologies available to HR departments. This goes hand in hand with my first reason, but goes beyond simply thinking there isn’t a need for it. It could also be that people aren’t aware of the technology or what it can do, may not be able to afford it or may not get the support of their organization leaders to adopt it. Lastly and arguably most important, people either don’t know which technologies make the most sense for them or don’t know how to make the most of what’s available.

I say that this last point is potentially the most important of all of them because you can have all the latest and greatest technology, but unless you use what’s right for your organization and know how it fits into your strategy, it’s not going to make the splash it should. We know that HR is all about the human element, but when we discover how to build on that through the use of technology, it takes our efforts to the next level. It’s there that we begin to see results and can call these tools innovative.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She's the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.

Monday, March 23, 2015

How Can Recruiters Use a Twitter Chat?

By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

Since 2008, Twitter has been my favorite social network because it provides you access to millions of potential candidates, friends and resources 24 hours a day. It requires users to parse down their message to just the essentials in 140 characters, which makes it easy to take in a lot of information without drowning. However, with so many ways to use the social network, I think one of the most valuable is hashtags. Hashtags are the Dewey Decimal System of Twitter. Users post the pound sign, followed by a series of words or characters (no spaces) to catalog or file the tweet. It helps you keep track of related tweets and helps other users find all tweets under that hashtag, such as tweets related to a certain topic, event or Twitter chat.

Hashtags were developed by Twitter users themselves and have become an integral part of how we search, navigate and find topics to research and people to connect with. Twitter has remained the third most popular resource and search engine second only to Google and YouTube, so it’s no surprise that people take to Twitter to discover, learn and of course, chat.

After hashtags were born, conversations began to focus around them and people began hosting Twitter chats that users could participate in simply by meeting up on Twitter at a scheduled time and using certain hashtag.

The how to
The great thing about hosting a Twitter chat is that all it takes to do so is a following, a hashtag and a time. You don’t have to handle RSVPs, meeting space or any other aspect of a traditional event, and yet you get the benefits of one. Announce your Twitter chat a week before through your Twitter, careers page and perhaps even an email announcement. You can let participants know what topics will be covered and then encourage them to come with their own questions and responses. Of course, let them know to use the unique hashtag you’ve created for the chat. Then when the time comes, simply moderate the conversation. Start with an opening call for questions or begin by sharing. Respond to as many tweets as possible and hopefully, candidates will also connect and chat with each other.

At the end of the chat (and even throughout if you have the chance to), take the opportunity to direct participants to your talent network, careers page and other social networks. If you plan to make the Twitter chat a regular event, you can let them know when the chat is wrapping up.

Why it makes sense for recruiters and candidates
Twitter chats provide candidates the opportunity to interact and engage with your recruiting and talent acquisition team in a real time engaging way that has never been accomplished before. It helps increase your bandwidth, your messages and grow your community in a way that no other tool can.

Watch for part two of this series on using Twitter chats to find out how you can take your chats to the next level and see growth.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She's the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

How to create brand consistency and messaging in your talent acquisition team

By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

Building your employment brand is a constant effort to present the best that your organization is to the world. Often times, we focus so much on one single aspect, forgetting that there are multiple bases to cover and that most importantly, we can’t do it alone. A successful employment brand involves so many things, from your look and feel to the way you treat candidates to the places you recruit. It spans all the channels you utilize and the interactions your department has with those outside the business and is a full-time responsibility, for you and the rest of your talent acquisition team.

We, as talent acquisition leaders, are spending time building our brand and forgetting that that we can’t do it alone. We can spend weeks fine-tuning a consistent message, choosing colors, numbers, fonts and approved corporate logos that represent this, but the real struggle and challenge is creating brand consistency with everyone on the talent acquisition team.

Focus on these four strategies to get the rest of the team to care about your employment brand as much as you do.

Train your recruiters
Believe it or not, some recruiters may not even know what you mean when you say employment brand. They may think colors and logos, but chances are, they don’t understand the scope of employment branding if it’s never been a priority. I encourage every talent acquisition team to have a formal employment brand training session to discuss all the aspects of it and the expectations for support of it. You can’t blame them for not knowing, so get that barrier out of the way up front.

Focus on small wins
When you look at your team’s efforts, make note of what they are doing to enhance and promote the employment brand. Even if they aren’t fully advocating for the brand, a good team is going to have recruiters that are already working individually to present the company in the best way possible. Celebrate this! Focus on all the ways they are consistently promoting your employment brand and don’t be too picky. Consistency is attainable, perfection is not.

Create brand guidelines
Your communications or marketing department probably has a branding guide for your company to help employees understand how the company is represented to the world. Create a similar guide for recruiters, providing information about look and feel, messaging, processes and standards. It’s amazing what simply having a definitive guide will do for your efforts to be consistent.

Build content templates
To minimize the margin for human error, create content templates using messaging that your team believes best represents the company’s employment brand. You can create these templates for job postings, offer letters, follow-up emails and anything else that is sent on a regular basis. 

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She's the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Preparation hacks for talent acquisition teams

By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

Talent acquisition teams are almost always going a mile a minute and don’t have a whole lot of time to spare. Every day is filled with tasks and meetings that absolutely must be taken care of, leaving little room for tackling those things that always get pushed to the bottom of the list, the things that it would be nice to get done but that aren’t urgent. It’s just part of the work, but it puts recruiters at a disadvantage because strategic preparation is such a vital part of being able to fill positions when they open, not six months after.

Luckily, there are a number of hacks I’ve discovered that make it easier for a recruiter to be all things to all people all the time. Take a look at my five top time-hack strategies for talent acquisition teams:

Build candidate pipelines
This is hands-down the most valuable thing a recruiter can do to stay on top of the game. Developing a pipeline of candidates before you have an immediate need means that when the need does arise, you can quickly and accurately fill the position and move on to the next task.

Focus on relationships with hiring managers
Understanding your hiring managers’ priorities and needs cuts down on the time you’ll need to spend with them for each new position that opens. Go a step further and get to know the positions they manage, what qualities they appreciate in their current employees and where they’d like to take the department in the future to find the perfect candidate the first time.

Set the right tone
Spend time upfront focusing on recruiter intake calls and conversations to develop rapport, outline the process and set expectations. It’s amazing what you’ll learn early on by simply taking the time to share information and listen to your candidate.

Schedule everything
The key to being productive isn’t always a shiny piece of technology. It’s about managing your to-do list and schedule. By being on top of your schedule, you may even realize you can make time for non-urgent activities. One way that I’ve found I can use my time best is by not scheduling work meetings on Mondays and Fridays, which allows me to focus on knocking out my weekly to-do list, maximizing my time and effort the rest of the week.

Prepare for tomorrow today
Spend the last 30 minutes of your day preparing for the next workday. Take a look at your calendar and gather any notes you’ll need for meetings or interviews, create a short list of five or so tasks you want to accomplish the next day and make note of anything that carried over from the present day that you’ll need to wrap up tomorrow. There’s a reason your mom laid out your school clothes for the next day the night before. A little preparation can go along way.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She's the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.

Friday, March 13, 2015

How to limit job acceptance regret by your candidates

By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

Candidates are a mysterious breed. We work hard to understand what makes them tick, to get under the hood and understand their interests, goals and intentions. Recruiters everywhere struggle with this, working hard make sure that a candidate is right for a job and that the job is right for the candidate, but sometimes we fall short. Even in my own career, I’ve experienced job acceptance regret a time or two. Whether it be because you’re sold something the company didn’t actually have to offer, because you overlooked red flags or unforeseen circumstances came up after accepting the position, we’ve probably all been there. For both sides, it’s a lose-lose situation.

Job acceptance regret occurs when your new hire realizes that the job wasn’t what they thought it would be, and it typically happens within the first three months of being hired. However, the recruiter or hiring manager may not be privy to this fact until they see active disengagement from the employee. By then, the employee has either ceased being productive and is looking for another job, if they haven’t already taken one. This is one of the biggest drains on recruiting resources and time, so minimizing its occurrence makes business sense.

Use these four strategies to limit buyer’s remorse:

Build a talent community
A talent community allows you to engage with candidates and build a relationship and rapport over a time rather than hiring immediately. It’s the difference between an arranged marriage and dating someone and letting in happen naturally. Ideally, the candidate you hire will have been on your radar for some time and you both will have had a chance to get to know one another.

Be honest about challenges and opportunities
Even for those of us who like surprises, no one wants a new job to be one of them. Be upfront and honest about what kind of challenges and opportunities someone in that position will face and let the candidate determine if it’s something they can handle. Believe it or not, a challenging position won’t send every candidate packing. In fact, some will see those challenges as opportunities. Either way, you don’t want someone who isn’t prepared to tackle what comes with the job, so there’s no point in hiding it.

Don’t sell waterfront property in Arizona
Job postings aren’t the only place recruiters have the tendency to oversell. Emails, offer letters, phone calls and interviews are fair game for exaggerating and covering up too, so be careful to always be honest about the position and your company. This is one of the most significant opportunities you have to prevent job acceptance regret. When they get to Arizona, they’re quickly going to see that there’s no waterfront property.

Create onboarding and engagement processes
Don’t forget that new employees are still shaping their opinions of the organization after they’ve accepted a position and even after they’ve started. Help them engage and connect in their new position by creating onboarding and engagement processes that span the first six to 12 months of their time with the company to reduce turnover and improve productivity.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She's the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Good Sportsmanship Guide to Recruiting and Hiring

By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

In every area of business at every single company, people have the opportunity to backstab, gloat, lie and cheat at one point or another. Some of the decisions regarding whether or not to do so may be black and white, while others fall in gray area. The opportunity may be clear or it could be hidden. These situations present themselves in all shapes and forms, and that is certainly true of the recruiting and hiring world.

When a door opens, what’s a recruiter to do?
It wasn’t too long ago that on Friday morning when I was working as a recruiter, I hopped into my company-branded van and drove to my biggest competitor’s office to recruit their soon-to-be former employees. I had been tipped off by a member of my new-hire class that the company was planning to lay off 200 of their employees and had mistakenly paid out the employees’ unused vacation hours a week early, essentially announcing the layoffs. Having more than 100 positions open, I saw this as the perfect opportunity, the kind of thing that recruiters’ dreams are made of. However, even knowing what kinds of positive things this could bring for our company, I had a choice to make.

Sportsmanship in action
I had to consider whether or not the move was sportsmanlike. We’ve probably all heard the term used at our kids’ little league practice or even in our own adult softball leagues, but most people wouldn’t associate sportsmanship with the recruiting and hiring industry. However, it truly is the perfect term to encompass all that we must think about as recruiters. Sportsmanship covers whether or not an action is ethical, fair, respectful and considerate of our peers. Taken independently, those terms don’t necessarily help us arrive at the right answer, but you get a much clearer view when you consider how each term applies and how they interact with each other.

Considering what sportsmanship looked like in that specific situation, I first picked up the phone and called my professional peer who was a recruiting director at the company in question. I first confirmed my reports and then offered a way to help employees by setting up a referral program to fill the open positions at my company. This approach addressed the four opportunities that I believe a recruiter has to be sportsmanlike.

Being respectful to companies and candidates
Sometimes all it takes to do the right thing is approaching competitors and candidates with respect and dignity. Be upfront and honest about your intentions rather than sneaking and going behind others’ backs.

Offering solutions not manipulation
When I called my peer at the company I had been tipped off about, I turned the focus off of my desires and made it about their employees’ needs. I wasn’t lying to create an opportunity but instead presented a solution to the issue at hand.

Focusing on the best environment and experience for the employee
It can be easy to get blindsided by thinking about what we can gain from a situation but we should never forget about the human that sometimes gets stuck in the middle. If I had hopes of swooping in for the kill and hiring their employees for far less than they were worth because I knew they were vulnerable, I wouldn’t be acting in their best interest.

Creating a competitive, yet professional environment against competitors
When I called my recruiter friend at the other company, he actually opted not to accept my partnership offer, leaving me to make the call of whether or not to go. In this case, I had been respectful of my peers and was offering a good solution for their former employees, so I felt that I was in the clear to head over with flyers in hand. My recruiting team cruised the parking lot, handing out flyers, scheduling phone screens and building a pipeline of candidates that were impacted by the layoff. This is where creating a competitive, yet professional environment comes into play. Your competitors won’t always like what you’re doing, but you can be sportsmanlike in the process. 

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She's the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.

Monday, March 9, 2015

HR’s Evolution from Cost Center to Revenue Generator

By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

The role of HR and recruiting has done a complete 180 degree turn from where it once began. Many years ago, HR was born out of the need for companies to be in compliance, complete paperwork and develop processes and controls. This area of the business was seen as a necessary expense, and certainly not one that boosted the company’s bottom line. HR teams grew as business leaders realized that the organization was in need of essentials like an employee handbook, onboarding and orientation for our new hires and consistent interview processes. HR professionals spent years working as the administrative arm of the company, meeting the needs of the organization but not considering their revenue.

As we all know, however, things change as time goes by, and the human resources industry is a perfect example of just how that happens. We’ve gone from everyone hating us and misunderstanding us to business leaders prioritizing talent, and have earned our role in the executive ranks due to our specialty, which is the human capital that propels the success of companies.

Today, HR’s effect on the business extends far beyond the initial hire. Talent management leaders are responsible for many facets of the business that make a significant impact on the organization and its people.

Beyond talent acquisition
It is true that the HR department and recruiters are expected to be more innovative in their talent acquisition than ever before, but there is so much more to building a workforce than recruiting and onboarding. HR professionals are also expected to deliver when it comes to developing and engaging our current and future organizational talent. This means that we are constantly honing our talent acquisition strategy to bring in the best and brightest, as well as cultivating leaders within our own organizations. Today, we know that our jobs don’t just start when we receive an application and they don’t end after the employee’s first day. Our role is more long term than it has ever been before. We’ve gone from executives simply looking at recruitment costs to understanding how a long-term approach increases retention and saves a significant amount of money.

Leading the technology front
A relatively new aspect of HR that we are seeing is being tasked with selecting technologies to help us engage our workforces focused on the future of our company. From talent networks to interactive training and the many other areas of technology we cover, the decisions we make have a huge impact on our employees. The technology we choose for our candidates and employees help them engage and grow while also helping us do our jobs effectively and efficiently.

Focusing on the future
There may have been a time when HR was simply focused on the next hire or the next employee promotion, but we are no longer there. The ability of a company’s HR department to be forward focused is one of the most significant ways we bring value – real monetary value – to our organizations. As an industry, we’re future focused, data driven and developing talent strategies that compliment instead of compete with the business and market projections at our company. We’ve earned a seat at the table, which allows us to see and hear firsthand what the organization’s goals are and make sure ours help to accomplish what the company seeks to achieve. 

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She's the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Let’s Get Personable, Not Personal When Recruiting Candidates

By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

Candidate experience is one of my favorite things to talk about these days and I know I can’t be alone in this. I love that employers have a wide-open opportunity to create an experience that leaves a lasting impression whether or not the candidate is actually hired. It’s a story of modern courtship that recruiters have worked years to develop. To someone in the industry, it’s a beautiful thing.

We’ve seen this development occur over the years as a recruiting paradigm shift has taken place. Companies are more committed than ever before to making candidates feel welcome long before they ever receive an offer letter. However, some recruiters struggle with where and how to draw the distinction between a candidate feeling wanted and leading a candidate on.

We assume candidates know that it’s all part of the courtship. We probably even find ourselves saying “It’s not personal, it’s just business.” But I believe that a more accurate way to describe what we’re doing is to that it may not be personal, but it should be personable.

Personal vs. personable
When we treat recruiting as a personal thing, what we’re really doing is getting emotions involved, whether it be ours or a candidate’s. We’re intermingling our lives with theirs in some way, even if that just means getting too emotionally invested. We don’t have to give away the keys of our heart for a candidate to know we care, and we certainly don’t need to over-promise or provide false hope.

On the other hand, we can provide a great experience by being personable. Rather than getting our emotions or a candidate’s emotions involved in the recruiting process, we can be friendly, welcoming, inviting and honest, providing information, feedback and some good old fashioned honesty. Take a look at these four ways you can keep recruiting personable, not personal.

Even a little bit of engagement can go a long way in recruiting because it’s so rare. You can do this through your talent network, social media, email, phone call or even text.

We’ve all been in a situation where all we need is someone to answer our question. Save time by making information available to candidates and making yourself available if they don’t find what they need.

Candidates are used to applying for a position and never hearing back, so set yourself apart by letting them know where you are in the process and whether or not their application is advancing. Keep your word when you say you’ll follow up to make a great impression and build trust.


Recruiters don’t have time to field every phone call and email they get, but you can make resources available through a variety of channels to meet their needs. You may even be surprised to find out that you could have been receiving significantly fewer of those emails and calls if you had provided resources for candidates some time ago.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She's the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Content Creation is the Future of Employment Branding

By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

If you’ve worked on building your employment brand or are considering how to do so, you probably know there’s only so much of it that you can control. You can influence your brand ambassadors, provide information that favors your company and engage across multiple platforms, but we certainly don’t own our employment brands any more than we own someone else’s opinion. However, there is one opportunity to shape your employment brand that you may not be taking advantage of yet: content creation.

Content is the future because we are information and resource seekers. We are all leveraging technology to find answers to our questions, and as employment brand leaders, we should be making the most of it. Creating great content can transform the way in which candidates see you and make a big impact on your recruiting efforts.

It’s your time to shine
No one likes to toot their own horn but when you’re creating content, you have a perfect opportunity to do so. You can feature stories about what you’re doing in the community, where you’re recruiting, awards your organization has received and even perks your company offers. With the right story framing, you can feature just about anything that highlights what makes your company great. These types of human-interest stories typically do well in social media and also act as a resource for candidates to understand your company culture.

The chance to set your organization apart
Original content certainly gives you the chance to brag a bit, but it also allows you to set your company apart from competitors. If you know your competitor’s areas of weakness or source of discontent for their employees, you can address the issue, set yourself apart and keep it classy by featuring what makes you different in that area. Also, simply offering great, consistent content sets you apart from the many companies who may not see the potential in has.

Increase traffic
The content you create doesn’t just look great on your careers page. It can also help to drive traffic to your website or social media profiles with every read, share or retweet. In the same way that many product and service providers have long used content as a way to drive sales, your content can attract new candidates and drive them where you want them to be. Disseminate your content across all your channels to get the most mileage and don’t forget that the text of the content itself can be used to link to other posts, your job openings page or your social media.

Be the answer
We are all looking for information, answers and resources, and your candidates are no different. Help them cut through the clutter that is a random web search and be the go-to source for your industry. By being seen as an expert in the field, you’ll eventually have a built-in audience that you can recruit over time. Providing information about your company and using the content to paint a picture of your organizational culture can also impact where candidates go to find answers about the company. It puts you in the driver’s seat rather than sitting back and letting someone else control the conversation.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She's the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.