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How many touchpoints do you need before a candidate applies?

Yesterday, for a presentation I was giving on HR.com on the Candidate Experience, I received a really interesting question from a attendee on Source of Influence:

 

How many touch-points do you need typically for a candidate to apply?

First, it’s a great question.  I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t have enough data to give a definitive answer today but we are striving to understand this data.

 

Second, I see this as the next phase in recruitment metrics capabilities.  In today’s recruiting environment, candidates are interacting with recruitment messaging and recruiters in a number of different ways.  From finding job ads on job boards, niche sites and job search engines to engaging on social platforms to consuming information and messaging on corporate Career Sites, the process flow of submitting an application is getting more complex by the day.

 

Recruiting organizations are striving to better understand all the touch-points they have with candidates so they can know what initiatives they are running that have the most influence on the most qualified candidates to submit applications for their job positions.

 

Tracking Source of Influence – The New Source of Hire

I’ve talked about this a few times before (you can find the article here) but the real question is how can you track all of these touch-points in your recruitment marketing funnel.

 

There are a number of companies, including ours, that speak about being able to measure the Source of Hire for every one of your job campaigns.  When we talk about this data we are really providing Source of Application or the last source that a candidate visited before they submitted an application.  While this knowledge provides some value to organizations, the real end goal is to start understanding all the sources that influence that application not just the last one.

 

Let’s take a look at an example.  We have an applicant named TED.  He is looking at potential marketing positions.  Here’s how he interacts with a particular organization:

 

  1. He finds the job via a job ad on a job board or niche site.  In this case, let’s say he finds it through Indeed.
  2. At this point, he doesn’t apply but decides to go to the Career Site.  He navigates through a few targeted web pages for marketing professionals.
  3. At this point, TED talks to his connections to understand better what it’s like to work for the company.
  4. He likes what he hears and a day later he visits the Career Site again.
  5. This time he searches for jobs via the Career Site search but he doesn’t find a Marketing job that fits his skills or experience.
  6. He wants to hear about future Marketing jobs that open up at the company and opts in to their Talent Network.
  7. He also starts following the company on Twitter and Facebook to hear more about the company.
  8. Three weeks later, he receives an email from the organization for a Marketing Job that fits his skill-set that he’s interested in.
  9. TED submits an application and becomes an applicant in the organization’s ATS.

 

Source of Hire

So over a 3 week period, TED touches a bunch of places before he decides to apply.  In many instances, organizations only know that the Talent Network email led to the application, if that much.  But weren’t the other touch-points just as important in his decision to apply?

 

There are a number of companies working on providing this level of detail on what is influencing completed applications (and more importantly qualified candidates and hires.)  I fully expect the first iterations to be available in the near future so recruiting organizations can have this level of insight into what is influencing their candidate conversions.

 

Why isn’t it available today?

Marketing organizations have been building out this type of functionality and tracking for a number of years.  And while it’s not always perfect, this type of tracking helps them get an overall understanding of what parts of their marketing mix provide the most value.  Many of these marketing organizations have spent years integrating their systems to make sure these touch-points are centrally tracked from initial interest to prospect to sale.

 

For recruiting, the systems haven’t always played as nice.  Many companies have data in a number of disparate solutions including:

 

  • Job distribution technologies that tracks funnel metrics for each source from view until application (and may work with the ATS to track qualified and hire.)
  • Recruitment CRM that measures sourcing correspondences and candidate conversions
  • ATS or SEO Career Site solutions that measures search engine keyword data and Career Site traffic
  • ATS to gather applicant data that measures candidate progress through the interview process
  • Social Technologies that measure candidate engagement and clickthroughs
  • Referral tools that measure and track referral sources

 

In this case, many organizations have gone on their own to make sense and centralize this data into one place to make it easier to analyze and take out strategic insights from.  But this is changing.

 

First, recruiting solutions are getting better at integrating with the big ATS technologies so this is not the hurdle that it once was (although it still can prevent problems).  Second, the emergence in platform solutions have provided organizations with the opportunity to utilize all these tools in one solution which helps guarantee metrics integration across these desperate solutions.

 

How it can help

By knowing what recruiting initiatives are influencing candidates to apply, you will better be able to utilize your recruiting budget and resources to focus on the activities that drive the most value for your organization.  In addition, you will also be able to see at what touch-points the most candidates drop out of your recruiting process.

 

With this knowledge, you will be able to continually improve your process, provide a better experience for your candidates and in turn increase the number of qualified candidates that apply for your job opportunities.

 

This data is going to be available to companies very soon and so now is the time to think about how you will be able to utilize it to make better decisions.

 

What other questions would you like answers to in your recruitment strategy that you can’t answer today?  I would love to hear them.  Contact me @smashfly

Views: 296

Tags: Career, Optimization, Site, hire, influence, marketing, metrics, of, recruitment, source

Comment by Gerry Crispin on July 19, 2012 at 10:16am

Excellent article Chris. Source of Hire isn't the result of a single element but the combined influence of a many factors. The more people realize how these pieces interrelate, the less we'll be arguing over 'which one' is the most important.

Comment by Gerry Crispin on July 19, 2012 at 10:23am

I should also note we have over 80 firms who have applied to the Candidate Experience Awards this year (deadline to apply was last week) (http://www.thecandes.org) and we'll be collecting data on some of the issues you are raising from the firms and their candidates over the next couple months. All of what we learn will be shared for free -hopefully by the end of the year because we've had quite a few sponsors step up...including SmashFly.

Comment by Chris Brablc on July 19, 2012 at 1:35pm

Thanks for the great comment, Gerry!  I agree, the more we understand the less arguing we can do on the "best" channel.  Hopefully, the technology and tracking will catch up with the need.  I think it will...

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