As surprising as this might be, prospective candidates that engage with your employment brand are not always ready to apply the moment they become aware of available employment opportunities. Think about the candidates that find your career site using an iPad or iPhone. Yet, many employers force candidates to make an application decision. This can either lead to a rushed application in an attempt to signal interest or an abandoned/incomplete application because the candidate is not prepared to complete a detailed assessment. Instead of creating a binary decision for interested candidates, why not offer these prospective candidates an opportunity to socially connect with your company and apply after they’ve had an opportunity to confirm their initial interest? This strategy can lead to a better educated applicant with a clear understanding of how to add value to your organization. Facebook and LinkedIn offer insights into the power of this strategy based on their existing functionality. Sodexo is an example of a employer that has integrated this feature directly into their career site.

Facebook

Candidates that find employers using the popular social network don’t have to immediately apply. Instead, they can simply LIKE the fan page of an interesting employer. This allows employer updates to enter their News Feed as well as creates a social connection between the employer and the candidate. An additional benefit is that the friends of the prospective candidate can also see which employers have been LIKED. This increases the likelihood that other candidates within your target audience will take an opportunity to learn more about your company. Within a fan page, it also makes sense to give those candidates that are ready an opportunity to apply by linking to your career site. However, due to varying privacy permissions; it is often difficult for an employer to gather relevant information about their fans.

LinkedIn

Candidates researching employers using the popular professional networking site can also connect with companies of interest. A few weeks ago, LinkedIn added the ability for members to folllow companies of interest. The professional nature of the site offers additional functionality not found on Facebook. When employers list new positions, promote employees, update their profile, or people leave the company; company followers are notified in their Network Activity stream. This provides a great way of staying up-to-date with employers of interest. In addition, the public nature of profiles creates an opportunity for employers to gather information about those who have expressed interest in their company.

Sodexo

An example of a company that has integrated this functionality into their application process is Sodexo. When applying for a job, there are four different interest levels that prospective candidates can select: passive interest, just starting to look, actively looking, but employed, available immediately. During this brief establishment of interest, Sodexo wisely captures basic information including name, email address, and phone number. This enables the prospective candidate to communicate contact information and interest level without having to apply immediately unless they are ready. As a direct employer, this level of increased granularity is expected and provides a great example of how to capture candidate interest before forcing an application decision. Ideally, Sodexo is also segmenting the different interest levels to maintain communication with those who have expressed interested but are not yet ready to apply.

The key in each of these examples is to offer functionality that meets prospective candidates where they are at in their application decision. Some candidates have already learned about your organization and are ready to apply. Whereas, others have only recently discovered your organization and so they aren’t yet prepared to apply. Instead of only gearing online touch points towards those candidates that are ready, why not take advantage of existing technology and create additional options for prospective candidates?

–Omowale Casselle (@mysensay)

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About the Author: Omowale Casselle is the co-founder and CEO of mySenSay, a social recruiting community focused on connecting talented college students with amazing entry-level employment opportunities. For more social recruiting insights, subscribe to our email distribution list or follow us on Twitter.
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Views: 1435

Comment by Chris Brablc on June 18, 2010 at 11:24am
Awesome post! Totally agree with you. Cultivating relationships is key to have a constant stream of qualified candidates coming in the door to fill open positions. Thanks for sharing the Sodexo example, a really ingenious way of filtering candidates.

One aspect you didn't really touch upon but I think is important, is that creating these networks of prospective candidates saves companies money. The more prospective candidates you are connected to the less money you need to spend on attracting candidates through online portals such as job boards, in order to fill open job positions.


Also from a cost perspective
Comment by Charles Van Heerden on June 21, 2010 at 8:13pm
I think it is fair to say that the majority of companies are not very good yet at building a talent pool of external candidates beyond active recruitment.

There are a myriad of reasons for this:
(a) Insufficient resources to focus beyond current needs
(b) Lack of technology investment
(c) Over reliance on external recruiters to fill the gap
(d) Confused understanding of existing talent within the business

Capturing quality information is at the heart of building talent capability at a strategic level. Part of employer branding is to encourage future employees to connect with the target company.
Comment by Omowale Casselle on June 22, 2010 at 4:03pm
Hi Chris,

Thanks for the comment. I agree, cultivation is huge when it comes to uncovering the most qualified talent. This is something that the best recruiters have been doing for years. I think there are some challenges inherent in direct recruiting that make this a bit more difficult. However, I think tools are starting to emerge which will help facilitate this process.

I agree that there is the potential to save money. However, it will be interesting to see how companies choose to invest their resources to achieve their goals. Will they augment existing activities or will there be a complete shift to these new tools?

Omowale
Comment by Omowale Casselle on June 22, 2010 at 4:07pm
Hi Charles,

Those are some great points about the existing challenges with succesfully building talent communities. Thankfully employers have been analyzing their existing talent acquisition strategy to discover where there are challenges. This combined with emerging tools, and business imperative will take talent acquisition to the next level.

Omowale

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