Recruiting Strategy Planning for 2014

by Ryan Stene

17 September, 2013

RyanSteneBlogPhotoCan you believe it? It’s that time of year, where budget planning and strategic road mapping for next year takes place. This is my favorite time of the year, even though it means longer hours and more meetings, but I really enjoy the discussion of helping companies plan and shape their recruiting strategy for years to come.

Let’s look ahead at five things to consider as you build your budget and plan for 2014.

1.    Employment Branding & Candidate Experience – it is crucial that you get it right the first time, and this piece of strategy typically is the most time consuming but also the most rewarding. Employment branding ties into key areas such as attraction, retention and candidate engagement. There are a few key areas to focus on to ensure you develop an employer brand strategy that will assist in achieving your objectives. First, what image are you portraying to your internal employees? I would suggest doing focus groups and surveys to gather this data. Secondly, do you have engagement from senior level management? Third, is there a relationship and defined ownership between HR, marketing and communications within your organization? Lastly, ensure you have a communication plan. There is an overabundance of offline and online channels that tie to your employment brand and experience. Is the messaging and branding consistent across all channels? The secret is to test these channels and arrive at a strategy that provides the highest impact and proficiency for minimum investment. If you don’t have the bandwidth or internal experts, The Arland Group can assist you and complete a “Website Evaluation Impact Report (WEIR)” that can give you the playbook to effectively deploy your career site implementation.

2.    Mobile – This is a crucial part of the strategy, considering the changes to how search engines rank your site and pages based on if you have a mobile optimized site. We have seen top-ranking clients drop several pages because they don’t have a mobile site. But, having a mobile site is only part of the process. With more than 35% of career site traffic coming from a mobile device it is crucial to give candidates a way to apply or connect as well. In a recent SimplyHired survey, 86% of candidates said they would apply via mobile if it is easy, but only 32% apply because it is so difficult. Only 13% of Fortune 500 companies have a mobile optimized career section and 97.8% don’t have a mobile optimized application process. One of our strategic partners, MoBolt, provides an end-to-end application process that requires no IT support. It’s completely customizable, affordable, and best of all it can work with almost any applicant tracking system. MoBolt also offers a mobile employee referral app and a talent capture for event recruiting. Because of our partnership, we are able to help facilitate a demo and get preferred pricing.

3. Social Media – In my conversations with customers, I’ve learned that their social recruiting budgets are projected to grow based on the effectiveness and increased hiring from social media. In a recent survey by, one in three job seekers are using social media as their primary tool for job searching, and 50% of job seekers spend more than six hours per week using social media to find jobs. It also appears that these companies are continuing to add on to their strategies in the coming months. Two out of three respondents to the TweetMyJobs survey said they will expand recruiting initiatives in 2014. Are you looking to add a social strategy in 2014 or finish strong in 2013? We have several success stories and resources that can help you.

4. Video –  ComScore recently reported that 105.1 million Americans are watching videos everyday, and 56% of those people are watching them from a mobile device at least once a month. Recruiting departments should take advantage of this medium because of rapid growth, the ability to tell your message easier, and it helps shorten the hiring process. TAG has found that deploying multiple videos that are shorter (30-34 seconds) and more an infographic style vs. the typical talking heads is more effective. It also a great way to enhance your social media strategy. A stat that I find amazing and shows there is a gap in this strategy is that only about 24% of national brands are using online video. What are you doing to bridge that gap, increase your time to hire and retain the talent that you are targeting?

5. SEO & PPC – When I say those two acronyms, I bet you’re thinking that you already do that with certain providers or vendors. Search for your postings on LinkedIn or Indeed to ensure your jobs have the right keywords. Are you spending your pay-per-click budget effectively down to job level or just allocating a monthly budget and spending it until it is gone? When researching or benchmarking my clients’ postings, about 75% of the time their jobs are not appearing because the job titles are way off or they don’t have the correct keywords in the posting. When is the last time you effectively rewrote your job postings to be marketing ads vs. using the “HR” templates? Can your recruiters effectively write a marketing job ad? Do your postings provoke emotion or speak to a candidate? Do they make you want to take action and apply? Do you articulate the apply process and what is needed from the candidate? When it comes to PPC, I truly believe that aggregators like Indeed, SimplyHired or even JuJu are providing great organic and paid clicks. But, the problem with their models is that they are extremely time- consuming to manage, especially if you are sponsoring multiple requisitions. You then blow your monthly budget on paying for more candidates than what you actually need in the pipeline. We have found a few vendors to support these challenges and offer a variety of options to support your needs.