Source Of Influence Is A Better Metric Than Source Of Hire

Source of Influence: Connecting the Dots of the Candidate Journey

This is a guest blog post by Elyse Schmidt of SmashFly.

Consumers interact with as many as 12 touchpoints before making a decision to purchase. We could say the same for candidates, who are more like consumers than ever, and who use social media, career sites, job boards, email, employee stories, company reviews, events, blogs and more to get to know a potential employer before they ever even apply.

But then (or if!) they do apply, we track the source of hire: the last touchpoint that candidate made that drove them to apply. Important, sure, to track the success of your conversions. But is that the whole story? No way!

A commenter (Master Burnett gets kudos!) on one of our blog posts said: “There is rarely a single source of hire in today’s hyper connected reality. Single source of application, maybe.”

This is a well-made point. Candidate leads can only apply from one source. But they become a hire as a result of their entire experience with your employer brand, from initial attraction all the way to accepting your offer. Source of hire is only ONE touchpoint between your brand and candidate that will tell you about how they become interested in your brand and jobs.

Modern Candidates Are Researchers

The best candidate leads are researchers, compiling as much information as possible on your company, your employees, your projects, your stories and your open job positions in order to make an informed decision on whether to apply or not. Here’s an idea of how a lead might interact with your employer brand along their journey:

  • Visit your corporate website to learn more about your company, products and strategy
  • Visit your career site to learn more about people, projects, benefits and opportunities at your organization
  • Check out your careers blog or corporate blog to read stories about your mission or people
  • Follow your Twitter handles (recruiting, corporate, employee, etc.) and potentially interact with them
  • Become a fan of your Facebook page
  • Search for employee reviews of your organization on Glassdoor
  • Talk to a LinkedIn connection who previously worked at your organization
  • Set up job alerts for new positions at your company
  • Sign up for your talent network
  • Check job boards to see what open job positions you are recruiting for
  • Search Google for recent news on your company

That’s 11 potential touchpoints right there. A lead may do all of them, a few of them or even some of them more than once. It’s after this research phase (however long it may be) that they will ultimately decide to apply or not. If they like what they read, see and hear, they will most likely apply. If they believe your brand, trust your stories and are inspired but its mission, they will most likely apply. If not, they won’t. Simple as that.

Now, if you’re using a recruitment marketing strategy, you’re extremely excited for a lead to interact with your brand at each one of these points, because your employer brand is ready for them at every stage! You’re communicating value to candidates, sharing transparent stories about how your work affects a bigger goal and using multiple channels to distribute these stories to different audiences in different formats. But if you’re only tracking source of hire, you’re missing all of this data. You’re missing every time a candidate reads your CEO’s blog post, clicks on a link to your career site on Twitter or watches an employee video. All these touchpoints are extremely important in the candidate journey―and to measuring the influence of your employer brand.

So how can companies track all of these touchpoints and influences?

Tracking Candidate Touchpoints to Measure Source of Influence

In a perfect world, your talent acquisition teams would make a hire and be able to see all the touchpoints that drove that candidate lead to your organization. Think of all of that insight! This is what marketing automation technology (like Hubspot and Pardot) enables marketers to see: how their leads funnel into customers.

Technology can enable that type of insight for recruiters too. With a Recruitment Marketing Platform, you can see for each candidate what content they viewed, what job boards they visited, every interaction they had with you on LinkedIn or Twitter or Facebook, what links they clicked in your emails and every other engagement that influenced their decision to apply, all in one dashboard. You’re able to not only understand what’s working and not working in your recruiting process, but also piece together how the best candidates interact with your employer brand. The integration of all of your recruitment marketing tactics show the candidate’s journey, like:

  • How many visitors come to your career site, from which social networks or job boards, on a mobile device or desktop, and what content they engage with before applying
  • How your latest college recruiting campaign performed in terms of email opens and click throughs, how many of them joined your talent network, and how many converted into qualified candidates for your pipelines
  • What your conversion rate is between candidates that start the apply process and complete it, and for those that dropped off, which responded to the automatic email inviting them to finish their application
  • Which channels are bringing in leads that convert the quickest, and which channels are bringing in leads who convert to applicants who convert to hires
  • How many leads you need to capture and/or source in order to hire for one open job requisition

The reality is, all of your recruitment marketing campaigns and initiatives act as influencers in helping a candidate lead to become an applicant―not just the last one. The key is to get all these metrics together in a way that allows you to evaluate and improve your entire recruiting process. Getting accurate data is one thing, but getting it a digestible and actionable format is another.

A solution like a Recruitment Marketing Platform can help you track the influence of all these recruitment marketing channels in a centralized system. If you’re working to create long-lasting, engaging content (the main mission of our partner Stories Inc.), then you need to be able to track how those stories are influencing candidates across every touchpoint and driving them to your organization. It’s with this integrated and holistic data on sources of candidate influence that we can make informed decisions on the content and sources we should be using in our recruitment strategy.

Are you ready to ditch your old ideals around a single source of hire?

For more recruitment marketing tips and ideas for 2016, check out our 2016 Recruitment Marketing Ideabook, featuring 37 thought leaders in the talent acquisition space.