What Recruiters Should Do Now to Prepare for the Upturn

What Recruiters Should Do Now to Prepare for the Upturn

If you're not taking the time now to invest in the upturn -- your competitor is!

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With the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, recruitment leaders have had to make tough decisions. Do they furlough staff? Will they have to adjust headcount? Where can they save money and where should they spend? And with businesses starting to reopen and activity resuming, how will they manage physical versus remote working in the ‘new normal’?

Although this was unavoidable for many recruiters, the disruption in staffing services caused by furloughing staff will have affected the strength of their relationships with clients. We heard several stories of businesses desperate to still hire staff and unable to get a hold of a recruiter to take their vacancy as entire teams were on leave. Many of those who persevered over the period are finding they have a head start in rebuiding their teams and businesses.

As it was important for every recruitment agency to assess their business priorities in order to ensure business continuity, many marketing team members were made redundant and budgets cut. Unfortunately, this decision will have long-term consequences. Whilst no company should continue to use its marketing assets to imply that it’s still business as usual, they should still be in place in order to reassure clients, business partners and staff that there will be a business to return to, particularly through such channels as email marketing and social media. All marketing campaigns and programmes that have been put on hold during this period will not only be delayed by the lockdown, but will also need additional time to get them back up and running when everyone returns to work – they may even need reassessing.

What marketing initiatives should recruiters do now to prepare?

There are a lot of things to consider when preparing your marketing plan for the coming months and this is a great time to evaluate your previous strategies. The world is not going to be the same after COVID-19 — lots of attitudes will have changed towards flexible working, more contingency recruitment and hiring plans etc. Re-evaluating what you can offer to your customers now and post-Coronavirus will help you create a new marketing strategy that’s fit for purpose and responsive to market demands.

Seven recruitment marketing initiatives to prepare for the ‘new normal’

  1. Listen to what your customers need today 
    Depending on the industry or profession, your customers will have different needs and trajectories as they return to ‘business as usual’. For some, they may be in the middle of a recruitment mandate or even have recently brought on new staff; thinking about how you can help these customers now – through advice, content assets or tailored communications – will go a long way!Use this insight to help steer your course for both business development and marketing activities, both in how you approach things now as well as when business returns.
  2. Review your tech stack
    There’s never enough time in the day, but during this period of rebuilding, when there are fewer job orders to work, it is a great time to review what technology platforms will enable you to achieve your growth goals. This includes the obvious like your website or CRM system, but don’t forget the platforms that will increase efficiencies, putting time back in your day and enhancing your customer experience. Platforms like SaveTrees for online timesheetsPaiger for content sharingOdro for video interviewing and Strategies for recruitment website design are just a few of the tools that will help you save time, money — or both!
  3. Work on sales enablement campaigns 
    When your staff return from furlough and business resumes, recruiters won’t have many ongoing recruitment mandates and the flood of outbound calls from competing agencies will mean that it will be hard for your voice to be heard amongst your client base. In order to combat this you can try:

    • Developing campaigns and sales enablement programmes now, including thought leadership reports, brochures, account-based marketing to help target and mushroom clients etc.
    • Review all of your marketing materials to ensure that they still accurately reflect your value proposition and service offering. Now could be a time to update if required.
  4. Review your channel mix 
    What marketing channels do you use for your customer acquisition? Are they still working or have you seen a change in user-behaviour since the outbreak?The optimum recruitment channel metric is cost per acquisition which looks at the total cost per candidate conversion (aka CV or registration) or client conversion (request info, submit a vacancy etc.), considering the paid cost of the marketing channel (either direct advertising/job board costs or indirect costs like marketing head count or consultancy) divided by the number of candidate/client conversions obtained. Going one step further, cost per ‘qualified’ acquisition (aka qualified CVs or sales qualified lead), would yield even greater returns.Now is a very good time to think about diversifying your marketing channels. If you focus exclusively on job boards and organic social media, these channels are great for candidate acquisition, but in an environment where the supply-demand balance has shifted, how are you going to source future client business opportunities?
  5. Develop nurture marketing programmes 
    Just like when you’re dating or cultivating a new friendship, it’s critical to actually court your prospects before going in for the big sell! While it would be expected that you would already have pre-existing relationships with many of your contacts, picking up these relationships should be done tactfully. Going in too hard for the sell could backfire and undo much of the goodwill you’ve garnered over several months or years.Whenever you approach marketing, it’s important to consider the different stages of the buyer’s journey – from their awareness that they have a hiring need, through their interest in finding a solution, the consideration they take in vetting options and the preference factors that allow them to pick one partner over another.Whether you are building out a social media plan or a developing a marketing automation and multi-channel nurture programme, understanding and creating specific content and messages that align with the stages of the sales funnel will ensure that you’re addressing your prospects’ pain points and behaviour-driven responses.
  6. Focus on database and email marketing
    In an effort to constantly get ‘net new’ contacts, businesses often neglect the value of their database and the existing contacts and relationships that are worth revisiting. Spending time whilst business demands are light to develop multi-stage nurture email sequences to reengage and reactivate these contacts will ensure that you’re getting the most out of the contacts you already ‘own’, and thus amplify the reach of your sales team and message once business returns to usual.Engaging your audience by developing messages and communications aligned to the stages in the sales funnel will allow you to monitor how your potential clients and candidates are engaging with your messages. From this you can deduce their buying intent and sort the warm leads from the cold. From there a recruitment consultant can follow up with that client or candidate, or you can lead them to the next stage in your nurture sequence with more email communications tailored to their specific behaviours and buying signals.
  7. Make LinkedIn do more for you through Strive Sales Automation and marketing automation
    With LinkedIn reaching its saturation point and business leaders getting more and more unsolicited InMails from salespeople, it is getting harder to stand out on this platform, particularly to develop client relationships.We must also remember that for the majority of our client base, their LinkedIn behaviour is not the same as that of recruiters or job seekers; it’s therefore important to reach them where they are hanging out and spending their time – and for business communications, this remains is in their emails.There are marketing automation tools available, including our ‘LinkedIn Prospector’ feature in our own marketing and sales automation tool, Strive, that can identify the contact’s work email address. You can then use this to drip feed them bespoke emailing at every stage of the sales funnel in your nurture sequencing.

Interested in learning more? Thrive provides marketing and sales automation consultancy and delivery to help you optimise your recruitment sales funnel, nurture customers and make more placements. Contact us to learn more!

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