Recruiting online isn’t so different from online dating.

Online Marketing Strategies for Recruitment - Man in construction hat in front of equipment holding sign that says "Hiring"

When you think about it, recruiting to hire isn’t that different from dating. You screen your candidates before you meet them. You might have multiple options to choose from, and you probably have several encounters with an individual before you make a commitment. 

When dating, or hiring, most of us tend to err on the side of caution (and if we don’t, we probably should). Finding a good employee is important.  I don’t know about you, but most days I spend more time with my employees than I do with my spouse. 

No one wants to hire someone because they’re desperate, just filling a seat on the bus. You have to think about what’s right for the business. I want to hire someone who’s qualified, shares my values and work ethic. My ideal candidate is someone who’s awesome at their current job, and looking for something more fulfilling and lucrative. So how do I find good people?

1. Meet them where they are.

Meeting your bride at the local bar is going by the way of eight track tapes. Dating is moving online. 19% of brides found their spouse online in 2017 according to theknot.com.  That’s up 14% from 2015. Hiring is moving online even faster. 79% of job seekers applied for a job online, or at least utilized the internet as part of their search, according to SHRM.org.

2. Gear up for cyber stalking.

You’ll cyber stalk your candidates, don’t act like you won’t check out their social profiles and make sure they’re not lunatics. If you don’t like the term ‘stalk,’ just pretend you’re a detective and call it research. If you’re cyber stalking, you’re not alone. According to Career Builder, 70% of employers reviewed a candidate’s social profile in 2017. That’s a given.

While you’re Googling their name to make sure it doesn’t bring up some crazy news story (that’s a red flag, by the way), you also review the content they’re sharing and how they communicate online. News flash: job candidates are judging you the exact same way.  

By “gear up,” I don’t mean hit up Facebook for the dirt on all your potential hires.  I mean, if you’re cyber stalking them, they’re stalking you, too. You need to be ready, game face on, boots polished. 

3. Shout your message loud and clear.

If all an applicant ever sees from your company is a job listing, will it make them want to work for you? Woo candidates through your listings the same way you would in person. Tell them a story, sell them on your values and team.  Make them want to work for you and not just because of the great pay and benefits. 

The same goes for your website.  You won’t win them over with a sales pitch or a service brochure. Don’t be a stranger, allow them to get to know you before going on that first date.

Tell your story via social media.

After your website is in good shape, take a look at your social media. Make sure to link to your accounts from your website and job listings if you can. Show those cyber stalkers what you care about. Make the type of company you are loud and clear. Share things like employee spotlights, inner-company news, interests and issues you support, and highlight your community involvement.

4. Beef up your website’s hiring section.

When someone searches for your company, the first thing they’ll typically see is your website. That’s good, it gives you control over their first impression of you. Make your website a good one

  • Provide them with a clear route to your hiring section. 
  • Provide clear expectations for potential employees. 
  • Share employee testimonials. 
  • Discuss how you help your employees succeed. 
  • Tell them about benefits and advancement opportunities.
  • And for heaven’s sake, put actual photos of real people who work for your company on your website.  Everyone can tell when your logo is superimposed on a hard hat.

Dedicate a page to each type of person you hire.

Creating dedicated pages allows you to address different segments of job seekers appropriately, appealing to their respective needs and desires.

For example, if you’re recruiting for craft professionals, you would have a page dedicated to talking to those individuals about what they care about. If you’re also hiring interns, you’d have a second page speaking directly to them. Interns and craft professionals care about different things. Speak to them separately in a tone most appealing to them.

5. Make it easy to apply online.

This is so important, I’m going to say it again just in case you missed it: make it easy to apply online. This is not just for your applicants. If you’re not streamlining the application process for HR, you’re not doing it right.  

By “apply online,” I don’t mean allowing people to download a PDF application to print and fill out. That ship has sailed. Intaking handwritten applications and forcing HR to type them into their HR software is not an online system.  It’s a hot mess sucking up man hours and costing you money. Your online application needs to be something applicants can — you guessed it — fill out and submit online. 

Optimize your application for mobile. 

If your application is difficult to use on a phone, you’re limiting your access to potential candidates. Only 27% of adults age 30-49 live in a home with a desktop or laptop computer. 88% have smartphones.

6. Post job openings in multiple places.

This should be a no-brainer. After all, what’s more effective: one flyer or a dozen fliers? Also, please don’t post fliers. Post your job listings on your website for sure, but don’t stop there. Meet your candidates where they are — on job boards.

Online Marketing Strategies for Recruitment - Job Boards: Aerial view of hands typing on laptop with megaphone icon above

Get on those job boards.

What are these boards that everyone keeps talking about? Job boards are an online service where companies can share their openings. These can take various forms. For example, some job boards are exclusive to a city, school or industry.  

Google may recognize you for the things you do, but odds are good it doesn’t think you’re a website dedicated to listing jobs. So when people search for paving jobs, they’re not going to be directed to your website. They will be directed to one of the national players listing jobs online. Plus, Google gives priority to job boards and displays those listings at the top of search results.

If you’re not sure where to post your jobs, start by searching for the job you’re trying to fill. The websites listed for the job on the first page of Google are likely the ones you should start with. I searched for paving crew jobs, asphalt milling machine operator, asphalt plant manager, and a few more paving specific jobs, and the websites with first page search results were:

The results may be different for your area or job title. Search and ye shall find.

Do your homework to make each job posting count.

The algorithm for the job boards works a lot like a search engine. Make sure the name of your job and the description are detailed. Use the types of words people would use to search for the work, not company specific titles or lingo.

Provide an accurate job title and description.

If you’ve ever signed your kids up for sports, you understand how frustrating it can be to translate company-specific lingo.  You have no choice but to read ALL the class descriptions to know which one is right for your kid. People don’t search for “polliwog swim lessons,” they search for “beginning swim lessons for 4 year olds.”  They search for jobs the same way.  

If you’re not sure what to call the position. Once again, head over to Google and then the job board websites to investigate. Name the position what most people are calling it, and include the name in the description of the job. 

List required skills.

Share the skills required of a qualified applicant. Skills are one of the ways job boards match and promote listings to applicants. Additionally, some people, especially those seeking a new career path, may search for jobs based on skills.  

Share expected pay range.

When listing your jobs, make sure you include the pay range. Remember, HR, is a sales process recruiting people to come and work for your company. Give candidates what they need to make a buying decision.

You wouldn’t buy a car without knowing how much it costs, and less people will apply for a job not knowing how much they’ll make. Even if your competition doesn’t share pay details — do it anyway. Sharing this information can set you apart from others in your industry and begins establishing trust and transparency, which are mega important, especially when you’re hiring millennials.

6. Budget to place ads.

Job boards emulate search engines in more ways than one. If you want lots of exposure, you may need to pay for it.

Frequent Vacancies

If you have positions you frequently need to fill, your goal is to keep a slow trickle of applications coming in the door. Keep those jobs posted year-round on your website and on job boards. 

Experiment with this…

In my experience, if I post to a job board and leave it for a long period of time without interacting with it, eventually the number of applications dwindles to almost nothing.  If this happens to you, try re-posting or updating the listing. Or consider putting a small amount of money behind promoting the post to save it from becoming obsolete and keep the applications trickling in.

Fast Turn Around or More Advanced Jobs

If you’re looking to fill a position quickly (who came up with the concept of giving two weeks notice anyway?  Was it during the Great Depression?!?) or find applicants with specialty or advanced training, you’ll want to put some money behind your job postings.  Unless you know some secret that I don’t (and if you do, share the love), you’ll need it to take advantage of the job board search algorithm’s capitalistic favoritism to paying advertisers.  

Approach online hiring like online dating.  

The goal is to find the best way to connect with the most qualified people, right? Take another look at your message.  Share a narrative that resonates with candidates and tells the story of your company. Make the application process easy, post your message not just on your website but also on social media and job boards.  Once your message is ready, consider paying to promote your jobs to ensure you’re getting in front of the most qualified applicants.

More about the Author

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Monica Pitts

Monica is the creative force and founder of MayeCreate. She has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with an emphasis in Economics, Education and Plant Science from the University of Missouri. Monica possesses a rare combination of design savvy and technological know-how. Her clients know this quite well. Her passion for making friends and helping businesses grow gives her the skills she needs to make sure that each client, or friend, gets the attention and service he or she deserves.

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