If you haven’t already read how content drives awareness and engagement, take a look at some of our previous articles on the subject, including the proof that content compels applications for some of your most selective and hardest-to-hire roles.
But what isn’t always obvious is that content has two very specific ways in which it drives your recruiting efforts.
This is the consideration funnel. Every person you’ve ever hired has gone through this funnel, starting at the top where they were unaware of your brand, location or opportunities. They learn about you and the jobs you have requisitions for. Learning makes them interested in the role and moves them to consider applying eventually.
It used to be that you would anticipate most prospects would jump all the way through the funnel in one quick process, as they read about opportunities in the classifieds, and decided to send you a cover letter and resume. Those days, obviously, are gone.
In its place is a slower process, where prospects have the opportunity to search Google, Glassdoor and LinkedIn for information about your company. Moving through the interest and consider phases of the process takes more and more time before candidates are comfortable applying.
Content supports this process of moving from the top of the funnel to the bottom in two very different ways.
Content as an Attractor
How do people enter the top of the funnel? If they are looking for a job, they generally will find your job openings on job boards. But if they aren’t actively looking for a job, they won’t look for you on job boards.
[pullquote]Content can attract people into the top of the recruiting funnel simply by being interesting[/pullquote]
Instead, they will be searching online for non-job-related information and your content may pop up. If that content is interesting, they learn about you, what you do, why you do it and the difference you are making. This creates a powerful, positive employer brand impression, which will get activated when that user is ready to apply. Content fills the top of the funnel, making more people aware of your brand and opportunities until they are ready to take action.
Content can also get shared and found via social media networks. Your fans won’t share junk, so you’ll need to build content that is interesting on its own. They will share it with their networks, driving their friends to the top of the funnel.
Content can attract people into the top of the funnel simply by being interesting. People attracted by content don’t generally apply immediately, because they still need time to go through the rest of the funnel.
Content designed to attract is easy to measure, because you can look at your analytics software and see how many visits started on one of your pieces of content or on the social networks sharing content. These are all visits that wouldn’t have happened without content, so it’s a simple matter to determine content’s value as an attractor.
Content as a Validator
Everyone hates their job descriptions. In the last few years, many companies have gotten lazy because just having the job descriptions was enough. The economy was bad enough that most people would spend time reading job descriptions like tea leaves at the bottom of the cup, so even if they didn’t say much about the job, people still applied. But what happens as prospects go through the funnel is that the job description just isn’t enough to compel action.
As the economy improves and as some companies have begun robust content strategies, just having a job description simply isn’t enough. Prospects know they can just go to the next opportunity, so time-on-site numbers and conversion rates are moving downward.
In this model, content speaks to people who are already aware of the company and the opportunity, and is there to validate a candidate’s interest in the opportunity. The job description isn’t enough to move the candidate to apply, but the content helps them understand the company or role, so they move toward applications.
This is completely different because the value doesn’t come from bringing people to the site, but in plugging holes in it. It increases the value of all existing incoming channels like ads and job boards because fewer people leave without applying.
Measuring this value is a little harder. You can use your analytics package to see how many of your visits involved interaction with content and how that application rate differed from those that didn’t look at content.
For younger and less experienced prospects, content encourages applicants to self-select out. This same content encourages experienced and selective applicants to apply at a far higher rate. In many cases, these forces cancel these effects out, making it hard to see the impact. Because of that, we recommend breaking down your audiences by career stage segment to understand how people are responding.