Summary: Recruitment marketing is necessary for law firms to convey their brand and story to the best candidates throughout the hiring process.
- Recruiting on its own is no longer enough. Recruiting Marketing takes a more strategic, long-term approach
- Recruiting marketing is not about finding applicants, it’s about finding talent
- Applicants and candidates expect more from hiring firms and if they don’t get it, they’ll lose interest
- Recruiting marketing is not just something your firm does when it needs a new hire
- How to make your website better for recruiting
- The importance of using social media and mobile device accessibility
You’ve posted a position to a job board. The number of qualified applicants that respond will depend entirely on your law firm, your brand, the position offered, and your recruiting marketing.
1. Recruitment marketing: Why you can’t live without it
Essentially, recruitment marketing represents everything your firm does to interest and engage applicants before they’re actually converted into applicants. It’s your messaging, through various channels, and methods you use that make potential candidates—and hopefully, the most talented candidates—want to work for your firm.
How to use HiringPartner for Recruitment Marketing
- Figure out your Employee Value Proposition (EVP). Then, make sure everyone on your hiring team understands it too. What is it? It’s the salary, compensation, and benefits that your firm pays an employee in return for the skills, experience, and productivity they deliver to further the firm in service to its business goals, mission, purpose, and values. This EVP, in addition to your Employer Brand, will be crucial to the future retention or attrition of the talent at your firm.
What HiringPartner can do: We can provide assistance throughout your entire hiring process. We offer hundreds of templates to help you create job descriptions that will excite the kind of candidates you’re looking for.
- The majority of applicants sending résumés in response to your job postings do so because they need a job. They’re not being picky, they know very little about your firm. They’re not discriminating. They have no passion for the work. While they may make up the bulk of your applicants, they tend to rarely intersect with your preferred talent pool.
What HiringPartner can do: We make the application process straightforward and easy. This direct communication will help to optimize your process and the applicants you screen.
- A recruitment marketing strategy includes crafting your messaging carefully. It should express well your firm’s brand and its culture. The funnel on this process can be long-term or short and use various channels.
What HiringPartner can do: Because of our intuitive and efficient process, you’ll experience better conversion and apply rates. Our interface allows optimum self-service for your applicants.
- In your branding, all of your outbound messaging—job descriptions, website, social media, etc.—should truly reflect your firm’s culture, purpose, value, and mission. Your messaging should not be designed to appeal to everyone, especially when it comes to recruiting. You’re looking for those that’ll fit with your tribe. This won’t be everyone.
What HiringPartner can do: Our proprietary software can integrate your Careers page, provide a company microsite, as well as automate your communications through email or social media.
- It’s important that your current team is onboard with your branding efforts. They’ll need to buy-in with the EVP. You’ll need to refine your branding and EVP in simple “elevator pitch” type language. This is more than simply offering explanations and aiding your team in being ambassadors for the firm. It will not only encourage employee satisfaction, it’ll help boost your recruitment efforts through employee referrals.
What HiringPartner can do: With our integration of a microsite with your own Careers page, your brand is fully integrated with the application journey. A microsite gives your firm the opportunity, within the HiringPartner site, for applicants to get more information about your firm. It can include your brand and story and be more aligned with your company’s image.
Make Recruitment Marketing an ongoing campaign
Professional recruiters were surveyed and by a majority of 65% they claimed that their biggest challenge in hiring is a shortage of talent. To restate the above: No one ever faces a shortage of applicants. Finding talent is something else. This is why Recruitment Marketing is crucial.
In your outreach campaigns, your approach to candidates will differ by position and role—how you construct your pitch for a Senior Associate will not look the same as a Legal Assistant—so you’ll need to understand each of these targets groups, not only what you want from them but what they may want from you: including what their motivations are and what they’re looking for. From this you’ll build your platform for job postings or any other outgoing messaging direct to them.
Once you’ve built this platform and fashioned your target audience profiles, use it as a template for your content across channels—both multi- and omni- —including how your phone screens and interviews are conducted. Whatever the channel or medium, this story can serve as the kernel for all your firm’s foundational pieces including branding and recruitment. By using this platform your messaging can remain consistent.
What HiringPartner can do: You can automatically post your jobs on your social networks as well as your Careers page. If you’d rather, we can provide a microsite for your postings. You’ll have complete brand integration throughout your process. As part of our suite of services, we provide templates and concierge level customer service to help you along the way.
2. Your firm’s website: Is it getting your message out?
Your Careers website or webpage is responsible for much of your recruitment activity. According to this survey of 300 law firms, many were found to have outdated or unclear employer brands and weak job descriptions making it difficult for jobs to stand out, frustrating application experiences, and more.
One particular problem they found was “friction”, this being any resistance or steps added to the application process that has the effect of lowering the rate of applicants This included application portals that didn’t support the most popular browsers and OS systems—and as nearly 80% of Millennials access their job searches from their phones, mobile compatibility is essential. Also, interesting to note is that while the image of the smartphone addicted Millennial has risen to overdone cliché, Gen X isn’t far behind and Boomers are growing faster than any other group joining the mobile device-centric multitudes. Website incompatibility with mobile devices has been found to be widespread. When users encounter incompatibility alerts, it’s estimated that 20% to 55% of potential applicants will give up and click off: According to Indeed, searches for legal jobs from mobile devices made up 57.5% of searches.
What HiringPartner can do: Our straightforward and easy-to-use process has been optimized to reduce friction. Our clients have access to the highest concentration of job seekers in the legal community because we attract more applicants looking specifically for jobs in the legal field, more than any other job board. Because of this, we’re most likely to have the highest quality talent pool. Along with a platform designed to bring you the best possible conversion rates, you’re guaranteed more and better options for meeting your hiring goals.
Are you researchable?
Your careers page can be the hub of your recruitment marketing activity. According to this survey, job seekers will spend one to four hours researching your firm. The majority of users will view your careers page as the most useful on your website. For this reason, it’s important this page provides the information your potential hires are looking for. It’s also crucial that this page is easy to navigate from a variety of devices.
A good way to guide your page design is to use your current web analytics to help you determine what the most important features of your site are for your job seekers. If there are pages and links on your site that receive little or no traffic, it’d be advisable to change out or remove those pages and replace them with something more useful.
What HiringPartner can do:
- Unlike your website, HiringPartner is already fully optimized. Take further advantage of this feature and include a microsite for your applicants with us.
- While we offer the highest number of quality applicants looking for for legal jobs, what if your firm has internal candidates or referrals? Our interface can be integrated into your hiring funnel whether your candidates were found on our site or elsewhere.
- Our portal stands as a high quality, no-cost application that can serve your needs however you find candidates.
3. What are applicants looking for from your firm?
It’s safe to say that those in the market for a Lamborghini aren’t just looking for a car. They have an expectation that only a Lamborghini will fulfill—an expectation that goes way beyond the purpose of mere transport. Attracting talent is similar.
Jobs are commodities. And though a job will be the final transaction, job searching is aspirational and, at the level of high performing attorneys, way beyond the purpose of merely looking for employment. Your candidates are looking for a life. If you’re simply selling jobs, then you’re doing your brand, your value as an employer, and your firm a great disservice. This will not be how you attract the best candidates.
Your recruitment marketing strategies must be brand forward. And this brand value proposition needs to be shared at every step throughout the hiring process. This is no less true whether the candidate gets the job or not. This is because your hiring process is also a representation of your brand, just as much as your client interactions are.
What HiringPartner can do:
- Our ATS allows you a way to sort and review candidates, mine data about them, and have it all contained in an easily navigable index, all in one place.
- With our microsite feature, you can incorporate all of the features and benefits of your HiringPartner campaign into all of your other channels including email and social media. You have a link to refer applicants and candidates to, with not only information about the positions offered, but also about your firm, its history, story, team, etc.
Capturing your talent community
When top talent visits your website or engages with your firm through social media or some other form of outreach, they’ve entered your potential talent pipeline. These are quality leads worth capturing. Only 10% of job seekers in general complete the application—90% of your audience has been lost. Many of the career websites do no better: Average conversion rate of visitors to applicants is 8.6% as recently as 2016. This was down from 11% from the year before. Treating these visitors as leads allows you to re-engage with this potentially quality pool. To do this you’ll need to create content and actual human interaction, through lead capture forms, social media, email, etc. in order to develop engagement.
What HiringPartner can do: You can archive your best candidates, reach out to them on an ongoing basis, and keep them active and in your pipeline.
Getting aggressive: Resources are plentiful; talent is rare
Recruiting, with the help of better software, is becoming more efficient. In 2016 it took 526 visitors to a job post to produce one hire; by 2018 it dropped to 177. Clearly, this hiring funnel process has been optimized considerably. On the other hand, as measured from 2016 to 2018, these metrics could still stand some improvement:
- Job posts to applicants ratio dropped almost 2%
- Applicants per job dropped 44%
While reports of a robust job market abound, and claims of surging job growth, once you dig into the finer details a slightly difference picture arises. With more employment, the war for talent will only escalate. Again, the resources are there, the talent is harder to find: as many as 75% of applicants for a given role aren’t qualified for the job. Though, what is meant by “more employment” needs parsing: While it may be true that more people are working, generally this high employment doesn’t necessarily mean that people are happy with the jobs they’ve found.
Therefore, law firms can’t afford to cast aside candidates who might appear to do really well in the position offered but don’t have the experience as it was written in the job description. Expanding your pool of potentials not only gives more access to worthy talent, it may also take you out of status quo thinking.
Improving the screen
Robert Meier, President of Job Market Experts, says: “Ninety-eight percent of job seekers are eliminated at the initial resume screening and only the ‘Top two percent’ of candidates make it to the interview.” Through modification of keywords and other target job requirements, applicants can “make” themselves desirable, but no amount of optimizing will improve their on-the-job performance. Reiterating a focus on specific traits and experiences guarantees your firm will be overlooking top talent. An article at the Harvard Business Review suggests that there’s a “very weak relationship between prehire experience and performance.”
Nor is there any evidence that experience will have effect on a person’s job retention. Research suggests that employers stress a preference for experience, even for entry-level positions, with no evidence to suggest the strategy is a good one: “One of the basic premises…is that past behavior predicts future behavior. But prehire experience isn’t a measure of behavior. The person might have failed or stagnated in previous jobs. So we should take experience into account but maybe do a better job of delving into prehire performance.”
Law firms need to start thinking about the kind of firm they want to build for the future.
What HiringPartner can do: With our ATS and its intuitive dashboard, you can manage Jobs, Candidates, access to sending your jobs to your social networks, a calendar schedule for your review, new activity, analytics of your job postings including number of views, and more. You’ll have access to a library of email templates, auto responders, statuses, and other services. You can be notified when new applicants submit by accessing your dashboard and through email alerts. HiringPartner provides a complete suite of services that give you opportunity and access to better talent and better hires.
4. Using Social Media in recruiting
Mike Hennessy, founder of a leading recruitment marketing platform, SmashFly Technologies, said this about best hiring practices: “You can’t have great hires without great applicants, and you can’t have great applicants without great leads.”
Acquiring great leads will require you to reach them where they are. And for Millennials, that’s social media. This is an opportunity that only social media affords—not your website, nor newsletter, advertising, legal organizations, and anything else. It’s also the best way to share an honest picture of your value and culture. But when using this channel don’t just talk: Listen; engage; entertain; connect.
Also, your social strategy should be about more than just sharing jobs. Offer your visitors quality content and story-telling. This is an important opportunity—you need to have a content strategy.
Mike Hennessy offers this advice: “I’ve heard a few people say that technology automation removes the human element from talent acquisition. I couldn’t disagree more. Automation, when used intelligently, can drive more meaningful interactions [especially] between candidates and employers.”
What HiringPartner can do: From our dashboard you can post to your social networks automatically and also manage them ongoing.
5. Here’s why your firm needs to get it right
To get your hiring wrong will come at a steep price.
For small businesses, according to a Monster.com survey:
- 62% have reported making a wrong hire.
- Because of these wrong hires, organizations lose clients and customers—according to the survey, by a margin of 24%.
- 85% looking to fill open positions found no applicants. (NFIB)
- 92% would consider leaving their current jobs if offered another role with a company that had an excellent corporate reputation.(Corporate Responsibility Magazine, September 2015)
And then there are the costs of employee turnover (according to ERE, a recruiting industry network):
- Entry-level Employees—between 30-50% of the annual salary to replace them.
- Mid-level Employees—upwards of 150% of their annual salary to replace them.
- High-level or Highly Specialized Employees—400% of their annual salary.
When candidates don’t get what they want
Research shows that when candidates find the hiring process unsatisfactory, they’ll withdraw. In 2017, 11% of those who withdrew cited “poor rapport with recruiting professionals”; in 2018 that figure was 32%. Their complaints also included “dislike of the hiring manager” and “misunderstanding of the job description.” Candidates are also withdrawing in greater numbers because “the salary did not meet expectations”— from 14% in 2017 to 22% in 2018.
Whether real or imagined, candidates feel that the job market is strong enough for them to find something better elsewhere, regardless of whether it’s money or a perceived cultural fit. For your applicants, a poor candidate experience can have ripple effects that could seriously affect your bottom line. Unlike a consumer-based business, candidates who might end their relationship with an organization can’t stop buying your products or services.But for a law firm that relies on reputation and networks, a poor experience can result in a spread on unflattering attention, in your network and on social media, and this can affect your firm’s reputation and ultimately your ability to entice new clients: 80% of candidates will share their positive experiences and over 60% will share their negative ones. More than just social media this also includes other job boards that feature employer reviews.
What HiringPartner can do: Our ATS (applicant tracking software) allows you to manage applicants and candidates intimately throughout every step of the pipeline—including those applicants that are rejected. You can autorespond to candidates.
About Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and a successful legal recruiter. Harrison is extremely committed to and passionate about the profession of legal placement. His firm BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys. BCG Attorney Search works with attorneys to dramatically improve their careers by leaving no stone unturned in job searches and bringing out the very best in them. Harrison has placed the leaders of the nation’s top law firms, and countless associates who have gone on to lead the nation’s top law firms. There are very few firms Harrison has not made placements with. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placements attract millions of reads each year. He coaches and consults with law firms about how to dramatically improve their recruiting and retention efforts. His company, LawCrossing, has been ranked on the Inc. 500 twice. For more information, please visit Harrison Barnes’ bio.
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