Recruiting Content: The First 10 Pages

Starting a recruiting content strategy is a daunting proposal. You may know that you need to tell more stories to attract prospects and validate their interest in you in a way that job descriptions can’t, but where does one start?

If you are looking to reach a variety of audiences at various points in the conversion funnel about the 10 openings you have now, do you build microsites and campaigns for each role, or do you stick to brand work only? The smart answer is somewhere in between. So in order to get the ball rolling, here are the first 10 steps along what will likely be a long journey.

Overview of the Interview Process: “How We Hire”

Offer an applicant the general timeline for the application process to proactively address simple questions they may have. Perhaps that entails: Step 1) Phone interview; Step 2) In-person interview; Step 3) Written exercise; Step 4) Second in-person interview with an executive; and Step 5) The offer.

The reason why people leave your career site without applying is usually uncertainty. Whether it’s not understanding what the job is, what is expected from them, alleviating uncertainty increases application rates. And almost every candidate will follow this process, so it has value to each individual without having to make personalized or job-specific content.

This may be the perfect opportunity to throw together a little infographic outlining the steps, along with information on who they should expect to be in touch with and any other beneficial suggestions. Offering them a clear set of expectations will likely make the process smoother for everyone involved.

What the Job Is Really Like: “A Day in the Life”

Is there a position you hire for more than any other? Maybe it’s a hard-to-fill position or a position with a high turnover rate. Provide an overview of what the day-to-day is like for a person in this role, from clocking in to clocking out. If you want to take it a step further, a general weekly agenda for the role can offer applicants the opportunity to see what meetings or projects they’ll be involved with, as well as who they’ll be working with or reporting to on a regular basis. The “Day in the Life” perspective is an authentic yet comprehensive way to allow the applicant to envision him/herself in the role, in turn helping them determine if it’s a good fit early on in the funnel.

Over time, you’ll build more of these for different career areas, but starting on your hardest-to-hire or most urgent need will not only support applicants, but will show the rest of your team the kinds of content they should be building. This page will act as a template for future versions of this content, making creation faster and easier. 

Location Page: “The [Location] Office”

Offer applicants the chance to get an inside look at your office with photos or a virtual tour. They’ll be more comfortable when they show up for an interview, they can imagine their day-to-day, and you get a chance to show off your company culture and environment.

Another important and valuable take on location-based content is a city spotlight. Provide easy access to basic information about the city: population, schools, main attractions, restaurants, etc. This type of content is especially helpful when hiring in a lesser-known city or if you’re asking applicants to relocate. If relocation is on the table, the stakes are probably higher. The more information you can provide, the easier it will be for an applicant to imagine their life and job there, and the more likely it is you’ll get interested and invested candidates.

Getting Started: “What to Expect in the First 90 Days”

One of the most valuable assets you can provide an applicant/new hire is content detailing the onboarding process and what you expect from them in the first 90 days. In the short term, new hires may be wondering: What are the benefits being offered? Will they go through an orientation process? In the long term, they’re likely interested in processes they’ll be expected to learn and how they’ll be evaluated.

This goes back to alleviating uncertainty, but also in helping a candidate envision their new life in your company, helping to compel action.

If given a concrete and tangible idea of what’s expected of them, a new hire will be more confident when they show up on Day 1. The smoother the onboarding process, the sooner they’ll be a fully trained member of the team. 

Tips From Your Own People: “In Their Own Words”

Who knows your company better than your employees? Pick the brains of your team members (from various departments at various levels of experience) and gather their insight into a Q&A or “Top 5 Tips” piece. The applicant will get career and on-the-job advice that is relevant to their future role and that offers insight on the work they’ll be doing and the people they’ll be doing it with. As a bonus, you’ll have content you can easily repurpose down the line to reach candidates at all points in the conversion funnel.

Ask a recruiter: What’s the single most important thing you want potential applicants to know before applying? Ask a senior-level employee: What’s the most valuable advice you’ve been given in your career? Ask a mid-level employee: What do you wish someone had told you when you started here?

Culture: “Meet Our People”

Applicants want to feel like they’ll be part of a supportive team. Find photos of office events, volunteering activities, holiday parties, or other events outside of the office. Reach out to current employees: What do they like about the team? What do they do to make work fun? Information about company culture is most believable and compelling when an applicant hears it from a real person in the company.

Ultimately, who doesn’t want to join a work environment that values collaboration, the community, and well … fun? Show candidates your company cares about making work an exciting and enjoyable place to be. They’ll be spending 40+ hours a week there — offer compelling reasons why they should want to.

Thinking Beyond the Hire: “Career Paths”

Most candidates are interested in knowing beforehand what room for growth exists at your company. A great way to demonstrate that career advancement opportunities are available is to provide anecdotes from existing employees. Did Barb start at the company in finance and later advance her career with you in marketing? Let her tell her story. Then expand on it — whether your company has a generally straightforward upward ladder employees follow or you allow them to explore their interests in new areas (like Barb).

If you’re looking to retain an employee, prove you have concrete training and development opportunities they can utilize to progress their career. Do you offer seminars, mentorship, continuing education, or tuition reimbursement? Be forthcoming. Show applicants how you’ve built an environment that champions hard work and commitment, and they’ll be more inclined to rise to the occasion.

Leadership: “A Word from the President/Founder/Owner”

There are a couple different approaches you can take on a leadership spotlight:

  • One approach is to have the CEO of the company write about his/her experience and career as well as the company’s goals. Let him/her personally illustrate to an employee how they will play a part in the company’s mission.
  • A second approach is to speak with a senior-level employee at the company who started their career there. What have they learned? How have they gone about accomplishing their goals at the company?

Everyone, at every level of the totem pole, wants to see a leadership team that’s actively involved and invested in the success of the company. If you have strong leaders, an applicant will feel that each person plays a role and teamwork is truly valued.

Team Spotlight: “More than Just a Job”

Put together an article shining a spotlight on a success within the company — maybe on an individual who accomplished a personal success outside of work or on a department that earned an award for an innovative project. Think of it as an informal press release, and have a little more fun with it. Give applicants the impression they will be part of something successful, and get them excited and proud to join your team.

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This kind of content is especially helpful for companies that can’t afford to compete solely on salary, benefits and clout. You need to establish that working here gives prospects an opportunity to join something bigger than themselves.

Company Spotlight: “The Bigger Picture”

Why should an applicant be proud to associate with you? If your company is big on social responsibility, then prove it. Are you a thought leader in your industry? Show it off. Are you routinely recognized for your contribution to the community? Put it out there.

Applicants want to know where you stand in the bigger picture. Show them how they can contribute, and be honest and open about your values and mission. Candidates often want to see their own values reflected in their employer.

A little content goes a long way. Each of these 10 pieces demonstrates transparency and offers potential candidates insight into the company that will be tremendously influential in their application decisions.

The first few pieces of recruiting content will only take a few weeks to build and distribute, helping set the stage for bigger pieces down the line, meaning this entire strategy can be executed in less than six months.

Few things can be built in six months that will have such a dramatic impact on your hiring. So stop procrastinating and start writing.

  • http://www.NeoRecruiter.com Eric Putkonen

    Great article!

    Many of these ideas could make great videos. I had similar suggestions in my blog post – http://www.neorecruiter.com/2015/09/recruiting-videos-a-peek-into-culture-brand/. Also James Ellis recently had an article about recruiting content, “Moneyball Recruiting: Winning a Rigged Game”
    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/moneyball-recruiting-winning-rigged-game-james-ellis

    Thank you for the great article and share more ideas about this topic.

    • http://meshworking.com James Ellis

      Eric, wow! Thanks for remembering what I wrote last month! I might suggest taking a look at recruitingcontent.com for more ideas in that same vein.

  • Steve Jewell

    Good read. I wonder how much of the content suggested really sits with/in Marketing vs the recruiter or HR?

    • http://meshworking.com James Ellis

      Marketing content is obviously focused on the product and the brand, rather than the employment experience or employer brand. That said, those ideas are often very similar to each other.

      For example, if a brand writes a very long article on cyber-security because they have recently and publicly been hacked, the call to action for such an article is usually “buy things because you can trust us to keep you data safe.” The same article, placed within the career site, can be an excellent way to attract and validate the interest of cyber security experts looking for a job.

      It’s not the content so much as the context and frame of that content that makes a difference.

  • disqus_0ntDp9SDgK

    Great article. I think it would be very beneficial if each job posting can have a video of the department head talking a bit about the job itself as well, to create a personalized feel for every job. After all, a job is more than a requisition number. To your last point, I thought adding in a piece about Corporate Responsibility or Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion would be great. I actually elaborated more on that point here: https://www.rakuna.co/blog/posts/10-eye-opening-tactics-to-successful-diversity-recruiting