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Amp Up Applicant Sourcing With Owned And Shared Media

Date published: June 01, 2015
Last updated: June 1, 2015

With so many options for attracting job seekers, it can be daunting to determine which recruitment marketing tactics to employ to find top talent. However, if we put on our content marketing hats and think about how the customer buying cycle parallels the applicant sourcing process, our task at hand becomes much simpler.

applicant sourcing journey parallels customer journeyLike many other modern models, it’s helpful to think of this journey as a continuum rather than a linear process. Factors such as the proliferation of digital media and applicant scarcity in the market have created avenues for job seekers to jump in at what used to be “later stages” in the traditional hiring process.

In a previous post, I discussed ideas for creating awareness and interest among potential job candidates by defining personas and customizing an approach across different media types. Now it’s time to move job seekers on to the Consideration and Intent stages of the applicant sourcing cycle.

“Assisting” Job Seekers Through the Hiring Cycle

If we think about recruitment marketing from an attribution model perspective, Google research will tell us that marketing channels in the Consideration and Intent phases of the customer buyer journey will more often act as an “assist interaction” in the conversion process rather than a “last interaction.”

Job seekers in these adjacent phases of the cycle are warming up now that they are aware of your opportunity, but are perhaps not yet ready to commit to applying to your organization. Here are some ideas on how to use owned and shared media (which lead in assists) to further persuade individuals to focus on your specific job openings and initiate the employment application process.

Owned Media


In addition to mining analytics site search reports to come up with keyword phrases to convert into blog titles, you should also track the types of questions you receive from applicants during the hiring process. By posting blogs that answer the very questions that job candidates tend to ask, you’re already a step ahead when it comes to creating application intent earlier in the recruiting process.

Take it a step further and ask candidates for their comments and suggestions about your recruiting process during interviews and use that feedback as a source for potential blog content. The added bonus of this approach is the ability to weed out candidates that didn’t do their research during interview preparation and fail to give you a quality answer!

Your blog content should also include candid commentary (warts and all) on what it’s like to work at your company. Job seekers at this stage are comparing your corporate culture to other potential employers and your employee testimonials and embedded short videos can help entice them to take the time to apply (or not to) and that can be a good thing.


With email, you’re more limited because you won’t necessarily have the email address of those first-time candidates in the Consideration and Intent stages yet. Make sure your job openings portal includes the ability for candidates to subscribe to future job posting updates via email.

Better yet, give them the ability to customize the types of alerts they receive and the chance to opt in to SMS/text messaging updates, too. This personalized approach will cater to their preferences and increase their chances of future conversion as you have positions available that more closely match their interests.

Depending on the size of your organization, it’s very likely that you will have individuals that apply to many positions with your company at once, or that at least return to apply to future positions on subsequent visits. Email is a significant factor in those passive applicants returning to your site to “repurchase” in the future, especially after they weren’t selected by you in the past.

Here are some ideas on using email to encourage previous applicants to reapply:

  • Send an applicant-focused newsletter to feature popular career-related blogs and tell candidates what to expect from the hiring process (i.e. interviewing steps, timeline for hiring, what not to do, etc.).
  • Ask them to participate in a survey designed to collect feedback for improving the recruiting process. Many applicants will be impressed that you actually take action to improve your recruitment brand, and are bold enough to ask individuals who weren’t selected for honest criticism. Your brand will improve and those individuals may be quicker to reapply or to convince a friend to give your company a look.
  • Share information about changes that have been made as the result of applicant feedback. This action solidifies your organization’s dedication to improvement and earns points when compared to job opportunities with your competitor.

Jobs Page

Job seekers that move beyond the basic job openings page of your dedicated careers portal or corporate website want to consume content about what it’s really like at your organization. If they are going to invest the time to apply, then they want to make sure they could see themselves in your culture. Paint a “day in the life of” picture for them through content.

Include information on your site about frequently asked questions, benefits and employee testimonials. If you’re proud of your working space, post a virtual video tour of your office. If you’re ecstatic about your liberal paid volunteer hours policy, showcase a collage of photos showing employees working for charitable causes.

Shared Media

Subject Matter Experts

Take the idea of an employee testimonial a step further and amplify its reach using social media. Find your best employment brand ambassadors and give them the mouthpiece to demonstrate how they are subject matter experts in all things related to your company culture.

Host a regularly scheduled tweet-up on Twitter that gives job seekers a chance to ask your employees questions about the hiring process, employment experience, and opportunities for advancement. Publicize the tweet-up schedule on your jobs page and organize the best post comments into a summary blog afterward that gets featured in your next applicant newsletter.

If resources don’t allow for a frequent tweet-up, invite ambassador employees to join LinkedIn groups relevant to job seekers and/or your industry. Mine discussion strings for opportunities to have your subject matter experts contribute and send them the link with an invitation to comment.

Preparation Advice

The internet is overcrowded with content related to popular interview questions and how to prepare for an interview. Your potential job candidates will be more likely to hop on your job wagon if you give them advice about preparing for the hiring process at your company in particular.

Even if they haven’t yet committed to applying, help them see themselves succeeding in an interview later on so they are more likely to take the first step of applying now. Make plans to spotlight candidates who (smartly) mention your preparation-related content during the application process.

Create a presentation highlighting the most valuable characteristics of your top employees and/or how to make a great impression during your interview process. Upload the deck to Slideshare and then invite your employees to share it with their social networks and embed it in their personal LinkedIn blog posts.

Isolate the most digestible tips/facts from your Slideshare and then post a steady diet of them to social media over time using a consistent hashtag. If applicable (hopefully), include quantifiable, flattering statistics about new hire success, productivity, and low turnover.

Automated Employee Referrals

You may be lucky enough to have willing employee brand ambassadors beating a path to your door, particularly if you have an amazing company culture with teammates that brag about your challenging and rewarding opportunities to their friends.

If you’re not there yet or are slightly worried about employees failing to respond to your applicant sourcing battle cry, then there’s no shame in incentivizing referral behavior. In fact, even if you count yourself among the corporate culture elite, you’d be silly not to have an incentive. It’s staggeringly cheaper than always having to budget money for external job boards, headhunters and the opportunity cost of your staff members’ time in interviewing too many “just okay” candidates.

In addition to an enticing referral incentive, automate the administrative aspect of employee referral tracking if your applicant tracking system allows. This type of feature makes it easy for your employees to create personalized job URLs to share with their own social networks. As their contacts begin to apply for jobs, the application auto-populates the referring employee’s name in the “How did you hear about this position?” field. As a result, tracking incentive payouts becomes simple for you.

By creating relevant owned and shared media to target job seekers in the Consideration and Intent/Preference stages of the candidate journey, you’re increasing the likelihood that you will get more chances to convert job seekers into actual applicants. Stay tuned for the next article in this series which will focus on optimizing content marketing efforts for the final two stages of the applicant sourcing journey.

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