Taking a social approach to recruitment

Rebecca Martin-Cortez, recruitment blog Travis Perkins

An interactive, content-driven recruitment marketing strategy can provide a route to positive engagement with candidates and give you an advantage in an increasingly competitive market for candidates. Rebecca Martin-Cortez, Group Head of resourcing at Travis Perkins plc, explains

Fostering a diverse workforce with different backgrounds, skills and expertise is a commitment Travis Perkins plc has invested in. This is important for the future success of the business, but also the wider construction industry, which faces a skills gap and the problem of an ageing workforce.

With this requirement comes a need to innovate recruitment approaches and provide information and guidance to nurture interest and a career in the sector. Here, social networking can provide a platform to positively engage with prospective candidates.

Creating communities

Over 80 per cent of adults (41.8 million) in Great Britain use the internet daily* to search for goods and services. Shopping for careers information online is also becoming the norm as people research, apply and connect with potential employers.

We’re witnessing a shift in candidate behaviour as individuals are developing the same brand affinity with a potential employer as they do with the goods and services they purchase. They want to understand what it’s like to work for an organisation before they’ve stepped through the door.

With this in mind it makes sense to incorporate social media into a recruitment strategy, especially now that social media has moved on from being a purely personal outlet.

At Travis Perkins plc, our careers community provides an easy and accessible way for candidates to register interest for their preferred areas of the business, which allows the recruitment team to contact them individually to discuss relevant career opportunities.

For us, a ‘candidate pipeline’ is being continually created via new registrations and a candidate can be approached at any time should the right role become available.

A content-driven recruitment strategy

Having the technology available to allow prospective candidates to create a profile is not a new concept. A highly targeted, content-driven recruitment marketing strategy, however, is much less common.

Digital content on social media markets the Travis Perkins Group employer brand and is used to advertise both careers and culture of the Group.

Our digital content markets specific hard-to-fill or volume roles combined with examples of working life and culture of the business. In addition, social channels are carefully chosen to reach particular audiences.

As part of the plc early-careers programme, 16-18-year-olds have been a core focus on Twitter and engagement with this group has improved significantly as a result of sponsored budget.

For example, a single post on Twitter advertising our branch Management Apprentice programme for 16-18-year-olds gained 430 interactions in one day. That same post was our worst performing content on LinkedIn that year. In contrast, more senior candidates are targeted through LinkedIn where our in-house executive recruiters achieve an above-average response rate for the industry.

We experienced an uplift of 114 per cent in our LinkedIn followers in one year due to the highly targeted content approach and were awarded ‘LinkedIn Top Attractor’ status for our ability to attract talent as a result.

Nurturing a candidate pipeline

Once created, nurturing a candidate pipeline becomes an important part of the recruitment process. Candidates need to be engaged and ‘kept warm’ with targeted content about the business in order to maintain their interest in our brand.

This approach is used to engage with a broad spectrum of candidates. For example, when candidates with an ex-forces background register with us they receive information around ex-military recruitment fairs, company open days and employee success case studies. Content is carefully tailored to a candidate’s interests and background, then emailed to them.

Best-kept secret

As we are largely a B2B trade business, our employer brand and business activities are less recognisable to some candidate groups. By using social media to communicate that we are an innovative, forward-thinking organisation with fantastic careers prospects, we reach an audience who wouldn’t have naturally come across our business. This, in turn, contributes to building the diverse workforce the sector needs.

*Office of national statistics: The internet was used daily or almost daily by 82% of adults (41.8 million) in Great Britain in 2016, compared with 78% (39.3 million) in 2015 and 35% (16.2 million) in 2006.

About author

Rebecca Martin-Cortez

Rebecca Martin-Cortez

Rebecca Martin-Cortez is group head of resourcing at Travis Perkins plc, the UK’s leading distributor of building materials to the home improvement and construction markets, owning over 20 businesses and with nearly 30,000 employees.

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