Over the summer, I was taking my high school daughter to band camp and found one of the best recruitment marketing ads I’ve seen in a very long time.
So, what do Port-a-Potties have to do with Recruitment Marketing and Employer Branding?
You’ll be surprised!
With US unemployment at a 50 year low, job seekers have lots of options, and talent acquisition leaders have to get creative and learn from their marketing colleagues.
What this means to the employers, of course, is that what worked last year and the year before, might not be working anymore. If you’re still having the same hiring problems you’ve had for the last 5 years, it might be time to start thinking creatively, or looking at new solutions.
And to do that, you have to think and act like your ideal candidates.
So back to the Port-a-Potties.
Well, after a long, yet beautiful drive in the Redwoods of the San Francisco Bay Area, I needed a bio break when we got there.
So, I headed over to the port-a-potty, and my wife tells me…
You won’t believe what’s in the port-a-potty!
Of course, I’m intrigued.
When I open that flimsy plastic door, and take a seat (if you dare), and then look up… I see this…
It’s a glorious “Now Hiring” sticker on the inside door of the door.
At first, I don’t know what to think.
“Holy Crap” (right?), that’s the weirdest thing ever. I’m kind of shocked.
I’m trying to make sense of it. Is this a good thing? Does it work? Is this good branding? Who are they trying to hire? What’s their target market?
And since I’m in the Thinker pose, sitting on the plastic throne, I start wondering about the campaign.
Who is United Site Services trying to hire?
Drivers, hourly workers, equipment technicians… the same people who are working at construction sites or delivering materials to construction sites. The same people who would be frequenting a port-a-potty! Bingo!
It’s Highly Targeted Recruitment Marketing Ad!
United Site Services is one of the largest construction services companies in the US. They rent and deliver construction equipment, including port-a-potties.
Placing stickers, on the inside of their hundreds of thousands of port-a-potties is cost-effective, highly-targeted, campaign. Additionally, their target market is probably sitting down, and has a moment to read! (Just saying…)
Kudos to the United Site Services team
They’ve done a great job of targeting their potential workforce. When you’re going to do something different, there will always be risk, and this was definitely a risky move.
Now, just because I think the target marketing is great, it doesn’t mean the entire campaign is great, though.
For a campaign to be great, it’s got to work. It’s got to generate qualified candidates to be a success.
This is a really important point for all talent acquisition leaders, recruitment marketers, recruitment ad agencies, recruiters, and employer branding individuals and team members.
In a tight employment economy, Rule #1 = Make it easy for candidates to apply!
Take a look at the ad again. It’s great!
It has a picture of someone doing the job. Check!
The “Now Hiring” text really stands out. Check!
They include benefits, in simple text. Check!
They highlight “Full Time/ Permanent Positions” (job security is probably really important for their workforce). Check!
But, what about the call-to-action?
Look way down at the bottom right-hand corner of the ad… in the smallest font on the entire ad:
Here’s a great, attractive ad, highly targeted, uniquely placed, but the call to action isn’t highlighted, and unfortunately, I don’t think it works.
It’s time to check the Candidate Experience and journey.
So, now, I pretend I’m a job seeker and follow the call to action.
I take out my phone and start typing away, while sitting on the plastic throne, trying to get to the career site.
Remember it’s also really small print, so I have to look up at the sticker, and then back to my phone. And then up to the sticker and down to my phone. I have to do this a couple of times, and finally, since I’ve known the brand “United Rentals”, I give up looking up and down and simply start typing.
I type “careers.unitedrentals.com” Fail #1.
Ugh. After squinting and looking really hard because it’s one big run-on string of 30+ characters with no capitalization, I notice… Oh, it’s not “UnitedRentals” it’s “UnitedSiteServices”. They were probably one company and split into two brands, but I didn’t know that.
I type “careers.unitedsitesedvices.com” Fail #2.
What? Ugh!!! Damn it… I typed the letter “d” instead of “r”… start over again.
Remember, Rule #1 is Make it Easy for Candidates to Apply.
It’s the candidate experience that counts. If you don’t make it easy for the candidates to apply, they won’t. To understand the candidate journey you have to test it as exactly as possible. We can assume candidates aren’t going to the port-a-potty with their laptops, so we need to test the call to action on a mobile phone.
A little frustrated, I took a picture of the ad, and went back to the car.
I failed 5 times until I finally got to the career site.
By then, I was pretty frustrated. I can’t imagine what a job seeker would have though, but it’s probably not good.
Typing 30 characters in exact order, on a mobile phone is NOT easy.
As a result, instead of getting candidates excited about opportunities, my guess is many candidates got frustrated and never make it to the career site at all. And, if they did make it to the site, they were frustrated.
Once I do navigate to the career site. It’s great. It’s mobile-friendly, lots of info, and probably cost $100,000 or more to build and maintain.
TIP: Follow the actual candidate journey, as a candidate would. No short-cuts.
If your workforce is “mobile-first”, you have to give them an easy to use, mobile-first experience. A 30 character career site url isn’t easy for the mobile workforce. Neither is a 20 character url, or even 15 character url.
Another Super Important Fact:
91% of career site visitors leave without completing an application!
Think about that for a minute. Since the evolution of applicant tracking career sites, about 20 years ago, the “default candidate journey” has been to send candidates to your corporate career site.
At the time, that made a lot of sense. Candidates were plentiful. The ATS helped with compliance and workflow processes for the recruiters. Employers could add videos and other content to encourage the right candidates to apply.
But, less than 1 in 10 visitors complete an application. (The average visitor to application conversion rate was 8.52%, per Jobvite and Appcast application surveys).
If you’re wondering how you can generate more qualified candidates, without increasing your recruitment marketing spend, this “90% Applicant Drop-off” is a great place to start looking.
If you’re sending candidates to your corporate career site, you’ll want to track your “Visitor to Application” rate. (The total numbers of unique visitors to your career site, divided by the number of unique completed applications? Google Analytics is free and most ATS or career site or CRM should support this.)
A lot of large companies spend $100,000+ on their “career site”, or “talent network”, making them look really pretty and engaging, but if you don’t know if more candidates are applying, and if your attracting the right candidates, ie (qualified applicants), maybe what you have isn’t working.
So, What can you do differently? Use a chat bot!
Instead of losing 91% of prospective candidates, what if you captured 90% of those mobile visitors?
What if you could capture their name, phone number, location, email address, as well as some pre-screening and qualification questions?
That could be transformational, not just another “tool”.
You could massively increase your candidate experience and engagement while increasing the number of qualified applicants.
Well… You can!
And you can do it today, through an automated text messaging conversation or recruitment chatbot!
Would that generate more qualified candidates for recruiters and hiring managers? Absolutely!
It’s called a Text to Apply chatbot.
And, with the candidates in your chatbot, you can add recruitment automation, by automatically scheduling interviews for candidates that meet your qualifications, saving your recruiters and hiring managers from the multiple back and forth emails and phone calls, while adding those candidates to your existing ATS via an integration.
Instead of trying to recruit with a call-to-action that isn’t easy, and a candidate journey that sends candidates to your career site, that fails to convert job seekers to applicants, 90% of the time, you could try something like the below.
Which campaign do you think would more qualified applicants?
The 30 character alphanumeric career site URL, or a simple and easy-to-use text messaging application?
So, while I think the United Site Services targeting and ad copy was amazing, unfortunately, like so many candidate journeys, the call-to-action and applicant tracking system apply process often kills what could have been a great campaign.
For more information about recruitment marketing, recruiting automation, chatbots, for career sites, or Apply-by-Text, please contact us.