Think Your Workforce is Safe? Think Again.

Three Brilliantly Creepy Ways to Attract Talent

Studies have shown that nearly two-thirds of fully-employed professionals, while not on the market for a new job, would be open to discussing new opportunities. The thought that two out of every three employees in your workforce might flirt with the idea of exploring new opportunities can be terrifying, especially if you’re a small- to medium-sized company.

Attrition is no laughing matter, and it certainly isn’t cheap. Research has suggested that the cost of attrition can exceed 200% of an employee’s annual salary, and these costs aren’t exclusive to recruiting and onboarding. Attrition impacts your operations and might result in lost ground towards achieving your corporate objectives.

While the cost of attrition to your company might be frightening, there are three digital talent attraction strategies that are downright creepy. To talent acquisition professionals, they’re brilliant and, in some instances, highly successful.

Pay-per-Click (PPC) Advertising

While traditional job postings might attract the candidates you want to apply for the job, well-defined Pay-per-Click (PPC) campaigns can reach the candidates you want to hire for the job. It’s the difference between casting a net and outright spearing the fish.

With traditional job postings, you pay a flat fee. The results are mixed at best. With PPC advertising, you pay for the results. Now, I’m sure that there are recruiters out there that believe they know the ins and outs of PPC advertising because they spend hundreds of dollars on sponsoring their job posts. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, “The best thing about Indeed is everyone sees your post. The worst thing about Indeed is that everyone sees your post.” You might see a dramatic number of click-throughs on, but because it lacks the robust functionality of you being able to designate your target audience, you don’t always see a whole lot in the way of quality.

Recruiters who are successful using PPC advertising are successful because they’re using it on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. For purpose of this article, we’re going to dissect what it’s like to run a PPC campaign on LinkedIn.

When I launch a PPC campaign on LinkedIn, I generally do so through their Sponsored Updates option. You would choose this option if you wanted to attract new followers, drive engagement, and appear directly in the LinkedIn feed across desktop, laptop, and mobile devices. The other option is to go with the more budget-conscious Text Ads, but they are those advertisement that play in the gray. No, seriously – they’re adjacent to the feed in what might as well be considered “No Man’s Land” on LinkedIn.

Once you make the right decision and go with the Sponsored Update option, you come to a page where you can target your audience, and you can do so by location and down to the name of the company, its industry, and the job title you’re hiring for.

Once your target audience is defined, you set the budget and you launch your campaign. LinkedIn Analytics then tracks the number of impressions (the total number of times your sponsored update was delivered to various LinkedIn feeds) and measures the level of your campaign’s engagement (e.g., clicks, shares, and comments), enabling you to decide whether you should broaden your audience or rework your budget.

Company Targeting

The majority of job boards out there are aware of the concept of poaching, but whether they find the practice to be fair or not, they don’t cater to it. There is one job board that does, and it’s not necessarily the place you go to find a job. It is the place you go to research the company and how much it pays. I’m talking about

Glassdoor provides a free, albeit limited service for companies who want to showcase their brand. They also provide an enhanced profile option that includes a feature they call “Targeted Companies.” It’s not something their public relations team would care to advertise (hmm…), but I have no doubt that companies in high volume recruiting (or those with limited recruiting resources) would find this feature alone well worth the cost of an enhanced profile.

So, what makes the Targeted Companies feature so brilliantly creepy? Well, you’re able to target up to five companies (so long as they haven’t purchased the enhanced profile themselves) and have your jobs visible on their page. The beauty of this arrangement is that if your company upgrades its profile, guess what? Companies can no longer target you. Let’s take a look at what I am talking about.

The graphic to the left is what would show up on one of the five companies you choose to target, prompting candidates checking out the company that you compete with for area talent to visit your page, apply for your jobs.

The graphic to the right is what would show up on your page, should you choose to upgrade to the enhanced profile. You won’t see a lick about another employer on your company page, provided you’re willing to pay for that advantage.

Display Ad Retargeting

If Big Brother was a recruiter, Big Brother would use retargeting. Retargeting is the practice of serving display ads based on prior engagement. You may not be familiar with the terminology, but you are certainly familiar with the concept.

Do you remember the last time you looked at a pair of athletic shoes online and then minutes, maybe even hours later, that exact pair of shoes or that same brand was in an advertisement on another, completely unrelated page? That’s retargeting. Retargeting is the practice of serving display ads to those who visit your site, but don’t convert (i.e., they don’t buy anything). The practice is often used to reengage potential customers, but retargeting has become a potent way of attracting talent.

Today’s job seekers use, on average, 18 different resources when searching for their next gig. That means, besides your careers page, they’re using at least a dozen other resources where you can reengage them as a prospective employer. Not only does this keep your employer brand top of mind, it can dramatically increase your candidate conversion rate.

So, how does it work? All you have to do is place a retargeting script on your careers page. When a candidate visits your page, the script drops a cookie on their browser. Later, when they’re surfing the web, after ditching your application process, they see your display ads. The right call to action might just drive them back to your page to complete the application and build out your talent pipeline. Retargeting is a way for small- and medium-sized companies to compete with the likes of bigger, more well-known employer brands. Of course, your company might not be able to compete with Google as an employer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use Google (or Yahoo or Bing) to acquire top talent.


If you think your workforce is safe, think again. These three brilliantly creepy ways to attract talent might just hit you hard.

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