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Contemporary job seekers are more like consumers than they used to be. Furthermore, the vast majority of quality candidates are not actively seeking employment at any given moment, and in order to reach these folks, you need to provide personalized attention in multiple places at once.

These are all significant challenges, but recruitment marketing automation (RMA) can be an incredibly powerful tool in overcoming the obstacles of a candidate-centered talent market — even beyond the obvious fact that it takes rote, time-consuming tasks like data entry and update emails off your team’s plate.

The Consumerization of the Job Hunt

Traditionally, businesses have treated consumers and job seekers very differently. That used to make sense: In the past, businesses needed consumers to buy their products, whereas job seekers needed businesses to hire them.

Today, things are different. Job hunters know they have leverage now that there are more job openings than there are unemployed people. As a result, candidates are acting more like consumers. They are making measured decisions based on all the available data. Rather than taking the first job offer that pops up, they’re shopping around for the best deals.

In light of these developments, employers need to treat job seekers more like consumers. Much like a business sells its products to consumers, it must now sell its employee value proposition to potential employees.

Recruitment marketing already borrows heavily from the world of inbound consumer marketing, and it’s about time that recruitment marketers follow the lead of consumer marketers in using automation to find and engage hard-to-reach audiences.

Approximately 80 percent of the workforce is not actively seeking new employment at any given time. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t join your company if the right opening became available. Rather, the onus is on you to get the word out and ensure the right people know how great your company is. That takes work.

Promoting your employer brand through the right channels may be key to reaching passive candidates, but employer branding activities are also time-consuming. How do you present your employer brand to the right people in the right place at the right time when you can’t be everywhere at once?

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Automate Without Losing the Personal Touch

Candidates have the power and are hard to find — and once you do find them, they demand one-on-one attention. Your recruiters can’t be stuck doing data entry when they should be ready to field that phone call and coach that candidate through preinterview jitters.

RMA is what allows you to refocus your energy on those personal touchpoints instead of rote administrative tasks. That way, you can keep candidates feeling supported, engaged, and ready to talk you up to all their friends. A properly configured RMA solution should be able to send email updates, enter new candidates’ information into your applicant tracking system (ATS), post new openings on Facebook, and follow up with candidates after phone screens. In the meantime, you’re free to prioritize those human-centered activities that make or break the candidate experience for today’s consumer-style job seekers.

“But what about the personal touch I put on all my emails?” you ask. Find an RMA solution that will integrate with your ATS or candidate management system. That way, you can personalize every automated email with the candidate’s name, the role they applied for, and even information about the team they’re looking to join.

Automation Lets You Be in Multiple Places at Once

To keep the applicants rolling in and your passive talent pool engaged, you need to be on social media. This is where many of your candidates spend their free time online, so it’s the best place to talk about your employer brand, show off your employee value proposition, and interact with your (hopefully) adoring public.

But, again, the question rears its head: How can you be on all these channels at the same time?

By now you know the answer: RMA. Automate your social media accounts to post job updates, share interesting content, and even respond to frequently asked questions, all without you having to lift a finger. This frees you up to listen to the conversation and interject your brand’s voice live when the time is right. You also have more time to engage with candidates’ posts and answer their tougher questions. All of this activity raises your profile in the eyes of potential applicants.

The Latest Technology on the Scene: Robots

Robotic process automation (RPA) is an emerging technology set to make huge waves in the recruitment marketing world. Unlike AI or machine learning, RPA doesn’t involve complex algorithms or tons of computing power. Instead, it offers the ability to automate repetitive tasks like scraping data off a website or conducting the first few exchanges in an online interaction with a candidate.

RPA is often used to power rudimentary chatbots designed to greet users and ask them for their email addresses and other information that will speed things up when they’re transferred to a human. However, that’s only one example of its capabilities.

For our purposes, RPA is important primarily for reporting and for automated post scheduling. The bigger platforms like Facebook and Twitter tend to offer APIs for automation tools, but what about your Stack Exchanges, Reddits, and small niche forums you might be using to court a specific subset of your audience? Such sites don’t always offer the same APIs, meaning there is no interface for your automation technology to directly interact with.

Without relevant APIs, you would normally have to post your content by hand and then analyze the results manually. Thanks to RPA, however, you can now turn to the bots. Bots can be configured to enter information in the exact same way a human recruiter would, giving you a way to automate social media functions without an API. That’s huge.

By automating your basic posts in these niche channels, you ensuring your audience members get the information you need them to get, and you can still give them the same personal touch you give to your followers on bigger platforms like Facebook.

In the age of the consumer candidate, what matters most is showing job seekers your care and concern for them as individuals. That’s how you ensure their allegiance — and an application as soon as the right position opens up.

Adrian Cernat is the CEO and founder of SmartDreamers. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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