What To Do When Your Recruitment Campaign Fails

Has you recruitment campaign failed?
Your recruitment campaign failed. It’s not the end of the world yet!

You Will Have A Recruitment Campaign That Fails

We’ve all been in situations where we have a vacancy that we just can’t fill and our recruitment campaign doesn’t work.

Imagine this.

You advertised in the usual places; you tried newspaper adverts; new job boards are no help; staff have no friends to refer; you shared a hundred tweets on twitter from your ATS……the pressure is building and you don’t know what else to do.

The stress that you suffer, the sense of helplessness, hiring managers want answers and solutions. It’s not a nice position to be in at all. It might not be any fault of our own, but that doesn’t make you feel any better!

There are thousands of reasons why your recruitment marketing campaign might fail, but they all boil down to the following list of topics.

Next time that your campaign fails follow this list to see where you can improve for next time.

You could even use it as a checklist before you start your next campaign to make sure that it doesn’t fail!

Tunnel Vision In Your Recruitment Campaign

Tunnel vision harms recruitment campaigns
Get rid of your tunnel vision

Answer this question honestly… Do you only focus on potential applicants?

If you answered YES then you are missing the whole point of candidate experience and employer branding.

You are building your employer brand every time that you advertise a vacancy. Everyone that engages with you may be a potential employee or customer and you should treat each as such.

Did you respond to every single candidate comment, question or enquiry? If you only respond to a “chosen” few and leave some out, they will consider somewhere else – more than likely a competitor.

Did you follow up every suggestion that was made by the candidates or hiring Manager? If you’re not listening then you may be missing out on some great opportunities for improvement.

Remaining transparent and willing to engage with every single contact will position you as a recruiter who can be trusted.

You’re Not Engaging With The Talent Pool

Recruitment campaign success comes from engagement
Engagement is key to success

Engagement must be at the top of your priority list, no matter what. Recruitment is a people game, and that means being polite, courteous and approachable.

Make time for every person who you interact with. Even if they are not right for your position now, they may be in the future, or they may know someone who is now.

If they have contacted you it means that they have put effort into researching you and your job. They have shown interest and reached out to you – return that effort.

Would you want to work for a company that ignores you and doesn’t communicate in any way?

Thought not! Give them a great experience and your employer brand will grow in strength.

You’re Shooting In The Dark

Eye in crosshair target for recruitment campaign
Targeting your audience

To become an employer of choice, you need to stand out in your industry and area.

Your campaigns will lead to nothing if you don’t know who your candidates are, where they can be found and what interests them.

After identifying the details above you can start to position yourself as a thought leader by sharing:

  • industry news,
  • company updates
  • advice on working in your industry

When you know who you’re targeting you can add to this list to engage, entertain and inform the talent. This will draw the candidates to you.

You And Your Jobs Are Boring

bored girl because of boring recruitment campiagn
Make your recruitment campaign interesting

Sorry, but it has to be said!

If you post generic job descriptions loaded with bullet points then you’ll fail miserably. Candidates want (and need) to have a positive emotional connection with your opportunity before they will consider applying.

You need to make your job ads interesting, entertaining and informative. The industry that you’re in doesn’t matter. Your employees have a reason why they want to work for you, so show your audience this too.

Think about advertising your jobs as you would your products

  • Why would the candidate want to work for you?
  • What makes your job interesting?
  • Why is it brilliant working for your company?
  • What is it like working for your company?

Taking the candidate point of view you will soon see what they need to know.

In the early part of the candidate journey, you may find that applicants (or potential applicants) all ask the same questions to get more information. Make a note of them and make sure that you include this information in your adverts.

Use quotes from existing staff – show the candidate behind the scenes of your company – even show them what their desk will look like!

As in point above, being open and honest about your jobs will build trust and will show you as a reputable employer.

You’re Not Analysing

calculator and book analysing recruitment campaing
Set your KPIs and analyse your recruitment campaigns

If you’re not analysing your campaigns then you’re not improving.

If a campaign works, look at why. If it fails, likewise.

There is always room for improvement in your work and knowing where your campaigns could be stronger gives you the opportunity to make changes sooner rather than later.

There are lots of ways to analyse your campaigns, but it may be a good idea to speak with your Marketing department to help.

The data that you need will depend on your goals, but some ideas of things to look at are:

  • Number of applications – from each source i.e. job boards, print ads, social media etc.
  • Number of telephone interviews
  • Number of face to face interviews
  • Cost per application

Make it a point to set some KPIs for your campaign. Even if it is a success, you can use them to improve the next one.

Your Work Doesn’t End With The Campaign

The Start and finish of your recruitment campaign is the same
Your only starting when you finish your last recruitment campaign

Your recruitment campaign isn’t over when the adverts expire or when you fill the vacancy.

Take a longer term approach to your recruitment. What happens if the successful candidate doesn’t start? What will you do if that long-term vacancy becomes 2, or 3?

Imagine being able to turn a tap on of perfect candidates who are ready to interview as soon as you advise them of a vacancy….

Pipelining candidates is the best way, without doubt, to fill vacancies quickly and at low-cost. It takes time and effort to build relationships with candidates to be able to do this, but putting the effort in every day will get you there quicker. Don’t burn bridges with anyone, you just never know when they might be able to help you!

If you haven’t filled the vacancy at the end of your campaign, then you need to decide what to do next.

Not thinking outside the box

recruitment campaign imporvements come with thinking outside the box
Brainstorm and think of some new approaches

So. Your campaign failed and you’re still looking for candidates. You’ve exhausted everywhere and have tried everything.

The question is – Have you really?

What you probably mean is that you’ve exhausted everywhere that you usually look and have used your “usual” resources.

The single most important thing about learning from failed recruitment campaigns is that it isn’t over until you give up!

Ask yourself what didn’t you try to and why? If you’re still drawing a blank think about the following:

  • Do you know exactly the type of candidate that you’re looking for?
  • Will the hiring manager be more flexible around their requirements?
  • Have you tried social media? – not just tweeting jobs!
  • Would online advertising work?
  • Have you used every job board?

This is only a very small list of questions that you could ask yourself, but you get the idea.

Think outside the box for new innovative ideas and if all else fails, look back through this list to see if you can improve any parts of your last campaign. If you can, consider running it again with the changes.

Good luck with your next recruitment campaign!

What will you try in your next campaign? Leave a comment below.


If you need advice or support for your next recruitment campaign Contact Me


Catch Up With More Of Our  posts:

Recruitment Marketing Posts Here

Employer Branding Here

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What To Do When Your Recruitment Campaign Fails
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We've all been in situations where we have a vacancy that we just can't fill and our recruitment campaign doesn't work. Next time that your campaign fails follow this list.
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What To Do When Your Recruitment Campaign Fails

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