Key Takeways From Talent Acquisition Live

Quick wins for career sites, Dos and don’ts of a great referral program, Chatbots for recruitment, Maximizing email reply rates – these insights and much more were on display at Talent Acquisition Live 2018.

Take a guess at how many steps it takes on average to hire a candidate? Well, based on Bill Boorman’s insight it’s in the ballpark of 55 to 72 individual tasks, such as meeting the hiring manager, drafting a job advert, approving the advert, posting it and so on. Most of them are administrative with little value-added to the process, meaning there is huge potential for optimization.

Bill highlighted that the recruitment process can at times be a painful experience, especially for the candidate. Much of the time the one who is hired isn’t actually the best but the one who stayed the longest and endured the rigorous nature of the process. The takeaway here as far as hiring the best possible candidate is concerned is that by streamlining automation, we can, in turn, simplify the process, making things smoother for the candidate.

Another trend is personalization; a shift from employer branding to job branding. Recruiters should make sure to deliver the right content relevant to the person and the specific role. One-way content delivery should be replaced with conversation.  This is where, for example, chatbots can help.

Quick wins for your career site

“Around 90% of candidates only see a job post and never make it to the career site itself,” explained Bas Van De Haterd. It’s unlikely that candidates will type “” in their browser. They would rather find adverts while browsing on job boards and access them that way. “We focus on doors, but they come through windows,” stated Bas.

Therefore, we should be less bothered with the general career site and its many subsections and give more focus to job adverts because this is primarily what candidates are seeing. Here are some of the key principles:

>Your job advert should be between 500 to 700 words

>There should be on average 13-17 words per sentence and 15% of words should be verbs

>Between 30% and 50% of the advert should be bullet points. It’s much easier to read

>List the perks & benefits because it increases the application rate from 7% to 23%

>Insert pictures and videos directly in the job post

>Give candidates the option to share LinkedIn profile instead of CV. (people often don’t have access to their CV when browsing on mobile)

>A candidate sees the job advert in average 2.8 times before applying. Include a “Last seen” feature to your website to make it easier to return to the job advert. All e-shops do it this way

Chatbots for recruitment

Together with Christoph Gueldenberg from jobpal we have compiled some insights into better implementation of chatbots. At STRV we started using jobpal’s lite solution a few months ago and are very happy with the results.

Our chatbot library includes 47 topics and more than 460 questions. Thanks to machine learning, the chatbot has improved the reply rate and can now automatically answer 66% of all questions.

We recommend getting your candidates familiar with the process and advertise the chatbot whenever possible. For example, we include links to the chatbots in auto-reply emails, emails signatures, newsletter and job posts.

You can find more practical tips in this article as well as my overall recommendations. The great thing about chatbots is that they are relatively cheap, easy and quick to implement and your candidates can see visible results. While it’s still probably a “nice to have” addition, I believe it will be a “must have” in the next 2 years, so it’s better to start early.


Augmented sourcing

Karen Azulai introduced a variety of interesting advanced tools for recruitment and sourcing which help in two areas: automation (sourcing, emailing, interviewing) and assessment (use of predictive science, machine learning, and behavioral analysis)

Here are a few examples:

Yesware – Email automation program that allows campaign creation, email sequences and tracking of open and reply rates.

Stalkface – Mines personal data from Facebook. Can be used for background checks for example.

Hiringsolved – An advanced tool for candidate search and matching.

AmazingHiring – This is a great tool (that I personally use too) for automated sourcing. You can search people based on their skills, experience, and other criterions and AmazingHiring searches dozens of sources (including Linkedin or Github) for you.

Arya Intelligence – An automated sourcing tool with matching and predictive abilities.

PocketRecruiter – Generates candidate searches based on the analysis of job description.

TalkPush – Recruitment chatbots that integrates voice, video, screening and CRM abilities.

PeopleCamp – manage easily all your contacts on social networks.

Intervyo – a Virtual interviewing tool that uses facial, intonation, and semantic analysis.

Actiview – Sophisticated tool for candidate’s assessment and job matching.

Scheduleonce – Meeting scheduling platform to book interviews easier.

How to maximize the reply rate on your recruitment email campaign

Sofia Broberger, a tech recruiter at Bonnier Broadcasting (one of the Nordic region’s biggest television companies) shared her tips on how to achieve a reply rate of 69% from developers.

When reaching out to quality candidates, Sofia shares quality content. That means not only information about the company and the job but also relevant blog posts, videos, links to social media and so on.

What’s surprising about Sofia is her perseverance in contacting candidates. Sofia uses a sequence of 4 emails. If the candidate doesn’t reply to the first one, she sends a second, third and eventually, fourth. Here is here secret sauce:

1st email: Introduction, the reason for contacting, info about role/tech stack, link to content (blog), call to action (“Can I send you more info about the role”)

2nd email: Re-introduction/reminder, link to content, different call to action

3rd email: Email sent from someone else (usually the hiring manager), email is similar to #1

4th email: Final goodbye, “Reply to me”

Good ATS is a must to automate such an intense communication with candidates. Sofia uses Lever.

Dos and Don’ts of referral recruitment

Martijn Hemminga shared some very practical tips about how to create the best environment for guaranteeing referral programs really work.

>Start with promoting referrals from the very beginning. Include it in your onboarding program

>Help newcomers to finetune their LinkedIn profile to let the world know where he/she works. When they update a new employer, their entire network usually gets a notification, so take advantage of that

>Inform your employees constantly about how the candidate doing during the recruitment process

>Launch campaigns to attract more attention to the referral program and boost it with attractive time-limited bonuses. (Note: At STRV in September we have a special reward for every referral hired – a 2-week work trip to San Francisco)

>Give employees the option of giving half of their referral to charity

>Some companies use sophisticated systems to reward effort (e.g. give 100 points for a CV, 200 if the candidate makes it to the interview, 1000 for hire etc.)

>Large recruitment teams should have one person dedicated just to referrals to ensure they maintain constant focus

Wondering what a healthy referral rate should look like? Based on Martjin’s insights, referrals should average around 25% of candidates on the 1st interview, 28% on the 2nd, and then 32% of hires.

In total there were 20 amazing speakers at TA Live and you can see their full list here. See you next year!


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