How to Spend Less On, But Get More Out Of, Your Recruiting Budget

January 2, 2019

Talent acquisition teams and recruiters constantly face a major challenge: attracting the best talent in the industry (or industries) they’re hiring in, but at the same time sticking to a limited budget. It’s no surprise, then, that these folks often feel like they’re being asked to work miracles!

Fortunately, there are some relatively easy ways to re-focus and streamline your company’s recruiting processes to make every recruiting dollar go farther, without sacrificing impact.

From tactical things like leveraging social media to expand the reach of your job openings or actively reducing your spend on job ads in favor of a more economical (yet still effective) approach, to broader things like managing your online reputation more strategically or mobilizing your employees as brand advocates, here are a few ways to stretch your recruiting budget while still getting lots of quality candidates:


Have A Meaningful and Active Social Media Presence

The importance of social media as a recruitment tool cannot be overstated, particularly for organizations trying to recruit younger generations of talent.

An astonishing 73% of people aged 18-34 said they found their last position through social media. And seasoned workers, another highly sought-after group for recruiting, especially rely on social media to look for new jobs because it’s typically their preferred way to get up-to-date information from companies.

When crafting your social media strategy to support your recruiting efforts, job seekers should be able to see both your company brand (i.e., marketing for goods or services you sell) and your employer brand (i.e., who you are as an employer). If you don’t do this, then you’re missing a huge FREE opportunity to reach a huge pool of potential candidates who regularly use social media to stay connected with people and companies.

One example comes from hugely popular retailer Zappos: this company uses the handle @insidezappos on Instagram as its employer brand page, while reserving their main handle, @zappos, as the place they do their regular consumer marketing.


And a quick note on social media platforms: although LinkedIn feels like the obvious social media choice for recruiting, you might be surprised that LinkedIn users are more likely to be older and male. So to reach out to a more diverse pool of talent, spread your social media efforts across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Use visuals to tell the story of what it is like to work for your company. Photos and videos allow prospective talent to envision themselves working for your organization.


Manage Your Online Reputation

Your online reputation as an employer is critical to the success of your overall recruitment strategy. And when we’re talking about recruiting success, it’s not just about your company’s ability to attract candidates, but also the time and money costs associated with doing so. There is actually a huge cost difference between having a good reputation vs. a bad online reputation.

A bad employer reputation costs an organization at least 10% more per new hire they make, which could equal up to tens of thousands of dollars. Doing a better job at managing your online reputation is an inexpensive but highly impactful way to improve the quantity and quality of applicants you receive, while also driving down recruiting costs.

Begin by taking stock of where you stand online. Review sites such as kununu allow current and former employees to rate your organization across a range of employer characteristics. Use your current ratings to drive changes in your company culture. For example, if you are consistently given poor reviews for work-life balance, explore options for more flexible schedules, a more generous leave policy, or work-from-home opportunities.

Also remember that every review is an opportunity for you to communicate with talent and establish the tone of your company. Responding to reviews with clear, positive messaging demonstrates your respect for employees.


Focus More on Your Employer Brand, Less on Job Ads

Traditional recruiting tells us that writing a good job ad and figuring out where to publish it is pretty much the go-to way to reach prospective employees. And while this does still ring true to some extent – when you have a new role you pretty much HAVE to write up a new req’ and post it somewhere – however, it is often a waste of time and money to focus too heavily on job ads.

Instead, work to strengthen your employer brand. Your goal is to spread your message to talented people who think, “hey, that company sounds like the perfect place for me to work!”

Begin by thinking about the factors that differentiate your company from your competitors, including unique aspects of your culture, benefits, workplace, or employee pool. Craft a narrative around these differentiators. Tell the story of your organization and the engaged employees who work for you. Even better, let your employees tell prospective talent themselves; an employee-led podcast or live video stream can be a great way to  showcase your workplace and enhance your employer brand. So does a well thought-out career page that features real employee perspective and a strong presence of current employee opinions on employer review sites.

Get Buy-In From Your Employees

Just like we all rely on suggestions from friends and other trusted sources when making buying decisions in our day-to-day lives, about half of prospective employees use word of mouth when determining where to apply during their job search.

Use this fact to your benefit by getting employees involved in your recruitment process and willing to talk positively about working at your company, such as through social media, at events, and to their friends. If you’re successful, which should be easy if you treat your employees well, you lower recruiting costs (word of mouth is free, after all) AND reinforce your employer brand.

To increase enthusiasm for employee buy-in, consider running a company-wide competition to see who can generate the most talent referrals. You can also encourage employees to write online employer reviews, further bolstering your online brand presence.


You might also like: 

6 Creative Ways To Motivate Your Employees That They’ll Appreciate
How Turnover Impacts Team Morale, And How To Fix It
5 Must-Have Elements of A “Best Place to Work” Culture
When Do Cool Company Perks Become a Distraction?
The Two Sneaky Reasons Great Employees Become Unmotivated
How To Inspire Your Employees To Become Your Company’s Employer Brand Advocates



Linda Le Phan
Senior Content Marketing Manager at kununu.

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