5 Tips to Tackle Your Recruitment Budget Blues


Asking for money is never fun.

That’s probably why so many just resubmit last year’s budget number and hope for the best (especially if what you’re doing seems to be working out okay). Why rock the boat? Plus, you have a hundred other things on your to-do list. Why not just knock this one out?

But, how do you know if what’s working okay could be working a whole lot better? What if you only think it’s working okay, but your metrics aren’t telling the full story? What if you know that it’s working terribly, but you know that there isn’t a pile of cash sitting around to fix it with?

For over 30 years, S2E Solutions has helped clients across multiple industries optimize their recruiting budget for maximum impact down to the last dollar. So, I guess you could say we know what we’re talking about when it comes to getting the most bang for your buck.

So, if you’re interested in fully optimizing your recruitment spend, read on to see the 5 most common areas we examine to help clients find untapped potential in their budgets and learn how you too can beat the budget blues:

1. Media Source

First things first, we’re totally agnostic when it comes to platforms. Our recommendation is always based on an organization’s individual goals.

Different platforms have their strengths, weaknesses, and their own particular set of best practices and quirks. Do your research to make sure you’re getting the most from every post. Then, zero in on the most effective tactics and custom creative for each execution. By optimizing your placement strategy, you can drastically increase your candidate flow without increasing your budget. Through smarter targeting, messaging, and leveraging the right mix of partner products—you can also improve candidate quality dramatically.

Keep in mind that buying media is an art as much as it is a science. We help our clients sort through those options and negotiate the package that they actually need. Each media company proposal comes bundled with products that may or may not be useful for you. Then, after the buy has been placed, we obsessively track ROI and optimize as needed to boost your media strategy’s effectiveness.

Media Budgeting Checklist:

  • What is our current media ROI?
  • Is our placement strategy optimized?
  • What’s our investment by tactic?

2. Social Media

If you aren’t setting aside dollars for social media, you’re setting aside a slew of potential candidates. Social is a must, and while it’s particularly important if you want to attract millennials and Gen Y, these days, no generation is ever far from their social feeds. In fact, upwards of 69% of U.S. adults are on at least one social network.

Although it’s free to create an account and start posting, if you want to get the most out of the unmatched targeting effectiveness of social, you have to pay to play. It’s worth every dime but only if you play the right way. Too many people fail to understand the full potential of social media and ad targeting. As a result, they throw money away just hoping that the right audience sees their message. If you’re investing in social media, you should know your audience and how to reach them in order to hit exactly the type of people you’re looking for.

If you’re not satisfied with your social ROI, it’s time for some old-fashioned A/B testing. When we’re looking for ways to optimize our clients’ social spend, we analyze everything to figure out what’s working and what isn’t. There are a lot of variables that may be affecting your social media messaging. From hashtags to tone of voice to ad format, it all matters when you’re striving to maximize your post’s potential. Then there’s the actual content of the post. A/B testing can help you fine tune everything from job title to value propositions. Does time off or bonuses attract more applications? Does it vary based on social platform? We test it all.

Social Media Budgeting Checklist:

  • Do we have dollars allocated for paid social?
  • Do we A/B test content for effectiveness?
  • Do we track appropriate engagement metrics over time?

3. Career Website

Your career website is a candidate’s first impression of your organization, so what impression are you making? Is it up-to-date, easy to navigate, and mobile-friendly? If not, what does that say about your organization’s embrace of technology (especially to a millennial candidate who bases first impressions on the swipe of a thumb)?

Does your current site convey a clear understanding of your available roles and company culture? Is it easily searchable? Do your job posts live on the site, or are users forced to click through to an unwieldy ATS? I mean, after all, you’ve got a cutting-edge media strategy now, it would be a shame if it drove them to an outdated user experience.

Maybe your hiring objectives don’t demand an in-depth career website. Maybe that money could be better spent on placement ads and social engagement. Are all these questions making your head spin? Well, then it’s time to ground yourself in the data.

We track and analyze visitor behavior to make sure our clients’ sites are working as hard as they should. We take a hard look at where visitors are spending their time. What content is getting clicks? How many views did you get on this job posting vs. that job posting? What keywords are people searching to bring them to your site? And, most importantly, how can you use that data to improve your site?

If you’re not capturing those metrics (or enlisting a little help from the team at S2E), that will be your first step in solving your website woes.

Career Website Budgeting Checklist:

  • When was our last site update?
  • What are we paying for development and hosting?
  • Is our user experience working for or against us?
  • Is our site optimized for search?

4. Metrics

Speaking of user data, are you capturing the right metrics, and are you implementing them to improve your performance? Your key metrics will depend on your company’s recruitment goals. One thing, however, is the same no matter who you are and what you need to achieve. Whether you’re focused on improving retention rates, quality of hire, number of applicants or any of the other dozen recruitment metrics, you need to know how to put them to good use.

Maybe the problem isn’t that you lack the data. Maybe it’s that you’re missing the bigger picture. What’s paying off, and what’s eating your budget? Understanding what to measure and what it all means is critical to maximizing your spend post-by-post, day-by-day, and moment-by-moment.

We specialize in helping clients calibrate their metrics to pinpoint what matters most: results.

The problem with all the amazing data tools out there is that there is almost too much data to measure. That’s where having an objective partner with the right tools and experience makes a huge difference. We help clients break through the signal noise and identify the key measurements to track.

Metrics Budgeting Checklist:

  • What are we measuring?
  • Are we measuring the right things?
  • Are we optimizing performance based on evidence of success?

5. Employer Brand

You’re saying, “We’ve got it. We’re on the right platforms, our website is on point, and our metrics are sound. So why aren’t we getting applications we should be?”

If this is the case, in all likelihood, it’s not what you’re doing; it’s what you’re saying.

Your employer brand has to accurately communicate who you are, what you stand for, and what kind of person would have the most success in your organization. It’s about eliminating ill-fitting applicants as much as it’s about finding Mr. or Ms. Right-for-the-Job, which will save you time and resources down the line.

If a candidate knows exactly what they’re getting into when they apply for (and ultimately accept) a position, they’re more likely to stick around. With an effective employer brand, you’ll see improvement to your retention rates as well as your candidate pool. That’s why budget time is the optimal time to allocate resources to truly define your employment brand and leverage it to its full potential.

Employment Brand Budgeting Checklist:

  • Have committed resources to employment brand development?
  • Does our employment brand reflect our employment reality?
  • Are we reinforcing our brand at every point of contact?

Ok, we lied. There’s actually a 6th area to consider when it comes time to optimize your recruiting budget: bandwidth.

Who’s got time for all that?

That’s where S2E Solutions comes in. We can affordably and efficiently augment your team’s capabilities with just one phone call or email. No retainers or contracts—just results. Reach out today, and find out how we can help you with your budgeting process and in the process, make your company a talent magnet.

Happy Budgeting!

Want more information? An insight on an existing challenge? An outside perspective on an internal issue? Contact the experts at S2E and we’ll help you get the results you’re looking for. After all, getting results is what we do best – 866-945-3370, Carol Carrillo.

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