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4 ways to use digital media to attract passive job seekers

BY: Teresa Otten on August 19, 2017

The nursing shortage has created keen competition for qualified candidates, spurring recruiters to dig deep to uncover passive job seekers.

Passive job seekers usually are seasoned nurses who are employed and are not actively searching, but who may be open to new opportunities. It requires time and money to reach these individuals, but it is worth the effort. Their experience makes passive job seekers highly desirable. Recruiters need to use unique methods to find and attract them, and digital media can help.

Because nurses are in high demand, you must first build a relationship with them. To do that, I often suggest the following tools to clients:

• Social media ads/posts

• Targeted network advertising

• Targeted email marketing

• Content marketing

Use social media marketing tools

Social media has changed recruiting tremendously. Busy people typically won’t sit down at a laptop to search job boards, but even the busiest of people will take a break to scroll through social media on their mobile phones.

I recommend Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to recruiters, because most nurses are on one or all platforms. Recruiters may find potential nursing candidates on these social media platforms they may not otherwise find on online job boards.

If you are working with a marketing company to place ads on social media, make sure the firm can drill down in its database to geolocation, specialty and education, so you attract the right candidates for the desired positions.

In addition to ads, posting on social media is essential. Posts should be more than just job openings – they should engage readers. Identify compelling topics that will draw nurses back to your page or inspire them to share your posts. On Instagram, visuals are essential, but they are important on any type of social media. Photos are good attention-grabbers. Videos are even better.

On Facebook, if someone “likes” your page, you establish a connection that allows you to start a conversation with them and build a rapport. This gives you the opportunity to chat about the specific type of position that might appeal to a candidate.

When you post a job, don’t include every detail because the goal is to connect with people and start a conversation. Encourage people to ask questions by providing your contact information.

Once you attract interest, don’t make the mistake of requiring candidates to fill out a lengthy online application. Make it as easy as possible to apply.

Consider some targeted network advertising

Most likely you have experienced programmatic advertising online, which is based on behavior. For instance, when you search for a hotel, over the next several days you’ll see hotel ads online.

Targeted network advertising is tied to individuals’ emails and can hone in on details like geography or nursing specialty. This allows nurse recruiters to target advertising at the types of candidates they are trying to reach, such as operating room nurses in Dallas.

When nurses contact you about available positions, you will be able to ask them about what specifically they are looking for in a job. It’s an opportunity to do a mini-interview before a full-blown job interview.

Reach your target audience with email marketing

A great way to connect with passive job seekers is by targeted email marketing. Nurses must opt in to receive emails, and while they might not be actively searching, they may be interested in seeing what jobs are available. Your emails target a specific segment of professionals who are interested in your messages.

The key is to keep content attractive and professional while ensuring your content is engaging, so nurses look forward to receiving your emails. Targeted email can provide valuable information on how many people opened the email, how many clicked on links, etc.

When choosing a marketing firm, make sure they use only home emails so nurses aren’t burdened by extra emails at work. Always allow nurses to opt out if they choose.

Content marketing can make a lasting impression

Content marketing consists of creating and sharing useful information such as thought leadership articles about best practices or tips, and other timely or relevant content. Anything you can do to position your organization as an industry expert or a thought leader is golden. Readers remember valuable information. While it may not pay off immediately, it does make an impression, and they will return to your page.

This method may seem time-consuming, but ask your organization’s marketing department for material that can be repurposed, such as videos, articles, photos and blog stories from the company website. Editorial content that offers advice and “top five” lists that consist of easy-to-read tidbits of information also are popular.

Digital media also can enhance timeless tools like referrals, because social media makes it easier than ever for nurses to share an attractive job within their trusted network.

The important thing to remember is that recruiting passive job seekers is more time-intensive, so resolve to act before your situation becomes critical. I urge clients to be proactive, rather than reactive. Recruiters should maintain an ongoing campaign for passive job seekers, whatever the format, to keep qualified candidates in the pipeline.

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Teresa Otten

Teresa Otten is the business development manager for health care at OnCourse Learning, providing digital-based solutions for clients of Nurse.com. A graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio, she holds a bachelor’s of business administration in human resource management, and has more than 12 years of experience in hospital HR management. Otten also is a board member of Dallas-Fort Worth Healthcare Human Resources Association.