5 Best Practices for Social Outreach to Candidates


Today’s job seekers aren’t focused on newspaper classified ads anymore. Naturally they’re looking at online job listings and corporate website careers pages, as well as searching for possible opportunities through social media. Recruitment and employment branding campaigns are now allocating resources toward social media outreach. We’ve compiled the latest best practices to help you get the most bang for your HR buck. While many of these tactics can apply to social media marketing in general, they’re especially relevant to reaching job candidates.

Share at the right time.

Try and catch people during relative moments of downtime to get maximum engagement (based on studies discussed in this article).

LinkedIn – On weekdays, during the office hours.

Twitter – During commutes in the evening and during afternoon slumps at the office.

Facebook – In the afternoon, on weekdays during office breaks.

Pinterest – Post 8 pm on weekdays and late night on weekends.

Instagram – Anytime on weekdays, except from 3 pm to 4 pm. Experiment with posting between 6 am and 12 pm.

These are optimal times based on industry research – but remember that it just helps to share, period!

Start a conversation.

Think about your posts as content marketing. The following topics make for great posts:

  • Ask your audience a question – What do they want to know about your company? What leaders do they admire? What inspires them about work? Invite some engagement.
  • Clear hiring language – Make prominent use of direct phrases like “We are hiring” or “Join our team” so readers will immediately understand that employment opportunities are available.
  • Inside look – Give potential candidates an inside look at what it’s like to work for you. Share employee interviews, day in the life info, videos or even tours of your organization.
  • Celebration – Have employees post everyday events and happenings to show that your company is a great place to work. Include photos, videos and hashtags like #officeparty, #TeamOuting or #LoveMyCoworkers.
  • Industry insights – What are the latest trends in your industry? Keep it simple, with just one key topic or stat in your post.
  • Highlight your culture – What’s most special about your organization? Pick one area, like training and development, and focus on that for a post.
  • Community news – Is there anything special going on in the community where you are trying to recruit?
  • Comments from recent hires – These are especially effective.

Hone in on the right keywords.

  • Google search – Search for the name of the position(s) you’re trying to fill. See how people are talking about skills and experience.
  • Social media – Check out some industry professionals on Twitter or LinkedIn to see what lingo / inside terms they use.
  • Google AdWords – Use the Keyword Planner to see what variation of key words, phrases or job titles is getting the most hits.

Check these basic boxes.

  • Update the first 200 characters of your company’s LinkedIn profile to let people know you’re hiring on the very first glance.
  • Avoid buzzwords. Keep your language simple and authentic to grab attention. Corporate buzzword phrases (such as “provide dynamic solutions,” “think out of the box,” “hit the ground running,” etc.) are a turn-off.
  • Make sure that your company’s profile states that the business is an equal opportunity employer.
  • Do not make statements the could be construed as a promise of employment or business opportunity.

Use the Disney Experience as a litmus test for recruitment.

Every social post you make should convey the essence of your brand.










Need more ideas to help with your talent acquisition or employment branding efforts? Give us a shout!

User Testing

User Testing in 5 Steps

User Testing

User testing is part of any sound UX (or user experience) strategy, designed to increase the quality of a person’s interaction with your website, system, product or service. Getting a fresh perspective through user testing helps you identify issues as early as possible – ultimately helping you increase your ROI. As UX experts like to say, test early and test often.

Your User Testing Recipe

Step #1: Define your goals.

What do you want to test? Your detailed goals will form the basis of specific hypotheses. For example, a purchase is probably the most important goal of an ecommerce website. The hypothesis might be: Simple is always better. Reducing the checkout to three steps will increase our ecommerce goal completion rates.

If you’re testing a system or site that’s not yet completed, you may not have benchmarks or historic data to begin guessing what possibility might be better over another. Using the same example as above, the goal would still have a hypothesis – it would just be less specific: People are more likely to make a purchase if they like the experience.

Step #2: Create the scenarios / tasks.

Scenarios – or task descriptions – will help establish a realistic framework for your test. This step may seem straightforward but it is incredibly important. Remember, scenarios should always be a neutral as possible – meaning they don’t suggest a specific way for completing the task. A few examples:

  • Imagine that you are looking for a gift for your brother who is interested in professional golf. Visit ourgolfsite.com, find a product you think he would like and add it to your cart.
  • Imagine that you want to download a browser extension to manage your bookmarks. How would you go about this?
  • Imagine that you just finished reading an article about the refugee crisis in Europe and you want to post a comment. Walk me through the process of how you would do so.

Step #3: Pick the people and location.

Next, make sure you have a quiet room or office to conduct the test – a place where participants won’t be distracted or feel pressured. You’ll also need a pre-selected list of participants. For an initial usability test, 3 – 5 people is generally sufficient. Participants should loosely fit your target audience and must not be familiar with your website. Why? People familiar with the site are more likely to have preconceived ideas about what works and what doesn’t – and getting insight from the wrong demographic may end up hurting instead of helping your efforts.

For smaller tests, you may want to consider the friends and family members of coworkers. They’re easy to access and typically don’t want much in return.

Step #4: Create your script.

The dialogue you will have with participants should be created beforehand and the individuals conducting the test should be familiar with it. It’s critical to establish a neutral, non-stressful rapport by outlining the following upfront:

  • Let participants know they’re not the ones “being tested.” It’s you/your website under scrutiny.
  • Ask participants to speak freely and openly with no worry about offending the site owners/designers!
  • Invite them to speak out loud as they complete the tasks you’ve defined.
  • Finally, let them know that they will be recorded and get any consent paperwork out of the way.

Tip: Having participants speak out loud as they complete tasks will reveal volumes of valuable information (and you can take notes). However, documenting every detail will still omit insights that are only realized during the post-test review. Make sure you have a good screen-capture tool recording everything participants do and say for best results.

Step #5: Analyze and improve.

Once you’ve done the test and fully analyzed the results, it’s time to identify and prioritize the top 3 – 5 issues uncovered so you can fix them. Set up your metrics so that you can start collecting data to measure the actual impact on your KPIs. Let that information collect and get started on the next set of hypotheses you’d like to test.

ADA compliant websites

ADA-Compliant Websites: What You Need to Know

ADA Compliant Websites

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications and governmental activities. What you may not know is that the ADA and other standards require that governmental websites be accessible to those with disabilities. Below, we answer the most pressing questions.

What are the requirements?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 require that state and local governments provide people with disabilities equal access to their “programs, services, or activities.” This includes all information technology – including hardware, software and documentation.

I’m a private employer, so this doesn’t apply to me, right?

While most ADA information technology standards are aimed at governmental entities, private companies are not exempt from having ADA-compliant websites. Making websites more accessible for disabled users can enhance the UX (or user experience) for everyone. Signal has helped a number of private companies voluntarily improve the accessibility of their websites. Ideally, every website should be ADA-compliant, and we believe that more companies will be prioritizing this as part of website development / redesign efforts.

How do you implement an ADA-compliant website?

Accessibility is not difficult to implement if it’s planned for accordingly. In most cases, it requires extra attention to website design, content and functionality to meet specified standards. It also requires routine audits of your website to ensure it stays compliant as it evolves. The steps required are different for every unique website.

The Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities (AID) Foundation has a few high-level suggestions to get started.

  • Pair images, videos and audio with text. For users who are visually- or hearing-impaired, some form of accompanying text can enhance their experience. This includes captions added to videos, text transcripts of multimedia content, and descriptive alt tags coded on photos, infographics and graphical text elements.
  • Make sure you have the links. Lost links and embedded resources can be a challenge for disabled users. Create links to videos instead of embedding. Add links for transcripts of videos. And don’t forget to add links for media player downloads, so users don’t have to hunt them down online.
  • Avoid using strobe effects or repeatedly flashing images. These can trigger seizures in those who have epilepsy.
  • Be friendly to assistive technologies. Disabled users rely on a host of assistive technologies to help them with computers: joysticks, trackballs, screen enlargers, speech synthesizers and screen readers are a few examples. Java applets, scripts and plug-ins (including the ubiquitous PDF and PowerPoint files!) must be accessible to those technologies.

Gated Content Unleashed

Many inbound marketers use gated content to generate leads. The idea, of course, is that you offer to give something (a tasty piece of content) and get something in return (valuable information to help you qualify and reach out to leads). Recently, the Signal team enjoyed a vigorous discussion on the old but important question: Should content be gated or not?

Our conclusion: there’s no wrong answer. There are potential challenges and opportunities with either path. This post gives you the highlights of our conversation – and will help you figure out the right approach for your organization.


To Gate or Not to Gate?

A few things to consider as you get started.

Gated content
  • Specifics about who accessed the content
  • More effective sales outreach and targeting
  • Smaller audience
  • Harder to earn links
  • Possible negative brand perception
  • Decreased SEO benefits
Open access content
  • Greater ability to drive traffic
  • Larger future audience for retargeting / remarketing
  • SEO benefits (links, engagement metrics, ranking)
  • Difficult or impossible to convert visits into leads
  • No information about valuable / important visitors
  • If you give it all away upfront, reasons to engage decrease

Informed by Moz pioneer Rand Fishkin

Ask the Right Questions

Whether or not you gate your content depends on many factors, including your business, audience and strategy. The goal is to get consumers through the sales funnel (or for non-profits, the giving funnel) by building up trust, engagement and loyalty. Some customers want to be convinced and will consider your content valuable enough to offer their information in return. Other customers will bolt if you make the process difficult.

And in an era of the cloud and social media, if you don’t give prospects relevant information to help them engage or buy, they’ll just get it elsewhere – probably from a competitor or a non-expert within their circle of influence. This is especially true of millennials.

We think that asking smart questions helps inform your gating approach. The more “yes” answers you give, the more appropriate gated content may be.

  • Do you have the resources to produce compelling content?
  • Is the content you’re offering valuable enough to ask for a name and email (or more) in return?
  • Do you have the resources to drive enough traffic to the content to make it worthwhile?
  • Do you have marketing software to start developing profiles on visitors?
  • Do you have sales/marketing teams who are trained on – and willing to use – their marketing software/CRM to work the leads?
  • Is your potential audience on the early end of the funnel, just starting to investigate you?

Mix It Up With the Content Pillar Approach

The Signal team liked the idea of an organization’s having a balance of gated and ungated content – known as the content pillar approach, defined as:

“A substantive and informative piece of content on a specific topic or theme which can be broken into many derivative sections, pieces, and materials. Examples of content pillars include eBooks, reports, and guides.”

It’s all about supporting your meaty central “pillar” of gated content (such as a white paper) with related, lighter ungated pieces (blog posts, videos). Customers enter the funnel through the ungated pieces, which drive traffic to the pillar content and to the gate that helps up the chances of converting traffic into leads.

Ungated content to support gated premium content could include:

  • Stats, tips, quotes, or ideas shared via social media posts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or other social media
  • Free preview chapters or sections of eBooks
  • “Micrographics,” small infographics focusing on one or two key points, or excerpted segments from a gated infographic – or even gifographics that show movement
  • Blog posts that focus on issues discussed in just one section of your premium content offer
  • List posts that cover the main issues discussed in your gated content offer at a high level
  • If your gated content includes any assets like a checklist, table or worksheet, consider providing either a portion of the asset or the entire thing as an ungated resource 

Final Thoughts 

The smart approach is to assess the needs of your audience and target content specifically to that audience – then offer it to them in the format they need it. Gate when it makes sense, but lean towards open access to cast the widest net possible.

2 Marketing Video Approaches to Try Now

A recent report from Deloitte highlights that Millennials (age 14-25) spend more time watching online video content than watching live television. Video is just getting hotter – and not only for the Millennial crowd. Nearly half of Americans subscribe to a streaming video service and binge watching has become routine across generations.

If video is not a standard component of your marketing plan, it should be. But remember, nobody wants to watch a boring video. Make it brief, make it informative and make it worth watching. Below are two solid marketing video types to engage your audience.




Want some examples? Here’s a cool movie trailer video that Signal created for Quintiles Advisory Services. And take a look at this friendly animated explainer video that shows how Pinterest works. With our collective media consumption habits changing by the moment, choosing a “Movie Trailer” or “Explainer” video can be the best way to quickly get to the point about your brand.