Allison Kruse is the Director of Content and Social Media at Kforce, a professional staffing and solutions firm that focuses on areas of Technology and Finance and Accounting. She develops and executes Kforce’s content, social media, and corporate and employer branding. Additionally, she’s responsible for Kforce’s employee advocacy program and the firm’s social media strategic framework.
With a professional resume that includes Corporate Recruiter for Walgreens, Director of Recruitment and Selection at Northwestern Mutual and Recruitment Advertising Consultant at American Medical Association, Allison is more than equipped to lead a session at this year’s Talent Acquisition Week in San Francisco. Her presentation, “Creating and Optimizing Content to Connect with Candidates,” will teach attendees how to strategically use content to engage the right candidates at the right time and place.
Allison was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions we had about her session, her role at Kforce and her thoughts on how marketing and HR can work together.
What are the best ways that marketing teams can help support HR in their employer branding efforts?
A significant way marketing teams can support employer branding efforts is by sharing content assets and marketing channels. When the marketing team is promoting a new product or service, the employer branding team can add content that shares the stories about the people who made it happen. Launching new products and services, achieving business goals and successful execution of any business strategy is not possible without employees. When marketing and HR teams work together, they can support one another in sharing the full story — not just the details on the project, service or product. But also the people who made it happen!
Stories that capture employees “in action” and share details about their work are some of the most compelling employer branding content out there. When HR and marketing teams collaborate, these stories tend to be much more robust and earn more engagement than when the content is created in a silo.If you’re managing employer branding and don’t have a strong connection with your marketing team, take action. Make the effort to build that relationship. Meet for coffee, set up a monthly touchpoint and share editorial calendars. Think about what you bring to the table and how you can help the marketing team achieve their goals. And then ask for their support. Show them it’s a symbiotic relationship that benefits both teams.
Can you walk me through a normal day in the life in your role at Kforce?
Every day is different in my role at Kforce. Some days are full of meetings, and some are blissfully free of them and offer hours of uninterrupted time to create and strategize. As a remote boss, I build personal relationships with both my social media team and content team — which is a favorite aspect of my job. I love mentoring them, learning from them and appreciate the way they challenge me to be the very best leader I can be.Because content is at the core of so many strategies, initiatives and projects, I get to work cross-functionally with many different teams, including our corporate communication, PR, HR, recruiting, sales and creative services teams.
What are the most important tools you use while managing your employee advocacy program?
We use our email marketing platform Act-On to send all core employees and Kforce consultants high quality, targeted content three times a week. We launched our Shareable Content employee advocacy program in 2018 and adoption continues to increase as employees reap the benefits of sharing content with their networks.
We’re obsessed with Canva, which is the platform we use to create graphics and GIFs covering a wide range of content pieces — from customer testimonials to motivational quotes to job advertisements. We provide these “on brand” custom graphics to our employees and encourage them to share with their networks.
Content curation is an important component of our employee advocacy program, and we use a few different tools to handpick the best content that we know will resonate with our audience. We use Hashtagify to select the best hashtags to use in our suggested social media posts.
I love PowToon. Similar to Canva, they make it easy to create high-quality videos for anything you need a video for! I’ve created a few internal-facing videos using PowToon. We share important company updates, news, events and other content on TV screens we have in each office. We used PowToon to create a video explaining how Shareable Content works and encouraging employees to use it.
How does the candidate journey differ from the typical buyer’s journey that many marketers focus on? How are they the same?
The candidate’s journey and buyer’s journey are very similar in that it starts with someone having a need, then they do some research and ultimately decide to purchase or apply. Both candidates and buyers may not be able to pinpoint exactly what they want — but they are savvy internet researchers and know how to tap into the wealth of information available at their fingertips. They trust what their peers think over what a marketing or PR team says. Both groups aren’t necessarily loyal to any particular brand, product or company for very long. Focusing on building loyalty after the decision to buy or apply has never been more important, as we are living in a world of choice. There are so many options for just about anything, from products to jobs.
The key difference between a buyer’s journey and candidate’s journey is that the former is a unilateral decision, the latter is bilateral. The buyer makes the choice. A new job involves the candidate deciding to apply to the job and accept the offer. And it also requires the employer choosing the candidate. As companies focus on their internal mechanisms to screen and ultimately select their new hires, they should also be intentional on what information they are providing to potential employees to help candidates with their decision. That’s where content comes in! Content can provide an insider view into the company and help candidates either opt in or opt out.
The time it takes for a candidate to decide to apply to a job, as well as the number of information sources utilized, may be quite different than a buyer’s decision-making process. Candidates use an average of 12-18 sources before deciding to apply to a job. These informed candidates are looking at a potential employer’s social media, review sites like Glassdoor and Indeed, Google reviews, blog posts, employees’ LinkedIn profiles, job descriptions and their website. Today’s candidate cares about an employer’s corporate social responsibility efforts and their reputation, incorporating that perception into their decision to apply.
Can you give me examples of content you’ve created or campaigns you’ve run that were really successful? How do you measure this success?
One of the three pillars of our content strategy is content mapping, which is a framework for designing content that answers questions and provides information at every stage of the candidate or the buyer journey. Our most successful content piece we’ve created to date is our Kforce Job Search Guide. We just published our third annual guide created to help people through the candidate journey in 2020. We measure its success in multiple ways. On the guide itself, we measure success by page views, time spent on the page, scroll depth and clicks on CTAs. The Job Search Guide has been a favorite with our employees — which is also a significant measure of success. Our roughly 1,000 recruiters give the guide to job seekers, candidates and consultants. We also measure engagement on our email signature banners and social media, and the Job Search Guide has been a top performer in both areas.
What platforms have you found to be the most effective when recruiting? Have you ever tried anything out-of-the-box when attracting new candidates?
We just launched a job referral app called KFORCEconnect. It’s a free app anyone can download. When you refer a friend and they get hired, you earn money. People have been using it as a side hustle, and we’ve been thrilled with its success so far!
If you could give yourself one piece of advice for when you first started your career, what would it be?
Trust your instincts. Have unwavering faith in yourself and your ability to achieve whatever you set your mind to. Working in a big corporation can be intimidating for someone early in their career. They may worry about politics, stepping on toes and doing things outside of their job description. I would tell my younger self to get out of your lane! If there’s something you want to do that you just can’t get out of your head, go after it — full steam ahead. No one will ever care about your career as much as you do. You’re in the driver seat. If you want it, don’t rest until you have it. Some of my greatest accomplishments in my career have been moments where I’ve done something that had never been done before at my company. Stuff that was beyond my job description. But I did it with courage and optimism, and I draw on those memories when I need to give myself a pep talk. Our field is constantly changing, and we need courage, positive energy and a strong belief in ourselves to succeed!