Last week, Dustin Carper, Employment Brand Strategist at Groupon, joined Careerify to discuss Groupon recruiting strategies via Social Media. At Careerify, we recognize Dustin and Groupon’s efforts in making recruiting innovative, including the People Blog for recruiting purposes, and its Social Media presence. Groupon has been recognized as driving recruiting analytics to drive a successful blog, and social media strategies. Groupon was the fastest growing company globally from 2009-2011.
Below is our Q&A with Dustin:
Careerify: Can you provide a bit of color on your background and how you came to lead Groupon’s employment brand?
Dustin: I spent 5 years on the agency recruiting side of the business before I came to Groupon. As I began my employment here, I was given the opportunity to create, learn and integrate marketing into recruitment to create a better candidate experience, drive analytics, and evangelize what it’s like to work here. Our candidates and employees lead our employment brand; I’m just the guy trying to make sure they get the information that they need.
Careerify: Blogs have been around for decades. Why did Groupon choose to put an emphasis on blogs? What is the purpose of the People blog play into the Groupon Recruiting strategy?
Dustin: The purpose of having the People Blog is to show candidates what it is like to work at Groupon versus just telling them. We have a great environment that we would like to show to our potential candidates, so candidates can see the working culture Groupon provides for them. The blog initiates a stronger bond for candidates: they can choose where they would like to work, based on the culture that we showcase within our business units. Employees can participate to show their viewpoint on working at the company, giving a chance to show their creative desk of the week, be profiled, or sharing their affiliations with our Employee Resource Groups.
Careerify: When did Groupon start the People Blog? And what kind of impact have you observed since then?
Dustin: We created the blog in mid-July 2012, so it has been 8 months now. We try to post at least twice a week, and about 1/3 of the entries are from employees outside of the employment branding arena. Since July 2012, we have approximately 50,000 unique page views. This is an impressive number when you realize that all traffic to the blog is driven via social media from our recruiting team. From an analytics standpoint, we really try to analyze how many candidates end up clicking a various job post, or link to our careers page. This can be done by A/B testing and passively mentioning these links, as shown below. Adding this simple closing sentence to all entries has resulted in a 70% increase in career site visits originating from our blog.
Careerify: What kind of content do you post on the blog? And what do you hope to achieve?
Dustin: We don’t typically post directly about our current job openings. What we usually do is post something interesting that happened at Groupon or that is related to the business. I try to think like our employees and candidates when curating and creating content. For example, during Thanksgiving, we shared an article about how Groupon was recognized as the most frequently used shopping app on Black Friday. We used this to congratulate our mobile team for creating such an innovative and convenient mobile app and then casually mentioned that the mobile team was also hiring. This drives appreciation to the various employees that we spotlight and recognize, show the strength of the business, and reach a new candidate pool. The neat thing about this is that employees will take blog posts and send them to their friends and family, driving even more traffic to our website. Furthermore, we may do an employee profile and link the blog to that specific posting. It adds another dimension to the candidate who is used to reading boring job postings and gives recruiters more ammo in discussions with candidates.
Careerify: What about video blogs? What is Groupon’s take on vblogs?
Dustin: We have been adapting videos into our blogs. We just recently created our Vine account, the 6-second video app introduced by Twitter. We have an entire YouTube channel to document employee’s evaluation of what it is like to work for Groupon and show what goes on around here. Like any new application or social network, we first dabble into this space to see the amount of traffic that it drives and the true value for recruiting.
Careerify: Many companies are still afraid of social media, because it gives employees the ability to say what they want, good or bad. What does Groupon Recruiting have to say about this matter?
Dustin: The fact is most of our candidates are on social networks and browsing the Internet for content already. Obviously, any company has to ensure there is consistency with the branding and messaging, especially if you are public, but it’s best to be proactive and have presence on these networks. We are very careful not to editorialize or give opinions on things (good or bad). By remaining objective, we give candidates the respect to make their own decisions and don’t try to sell them something inconsistent with their experience as an employee.
Careerify: Where do you see the Groupon recruiting strategy heading?
Dustin: As mentioned, we are trying to get away from “Groupon is the best place to work” towards “here’s what it’s like to work here”. What we want to do is to give more respect to the candidates. That is why we want to provide relevant information for candidates to sort through. Candidates can go on our blog and see why Groupon employees genuinely love their jobs and are not hesitant to share this with potential candidates. Candidates can then decide if Groupon culturally aligns with their values.
Careerify: You have done a remarkable job thus far at Groupon. Do you have any suggestions on the quality and traits for employers to look for when hiring an employment brand strategist?
Dustin: Thanks; it’s a fun and challenging job for sure. In order to become a successful digital strategist, you must not be afraid to try different things and fail. Groupon has allowed me to try different things with our strategy to really hone in on what works for us. Ideally, this person will be able to meld marketing knowledge with a recruiting background. This way you can be more analytical with your observations, while keeping the candidate in mind. Find the best or unique part of your culture or organization and do what you can to get that in front of candidates. Realize that your environment might not be the best fit for every candidate; let them make that decision by providing the information. You don’t create your employment brand, your candidates and employees do.
We would like to thank Dustin Carper, from Groupon, for sharing his insights on creating a strong employment brand.
To see live examples of what we’re talking about, visit Groupon’s People Blog.
*Careerify is hosting our very first series of webcasts on “Building Recruiting Culture”! We will be covering the great practices of companies like Groupon! Learn more and to register, please visit here.