Geofencing: A New Way to Target Job Candidates

Geofencing: A New Way to Target Job Candidates

Every recruiter is familiar with the concept of meeting candidates where they are, but new technological solutions are putting a new spin on that idea. Earlier this month, NPR’s Yuki Noguchi reported on how some employers are using geofencing technology to target job advertising to talent in specific geographical areas:

Carol McDaniel has a perennial challenge: Attracting highly specialized acute-care certified neonatal nurse practitioners to come work for Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla. They are “always in short supply, high demand, and [it is a] very, very small group of people,” says McDaniel, the hospital’s recruitment director.

So, about six months ago, McDaniel says, the hospital started using a new recruitment tactic: It buys lists of potential candidates culled from online profiles or educational records. It then uses a technology to set up a wireless fence around key areas where the coveted nurses live or work. When a nurse with the relevant credentials enters a geofenced zone, ads inviting them to apply to All Children’s appear on their phones.

The system also automatically collects data from the user’s cellphone so it can continue to advertise to them, even after they leave the geofenced area. The result? She’s getting responses from three to four job candidates a week; she got almost none before.

The application of geofencing is adapted from consumer marketing, where retailers, for example, use it to deliver coupons to potential customers in the vicinity of their stores. Candidates targeted through geofencing, McDaniel tells Noguchi, are more responsive in part because they feel flattered that the hospital reached out specifically to them, and if they don’t want to be targeted, they are always able to opt out.

Workology founder Jessica Miller-Merrell is also a big fan of geofencing and social media geotargeting as recruiting tools. Writing at SHRM, she discusses how she used it to advertise to attendees at a conference last month:

I used this strategy effectively at the SHRM Annual Conference in New Orleans, where I created an Instagram ad that was only visible to HR professionals who were traveling to New Orleans. I created an ad, set my parameters and my ad price—which was $25 a day for a period of four days—inviting my audience to complete a certain action, whether it was texting a number or clicking to view a landing page.

The results were positive, and I was able to target a very focused and strategic group of individuals. I knew that because they were traveling to a conference or an event, they would be more likely to rely on their phones which was why I focused my ads on mobile targeting specifically. With geotargeting you can get as broad or even as specific as you wish. As recruiters, we can even create a geofence which only allows a social advertisement or filter in the case of Snapchat to be visible in a specific geoarea like a building, block or multiple buildings or offices such as a data scientist meetup in Mountain View, Calif., or a co-working space where creatives hang out. You might even geofence a company’s offices or the bar nearby during certain lunch or after work hours to reach your competition’s employees using this type of specific social ad targeting. You might use this opportunity to highlight a recent video or your Glassdoor rating and highlight some of the negatives of your competition’s flexible scheduling or career development opportunities.