TecHR Interview with Tarina Pop, Head of Recruitment Marketing at SmartDreamers
Tell us about your journey into Recruitment Marketing. What galvanized you to start at SmartDreamers?
I’ll go ahead and answer both of these questions at once because they’re closely connected and you couldn’t have one without the other. I was just beginning my career in Marketing—only a couple of years in—and I was young, passionate, and enthusiastic about both marketing and tech. I wanted to work with people who shared my passion and enthusiasm, and it just so happened that SmartDreamers was full of them. When I joined up, it was a new startup loaded with possibilities, and I found that Recruitment Marketing was the thing that interested me the most—and it still does.
So SmartDreamers took Recruitment Marketing to the next level, on steroids, as our CEO likes to put it, and from my perspective, it’s marketing with a twist. It’s the ideal intersection of technology on the one hand and helping real humans on the other.
What is SmartDreamers and how does it fit into the current Candidate Search and Hiring Experience landscape?
Trends in hiring are changing fast, and right now it’s likely that your next hire is already hired. Almost 80% of potential job candidates are not actively looking for a job. Many of them already have a job, but would gladly change careers given the right offer. More than that, passive candidates tend to be of higher quality. What does this mean for recruiters? That your candidate search really needs to put passive job seekers front and center. The question is: how do you do that?
What SmartDreamers does is connect your company to those who are already hired elsewhere. This is helping you grow your talent pool and position yourself as an employer of choice through automated online recruitment advertising.
With SmartDreamers, companies can strengthen their employer brand and market their job openings through online publications, across social media, and in a host of online communities, with a focus on the venues where their target candidates already spend time.
Much of this is made possible through RPA, or robotic process automation, meaning that more and more tasks can be automated quickly and effectively on the fly.
What does your Ideal Customer Profile look like? Which businesses are the fastest to adopt your HR Technology products?
Fortune 500, and I’ll tell you why: our goal at SmartDreamers is to help global companies accelerate their talent acquisition through Recruitment Marketing Automation (RMA), giving them the ability to reach large numbers of candidates like never before. So, picture a global company that needs to hire tens of thousands of employees in multiple divisions: SmartDreamers connects them to the entire web, from social media to job boards and niche websites, through automation (API and RPA) via one streamlined, easy-to-understand interface. This saves time and money, all while boosting the key metrics in their recruitment software ecosystem. The bigger the company, the bigger the impact in terms of time and money saved.
What are the key components of Recruitment Marketing?
As we like to preach it here at SmartDramers, Recruitment Marketing has four main pillars: Attract, Convert, Engage and Measure. Each one leads into the next to help build a strong foundation for future growth.
Attract – After you define your target audience profile as well as your employer brand, your first task is to build brand awareness and promote jobs on social media and elsewhere on the web. This will often be first-touch content, so the goal here is to familiarize potential candidates with your company and start to get them interested.
Engage – In this step, it’s all about social. Be there, be present, and engage with the audience you attracted earlier. Everything from social media presence to community management and online and offline events—hackathons, meetups, etc. Let your target audience know you’re there for them and open up two-way communication between your team and your potential candidates.
Convert – Once you’ve engaged candidates, you need to convince them to actually apply. Here, nothing is more important than UX. If your career pages and your job-specific landing pages aren’t easy to use or don’t meet candidates’ needs, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. On the other hand, if you can offer a high-quality applicant experience, you can use landing pages as a way to foster your talent pipeline and begin to nurture leads.
Measure – What’s a marketer’s best friend? Data. Each and every component mentioned above can and should be measured. Collect data, analyze it, and learn from it. Constantly optimize based on your results and let your strategies evolve as you learn what works and what doesn’t.
What skills are you looking for in a Recruitment Marketing Executive?
Since recruitment marketing is somewhat of a hybrid field, a great Recruitment Marketing Executive needs to be able to play a lot of roles. He or she should be a great strategist in terms of employer branding and Recruitment Marketing, but also crazy passionate about all things data. Ideally, you’d find someone whose mission in life is to bring in the newest and hottest trends from both marketing and recruitment together and successfully adapt them for their industry.
How should the heads of businesses leverage Recruitment Marketing technology to digitally transform their hiring ?
The future of talent acquisition is all about data. In order to make an apples-to-apples comparison between two campaigns or different job ads, you need digital workflows that are centralized in such a way as to make it easy for recruiters to run campaigns, collect and analyze data, and make informed decisions. This is why 71% of high-performing HR organizations believe that digital transformation makes it easier to attract and retain talent (per a recent SAP study).
By implementing a centralized RMA solution, businesses do just that. They give recruiters the same tools (and thus the same capabilities and autonomy) that marketing gets, paving the way for them to be better at their jobs and hire better and faster. Implementing technology aimed at automating rote processes also typically has the side benefit of easing the path forward for AI-integration, which could play an increasingly important role in HR departments of the future.
How do you see Culture-driven Hiring and Talent Search Management impacting business growth, in the next two years?
We’re not afraid to beat a dead horse: the more companies get smarter and more systematic about finding the right people and growing all-star teams, the more obvious the value of emerging technologies will be. Looking into the future just slightly, we see AI helping recruiters to pre-screen resumes and signal a candidate’s potential before a hiring manager even lays eyes on an application.
By the same token, RPA can help speed up the recruitment process by streamlining data collection, resume collection, ATS integration, and a whole host of other activities. This isn’t science fiction—it’s happening right now. Our task is just to make sure that HR departments are aware of it. RMA as a whole is a foreign concept to a lot of recruiters at the moment, but it won’t be for long. Its value is self-evident, and we expect the market to grow as people come to think of automation as a recruiter’s best friend.
How can modern HR teams fully-transform their overall organization and promote diversity/inclusion using Recruitment Marketing and related technological capabilities?
Diversity and inclusion are complex issues in modern recruitment—neither can be solved overnight. But to whatever extent diversity is a pipeline problem, you can solve it with a smarter, better pipeline. How do you get a better pipeline? RMA.
There are a lot of techniques organizations will have to adopt to overcome diversity obstacles: providing implicit bias training for those who screen resumes and interview job candidates, or adjusting the wording of job postings and ads to reflect an inclusive perspective. But these techniques on their own don’t automatically mean that you’re targeting and attracting a diverse pool of candidates in the first place.
Without a robust talent pipeline, you’ll never truly recruit globally, and you’ll likely stay dependent on employee referrals (who tend to be demographically similar to your existing team). Recruitment Marketing helps you get past that dependency—meaning that while other companies are struggling to find minority candidates, you’re generating enough interest that each open position attracts applications from a diverse array of people. But now we come to the “automation” part of “recruitment marketing automation.” A robust talent pipeline is a good first step, but the key to continued success in this area is to take a measured, data-driven approach to diverse hiring.
How can customers connect your technology to HRMS? Tell us about your integrations and technology partnerships with other platforms?
Our purpose at SmartDreamers is to help our clients leverage talent acquisition. To that end, we’re committed to bringing together all of their management systems within an easy to use, easy to understand interface; an interface that, above all, translates all their efforts in tangible data. I could rattle off a list of all our integrations, from the biggest ATS to the most important social media websites and niche channels—but instead, I’ll tell you about the newest and most valuable feature, which is SmartDreamers Automation. Basically, by using APIs or RPA integration, we can automate any platform at our client’s disposal and incorporate it into our understandable, analysis-centered ecosystem.
Tell us more about your vision of growing revenue opportunities for HR Technology platforms?
Like we said above, automation is going to be an increasingly crucial piece of the HR puzzle, in large part because it does help save time and costs. Speaking specifically, the more channels it’s possible to automate, the more revenue will flow into HR technology platforms because it’s cheaper for end users overall. And, it’s not limited to just advertising and posting platforms—the more tasks, activities, and workflows we can automate, the more HR budgets will be redirected into technology like ours.
How do you play a part in the Digital Transformation of such culture-driven organizations?
Simply put, we alleviate the need for manual effort in almost all Recruitment Marketing activities.
Instead of laboriously posting on one online platform after another, recruiters can push out wide-reaching, broadly-scoped campaigns across dozens of channels with the push of a few buttons. They can speed up not just job advertising but data collection and analysis by centralizing these activities under one roof with a single, automated interface. This doesn’t just save (considerable) time and money, it reorients the entire HR flow around smart, digital processes. It essentially gives recruiters and hiring managers a digital foundation, freeing up their time and energy to spend time on more human-centric and impactful work. This means better ROI and smarter, faster talent acquisition.
Which Marketing and Sales Technology solutions do you use at SmartDreamers?
We’re big fans of HubSpot—it really streamlines our sales and marketing processes and makes blogging super easy. We also use Intercom to power sales and support processes.
Which start-ups in the tech industry interest you the most and why?
We’ve talked a lot about the power of RPA already, which is why UiPath is one of the start-ups that we’re most excited about. They are a powerhouse in their field, and they recently received a $7bn valuation, making them one of the fasting growing startups in the world (after having already earned the distinction of Romania’s first “unicorn” startup.)
What technologies within AI and HR Technology are you interested in?
A few of the things we sketched out above (like AI-powered candidate screening), as well as anything that helps people get more out of their data, are really interesting to us. But, on some level, what we’re most interested to see is what kinds of creative things all of these HR departments do to reshape the industry with all the time that automation will save them.
In HR Technology, what are the new emerging markets that you see providing the biggest opportunities?
This dovetails with providing good UX for engagement and conversions as we talked about above, but we expect mobile to become an even more important part of HR technology going forward. Just like Recruitment Marketing, Mobile Recruiting will also become a ubiquitous practice in HR operations.
Millennials are already a huge chunk of the workforce, and Gen Z is coming right on their heels, and these are two groups that never leave home without their phones.
What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
Automation. Human labor is so precious, and it’s really sad to see time and creativity spent on rote, tedious tasks when people are so much better suited to creative and inspiring ones. So, to give whoever is reading this some direct advice: automate everything you can. And ft you can’t do it on your own, find people or businesses that can do that for you. You’ll save tons of time and, more importantly, you’ll save all the creativity and productivity for the tasks that really deserve it.
Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
Adam Neumann, co-founder WeWork
Thank you, Tarina! That was fun and hope to see you back on TecHR soon.
Tarina Pop is Head of Recruitment Marketing at SmartDreamers. SmartDreamers is a recruitment marketing automation platform that empowers recruitment teams to smartly advertise jobs across the web. Integrated with Facebook, Google Ads, YouTube, Snap, Instagram, publishers and niche websites, SmartDreamers streamlines the recruitment marketing processes.