vendors work for you

PSA: Your Vendors Work for You

Holland Dombeck McCue Holland Dombeck, HR Vendors

I received an email just before 8am yesterday morning alerting me, and one of our division Chief People Officers, that a recruiting ad for one of our media properties had been served up on Breitbart News. The ad had been brought to the Communications team’s attention via a tweet stating that our reputable media company probably didn’t want to be associated to a site reportedly linked to white supremacy.


Nothing replaces the need for morning caffeine like a sprint exercise to triage the impact to our brand, coupled with getting the site removed from our retargeting campaign. But guess what? The removal process was easy. Why? Because vendors work for you!

Vendors are specialized professionals/services that you pay a fee to make your life easier and to drive a measurable result. But shops across the board leave money on the table and limit their interactions to the baseline services they contract vendors for every day. Sure, it’s great when vendors deliver your quarterly deck with your logo, total visitors and apply clicks outlined (it certainly saves you some time on logging into your self-service dashboard to pull it yourself), but you need to make sure that you’re maximizing the full scope of your investment. Here are a few suggestions on how:

Quarterly Business Reviews

The end of Q1 is rapidly approaching, so start maximizing your vendor relationships by securing a more detailed report. Provide your source data to your vendor partners in advance, so that they model your funnel metrics and bring them to your review vs you having to marry the data for a complete picture of performance later.

Ask your vendor to bring recommendations on how to maximize your current spend to your review. For example, our digital campaigns lead requests Indeed provide a breakdown of our click ratio on organic and paid posts and we “blacklist” roles that no longer need sponsorship due to high organic traffic. Instead of throwing more money at underperforming roles/categories, we have our vendor work for us by redistributing our funds more effectively.

Additionally, don’t wait until mid to late April for your Q1 review. When you wait until mid-month of the following month, you’ve already lost valuable time to adjust your strategy for the new quarter and will always be a month behind on your calendar year. Manage expectations of delivery with your vendor partners and schedule reviews within the first week following the close of the previous quarter.

Optimizing Your Job Postings

95% of job postings suck and that’s never going to change. Every blogger on FOT’s lineup – past and present – has covered this topic and we’ve still not seen a shift. Recruiters aren’t copywriters or marketers or culture mavens. And that’s okay. You can still game your job posting to perform without all that compelling content woven in,

Because vertical search engines like Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn don’t care about compelling content or cultural tidbits, they care about relevancy.

To maximize your vendor partners on optimizing your job postings, start by running a report in your ATS to identify your top 10-15 most commonly posted job titles. From there, set up a call and work with your vendors to increase their relevancy. Ask them to provide recommendations on normalizing job titles and dig into how many times a keyword should be mentioned in the first 200 words and full text to increase ranking on their site.

For example, one of the employment branding specialists on my team was struggling to create lift in applicant flow for a Solution Store Specialist role because no one knows what those words mean. It’s a company specific job title that has zero relevance outside of our bubble, even if she wrapped it in culture gush. In working with our vendor partner, she was able to develop a lowest common denominator job title that people actually searched for (Retail Sales Associate), littered her posting with vendor suggested keywords, and in turn, drove up the role position in search rankings.

Upskilling Your Team

You’ll never see a return on your investment if people aren’t using your investments. But to see traction in adoption, end users need to understand what’s in it for me (WIIFM). The vendors you use also know this and they’ve developed a suite of training options to help!

Start the upskilling process by setting KPIs against expectations of vendor performance. An easy way to approach this is by source of applicants and source of hires. What slice of the pie should each vendor be making up based on your investment with them for the year? Next, be transparent with your team about the amount of money you spend on tooling and vendor partners annually and have their KPIs ladder up to your source KPIs. Work with your vendors to deliver web-based or in-person training of the tools you purchased with your team and training that support adjacent skillets to upskill them as recruiters. Last, tie one of your team’s performance goals to upskilling and ask your vendors to provide a calendar of their upcoming webinars and whitepapers and push them out to your team to attend and to satisfy their goal.

Protecting Your Investment

My morning was impacted because our team failed to protect our investment. When investing in targeted campaigns, through programmatic vendors or even Facebook, it’s essential that you work with your vendor to blacklist sites that are not representative of your brand and exclude your company’s IPs so that ads aren’t served up to your current employee base.

In two weeks, you’ll be a quarter into the year. Maximize your ROI for the remaining three by making vendors work for you.