Kaleem McGill is a Solutions Architect at Offprem Technology, a consulting company specialising exclusively in Salesforce implementation. He’s also a Salesforce Trailblazer and a 2020 Salesforce Marketing Champion.


The words “hiring freeze” imply hitting the pause button on all things related to recruiting. But that shouldn’t be the case at all. Building relationships with strong candidates should still be important even when there are no open roles. You just have to be more strategic about it.

I learned this firsthand earlier this year when I worked on a staffing company’s candidate services team. The company had implemented a hiring freeze, but they wanted to position themselves to fill open roles as quickly as possible once they could lift it. My digital marketing background includes earning a digital marketing certification from Kenzie Academy, attending PepUpTech’s Marketing Cloud Academy, and completing two Marketing Cloud certifications, so I have experience creating email customer journeys with personalised content that build strong relationships. I drew from that experience to create an email marketing campaign that connected with prospective job candidates.

Here are three email marketing automation tactics I applied to fill our candidate funnel:


Align your campaign to a clear goal

To kick off the campaign, I worked with the recruiting team to get a clear understanding of their success metrics. The company’s main goal was to build their pipeline with highly interested candidates to pursue once the company lifted the hiring freeze. They weren’t concerned with increasing the pool by a specific number; they just wanted to spend less time on candidates who weren’t yet interested in making a move.

This context helped me make the best use of Marketing Cloud’s Journey Builder to identify those highly interested candidates and share relevant content with them as quickly as possible.


Customise experiences for each stage of the customer journey

Journey Builder helped us meet the needs of multiple audience groups within a single campaign. For example, we sent a welcome message to prospective candidates and asked them to complete a form to help us gauge their interest in changing jobs. Based on their responses, candidates automatically were sorted into one of three paths:

  • Actively looking
  • Passive but open to switching
  • Interested in our company but not looking for a new position

This work allowed us to develop appropriate messaging and calls to action for each group. For example, we invited those who were actively searching to submit an application, while those who weren’t actively searching could sign up for our newsletter. This helped candidates stay connected without feeling pressure to take a step that was beyond their interest level. 

But we didn’t just personalise the journey path – we customised content within each journey for each prospect. Marketing Cloud allowed us to store a host of data in our system and incorporate those data points into our campaigns to help prospects feel like they’re having a conversation with us. For instance, we knew the departments and job titles they were interested in, so we customised updates to those areas. We also personalised content based on a prospect’s office location. This was important since the company has a global presence, and each office manages reopening and hiring protocols based on location.

By June, the recruiting team was already seeing an uptick in relevant leads compared with the pandemic’s start. They continue to use Journey Builder to track engagement, update current paths, and add new ones. As marketers, we should always be willing to adapt our customer journeys to ensure that every communication resonates.


Write for people, not personas

Working in recruitment during the pandemic, you learn prospects are less concerned with paid time off and office perks and more interested in good health insurance and the ability to work from home. Stability is top of mind. So one of the biggest changes I made to our broader talent messaging was to cut out the fluff. To do this, we had to ask ourselves what we’d want to see from a brand like ours. What did authenticity sound like? The answers were: plain language. Clear communication of our values. A willingness to understand and address the difficulties that people are facing today. 

We didn’t shy away from talking about current affairs like the COVID-19 pandemic in our recruiting content. We shared our company statements and related resources. We highlighted our culture of inclusion. I believe this intentional focus on messaging combined with the strategic use of Marketing Cloud tools contributed to our increase in relevant leads.


Put your technology and community to work

I know firsthand how difficult it is to rely on manual email sends for distributing different messages to multiple audiences. It’s also nearly impossible to personalise messages this way. 

More companies should invest in marketing automation technology to develop customer journeys at scale. But it can be a daunting task for a marketer to convince an executive who’s comfortable with older technology and processes. Check out Trailhead to understand everything Journey Builder has to offer. Connect with influencers in the Trailblazer community who are excited to help you succeed. Learn from them and share what you have to offer, too. We’ll all benefit in the long run — together.


Marketing Cloud offers solutions for digital marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, customer journey mapping, marketing analytics, marketing automation, and B2B marketing. Learn how Marketing Cloud helps you personalise customer communications across every digital touchpoint — from anywhere.


This post was originally published on the U.S.-version of the Salesforce blog.