Last year UPS won its seat among the TOP 50 recruiters on Twitter and different awards in the recruitment industry for its innovative approach to recruiting.
What did they do?
Here is the story of UPS and how they switched from 90% of their budget in print media in 2005 to 97% of their budget in Social Media in 2010.
In 2005, UPS decided to change their recruitment strategy and started to move aggressively to online recruitment and the people behind this strategy are Matt Lavery, talent acquisition manager at UPS and Mike Vangel, Account Director at TMP.
Goals and strategy
If we come back to the basics and strip down the goals and strategy of UPS, here is what we found:
- Being able to address their high volume, seasonal and part time hiring needs
- at a reduced cost
- Improving UPS employer brand with a cutting-edge recruiting strategy aligned with the technological image of UPS
The strategy has changed over time and and they have adapted it accordingly but the whole idea was to start redirecting all their efforts from offline to online.
- the careers page sits at the center
- a campaign aiming at driving traffic to their newly created careers website, UPSjobs, mainly using Videos, text message, ads online, SEO and SEM
- Creation of a whole social media strategy linking to the careers page
- Being able to measure up the results precisely with simple tools
Their target audience was entry level and mainly involve package handling.
The first step of the strategy: a careers page
They created a simple careers page with a picture at the centre showing the benefits of working for UPS.
As you can see, videos of employees, benefits for working at UPS are all across the website.
However I would say that this website is not optimized in terms of graphic design…Even if it is simple, it lacks in usability and easy to access information.
Driving traffic and engagement to their website
They created a campaign called “UPSjobs-Problem Solved” with their careers website at the center.
The campaign started in 2008 with TMP going around in the US and filming employees at their workplace…and the result is quite good in terms of video (watch the example I embedded).
In one month during the UPS Peak 2008 hiring season from Oct 20, 2008 to November 20, 2008 over 1,000,000 people viewed the online videos!!!
They drove traffic to the website by using print ads at the very beginning then used mobile and text message. In subsequent print and outdoor ads for the handler jobs, readers were offered the choice of going to the UPS hiring Web site at www.UPSjobs.com/print or texting a short code “UPSjobs” to 95495. It was a mixture of old, new tools and technologies.
Mike explained that they were really surprised by the results they got. Even though the target audience is drivers and package handlers, they were keen on using technology.
That had proven difficult with recruitment campaigns run through traditional media such as print, radio and cable TV. But by adding a mobile return channel to those ads, TMP was able to give UPS a better picture of how its hiring efforts were succeeding.
Facebook careers page
UPS launched a Facebook page for careers in October of 2009. They grew their fan base by 1.885 fans by the end of 2009 without spending any money.
It cost them around 7.500 USS to do this facebook page.
One of the biggest benefit for using Facebook for UPS was to get demographic information about their fans, such as that 78% of its audience was 18-44 and 55% of them are male and 93% live the U.S. This set of data showed them that they were on the right track!
They share information about sponsorships, employees, charity events or even give piece of advice to candidates on where to find the right information to apply for jobs.
They also use Facebook to drive traffic to their blog written by employees from UPS (although I could not see any driver of package handler in the writer’s team…only managers!!).
However, on this Facebook page, there is no direct link to the careers page (you need to copy and paste the ups jobs link to get there!!!)…and likewise the number of interactions is limited…you need to go the reviews page to get a real feeling of what people think.
Their facebook page generated for the UPS job-application landing page 18,485 page views from October 1, 2009 to August 27, 2010. The average time viewed was 3 minutes, 28 seconds.
Using Twitter to hire
The Twitter account UPS jobs was created in April 2009 (before the Facebook page!) and has now more than 5000 followers. They use the page not just to blast out jobs but to provide interesting business information, sometimes on UPS philanthropic work or other topics.
They event have a bit of interaction with candidates who mentioned that they had an interview with UPS (see the tweet “good luck”).
Now what about Linkedin?
Their presence on Linkedin is very limited, they have a company page but a very simple careers page displaying jobs only. They don’t use groups as all the groups have been set up by former employees of UPS but there is no official group (which I think does make sense as their primary target is drivers and package handlers who are not on Linkedin).
They use Linkedin when they want to hire senior level candidates.
From the very beginning, UPS used mobile technology to reach out their target audience. And it has proved very successful.
As Mike Vangel explains: ” the comfort with performing non-voice functions over the phone is a particular cultural phenomenon among the age group TMP was trying to reach for UPS. The primary demographic we’re reaching for is between 18 and 35, and they have a real comfort with cell phone technology. That coupled with the process itself is what has made this work.”
People are more engaged when they’re texting you than they might be with just reading a print ad, then finding a computer or a fax machine. Those response methods imposed a disconnect. There’s an immediacy with SMS campaigns. Within seconds, they had a response to their initial text message and were able to advance to the next level. That grows candidate relationships much faster than the old ways.”
In other words, to reach out their target audience (young male between 18 and 35) text message proved to be very personable, engaging and efficient.
And since August 2010, they have a mobile application where candidates can apply directly (www.UPSjobs.mobi) averaging 5,400 visits weekly. It generated four hires in a couple of weeks and 10 so far overall.
Measuring: a key point for UPS
Measuring and tracking is part of the DNA of UPS and they have applied it to the recruitment world and especially in their strategy.
They track each of the applicants and especially where they are coming from (and not using the question: Where did you hear from us?).
On Twitter the link directing to the careers page is www.upsjobs…/twitter, on Facebook www.upsjobs…/facebook…and so on.
With a simple google analytics and their own ATS, they are able to track everything precisely.
But what UPS is tracking is the last media used. In other words, the stimulus. Let’s say I’ve been a fan of UPS on Facebook for a year. But I finally decide to apply for a job after seeing a Tweet asking me to send a text message. In that case I will be counted as coming from the text message source…The last source is the one that counts!!!
If we have a look at this table, the results are quite impressive. The number of hires of all the different channels has risen dramatically but there is even more…
- They hire more and more on these channels, from 12 in 2009 to 226 on Facebook!!!
- The quality of the hires is better as the conversion ratio of created applications to hires from Facebook and Twitter compared to all other online media is much higher. The interview/hire ratio is 2:1
- The cost of hire went from 600/700 USS to 60/70 USS per hire
- Time to hire was reduced especially for seasonal staff and during on peak times (Christmas, Thanksgiving..)
How UPS succeeded?
A couple of reasons probably but if I can summarise the key elements:
- They had clear goals (go where their audience is and cut their costs and time to hire)
- They knew precisely their target audience (the American male between 18 and 35 at entry level mainly handling packaging or driving trucks)
- They adapted their strategy along the way…the created a Facebook page and a twitter account only 2 years ago
- They tried, they try different tools and learn by doing (lately they have been using the tweetmyjobs services on a trial basis…they will measure up the results and will decide accordingly)
- They measures, they tracked applicants all the time…they really monitored evertyhing they did
UPS is today one of the leading company in using Social Media in their recruitment strategy…I will talk about other companies in the coming weeks like Sodexo, Zappos or UK based companies.
The conclusion will come from Matt Lavery who said: “UPS does not want to just broadcast jobs through already-created channels. It is going to have more people work on Social Media recruiting, making it more interactive, more of a conversation, less one way. It will make more videos and have more ways for candidates to interact with current employees”
Is your company active to change things on the recruitment side? What are they doing?
Share your thoughts and best practices!
I will run on the 24th of May another Linkedin training…feel free to pop in for any questions!