A couple of years ago, I was invited to attend the TAtech Conference. TAtech is a trade association for organizations that provide technology-based recruiting tools. It’s a great event and I really learned a lot. One of the concepts that the group was very focused on was geofencing.
According to a report from MarketsandMarkets, the geofencing industry is expected to grow over 27% by 2022, citing “technological advancements in use of spatial data and increasing applications in numerous industry verticals.” While all of this isn’t focused specifically on recruitment marketing, it does send the message that geofencing isn’t going away any time soon.
What is geofencing?
In the article “What is Geofencing and How Can You Use It to Attract Qualified Applicants?”, the author describes geofencing as “the practice of providing specific content to individuals based on their physical location, as determined by either their internet protocol address (i.e. IP address) or a function of their mobile device, such as radio-frequency identification (also known as RFID). The physical location can be as specific as an organization, or as broad as a zip code, state, or country. How broad you set the parameters depends on your particular goals, and where research shows your target demographic is located.”
So geofencing is about using technology to send a targeted message to a specific location. Think of it as putting a fence around a location and only sending your message to the individuals within the fence.
An example of geofencing would be if you’re trying to find talent acquisition professionals. You know there’s a big HR conference coming up in San Diego. Geofencing would be identifying (i.e. creating a fence) around the location of the conference (San Diego) and then planning to send messages to HR pros who are in the “fence” during the conference timeframe.
How does geotargeting differ from geofencing?
In the same article, geotargeting is defined as “adding the additional capabilities of being able to deliver ads not only to people within a specific geographic area, but also people who meet certain criteria, like behaviors, interests, and demographics.”
Using our previous example, geotargeting would be identifying the HR pros at that big conference in San Diego who have talent acquisition experience and specifically sending messages to them instead of all of the HR pros. The key to using both geofencing and geotargeting successfully is understanding your audience. The more you can identify the ideal candidate, the better you can target your messaging.
Give me some more examples of how to use geofencing for recruitment.
Okay, let’s say you’re at a career fair. You want to get in front of as many qualified candidates as you can. One thing that can help bring candidates to your booth is your employment brand. In the article, “Geofencing for Recruiters: Reach The Right Job Candidates For Less”, they mentioned a statistic that I found interesting. “According to a study by CareerArc, 75% of candidates consider an employer’s brand before applying for a job. With geofencing, you can ensure that candidates have seen your company’s name and logo before coming up to your table.”
Organizations can also use geofencing in their diversity and veterans recruiting efforts. It’s one of the “4 Ways to Use Mobile Geofencing for Recruitment” that ERE mentions in their article. Geofencing can be used to target diverse communities to reach desired populations or maybe even deliver your message on military bases.
But what about privacy. Is geofencing safe and secure?
It’s a great question. I found a good article on CIO.com titled “What is geofencing? Putting location to work.” that talked about security. Remember for most technologies there is certainly the opportunity to overreach, but it can also bring benefits. For example, the technology behind geofencing is the same as the one that allows us to get an alert when someone enters or leaves our home.
Some states are starting to consider consumer protection laws that include location-based advertising. If you’re considering any type of geofencing or geotargeting as part of your recruitment marketing strategy, you’ll want to make sure that you’re following the law.
If your organization hasn’t considered geofencing in the past, this might be something to think about. It does take some research to understand where to target and who is your ideal audience. But in a highly competitive recruiting market, the benefits may be significant.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, FL16