Engaging the Best Candidates: Sun Life Financial

Recruiting insights from Sun Life Financial

Leading companies at the top of their game have a recruiting brand that’s built up from the firm’s general brand message. The HR leaders within these organizations recognize that the most effective hiring efforts are derived from that platform, and they tailor their recruiting messages to attract the right talent.

Sun Life Financial, a global financial services firm, has embraced this approach by using emerging resources to better engage the people they’d like to hire. Sun Life sponsors jobs on Indeed, and uses the metrics they receive from Indeed to better target the most engaged candidates. This approach has enabled them to refine their hiring practices for better results over time.

We recently talked with Ann Barrett, Director of eRecruitment and Social Media Strategy, about what they’ve learned from this focus on candidate engagement.

Q: What role do you see data-driven decision making playing in the future of talent acquisition?

AB: It’s important to recognize that our recruiting division is selling a product – it’s an intangible one, but has to be built on what people are willing to buy. The data points, the pieces of analysis, become critical to telling the story, especially after you’ve made a recommendation. If I want to try new strategies and engage candidates in new ways, I need to support that recommendation with evidence. Even if something doesn’t work, it gives you some substance to talk about what you can do to improve. Within an organization, people are looking to HR to be a credible and knowledgeable source on sourcing and recruiting. They need us to provide strong recommendations.

Q: How did you integrate those metrics into your recruiting strategy?

AB: We knew that Indeed was providing one third of our external hires. We took those metrics and put them into a framework. We wanted to make more data-driven decisions, and we wanted to put our money into solutions we knew were paying off.

One of the things we have found extremely successful is moving towards a campaign driven recruiting model. Sourcing for our hard to fill or high volume jobs requires a thorough strategy, and segmenting those goals into campaigns enables us to track everything and really measure our success.

Q: Has the ability to measure that success had any noticeable impact on how your results are perceived within the organization?

AB: The crux of what we’re trying to do is moving towards data-driven results. It helps to build credibility for our division. My personal philosophy is that if you want to build credibility, you need to think like a business function. That requires data.

“It’s important to recognize that our recruiting division is selling a product – it’s an intangible one, but has to be built on what people are willing to buy.”
Ann Barrett, Director of eRecruitment and Social Media Strategy, Sun Life Financial

Q: What do you like most about working in recruiting?

AB: One of the things I love about my role is that it’s about continuing to push the envelope and getting people to think about how talent acquisition is changing. We get to think creatively about how people learn about a job, how they apply and how they accept an offer. It’s exciting to see evolution, to roll the dice, to try something new. HR functions are historically risk averse. It’s time to try different strategies and new options, and it’s exciting to explore that territory.

Q: What advice do you have for other recruiting leaders hoping to try these new strategies?

AB: A lot of our success comes from recognizing the resources we have at our disposal. With Indeed, for example, we see our account manager as a strategic partner. We don’t treat it as a paid service, it’s a partnership. We can relay the metrics that we want to track, look at what our campaigns have really yielded, and they help us build that story. There’s a lot of trust there because Indeed helps us meet our strategic goals.

This article is part of a series of employer perspectives we’re sharing on the blog. For more client stories, visit indeed.com/hire/success.