How to Target & Recruit Niche Talent Using Webinars - HR Open Source


The recruitment market has never been more competitive than it is today. This means that candidates usually have multiple job offers to choose from and they evaluate each of them based on their individual priorities (work/life balance, compensation, culture-fit etc.). Moreover, the same study concludes that experienced candidates are highly sought and what makes this even more difficult for recruiters is that they are usually passive candidates – already employed, and not currently looking for a new opportunity.

90% of recruiters think that the current labor market is best described as a “candidate-driven market”, compared with 10% who believe it’s still an “employer-driven market[1].
— Study conducted by MRI Network during the first half of 2015.

Add this to a highly competitive market with a trend in passive candidate recruitment (like Northern Europe) as well as a truly demanding industry (Sales in Cloud Applications), and the quest to achieving your hiring target gets even tougher. We knew we needed to find a new way to identify and engage this in-demand talent pool.



We needed to attract top Sales and Finance professionals in a highly competitive & demanding market (Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Norway) to join our Oracle Applications Sales team.

If you’re looking for the best way to approach your market, the first thing you should be working on is finding out everything about it. This is how we planned to take action – we researched key market insights to inform our recruiting outreach strategy.

According to LinkedIn’s 2015 talent trends report for Nordics, 75% of the workforce is passive talent. However, when looking for opportunities, these candidates turn to online channels to discover them as follows: online job boards (68%), social professional networks (57%) and word of mouth (54%).

In order to find the best possible approach to reach our desired candidates, we still needed to uncover one more essential detail – their inner motivation, what truly drives them to take another job opportunity. According to the same LinkedIn talent trends report for Nordics, the answer for this particular group was: professional development, compensation and challenging work.

Gathering all this information helped us sketch our audience’s persona:

  • Young professional (between 22 and 40 years old);
  • Professional background in Sales and/or Finance;
  • Likely already satisfied with their current role and not actively seeking new opportunities [passive talent];
  • Easily engaged online on job-seeking platforms and social networks; especially with their peers, colleagues and network (word of mouth);
  • Could be persuaded by a role that offered them opportunities to grow their career;
  • Highly selective when it comes to changing jobs as it is a candidate-driven market (i.e. small number of professionals – high demand);
  • Heavy recruiter noise - top prospects difficult to engage with recruiters due to outreach saturation (they have been contacted too many times).

Our Challenges:

As soon as we gathered all these findings, a key question arose:

“How do we drive awareness and convince young Sales & Finance professionals to switch their current role to Oracle Applications, considering that they are NOT actively interested in changing the employer, not eager to discuss with recruiters and above all, they might even be receiving more attractive offers from multiple companies already?”

For the traditional recruitment approaches, our challenges became obvious:

  • Differentiation – we’ll have to approach candidates differently than what they’re already used to.
  • Channel – candidates are not responsive, as emails, InMails or phone calls from recruiters often remained unanswered.
  • Speed – we had to move fast before other companies recruited our prospects.
  • Engagement – we needed to give candidates the inner motivation to engage and apply, since they couldn’t be found at traditional recruitment events, career fairs, networking nights etc.



By putting all our puzzle pieces together, we came up with the idea that would solve the quest to finding our niche candidates: a live webinar hosted not by recruitment, but by business leaders.

Using the webinar solved all our challenges and helped us source the right candidates through:


From a quick research conducted internally, we discovered there were very few recruitment webinars in the region and used that to change the candidate’s paradigm: recruiters did not contact them to directly recruit them for roles in the area, but the candidates were expressing real interest in the topic by personally signing up for the webinar, thus exposing them to our talent and approach.


Prospects are typically more likely to be interested in discussing opportunities with their future colleagues or managers than a recruiter. This is how they get first-hand insights into their future role, the ups and downs of the job, as well as a direct glimpse of the company’s culture. So instead of recruiters, we made it possible for candidates to directly connect with a high-profile leader in our company and industry – Paul Hewlett, the Sales VP EPM for Western Europe.


The webinar not only allowed us to expose our culture and jobs to a group of potential candidates at once, but it also provided candidates a safe environment (possibly anonymous for other users) to interact with another employer. The role of our recruiters came in only after the webinar ended and we identified candidates truly interested in the role. In less than 24 hours, recruiters followed-up to capitalize on candidates’ interest and motivation and found the most suitable to move forward in a formal interview process.


The webinar helped us find the right talents among passive candidates much easier thanks to these two reasons:

  1. Only candidates that had a real interest in the topic joined the webinar -> we made no extra effort to convince those who weren’t interested at all.
  2. The host’s agenda was crafted around the three main pillars that increased the webinar’s relevance in the eyes of our candidates: professional development, challenging work and compensation. Our Sales VP was able to share some of the current industry trends, and how Oracle is addressing them with our application suite. This allowed attendees to understand the products and sales in a way a job description can’t convey.

Marketing The Webinar

We started our campaign to communicate the news on Oracle’s corporate LinkedIn page, Careers At Oracle Twitter handle and through all social ambassadors who joined our efforts, roughly two weeks before the webinar.

The campaign design

When creating visuals that announced our webinar, we had three elements in mind:

  • Alignment with our brand = to create an instant sense of the Oracle brand
  • Crafting a professional look = to increase credibility of experienced audience
  • On point imagery that highlights key messages as well as the high profile host


Using the webinar to leverage top talent for our roles led us to a few major achievements:

* We selected 10 prospects who fit our role best and placed them in the recruitment process.

**The webinar has helped us find 4 candidates that are a perfect fit for the role: two of the finalists were too senior for our current available roles, but have been determined to be future hires; another two candidates are due to have final interviews.

Moreover, according to our recruiters, 60% of people who registered for the webinar have the right profile for Oracle roles.

What channels drove the most candidates during the process?



We assumed that most registrations would be driven through internal word of mouth (current Sales employees that shared our messages across their professional networks). Interestingly enough, we noticed that most registrations actually came from LinkedIn Sponsored Updates (8% of all clicks). In hindsight, we could have done a better job activating our current employees to promote the webinar to their respective networks, and reinforce that throughout the lead up to the campaign.

In addition to this, according to our stats, less than 10% of the potential candidates who reached the webinar page have registered. This means that we could have leveraged our overall communication more effectively – either by narrowing our target audience or by working more on customizing our message.



High demand talent responds to outside the box approaches → The recruitment world is constantly changing and we need to adapt to it and learn to explore different platforms, aside from those we are used to working with (email, phones, etc.).

Research is the foundation of your strategy → During the process of building our talent profiles, the research we conducted really helped us tailor our engagement and outreach. Knowing your talent pool through key statistics and facts will save you time, money, and will help you find the approach that best fits your audience.   

Measuring results is not a choice → Keep track of all your findings and project achievements so you can know what to change in the future. Always be iterating.

Balance your message with engaging visuals → When you’re recruiting using online webinars, brand-aligned design will help you stand out in the eyes of your audience. Your message needs to be on point and relevant to your brand’s tone of voice.

Engage your leaders → Prospects want to hear from the people they’ll be working with and for, not just a recruiter. Find ways to bring your leaders into the recruiting courtship process, and let their talent help you convert passive candidates.

[1] CDI Corporation. Recruiter Sentiment Study, 1st Half 2015, accessed on 12/15/2015 on