Attracting talent through the power of narrative
Every business leader knows the importance of brand and product marketing. Marketing is the way a company communicates directly to consumers and defines its niche by telling its story. Good marketing drives product awareness, deepens brand credibility, and helps a company stand out from competitors; it stimulates growth and leads to increased revenues. Great marketing tells a broader story. It doesn’t just highlight your products or services, it tells the story of why you exist, and how you positively contribute to the world. It builds a loyal audience of customers and clients excited to support your brand’s vision for the future. However, any business that markets exclusively to customers and clients is missing a key audience: future employees.
"Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth. Hiring was – and still is – the most important thing we do." Marc Benioff, Founder, Chairman and co-CEO of Salesforce
Marketing beyond customer acquisition
Employees are the people who shape the success of a company and make a brand come alive. They’re the cornerstone of every organization. Building a diverse team with complementary skill sets, passions, experience, and aligned values is one of the most crucial investments any company makes… and it’s also one of its biggest challenges.
We’re experiencing a seismic shift in the labor market, the likes of which has not been seen in decades. In the past a company could entice candidates with a big paycheck, but today’s talent wants more. They’re seeking meaning, purpose, and belonging within a healthy work environment in addition to generous compensation. To attract the talent that will set your company apart, you need a fresh approach to recruitment marketing. We’ve got a few tips and strategies to help you craft your story and recruit team members who will take up your mission as their own.
"9 out of 10 employees are willing to trade a percentage of their lifetime earnings for greater meaning at work" BetterUp, Inc. Reese, Kellerman, Robichaux - Meaning & Purpose at Work - 2018
Recruitment Marketing for a Purpose-Driven Brand
Brushing up Your Employer Brand
Telling your brand’s story is essential. In today’s tight talent market, where 70% of job seekers are passively looking, they need to get excited about your company before they will even consider working there. Relationships with potential candidates start with the reputation you’ve earned - your integrity in the market and impact on stakeholders. To make sure your best foot is always forward, you need to start by brushing up your brand narrative.
Here are a few questions to help guide you as you fine-tune your recruitment messaging:
Why do you exist? What’s your mission?
What products or services do you offer? How do they relate to your “why”?
What's the impact you desire to have? How are you measuring it?
What are your core values? How do they inform your actions?
How would you define your culture?
What’s your commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion? What does it look like in action?
How do your compensation packages support employees thriving and are they competitive within your market and industry?
What do you do for your employees? Are there any unique benefits or perks that make your company a great place to work?
What does leadership and decision-making look like at your organization?
What training and personal development support can candidates look forward to if they come and work with you?
Also consider interviewing your employees to bring in their voices and perspectives about the culture of your organization. When it comes to the perks and benefits you highlight, think broadly. Many companies can overlook the little things that they do for employees that make their company special. Take a fresh look and get input from your team about what perks they love and appreciate most.
Once you’ve gathered your reflections you can transition to telling your story by creating content. Be sure to use your unique brand voice and tell an engaging narrative that demonstrates who you are and what you believe in. Think about the parts of your story that would be best told through photos, illustrations, infographics, and even animation or video. Crafting your story through different mediums will be more engaging than text alone.
Increase Awareness & Generate Interest
Now that you’ve got your content, it’s time to use your story to grow an audience of like-minded people. To capture the attention of passive and active job seekers alike, you must go to where your target audience is; they’re out there! Here are a few channels to consider, and ideas for how you might adapt your content for each:
Career Page on Your Website
This is where you have free reign to tell your story. Visitors are on your website engaging with the content you’ve created and learning more about your brand - use your careers page to reel them in even further. Post current opportunities with clear application instructions and deadlines. Even if you don’t have current openings, highlight what makes your company a great place to work! Share employee testimonials. Celebrate your environmental and social responsibility initiatives. Describe your company culture, perks, benefits, and anything else that’s unique.
Share current openings with an audience that already loves your brand. Determine which platforms have the most engagement, and then thoughtfully tailor your content and messaging for each audience. Social media is a great place to use more playful, fun language while staying true to your brand voice. Even if you don’t have a huge budget for recruiting, paid social media ads are helpful, so don’t be afraid to experiment with them.
Here are a few tips for the larger platforms:
LinkedIn - You can post one job at a time on LinkedIn for free. Take advantage of this option but go a bit further. When you’re actively hiring, incorporate some posts to LinkedIn’s news feed that highlight what you do as a company to be great to your employees.
Facebook - This platform has many tools that can help you engage directly with potential new employees. Consider setting up a careers-focused Facebook group where you share your recruiting messaging, post jobs, and utilize different engagement tools like polls and quizzes.
Instagram - share pictures, reels, IG tv videos, or stories to highlight your culture and celebrate cool things your employees are doing. When it’s time to announce that you’re hiring, use tools such as linktr.ee to drive traffic to your careers page.
Twitter - You might only have 280 characters, but a well-crafted joke or eye-catching image can generate serious interest and become widely shared. You can include smart hashtags and, of course, links to your career page and more.
Your employees can be amazing brand ambassadors and recruiters. Make it easy for them to promote current openings by creating easily-shareable materials. Social media is a great tool for this. Let your team know when you’ve posted a new opportunity and encourage them to like and share.
A well-written newsletter is an incredibly flexible tool and a great channel for your most up-to-date content. The most compelling story you can tell is your own journey of reflection and growth. Go beyond product or service announcements to communicate how your vision, values, and mission are at work in the world. Don’t be afraid to take a stand on important current events, movements, or pressing issues. Make sure to highlight current openings, and include links to your career page and instructions for how to apply.
Niche Professional Networks and Job Platforms
When it comes to job boards, it’s easy to get lured in by the big players who advertise widely. But you shouldn’t overlook niche job boards that target specific talents, professionals, or locations - many employers find better qualified, serious candidates this way. Complete your profiles on your top-pick boards even if you have no current openings. This will save time down the road when you’re ready to start hiring.
No matter which channels you choose to utilize, the most important thing is to be authentic, honest, and always true to your brand. Be flexible and creative. Remember that the voice and tone you use don’t have to be the same for each of the channels above. In fact, they should be tailored for each. Knowing your audience and speaking directly to them is the best way to connect.
Success Starts with Strong Job Descriptions
When you’re already employed, it’s easy to forget that applying for jobs is a stressful and time-consuming experience. Put yourself back in that mindset and be thoughtful when drafting job descriptions. Here are a few things to consider:
Simplify! Highlight the essentials, leave out the fluff.
Cut any unnecessary qualification requirements (for example, is a college degree really necessary?)
Be aware of the language you use throughout, and make job expectations clear. This is especially true when your intention is to recruit a diverse group of people and build an inclusive culture.
Include salary information. Even a range is helpful. This is a time saver for both you and the applicants. You’ll get more serious candidates by being transparent.
Encourage people to apply even if they don’t have all of the “ideal experience”.
Include an application deadline. Many job seekers won’t apply to job listings older than two weeks unless it's clear the company is still recruiting for that role.
Above all else, make sure there is internal agreement and alignment on your team for the position you’re needing to fill. Don’t brush-up an old job description, instead, carefully consider what the role actually calls for. You should include role-specific responsibilities and list only truly necessary experience, desired skills, and traits. Having clear expectations will make the screening process easier and more efficient.
“To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.” Doug Conant - former President and CEO of the Campbell Soup Company
Investing time in recruitment marketing strategies might feel like a lot of work, but the payoff is well worth it. There is no better investment you can make in your company’s future than continually building a world-class team. Hopefully, these tips will help you create compelling recruitment marketing campaigns. Your strategy and materials can (and should) improve over time. Revisit them regularly and keep it fresh - candidates rarely apply the first time they see your materials. Learn from past hiring experiences and adapt as things change. The world of recruiting is constantly evolving, so your strategy and approach need to evolve with it.