Recruitment brands do not just magically appear. Nor can they be made up of platitudes and hopes. They must be carefully constructed based on data and continuously vetted and improved. A great brand focuses on what you can do for the candidate rather than what they can do for you.
You need a brand strategy.
Most recruiting brand strategies are too broad and try to target everyone. An effective recruiting brand must be linked to the organization’s most needed talent and be aligned with the corporate strategy. If the corporate strategy is to build a software product, then the recruiting focus must be on programmers or the type of people that can develop that product. For some reason, recruiting has not figured this out, and they end up targeting no one.
The best recruiting brand attracts candidates vital to producing the products or delivering the required services. If we compare firms to a sports team, we might understand this better. When a sports team manager speaks of talent, he is talking about those individuals who make the points, block the other team, or who the fans and players identify as essential for success. He is not usually talking about the routine players who support the key ones.
Effective branding requires thinking like a marketer, which all recruiters need to do.
We’re moving from transaction to engagement, and this requires a brand that sticks on multiple fronts.
Most candidates are not seeking a new job. The recruiter’s job is to reach out, find them, and interest them in doing something new. The key is attracting and engaging these passive candidates.
We need to help potential candidates be aware of opportunities and clearly explain why they should work for our firm and what they will gain.
Posting to job boards is rarely very successful because passive candidates are not looking. Instead of posting to job boards, the most successful recruiters turn to social media, referrals, and active outreach to attract the best candidates.
And once attracted and curious, recruiters engage them with authenticity and speed by understanding what specifically motivates them. That means gathering and organizing data about them to make adjustments to your brand.
Statistics say that only 15 percent of employees know the values and vision of their company. An even smaller fraction of future employees will know the values. As you design your talent brand, be clear about the company values and make sure that the way you relate to your people stays true to those values because, ultimately, your talent brand will rise or fall with how leaders treat people. This can be the key to the engagement process.
Think About Branding Levels
Most organizations focus only on a company-wide employment brand, but building separate messages according to function and role are far more powerful.
Think about branding for the company, for general recruitment, for a particular function (human resources), and for a specific job (HR generalist.)
Thinking like this will increase your responses by allowing you to provide function and job-specific information.
Branding evolves from the reality of employee experience inside the organization first. Treat your employees or contractors with the same care and thoughtfulness you give your clients.
Your current talent is key to your talent branding. Organizations often stop wooing employees once they have been hired, preventing the talent brand from being successful. You can change this by developing an ongoing relationship with new hires. They will refer new candidates to you. Once they have been with your company for a while, chances are they are motivated and understand the nuances of company culture.
The brass ring is to create a community that fosters an engaging experience for candidates, employees, and previous employees.
Few companies have figured out how to create a community of employees and potential candidates.
Creating a talent community is not easy and requires a commitment to consistently communicate with employees and candidates, provide engaging content, and answer questions candidly. Community-building is for talent professionals working with other leaders on a long-term strategy that considers where the company will be one, five, ten, or even twenty years from now.
A talent community involves more than the usual career site. It requires a robust site that offers tips, perks, and support for people who spend time getting to know your company and one another. The optimum goal is that people benefit from the career site regardless of whether they end up working for you.
In a community, people give generously to one another. So, if you provide valuable information, people will respond by helping you source candidates and boost your brand.
Analytics are key to engagement and experience.
Recruiters have been lagging in developing useful metrics to guide their marketing strategy and help them make improvements to their overall processes. Good data can help fine-tune your brand and create better messaging.
Most organizations have not made much progress in using people data. Many can barely provide accurate reporting of activity, and according to research done by Deloitte, only about 4% of organizations can do predictive analytics. Yet, the benefits of doing this could result in more qualified candidates, higher productivity, less turnover, more engaged employees, and faster hiring of more capable employees.
Candidate Engagement & Experience
Most career sites and recruiting processes are designed for administrative ease for the recruiter and are not seamless or simple for a candidate. It should be easy for a candidate to apply for a job. This is especially true when candidates are applying on a mobile device.
Stories abound about how a specific approach led to more candidates or better candidates, but none are backed up with objective measures. What matters is that your organization defines what engagement means in terms of what a candidate does and what type of candidates are attracted. For example, if your career site attracts the right people and they apply for a job, then it is safe to say they were engaged and found useful information.
It may be that a candidate who experiences a well-designed career site and encounters an easy-to-use application process will be more likely to recommend your firm to other people and also may be more likely to accept an offer. Still, you will need analytics to prove that this is so.
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