Tony Marven, CTO, Keystone Employment Group
As the UK emerges from the economic downturn of the last few years, recruitment is back on the agenda for many organisations. Traditional recruiting methods which are slow, expensive and don’t always deliver the right candidates are being replaced by strategies aimed at attracting tomorrows workforce using today’s new communication channels and technologies.
With post-recession budgets under pressure now is a good time to evaluate how cost-effective your recruitment methods are in relation to attracting the right talent for your organisation. In many organisations recruitment remains a reactive process with short term needs, using expensive, ineffective advertising and screening techniques. Fondly called the “post and pray” approach to recruitment, using expensive job boards and spending time filtering out 80% of unsuitable candidates is just, well, …… 20th century; cluttering up in-boxes and databases with irrelevant CVs rather than building a talent bank of potential candidates.
There is another way …. ‘Stop recruiting and start attracting’
A well thought through “attraction strategy” uses basic marketing concepts to understand and segment the talent landscape so the appropriate messages reach the intended audience via the best channel. It starts with a clear brand proposition:
“What are the functional, economic and psychological benefits provided by working for your organisation and what are the most effective ways for the organisation to market what it has to offer potential and existing, employees?”.
This is then followed by a clear understanding of how different generations of potential candidates find and evaluate job vacancies and information about career prospects – and ultimately what’s important to them. Not everyone is online all day or on Facebook or Twitter. Using engaging content, social media, video and mobile technologies may not be the best combination tools to reach your target candidates.
Remember, your brand proposition doesn’t only apply to attracting new talent, it also applies to existing talent. More importantly, what are current employees saying about your organisation, not just on their social media, but on community sites focussed on careers and employer reviews, e.g. glassdoor.com or thejobcrowd.co.uk? Are your current staff the best advocates for your organisation? If so, how can they be engaged and incentivised to build your talent bank?
Building your own talent bank is becoming increasingly important for organisations as they realise the value in owning their own data – especially as they have access to the same communication channels, social networks and technologies as any third party recruiter. By understanding and aligning the social and technical aspects of these technologies, organisations can benefit from a continual flow of new talent that better needs the organisation’s needs without the costs.
Going back to the generational preferences, what types of information are most important in finding and screening opportunities, and always ask if you are using the right channels to engage with the right candidates? Consider three types of information networks: Personal, Social and Professional. How do your potential candidates create, find and use these networks when it comes to job hunting or career progression. Not just new talent looking for their next opportunity, but existing staff looking to move on. To be clear I’m not talking about monitoring staff website visits, more that if they know where the industry’s best jobs are, then there’s a good chance potential talent is looking there too.
When you think about it, the approach taken to develop marketing programs for the corporate brand and product brands are really no different to developing an employer brand.
Finally, are you tapping into the current positive company culture? Do you have an employee referral scheme? With the right incentives, marketed internally and properly supported with the right content and communications tools, you have an instant recruitment team that knows about the organisation, the sector and your employer brand proposition. Your current staff, unknowingly, interact with potential candidates frequently through their online and offline information networks; now all you need to do is motivate them to proactively attract new talent.
As I mentioned earlier data is king. Organisations need to collect information on a continual basis, to check how well their employer branding content and the methods used to communicate is attracting and retaining the right talent. Before setting up sophistic analytics tools to monitor your digital landscape (which tend to generate a lot of data, but not much actionable information), start simple. Survey existing employees, all candidates who apply for jobs and employees that leave the organisation by asking:
i) Where they found the job?
ii) How did they find out more information about the organisation and prepare for the interview?
iii) Which aspects of the employer brand resonate strongest for them?
Building an attraction strategy, aligned with your employer brand proposition, supported by the right communication channels and content doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming and can deliver short term results you might not expect. The world is changing and so is the way potential candidates are influenced and consume information. If organisations do not evolve with their audiences they will be left behind. The same has to apply to the world of recruitment. Organisations need to focus on ‘attracting talent’ and not just recruiting it otherwise they may lose the competitive edge that has always set them aside from their competitors.