When most organizations have a role to fill, they begin by outlining their needs and developing a job description. Afterward, this job description is distributed to various job boards, the company website and pushed out via social media.
While these are all fantastic steps which can help fill the role, they shouldn’t be the first place to begin. In fact, identifying quality candidates who will fit well into your organization needs to be an ongoing process starting months before your hiring needs develop. Beginning with proper marketing can enhance your recruiting efforts tenfold; here’s how.
Branding Your Culture
Although the average workweek differs between industries, most of us can agree that we spend more time at work, and traveling for work, than ever before. With careers taking up so much of our time, I’ve found that candidates are investing more time researching the quality of life they can expect with a new company. Showcasing your company culture through your branding is essential in encouraging top talent to want to work for your organization.
The focus of this branding is to accurately show what a “day in the life of” a team member looks like. Highlighting what makes your company unique goes a long way here. Is lunch catered once per week? Did you recently participate in a 5K race or raise funds for a local charity? Share photos of these events online in real time using appropriate and relatable hashtags. For example, we award employees with tenure-based bonuses, tagging each photo with #AmeriForceAdvantage. Posts featuring this hashtag have become some of our most engaged-with content.
While working to promote your company’s culture, be sure to have reputation monitoring and management in place. Should any negative publicity arise, the best practice is to address it head-on in a positive and professional manner. By the time you see something negative in your feed, hundreds or thousands of other people have already seen it and are anticipating a response.
Properly Leveraging Social Media
Participating in the right social media platforms can help provide the best return on this investment. In the early days of social media, a company just needed to be active and that was enough. Now the challenge is to rise above the noise and be heard by your target audience. One way to accomplish this is by finding niche social sites where a higher percentage of the people are members of your target audience.
Be inclusive when it comes to social media posting by fostering participation among current employees. Over time some of them will become true brand ambassadors and act as your biggest online cheerleaders. This has a two-fold effect: first by showing potential candidates how much people love working for your company, second by increasing the potential for a referral from a member of that employee’s sphere of influence.
Curating Employee Feedback
Employee advocacy can be one of the strongest social media drivers when it comes to hiring like-minded personnel. Here, branding begins internally as you market to your existing employees in order to encourage them to become your brand ambassadors. Company leaders play a pivotal role here, and not just top executives but also the rising stars within the organization. When team members see team leaders supporting your brand online, they’ll often follow suit.
Keep in mind that, as great as we may think our company is, not everyone may feel the same as you. Addressing company culture and environmental habitability issues regularly can encourage people to speak their mind and know that the organization cares about everyone’s opinion.
Team meetings can serve as a great forum for these types of discussions; however, if you’re spread out or otherwise unable to get everyone together, try sending a quick online survey to the team. Although not everyone will offer feedback every time, you’ll at least garner enough insight to begin making improvements where needed.
Candidate personas are nothing new, yet they are often a skipped step in the hiring process. This semi-fictional representation of your ideal candidate is based on research with the goal of developing an archetype from which to match potential applicants.
I’ve found that the best place to begin is by reviewing your current workforce. Invest the time into interviewing employees already in the role you’re seeking to fill or one similar. Ask them about their career goals and objectives, hobbies and background, educational history, and basic demographics.
Once a few rounds of interviews are done, the next step is to identify trends in your data. You may find that three of the five people you spoke to all use the same niche social media platform multiple times each week. You may also find that people with a certain level of education or previous experience scored better on annual performance reviews. All these commonalities help develop the persona of who will be the best fit for the role.
Keep in mind that this is only a guide, and rarely will a candidate match 100%. The goal is to have a basic idea of who this candidate is and where to find them. This data will help you target your marketing efforts and attract applicants more likely to be a fit.
Finally, for recruiters seeking to be more hands-on and aggressive, targeting existing employees of your competitors can be rewarding on several levels. Today’s candidate market is more competitive than ever, and hiring away from the competition can bring experienced talent to your team while weakening the competitor.
The first step in doing this is knowing as much about the competition as possible. Follow their social media profiles and sign up for their emails. This will provide insight to their culture and can help identify potential candidates to recruit. And remember, it’s not personal, it’s just business.