The title there is actually a reference. At what point do you make 'the' connection with candidates or talent for your business— the one that grabs their attention towards your brand enough for them to apply, send in their CV or pick up the phone?
At what point do they move from intrigue to engagement with your brand and business?
As an employer in today’s market, you're more transparent than ever before. There's no getting away from it. With recent upgrades in LinkedIn and the growth of Instagram and Periscope, the number of ways in which a prospect can connect with your brand is ever increasing.
People can at anytime research, assess and get the important 'feel' factor about your business, both as a customer and as an employer, with ease. And this can be an attractor of talent just as much as a detractor.
Is your current attraction strategy feeling narrow and not incorporating the variety of channels available to you to raise awareness and connect with talent?
You could not only be missing out on potential talent, you could be missing an opportunity to leverage your employer brand to niche talent pools where you could potentially attract your ideal personas, increase retention rates, reduce cost per hire or break your unhealthy dependency on hiring agencies completely.
Despite everything else that’s changed, candidate habits haven't in that they research any potential employer before throwing their hat into the ring. The process has just gotten more complicated and all-encompassing. It used to be that candidates would simply review a company website to get a feel for the business and read a job description of the position to see if it was a good fit.
And while this offered a basic overview for the candidate to consider, it didn't tell the story of the company or the reason they should come and join this particular business.
These factors would typically be conveyed at interview stage by the hiring manager, where they would share their vision of their department. But even then, they wouldn’t always share the ideals of the overall business.
Nowadays, people want to know more about your entire company, who you are and what you stand for. You need to be thinking about seducing potential talent much higher in the funnel. And to do this, you have to capture their attention with well-crafted content that stretches across multiple platforms.
Candidates have lots of windows to look through to get directly into the heart of your business. Have you considered all of these, and more importantly, are you making the most of them?
In this three part series, I'll be covering the various windows available for talent to look through as they assess whether your business is the right “next step” in their career.
The first window, and the biggest, most important one in my opinion, is your career site.
The career site should be the heart of your recruiting operation and should consist of content including blogs, job descriptions, interviews, reviews, real-life stories of life on the job and much more. Having this content on a career site gives you direct control of your brand and allows you to share your vision and values with prospects directly.
The content of your career site should be continuously evolving with updates, links, videos and new content, and it should always be aligned to your constantly evolving business so that you can target the most relevant talent that will fit your culture in the here and now.
If you're thinking about updating your career site, make sure it has its own dedicated URL and analytics reporting tool. It helps to segment off and analyse information separately so that you can identify the ROI accurately.
Career sites are becoming more and more complex, so it’s important to continue to test and analyse so that you can learn what’s working to bring in the talent you’re looking for, particularly from a content perspective.
Using lots of landing pages that align to specific talent-targeting campaigns is also an easy way of testing interactions with target personas or skill sets. This offers an opportunity to play around and be creative with styling and content to find what works best for each type of person you’re looking to attract.
Finally, start with mobile and build out to desktop when creating a new career site. The UX and simplicity is crucial to converting mobile traffic (which is a huge chunk of users, and one that’s constantly growing) to applicants, so be sure your site works on mobile first. Think three clicks to search, review and apply.
I've seen sites that are incredibly creative, but lack thought in regards to the actual user experience. Others have too many layers and often confuse or lose the applicant in the complexity. Simplicity is key.
The second window prospects will undoubtedly view you through is LinkedIn. With 400 million users and a structured format, it’s a super easy way for talent to search and review information about you as a company quickly and easily. It’s one of the first places candidates will go to when researching your business.
So what do they see when they get there? Let’s take a look at the perspective of what a candidate might see on your LinkedIn profile.
Take a good look at your company page. Does it accurately represent your business? If you're a high-growth business or a company going through a cultural change program, are these changes reflected in the content and visuals being shared on this page? Be sure this page is up-to-date so that it accurately reflects your company now, not how it was five years ago when you joined LinkedIn.
How often do you review what's being shared on your update stream? How diverse is the content? Is it even interesting, or it just a list of news updates with little relevance to attracting talent? A continuous, diverse flow of content keeps the reader interested and appeals to a wider audience, including talent, so be sure to have a plan to post relevant and insightful information that will excite prospective employees and make them want to apply.
Using the Careers section on your LinkedIn company page is a great way to segment out and focus your content. You can specifically post content here designed to attract talent and appeal to their questions, concerns and interests, separate from the rest of your profile. It amazes me how many companies still don't utilise this as part of their attraction methods when it is such a powerful tool. It is a great opportunity to showcase the inner workings of your business, it's purpose and what it's like to work there.
Without doubt, LinkedIn provides visibility of the people who work in a company, from CEO to the receptionist.
Try this. Review 10 people at random that work at your business and review their LinkedIn profiles. What does it say about your business? What impression does it leave?
I’m not suggesting there should be an identical, uniformed approach. There's a risk of being too regimented that could turn away prospective employees. But providing a guideline for people to use in terms of tone, keywords and content will go a long way to ensuring the ‘feel’ is positive, engaging and reflective of your business.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask your employees to highlight on their profile that you're recruiting. Give them a link to the career site to post so that others can learn more about the business. Leveraging the networks of your employee’s first tier connects can help you find a wealth of qualified talent with minimal effort.
At the bottom right of your company page is a list of other companies people have also viewed, which is potentially a list of your local and industry competitors.
Click on them and review them as if you were a prospect. Are your competitors standing out with great insight and content? How do you compare? If you were a candidate, would you be impressed with your site the most, or with the other sites you’re looking it? Let these competitors guide your future strategy so that you stand out amongst the sea of employers instead of getting lost in the crowd.
Candidate’s job searching habits are changing, and if you want to stay current, relevant and attract the best talent out there, you must change with them, whether you are an SME or large corporation.
I believe as an SME, there's no greater time to compete with the large companies for talent as these shifts in candidate’s habits actually benefit the small guy.
With the ability to share creative content that promotes the essence of your business quickly and easily for businesses of all sizes, it’s never been easier to make that all-important connection on an emotional and career level that gets top talent in your door.
Be bold, try new things and fail forward. Some of what you implement will work, others things will not. Measure and analyse the effectiveness of each of your channels and understand and track how they create ROI for your business in terms of hiring top talent. And always be aware that things are changing, and you have to change with it if you want to attract those top notch employees that will make your company great.
In Part 2, I'll be looking at other windows into your business including social media and the effect this has on engaging, attracting and converting talent into applicants. See you then!
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