What Are Your Job Candidates Consuming?

This article was originally published here
April 18, 2016
By Tami Rubino, BioSpace Hiring and Branding Guru

So you’ve built a brand new facility tricked out with all of the latest trends in collaborative workspace design and you’ve even got a killer cafeteria serving up every gluten free option imaginable. Then you’ve had to throw pay ranges out the window and offer benefits that are out of this world.

Your mission, vision and values incorporate all the important buzz words—integrity, accountability, well-being and work-life balance.

You’ve invested gobs of money into job boards and spend every waking hour scouring resume databases to find the absolute best candidates for your company.

So why isn’t any of this working? Why is your recruiting pipeline so small? Why do you keep losing good candidates to the startup down the street?

My guess is that it’s because of the rise of what I call “candidate consumerism.” Today’s job seeker behaves more like a consumer of goods and services. They typically:

• research and read reviews about your company as if they are shopping for a new car

• take advantage of unlimited options through technology that allows them to work anywhere in the world

• choose where they work based on intangibles like culture, passion and impact on their community over traditional drivers like hours and rate of pay

So what does this mean to you as a leader, manager or HR professional? This candidate consumerism requires you to cozy up to the marketing experts in your organization and start developing your employer brand strategy. You not only need to think like a job candidate, but behave like a marketer and learn to tell your company’s story.

“But wait,” you say. “Our brand equity is very strong. We’re a household name.”

Your consumer brand may be well known but the biggest mistake you can make in your talent search is assuming that your consumer brand is synonymous with your employer brand. For example, I faithfully purchase one or two Apple products each year and I recognize that iconic, half-eaten logo anywhere. However, I have no idea what it’s like to work for Apple. Their brand represents innovation, information, user-experience, sleek design (and several cracked screens, yet I keep coming back for more). As people-oriented and consumer-driven as Apple is, however, its consumer brand does not translate to me as a prospective employee.

Don’t panic yet! Creating an employer brand isn’t as hard as it may sound. Primarily, it’s a shift in mindset. You’re no longer fishing with a net. You’re casting the right bait into the right water at exactly the right time. Here’s how you start:

Define your employer brand. To do this, you must position yourself as the employer of choice. Look at what makes you unique in your industry. How do your employees impact the community around you? Don’t just say it—demonstrate your commitment to quality, ethics or the environment. You should identify what helps you retain your current employees and use that knowledge as a roadmap for your external employer brand message.

Become a great storyteller. Storytelling is the cornerstone of a successful talent acquisition strategy. But don’t freak out. Being a great storyteller doesn’t mean you have to stand in front of an audience and give a speech. On the contrary, it’s like talking to a good friend. Stories go beyond the job descriptions and well past your internal policies and procedures. Stories are personal testimonies representing both the struggles and the rewards, the past and the future. They evoke an emotional connection with your company through excitement and need. In other words, the candidate should walk away feeling excited about the opportunity, believing that you need their specific skillset.

Remember, in a consumer driven market, using a “pull” strategy to recruit talent is like waiting for fish to jump in your boat voluntarily. Your employer brand—much like the consumer brand—is what compels a passive candidate to check you out in the first place.

So once you’ve freshened up your brand and storytelling skills, you’ll need an engagement strategy to proactively target the candidates you want. If you only focus on the candidates who are already in your pipeline, you could be missing the best and brightest talent. Tune in next month as we dive a little deeper into expanding your reach to passive job seekers through engagement. Then simply go where you can find the highest concentration of candidates, cast your line and watch what happens. You just might be amazed at the results and the high quality talent who come aboard.

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