Many years ago I was recruiting for a large defence company in Sydney. Because of the skills that they needed in their business, they sought to employ people with an Australian Defence Force (ADF) background.
The problem that I encountered was that almost every ex-serviceman that I spoke to did not want to work for that company because they had had a bad experience with their staff while in uniform.
Right or wrong, this company had generated a bad reputation with the people who worked in their customer (the ADF), which meant that the exact people they were looking to attract as employees later, would not apply to them for work.
Over the next few years, the ADF will be replacing most of its major platforms; this will mean that workers with relevant experience will be spoilt for choice as companies compete to secure the best (or any) talent.
So, what can companies be doing to get people to respond to their job ads first? Or, even better, approach them directly before going to the competition?
- Marketing is Recruitment and Recruitment is Marketing
McDonald's is currently running a TV ad campaign that is ostensibly about attracting bright young people to join their team, but what it’s also doing is making them look like the sort of vibrant, professional and responsible company that customers will feel good about buying from.
The reverse is also true. Smart companies weave in a people or internal culture element into their product/service marketing efforts. Showing potential customers the quality of the workforce who will be supporting them. This can also attract great talent.
- Build Relationships with your Future Workers
When a job seeker has the choice of three companies to apply to, they will first go to the one that they think is most aligned to their values and will offer them the things they find important in an employer (technology, projects, culture, remuneration, etc).
One-on-one personal interaction is a great way of building a relationship with a potential future employee. Every existing employee must see themselves as a recruiting agent, and work to identify and seduce the best talent to their company.
Digital marketing content, be it blogs, podcasts, interviews and more that a company shares with its potential candidate community (via LinkedIn, Facebook, etc) helps build insight and familiarity with the people it will want to attract as workers.
The two tenets of a successful digital marketing effort are:
- Staff participation - have real people show what it’s like working in the organisation; and
- Good content - must be of interest to your target community; otherwise, they won’t engage.
Returning to my opening story; I was able to get most people to go to an interview with this company because I was a skilled and trusted advocate/adviser to these job seekers, but not every organisation has access to people like me. However, if companies build a strong and positive relationship with their future worker community, they won’t have to either.
Robert Kremer, director, Kinexus