There is a new war raging in recruiting

In today’s “Attention Economy”, where average Australian job tenure is at an all-time low of 3.3 years, employers face a major challenge in attracting the Talent they need.            

The internet has also lifted the lid on businesses as employers, with sites such as Glassdoor giving prospective employees the inside word what a business is like to work for, based on reviews provided by current and former employees. This can generate both positive and negative attention of course.

So how do modern recruitment teams start to win their war for attention? Sure, it is easy to take a marketing-led approach to the challenge and I think there is absolute merit in that thinking.

However, asking the right question is often the key to getting the right result. The right question is, “how do we get a conversation (with the potential candidates that fit our persona)?”, as opposed to “how do we fill all these jobs?”.

There are two things at play here, one is that a long game for hiring at anything resembling volume needs to be entered into; the other is that leveraging internal resources is critical.

Kicking off the conversation requires looking at the How, Where and What questions.

How are you initiating the conversation, Where (which medium) are you conversing and What are you saying?

The challenge is to elevate your brand in the mind of a potential candidate. If they resigned from their current employer, which businesses would be at the top of their list of places they would want to work at?

Is yours in that list? If not how do you get on that list? Which of your competitors do you think are on that list and why?

Answering these questions requires an understanding of two things; your competitive landscape and the expectations of your target candidate market.

So how do you initiate the conversation? In-person at MeetUps and industry events, job fairs etc, team referrals. Online, on Slack channels (one of our clients has a dedicated Slack channel for Developers at clients, it is a semi-subliminal channel for telling good stories)

Where possible, get those candidate details into your ATS then put them into a nurture rotation.

Where do you have the conversation? Email newsletters are still hit and miss so you should definitely measure your engagement and don’t overtly sell. Leverage your social channels of course, but we always encourage clients to find a blend of physical and digital interactions. A few years ago at Zendesk in Melbourne, we ran an invite-only careers evening for ~100 potential candidates and converted 16 percent within two months.

And so what are you going to tell your potential hires?

We have seen positive responses with clients using content that is more along the “these are the things we worked on last month” and “these are the challenges we are solving” format, as opposed to “We are an awesome place to work!”.

The team at Xplor have their Product Roadmap publicly available; as a conversation starter for candidates, that is incredibly powerful.

When thinking about how you compete, a simple table like this is actually a really useful exercise to do. Most of this information can be found in your competitor’s careers pages in their list of benefits.

  Feature > Employer \/ Flexible working options 12 weeks of paid parental leave Personal L&D budget Work in any of our locations Lunch provided Buy additional leave
Us N N Y Y Y N
Competitor 1 Y Y Y Y Y Y
Competitor 2 Y Y Y N N Y
Competitor 3 N Y Y Y N N

If your average employer demographic was late 20’s to early 30’s, then Competitors 1 and 2 might be seen more favourably by your target market. They are most likely having or have young families, and flexibility around working hours and paid parental leave is going to be important to them.

If your competitors know this, there is a good chance that they will be using this as part of their conversations.

In combination with the Product Roadmap idea, this is a targeted content approach that is really a way of saying, “this is the interesting kind of work we do and this is how we value our people”. Which is what people really want to know – “what will I be doing and how will I be treated?” In other words, we are trying to deliver information that talks to their interests, not ours. That is actually the crux of all selling.

Today’s recruitment challenge is not one of, “finding good candidates” as many of our clients perceive it to be. It is finding a way to engage with the candidate market in a meaningful way that makes your business a viable option in their thoughts. Seeing as we live in strange times, where content is apparently King, but we face a poverty of attention, this is easier said than done, but hopefully, these ideas will set you on the right path.

Cover image: Shutterstock

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