Did you read the heading and think……’have I subscribed to the right blog????’
Yes it’s still me and yes we’re still talking about sourcing and employer branding, but today I want to talk about whether the corporate world is aware of a huge shift that has been happening for some time now. This shift is highlighted in ‘The Evolution of Employer Branding 3.0‘.
What do I mean?
Well last week I held a client workshop, entitled “How to build an Engaging Employer Brand in 2014”. In the session one of the topics I went through was Brett Minchington‘s evolution of employer branding.
When I ran through the column entitled EB 3.0, we looked at how the GFC has shifted employer branding into a focus on how organisations, employees and all other stakeholders involved in the business are now responsible for and need to conscious to make the world a better place. Many of the younger generation now make decisions based on whether a company is aligned with their values, what the social and corporate responsibility of the business is and how they can not only give back, but how they find meaning in what they do every day.
So I asked the attendees a question. Now that employer branding has moved to not only functional and emotional territory but 1) were they aware that it had now shifted to the spiritual and 2) what were their thoughts? The one response I got what “Maybe in California”.
I have to be honest, that I was surprised. Maybe there was a reluctance to talk about it as many people feel strange or uncomfortable talking about things like Spirituality when it comes to corporate business. The reason that I think I’m comfortable with the notion is because I have a fairly deep connection with a global online community of entrepreneurs, risk takers, thought leaders and challengers of the status quo. There is a very regular and healthy discussion around how what we do feeds our soul, gives us purpose, drives our passions and makes us feel like we’re giving back as well as being socially responsible human beings.
If you wanted to know if it’s only happening in the States, all you needed to do was check out Entrepreneur Unconference in Melbourne on Saturday. It wasn’t just business owners that were there, it was a wide range of entrepreneurs as well as corporate employees talking about how they could do more in the world, be smarter, be better, be less selfish and give back more whilst making money and a living in the process.
So my questions to you my readers are these –
1) Do you think that the corporate world is void of this spiritual or deeper connection with what is happening outside their building walls?
2) Is there a desire to give more than just our productivity and cash.
3) Does the corporate world understand that in order to attract some of the best in the business, there needs to be an awareness of this shift and look at how organisations respond to these needs?
I felt that the Global Vice President of HR for Unilever, Geoff McDonald, who spoke at HR Leaders forum in Sydney 2 weeks ago knew that as a business they needed to understand this and connect at a deeper level with employees and customers in order to not only be sustainable but conscious and deliberate contributors to the world.
I’m so fascinated by the lack of discussion around this topic in businesses, when millions in the online community are shouting about it from the roof tops.
Why should we as HR professionals and recruiter care I hear you ask? The bottom line is that it’s getting easier for individuals to start-up their own businesses in a world that has no barriers or borders to a global marketplace and if those us in corporate business don’t give people a reason to stay; then the bottom line is that they won’t!
I would love to know what you think ~ please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
You know when you come up with something that communicates exactly what you think in a very succinct and quick way? Well sometimes it can take a while to get there, but when putting a presentation together last week for HR Leaders Forum where I was a speaker, I wanted to close with one slide that communicated in under two minutes what I think the key to building an innovative and engaging sourcing culture in your business are.
I will write more about the HR Leaders Forum (I feel like I’m still digesting all of the great content & insights) but there was one quote that has really stuck with me from the two days ~ GREAT LEADERS MAKE THE COMPLEX SIMPLE AND THE SIMPLE COMPELLING – it doesn’t get more simple than that and I’ve decided that this will be my mantra moving forward.
So whilst I think the three pillars are complex at a deeper level, I’ve tried to make them as simple and compelling as I can. I will also hopefully share the video of my presentation in the coming weeks.
1) Sourcing Innovation & diversification
Knowing your audience in-depth is the only thing that will allow you to build innovation into your sourcing strategy that will target those individuals. If I decide to build huge online campaigns for a warehouse, blue-collar target audience, then the likelihood of it being success will be slim because for 8-9 hours a day they are nowhere near a computer. Whereas if I find out what they read, watch, play etc then my ability to be innovative in the way I attract them is going to be more success. Many companies assume that everyone is in the same place, doing the same thing, therefore the sourcing strategies remain the same whether they are trying to attract strategy consultant or warehouse staff. By knowing your audience you’ll also be able to look at how you can develop different and unique attraction strategies to that of your competitors, in order to stand out from the crowd and run your own race when it comes to attracting top talent.
2) Exceptional Recruiters & Sourcers
If you have recruiters that aren’t interested in doing anything other than posting jobs on-line then the chances of attracting passive candidates is low. Having recruiters that are CURIOUS to find better ways of doing things, CAPABLE and want to learn by either researching and teaching themselves or really applying what they learn when on training courses as well as being COMMITTED to going the extra mile to find even better candidates than they already have because they are hunters rather than gatherers.
3) Integrated Employer Brand Messages and Content
Remember you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink! I can find you the best people in the market, but if you don’t have a clear message reflecting what your organisation is about, what you offer and why they should work for you, the recruiters ability to convert the candidate is going to be a lot harder.
1) Engaged Hiring Manager Community
Do you think about how engaged your hiring managers are? Do you know how your hiring managers are selling the organisation in their one on one interviews? Have they been educated and briefed on your employer brand and EVP messages so that they know how to communicate those messages consistently and effectively? Some organisations do this really well and others don’t ever think about it. Many times, there is an assumption that because you’re a manager you know how to interview as well as engage potential employees. We all know what assuming does…….
So make sure that your hiring manager community is engage, educated and clear on CURRENT messages that you want to get out there. We obviously don’t want messages from 2 years ago when they last had training or 5 years ago when they joined, but year on year update their knowledge and talk to them about what you’re looking to achieve overall. When I worked for a large company many years ago, at the beginning of each year or recruitment drive, the MD would get all the managers that were responsible for recruiting together and share the targets that they had for recruitment. Talked to them about the challenges that we were facing and made it very clear what our message to market was, the updated EVP and if they wanted future interview training, how they could get it. When I talk about an engagement HM community; that is what I’m talking about.
2) Engaged Recruiters
Once again, having engaged recruiters that know what they are talking about and have clear messaging will make your ability to connect and engage candidates a lot easier.
Think about providing your consultants with a handbook of some sort that outline briefly and clearly:
- how big the organisation is
- what divisions you have
- what the vision of the organisation is over the next 1-2 years
- key unique selling points of the business line they are recruiting for (and the other business lines if they are supporting colleagues to recruit)
- and all the great cultural assets the business has to offer candidates.
By providing your recruiters with clear information helps them be confident in what the are saying – never assume that everyone knows this information. Ensuring that your recruiters are engaged with the overall objectives of what you are trying to achieve, as with anything, will help you meet those goals.
3) Engaged Candidates
Needless to say that when you have engaged recruiters and hiring managers who are passionate about what they do and what they say then it can be infectious for the candidates that they are speaking to. I’m sure you can think of people who really love what they do, know what they are talking about and want to really convey that message to you and how you feel when you engage with them – I can guess it’s a pretty positive experience.
What will success look like?
What do you need to achieve basically? How many people in what time frame do you need to hire? Where will they come from and how much money do we have to spend?
Set metrics and measure often
If the hires need to be done in X amount of time then set milestone point of measurement that will quickly tell you if you’re on track to be successful when it comes to hiring those people or that person. I personally always used to work backwards which meant that 9 times out of 10 I hit my time to hire target. So if the person needs to start on the 1 June with a 4 week notice period, then I need to have X number short listed by this date, schedule in interview slots with the Hiring manager in advance and then crack on from there. I know that volume recruitment campaigns work like this and I saw it work very well with senior hires too. It allows recruiters to project manage things more tightly, be more targeted in their approach and drive the result rather than just sitting and waiting to see what comes to them. By setting time frames measuring becomes easy.
Fail fast and adjust quickly
If you’re not failing every now and then, then you’re probably not trying anything new. It doesn’t mean that you have to waste a lot of time and money, it’s about setting a (realistic and reasonable) time frame to give something new a go, with a set budget then measure often and if it fails, learn the lesson, get it off the table and move on. Otherwise if it’s somewhat working then figure out how to adjust it so it can give you what you need.
Allowing your recruiters to fail every now and then, and it being okay is where building an innovative sourcing culture comes from. If people are afraid to try new things or share their ideas then you’ll continue to do the same thing that you’ve always done. Remember the saying about “doing what you’ve always done and expecting different results” – well I’m just reminding you! 🙂
If you have any other tips on what you think contributes to building an innovative sourcing culture in your business then please feel free to share them in the comments!
First off – Happy New Year! We’re already a week in, can you believe it?!
Well I have it on good authority (I can feel it in my bones) that it’s going to be good year! I predict 2014 will be the year of the ‘Yousli’…. what do I mean by that? It’s all about bespoke services, products and consumer expectations or in our case, candidate expectations.
As we move at rapid speed toward a world of tailored approaches, products and services, candidate attraction and the way we assess and engage with potential employees is not too far behind.
I personally love anything I can customise and I’ll usually gravitate towards something that has been designed specifically for me.
So have you noticed how many new businesses are springing up based on bespoke?
Two that that I personally like are Yousli and Shoes of Prey. Yousli allows you to choose your base muesli and then whichever ingredients you like and then name it yourself. I like to call mine ‘Suzli’. They then package it and send it to you. Shoes of Prey allow you to design your own shoes. From the style, hight, fabric etc and then you can name it…what’s not to love!
The question is, what do candidates expect from us?
What do they want to be able to consume, pick and choose when it comes to considering your organisation as a place to work? Do you provide them with a number of different options when it comes to applying for a role or finding out more about your organisation’s culture, people, activities etc? As we know people digest information in different ways:
- Visual (spatial):You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding – Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, photos on your career site
- Aural (auditory-musical): You prefer using sound and music – YouTube, video on your career site
- Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing – providing written information candidates can consume or video they can hear more about the business.
When engaging with candidates, do we think of these different styles or do we treat everyone exactly the same?
So recently I asked a number of highly skilled professionals; if they could design the recruitment process they had to go through in order to get a new job, what would it look like, and this is what they said:
Tom – PhD scientist, global experience, has worked for leading pharmaceutical in research & development in the past.
“I’d like to have a lot of information to read (surprise being in research and all). Job descriptions are terrible and very rarely accurate when it comes to the tasks that I’d be responsible for undertaking. I’d like to read examples of the types of reports I’d be responsible for writing. Companies put fairly general info on their websites when it comes to careers pages. Nothing that makes me think they’d be great to work for. You also rarely get information that covers warts and all when it comes to the job and then wonder why people don’t work out when the job and environment aren’t right. Having more team based final interviews or meetings would help provide the opportunity for potential employees to have honest conversations about the organisation therefore ensuring that you know what you’re getting yourself into and that it’s the right fit for everyone.”
Jim – Senior Business Analyst working across a number of large corporates on a contract basis. One of the main things that he stated was:
“I’d like to meet the people who I’d be working with. Not just the manager but the team, maybe the stakeholders, etc. I also just want to know that I can leave the office at 5pm and get home to see my family. I make sure I get what I need to get done, but then see so many other people just staying back in the office when they don’t have anything to do because that’s the ‘culture’. I’m not interested in that. I get in, get the job done right and then get home. I wish people would just be honest about the real culture of the office so I can make the right decision.”
Tanya – Senior Manager in HR projects –
“I’d love it if someone said that they had read my blog or engaged with me on a social platform, because I never look at job boards. They want to discuss where their business was going and how I could support that. Language is a big thing. We live in a world that is solutions focused (well my world is anyway), so if you’re looking for someone like that, then you need to think about the way you approach them. What is going to be more appealing – ‘we want to talk to you about a job’ or ‘we want to talk to you about a solution that we need for our business’. In the first instance I might think…well I’m happy where I am, changing jobs can be stressful. But if you say – our business needs to find a solution to X (which is what I specialise in) then you’ve got me chomping at the bit from the start. Now when it comes to assessing me to find out if I’m right, I’m happy to have a conversation/interview but why not put me to the test. Let’s get in a room with a number of people and let’s solve a problem, work through a project. You’ll see me in action, see the way I think, work out if I’m the right fit by the way I conduct myself and the ideas I come up with. That would be a really engaging way for me to get a job.”
So your challenge should you choose to accept it, is to look at some of the roles in your organisation – you choose which ones this may work for.
Think about your hard to fill roles and look at how you or your recruiters are engaging with those candidates. Is there a better way to attract that particular type of person? What language is key to them?
What would tempt them nine times out of ten to be drawn to your role? Have you asked? What could the recruitment process look like for them that could be a bit different?
I love this ad below and recently used it in a conference presentation. It speaks to its audience and is tailored just for them. It’s interesting, different and the process of assessment is based on work that they submit when they apply. It’s challenging, fun and creative!
We do the same thing over and over again for every person – yet every person is different. Now if you’re thinking, well we don’t have time to tailor our approach then think about whether you have time to sort through 100 ad response of people who don’t really match the criteria you’re looking for. Think about the solution that you’re providing to your hiring managers and if you’re really adding value in an ever-changing market.
If the way you are recruiting today, is the same as you were recruiting 4 years ago, then are you really tailoring your approach to meet the needs of highly skilled and ever expectant candidates in the market in 2014?
Be different, challenge the status quo and you may be surprised by the calibre of great candidates you attract!
Wasting time sourcing?
Have you gone mad Suzanne?
Well no, I haven’t gone mad but I think many recruiters may have.
What would you say if I told that you I went strawberry picking. I went to the strawberry farm and I hunted for the biggest and the best strawberries. Every time I found one I picked it, thought ‘WOW that’s impressive’ then I went and put it in my basket. Every day, I would go back out into the strawberry farm and I’ll continue to pick my strawberries and I’d keep putting them in my basket.
I didn’t put my basket in the fridge, I didn’t cover it with anything, I didn’t wash them, I really didn’t do anything to look after the strawberries that I had already picked; I just kept going back out into the field and picking more. Eventually the strawberries in my basket went bad but I didn’t notice because I just kept putting more and more in.
Does that sound like a great use of my time and resources?
Was I making the most of the strawberries that I already had in my basket?
Did I care for them so that they lasted longer so that when I was ready to use them on my amazing Christmas Pavlova they were primed and ready to go?
p.s. the link is there for my wonderful international or non-Australian readers! Make a Pav these holidays….it’ll change your life! See…..you get sourcing advice and amazing recipes! What other recruitment blog gives you that!!!??
Well I feel like this is happening in the majority of organisations that are recruiting. We work to build the database, to attract great candidates and then a new job requirement comes up and what do we do? We go back out to market, put the job ad on the job board or LinkedIn and we spend 2, 3, 5 weeks looking for new candidates.
Well the reason may be that we don’t have very good database search or talent pooling practices. I really can’t think of another reason.
So what should we be doing?
Having a good understanding of which roles you may have coming up and which roles you recruit regularly should help you to manage the number of times you need to go to market a fresh.
Having engaged, well managed talent pools will not only mean you don’t have to go to market again and again but when you reconnect with candidates who have already shown an interest in your business that you’ve identified as being “a big strawberry” (or an amazing candidate) then everyone is already on board and ready to go.
The client owned recruitment database is one of the most neglected and underutilised tools today. Everyone is so focused on getting the new job out there, assessing new candidates, that we lose the good ones we already have.
That candidate who was great and applied last time, sees the ad and thinks, well I’ve already applied and they obviously aren’t interested so I won’t apply again. Not only have you wasted time going to market and going through the whole sourcing process again when you didn’t need to, but you lost a great candidate in the process and you spent more money than you needed to.
So here are 5 steps to decrease the spend on time, money and resources and use your database better:
1. Ensure your database has a good search function
This may mean that you either have to skills code or tag candidates so that they can be found later or you many need to test out if enhancements needs to be made to get the most out of the search functionality. You probably only need to make 2 hires from the database to cover the cost of a technical update. If you don’t know if your search function is good or not then find out. Either contact your ATS company and they should be able to give you and your team training as well as help you determine if what you have will work for your needs. Another option is add on database search technology such as SeeMore.
2. Train your recruiters to be database hound dogs
If you don’t train your recruiters to use the system in a way that will increase database searching then they’ll just keep doing what they have always done, which most of the time to is the advertise, wait 2 weeks then sift through 80 response! Once you know the power of your ATS or database search capability then ensuring recruiters know how to use it is critical. Also changing their mind set is something that may take some time but if they get into the habit of searching the database before they advertise then it will change over time.
3. Actively influence source of hire
By looking at your source mix and knowing where your candidates are coming from can help you actively influence the mix by driving certain behaviours (training), targeting and rewarding your recruiter’s ability to move the source mix dial towards database or talent pooled hires.
By doing this you should also see a decrease in ‘days to hire’ as they are not waiting 2-4 weeks for ad response.
4. Identify and develop active talent pools
Note the word active. I say active because you don’t want a ‘basket of rotten strawberries’. By ensuring that the quality of the candidates in your talent pools are good, it means that your recruiters will know that if they go and search in those talent pools they will get great candidates. By implementing a manageable CRM (Candidate relationship management) strategy will also mean that you’re not only building your employer brand in the mind of candidates that you know are already interested in the company; because they’ve applied before, but it also keeps them connected and informed for when you want to tap them on the shoulder again.
5. Candidate managers will pay for themselves
If you are a company with over 500,000 candidates sitting on its database (and that’s not many by today’s standards), then it may be worth investing in a candidate manager who can connect, engage, talent pool and farm out great candidates across the board. I remember back in 1998 when I was working in recruitment, our candidate managers were worth their weight in gold. For some reason we don’t seem to value this role anymore, but I think managed in the right way a dedicated resource will add enormous value to a team. They can also manage talent communities, talent pools and develop social and sourcing strategies.
So that’s my thoughts on why I think many recruiters are wasting their time sourcing. Do the work, build your CRM strategies and searchable databases and then enjoy the benefits of that by tapping back into your strawberry basket when you need to!
Have a restful and safe break over the holiday season and I look forward to share many more branding, sourcing and social hints, tips and tricks with you in 2014!
I’m actually surprised that you’re still reading when you know I’m going to be talking about writing better job ads!! Well good for you!
Yes I know it’s one of the more boring topics but the more I look at job ads online (for research purposes only of course), the more I’m astounded by how poorly they are still written.
Copy and paste the job description much?
Even though job boards have decreased in popularity compared to other sourcing channels, they are still a key sourcing channel in most regions, therefore it’s still important to craft ads that increase your chances of finding qualified candidates and that diversify your employee sourcing channels. This means writing better recruitment ads, understanding why some recruitment ads fail and using creativity to set your client’s organization apart.
Write Better Recruitment Ads
There are three types of ads you’ll work with most:
- Internal ads
- External ads
- Mobile ads
Internal ads target employees who already work within an organization. Writing copy for these ads uses different language than external ads, which target candidates seeking employment outside of an organization.
It’s unnecessary to extol the virtues of working for the company since the employee already has an idea of the culture and the work environment. Instead, talk about how the job can further their career within the company. You can still provide them with an overview of what that particular division in the business is doing as that may not be common knowledge in an organisation with 3000 plus people. Tailor internal ads using familiar language, and speak to your candidates as existing employees. If internal mobility is a key focus area for your organisation then spend the time to write interesting and tailored content for that audience.
External ads explain the benefits of working with the organization. Build the employee value proposition (EVP), and create an advertisement that attracts potential candidates to the organization. Now I know that you’re sitting there think….yes Suzanne we know all of this. Well if you know all of this, then my question is, can you honestly, with hand on heart say that you really think about your ads and whether you’re providing Meaning, Challenge and Reward statements that will attract and engage the best candidates?
Research shows that when deciding to either stay with a company or to join a new organisation, the majority of individuals will focus their decisions making on the three key areas outlined below, therefore messaging should be targeted to communicate role meaning, challenge or reward.
The amazing thing is that job ads, if written in a compelling way can increase sharability. What do I mean? Well if I’m an active candidate looking for a job and I see a job ad that is a-maz-ing, but may not be right for me, I may just pass it onto an old colleague or friend of mine that I think may be interest (even though they aren’t looking).
We try to think of all these creative ways to attract candidates..which I’m a huge advocate for, but the quality everyday standard attraction methods are declining.
When writing your job ad think about how you can provide insight about the business in a way that does not come from corporate comms. Think about something interesting about the business or the division. It’s fine to say what you are looking for but think about writing it in a way that is attractive.
So instead of saying “experience leading a team”, think about what the hook is for that person…. “with your extensive team management experience, you’ll be leading a senior group of sales experts who need further support and guidance to deliver across multiple regions and markets” . This says to me, I’ve got some great sales experience in the team, I’ll need to look at better ways to help them deliver in a variety of regions – and that’s my challenge.
When working with mobile ads, which have grown increasingly relevant over the past few years, become aware of how your ad looks on various mobile devices. Mobile ads made for smartphones can become warped on tablets, muddling your ad and rendering it ineffective. Is your career site mobile optimised or will I be frustrated as a candidate when I go and try to apply online on my phone or tablet? Don’t lose great candidates because your technology is 2nd grade!
What Makes a Good Ad?
- A strong headline
- Effective use of subheadings
- An enticing job summary
- Body copy that sells the role
Strong headlines use language with the potential candidate in mind. Don’t complicate the name of a role or use language the client assumes everyone knows. Instead, use clear, concise language. Subheadings introduce vital information, usually at the top of the ad. Use keywords for subheadings, and talk about job perks: parking, location, flexibility, and so on. Job summaries sell the role to candidates. Try to hold their attention in 150 characters, and utilize keywords candidates are searching for.
Use IDEA for the body copy.
IDEA stands for: Interest, Desire, Enthusiasm, and Action.
Interest: What’s the payoff for the candidate? Highlight the interests that make them read on.
Desire: What’s in it for them? Going back to the idea of EVPs, explain the factors that keep employees in the organization.
Enthusiasm: Differentiate the way you post jobs. Don’t use the same ad for different roles. Diversify your ads, tailor them to the job, and make potential candidates excited about reading it.
Action: Tell the reader to take action; compel them. Ask yourself from their perspective: What do I have to do to make this happen?
Using the aforementioned guide creates successful employee sourcing channels and provides recruitment managers with a step-by-step guide for creating better advertisements. However, the most important concept is understanding your candidates and speaking to them through concise and compelling copy.
We constantly talk about how the market is changing and candidates expect more, yet the quality of what we say and do to attract them doesn’t reflect that. So the bottom line is, if you want a great candidate to apply for your role online, then make the effort and spend the time creating something worth them reading!