So you’ve got the attention of top quality talent, but they’re not ready to apply to your current openings… now what?
Since the value of employment branding grows over time, it’s critical that your efforts include some type of strategy for long term relationship management with passive candidates. A great brand will attract both active and passive seekers. Active seekers will apply to your job postings, and enter your hiring process. But what are you doing for the passive candidates. Whether they are unwilling to apply because they haven’t decided to move on from their current position, or because you don’t have any current openings that match their skills, that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth your time to engage.
Ideally, a well developed employment brand strategy will include activities geared toward attracting both the active and passive candidates. Active seekers can be attracted with traditional job posting advertisements and by posting jobs on your own website, and making them search engine optimized (you’d be shocked by how many job searches start in a Google search field). To catch the eye of passive seekers, it’s a good idea to be leveraging social media, developing advertising programs outside of the job board arena, and creating recruitment campaigns to targeted groups.
Drawing the seekers into a strong landing page that highlights the culture, benefits, and values of your organization is foundational to this process. What many companies tend to miss, however, is giving the visitors of that site multiple options for how to engage with you. At the very least, a landing page should include a simple and easy process for the visitor to apply to open jobs and a second process for those who wish to stay in touch or receive updates from you.
How do you manage this process? Any thoughts or ideas on best practices? Any lessons learned that you’re willing to share?
There is today a scourge of bland communication oppressing the performance of corporate and staffing firm recruiting teams. While social media have captured their imagination, the vast majority of recruiters continue to rely on job postings-placed on commercial job boards and in the Career area on their own sites-to reach and reel in top talent. And the content of those postings is so dull it would put a brick to sleep.
The hospitality industry has historically seen one of the highest turnover rates of any industry. While a large part of this is due to the seasonality of many businesses, a lack of attention to the hiring process is also a major factor. The hard truth is that this turnover affects your bottom line- whether through cost of running job ads, overtime paid to cover the missing staff, or lost revenue caused by diminished quality. This last issue, quality, is perhaps the most important of all. From front desk, wait staff, and bellhops, to banquet managers, sales managers, and spa staff, every interaction your employees have with a customer or guest affects their view of your quality, and therefore your value. High turnover can sour your employee engagement company wide.
An employee’s attitude can have the single biggest affect on a patron’s decision to return or to recommend your business to others. Because of that, making good hiring decisions- employees who fit into your culture and care about your business- is a critical factor of your success. And it’s a factor that most often gets the least attention. The fact of the matter is that you really CAN make better hires with just a little effort and focus on specific details. Here are some very basic tips to help you make better hires for every position in your business:
Identify and Define Your Unique Workplace Culture. Are your staff all business, or are they like a family? Do your employees really appreciate any specific benefits or perks that are unique to you? Do you always try to hire from within? Are you a group of perfectionists? Do you have a competitive workplace, or are you supportive of each other?
Communicate Your Culture In Your Job Ads. Remember, every new hire will have to work within your current staff. Retention of new hires is directly impacted by how comfortable they feel in your workplace. To attract a better fit, include copy about your culture and work environment so that you’ll attract people who want to be part of your company, and aren’t just looking for a job.
Engage Candidates During the Interview. When interviewing candidates, paint a very vivid and real picture of your culture and your expectations. Clearly relate how this person’s position fits into the business, and the importance of having the right person in that role. Provide a brief history of the business- the good, the bad, and the ugly- to build the candidates understanding of who you are.
Focus on Soft Skills! It is much easier to identify hard skills than soft skills. Many hiring manager fall into the trap of hiring by matching hard skills to the needs of the job. That is, when hiring a dishwasher, the focus is on dishwashing or Hobart experience; when hiring a banquet coordinator, the emphasis has been on event experience. You will have greater success in your hiring by focusing on soft skills and fit. If you can hire people that are motivated to work for you, and will fit into your culture, training them on your processes is easy. Trying to train someone who has the right hard skills to fit into your culture and care about your business is much more difficult.
Using an online recruitment resource provides you with two major benefits over a sign in your window or print advertising. First, it delivers your message to a much larger audience of people who are actively searching for jobs in your area and industry. Second, you have much more space to write up your job ad to attract better candidates, and unlike print, there’s no additional cost for larger ads or more color. In fact, it really is up to you to raise the bar for candidates. Set your expectations higher, and promote why the best available talent should work for you.
Dealing with careless, thoughtless, or unmotivated employees is a headache. Thankfully, this is a headache that you have the power to heal. While it may not seem so, there ARE great candidates out there who will become your next great employees. Make an effort to attract a higher quality, and make that headache a thing of the past!
In this session, we’ll talk about creating and leveraging a “brand” to increase your recruiting success. We’ll identify the strategies that are used in marketing and advertising to attract customers, and apply them to the goals of attracting the best possible candidates. So, instead of building a consumer brand focused on selling your products to customers, your goal is to develop an effective employment brand focused on promoting your business to attract the best possible candidates for your culture.
WHAT Does a Body Good?
You’re in Good Hands with WHICH COMPANY?
Like a Good Neighbor WHICH COMPANY is There?
WHAT are Forever?
Each of the examples above speaks to a simple and effective consumer brand. They have a distinct message that can be conveyed in very short statements, and through marketing, they have impacted the way we feel about their products. Milk is good for you. Allstate has great coverage. State Farm is your local insurance provider who is there when you need them. Want a gift that will last a lifetime… you guessed it- De Beers diamonds ARE forever.
When an employer can establish, communicate, and reinforce an effective employment brand, they will realize an increased stream of applicants better suited to their work environment, which in turn leads to an increase in employee retention. Many key factors that influence an employee’s decision to stay with an employer.
A brand can generally be defined as the sum of all characteristics and distinguishable features associated with a good or service – its unique personality. Brands are comprised of logos, images, slogans, and features of the good or service, along with all the supporting communication and promotion of these items. Simply put, a consumer brand should be built around the customer experience; therefore, an employment brand needs to be built around your employee’s experience.
Identifying Your Unique Employment Brand
Establishing an effective brand in the consumer market requires a company to understand what drives consumer behavior. Likewise, in order to establish an effective employment brand, a company must understand what drives employee behavior.
One essential and oft-ignored necessity of branding is identifying the current reality of your situation, not what you wish your situation was. If the branding is not absolutely true and consistent with your business today, it will not be effective and will not last. In fact, a false brand will have negative effects, and cause resentment among your current employees. For example, you can’t promote excellent opportunities for advancement if you don’t make a regular practice of promoting from within…
Let’s go everyone. The current is against us, and it’s time to make sure we’re all paddling in the same direction. No more name calling. No more insidious comments behind each others’ backs. No more jokes at the other’s expense. Now more than ever, HR Professionals and Recruiters must get along for the betterment of our businesses and our economy. If, as a whole, business in the United States cannot become proficient at doing more with less, we are all in grave danger. This starts with our people. Attracting the right people. Hiring the right people. Managing the right people the right way. This is how we become adaptive, flexible, and powerful. This is how we build sustainable businesses. Your sheet-fed, 2 color printing press is not going to adapt and become a digital laser printer. Your gravel sorter is not going to adapt and become a concrete mixer. Your blood pressure monitors aren’t going to adapt and become CT scanners. However, your press operator can become a graphic designer; your gravel sorter mechanic can become a concrete mixer tech; your CNA can become a Radiology Technician. The ability for businesses to grow and survive is dependent upon their ability to evolve and adapt to the changing environment. Change is a human aptitude.
As we embark in the most difficult labor environment of this generation, we must have cohesion between Recruiters and HR Professionals. While both sides must work a little harder to come together, I believe the first big step must be taken by the Human Resources side. While I work in recruitment advertising, I somehow feel more closely aligned with HR Pro’s than Recruiters, so I hope this doesn’t come across as HR-bashing. HR must take responsibility for educating recruiters on our businesses and our needs. It’s important to understand and remember that recruiters inherently want to deliver the best candidates to us. Often, failure on their end to do so can be traced back to vague, porous, or simply false information provided by HR. This can sometimes be attributed to our view of what we want our business to be, instead of what it truly is. We must take a hard look at the ugly truth of our business, with all our foibles and all our hidden treasures. Only when we face the hard reality of who we are, can we hope to identify and attract the best long-term candidates for our business.
Now, HR friends, please don’t vilify me yet. Recruiters also have a very big part to play in this paradigm. Recruiters must be willing to put themselves in the seat of the student, asking questions, and constantly increasing their knowledge. This can be done by pushing further with your clients, and working a little harder to uncover the essence of their business and culture. Meanwhile it’s also important to delve further into the core of your candidates- what makes them tick, which environment are they better suited to work in, where do they derive pleasure and satisfaction from? Delivering the right candidates for a company, as I know you all know, requires more than simply matching sets of required skills. When you dig further into an employee’s long term value, you invariably run into employee retention and engagement. Two immensely important factors that are connected to SOFT skills. For those who are Dale Carnegie Training graduates, you may be familiar with the concept of the Innerview, in place of the Interview. While I don’t exactly drink the Carnegie Coolaid, my experience has shown me that this practice reaps substantial rewards.
Together, HR Professionals and Recruiters can and must take steps to build stronger relationships for the betterment of our employers, our workforce, and our economy.
HR Professionals, are you willing to make a promise to yourself to engage more deeply with recruiters? If so, read this out loud: I, (state your name here), will make a good faith effort to educate both internal corporate recruiters and third party recruiters about the reality of our business and our needs. I acknowledge and will remember that these recruiters have my best interests in mind, and that their goals are aligned with my goals. Starting today, I will see them as partners and as peers, working toward connecting the right people with the right career opportunities.
(now doesn’t that feel better?)
Recruiters, that’s right. It’s your turn. Are you willing to make a promise to yourself to engage more deeply with the HR Professionals you work with? If so, read this out loud:
I, (state your name here), will make a good faith effort to learn more about the businesses and candidates that I work for. I acknowledge that the businesses that I work with are looking for the best people for their company and that their hiring decisions are made with great care. Starting today, I will see them as partners and as peers, working toward connecting the right people with the right career opportunities.