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  • Rachel Doyle

How to stand out in recruitment - building an employer brand requires a marketing approach.

The secret lies in your employer brand experience

The secret to any good marketing is to be memorable. To demonstrate how you resolve your customer's pain points and why they should buy from you. The funny thing is that employer branding isn’t too different from general marketing. Businesses still don’t seem to have found the right place for their employer branding - marketing don’t seem to be able to own it fully and if they are asked to cover it, don’t understand how best to build the candidate experience as they are not involved enough in the process. Meanwhile, the talent acquisition team aren’t sure on which marketing tactics they should be employing over and above creating a careers section on the website, because it isn’t their background either.

So what what support do you need to make sure you shift your recruitment to a planned process?

Talent acquisition needs to have a marketing approach

First of all, you need to view your talent acquisition process as a form of marketing. Go back to basics and look at the value proposition - who are your ideal candidates or target candidates? See what has worked well in your current business, what are the skills that those candidates hold in common? [Note we are not stating degrees here. As we have identified, degrees are challenging in today’s world, given how difficult it is to differentiate one degree from another.] What you want to be evaluating is the common transferable skills that people might have. Which soft skills are really valuable to be successful in the role at your company? What about cultural fit to the business? Then you can start to build up an idea of the types of skills that your ideal candidate will have. Similarly experience within the same or similar sectors - so those who have worked in stakeholder businesses may fair better than candidates who have worked in a small family run business.

Using the value proposition

Once you have that, you will find it easier to identify those key traits. It might be that you cannot identify them directly from a candidate’s CV, so you may need to devise another way to identify what you are looking for. It could be by demonstrating their success with projects and talking through the parts that they had to play in a project or something similar.

Positioning your brand

Then you need to consider how you can position your employer to be the employer brand of choice. Thinking needs to switch over to how you can build brand awareness, how you can build employer brand awareness and what does success look like for an employee of your brand? When you are communicating, how might your brand be perceived by potential candidates? Are employees supported and congratulated on their performance? How do employees talk about your brand? You need to review your glassdoor reviews and see what employers are saying about working for your business. Gather information from your employees in house - bring together a steering committee to understand what the view point is on working for the business. What is great, what isn’t and how might this be improved?

Enabling them to experience your brand

The other option is to think about your different prospective candidates - what might they want to know about their future employer? How can you give them a taste of that experience so that they really get a feel for your business and turn them into a ‘raving fan’. In other words, where you start to build up a talent pool of prospective candidates who want to work for your business and who understand the benefits of being an employee of your business. How might you be able to do this successfully? One option might be to look at offering out some form of training to your prospective employees. Take something that might be particularly challenging to your prospective sales executives. You might ask your sales director to undertake the training. Perhaps the subject matter is cold calling. Then you could offer some training on how to move past the challenges of cold calling, how to confidently get in touch with the right people and how to get past the pushy gate keeper. You would be introducing them to how you train and support your employees, perhaps giving them first hand experience of a senior employee at the business and identifying the type of knowledge and expertise that is available for them to access within the business.

Building a pipeline talent pool

If you get this right, then you’ll have a talent pool or prospective candidates that want to work for your brand and you may even be able to move your brand towards a proactive recruitment approach with forward planning about growth and potential roles that need to be recruited for, rather than the dreaded reactionary recruitment cycle, that has been even more protracted of late. Succession planning can be every business’ friend when it comes to proactive recruitment. Spend time looking at how your business is going to grow and where your gaps in talent are, both now and in the future.

This could also mean engaging in partnerships with schools through digital means, to create a pipeline of cohorts which are school leavers. University education is becoming more out of reach and with the hikes in student loans and the lack of differentiation between degrees, school leavers are reconsidering their options.

Partner with an expert recruiter

To help you to attract the right candidates and for advice on how to build a talent pool that is attracted to your business, you should work with an expert recruiter. They will have already identified talent pools and have the connections and ability to find and identify the best candidates for your open roles. We can support on how to ensure you carry out the most succinct recruitment process to attract and retain candidates throughout the process. For more information about our 15% fee or how our specialist recruiters work, get in touch here.

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