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It’s become evident that it’s no longer a matter of posting a job to get good candidates. With virtually zero unemployment*, finding good candidates is becoming harder and harder for growing companies. To the recruiting companies’ chagrin, business is booming. Which leaves small business owners and others in the lurch to figure out how to compete and how to attract talent without using a recruiter or other major investments.

Yet, many companies are turning toward their own marketing departments to create and manage marketing that’s focused on attracting the right talent to grow their teams. This approach can reap many benefits and even increase morale along the way.

In this post, we’ll explore the best practices on how people are winning at marketing for talent.

Marketing for Talent

If you’ve been around the talent pool long enough, you know that your culture (and the way your culture is presented) has a lot to do with the type of candidates you receive. With savvier candidates looking on sites like Glassdoor and checking out your social media profiles, you are now the one under the microscope.

So it makes sense that now, more than ever, companies are using marketing tactics like social media and email to attract and retain good employees. They’re actively campaigning in those domains to attract the right talent.

Maybe this is not something new to you. But if it is, here’s a quick three-step framework to think about as you begin to campaign for marketing talent.

1. Culture Matters

With a growing millennial workforce who are very focused on having a purpose, your culture is paramount. No longer is a paycheck enough; this workforce is looking for a purpose and something beyond the paycheck. Additionally, as you look at boomers and seniors who are not quite as thrilled by the hammocks, fresh coffee, and couches, know that America’s older generations are also looking for a purpose driven organization. They want their jobs to blend well with the rhythms in their life, which are reaching a richness they’ve never before experienced.

This leaves employers looking to market for talent at a critical spot: if you don’t have a good culture, you’re in trouble. You can’t market what you don’t have, and clearly you can’t fake it.

So, the first step for anyone to market their company for hiring is to get culture right. What does this mean? It means understanding your core values and your mission statement as a company. It means understanding what is important for every person to embody – and what’s not. It also means understanding where you invest in your talent and culture with money and where you don’t.

Whether you’re being intentional or not, you are creating a culture. So, look and see what you have put front and center, and start to work on making it better.

2. Social Media is Big

One of the biggest areas of influence we have is social media. At New North, we use two social media channels purely for culture and office-based content focused on our hiring pool. Just as it is on any channel or in any kind of marking activity, the key here is understanding your audience and who you’re targeting. So, it becomes a no-brainer to put social media at the top of your list for things you’re going to use for marketing to your talent pool.

It’s also important to point out that this is not mean that you need to show all the things in your office that are not work-related on your feed.

There’s an incorrect assumption that pool tables, coffee bars, and dress-up days are meaningful to your candidates. What is more meaningful is the meta-narrative of what is happening at your office and what you are intentional about. People want to see what it’s like to work at your company, not just which perks you trumpet. In other words, social media for talent marketing should be a matter of documentation, not fabrication.

As you use social media for hiring purposes, make sure to think about all the aspects of your business that are important for someone to see. What could help them to understand what it means to be part of the team? What does the day-to-day hold? What makes the team happy?

These are great things to understand and relate with on social.

3. Continual Hiring

How many of us only look for new business when we don’t have things to do? The scary thing is that some people would answer “yes” to that statement. But, if you’ve been in business long enough or you are actually successful, you realize that you’re always looking for business and you’re always looking for leads.

So why do we only think about hiring when the situation is urgent? Why do we only scramble for new talent when we are in a crunch to hire? Here’s the bottom line: we should look at talent as a long-game acquisition. It’s about meeting and finding the right people for our team, at all times.

At New North, we’ve moved to a position we call ‘continual hiring,’ meaning that we are always posting our job postings for the positions we would be looking to fill in the next 6 to 12 months. That’s because the lead time for a successful hire could be months out in our field. It makes no sense to wait till the pain is cute to start that process.

Another benefit is simply that good people are in high demand – so they find positions quickly. If you don’t have a “hiring” sign out front, you never get to have the conversation, and you never get the chance to connect with those people. You simply settle on whoever is available.

What we suggest is starting the process as early as possible to align needs with the right candidates. It may even be worthwhile to consistently be recruiting people who are still in current roles with the expectation of “lifting” them out of the current role when you are ready.

Either way, it’s a win-win and helps you to campaign for better teams.

Putting it all together

It’s getting harder to hire and times will change. Yet now is a great time to setup an acquisition campaign in your marketing to help promote your culture and use all the tools at your dispense to help you win.