The Problem of Recruiting without a Marketing Strategy
Traditionally, human resources and marketing have always maintained their own unique educations, their own tracks toward career advancement, and their own goals and agendas. Human resources is focused primarily on recruiting, hiring and retaining staff, and improving the culture and efficiency of the workplace, among many other roles. Marketing is focused on building the brand, increasing awareness of the organization’s products and services in the market, generating leads and drawing prospective customers into the sales cycle, among many other roles. It’s hard to picture a situation where these two would overlap, and in many organizations the problem is that they are in fact, completely separate.
Here’s the problem: in order to attract, hire and retain the best talent, the people who will go ‘all in’ for your organization, who will give their best every day, and who will be your biggest cheerleaders, you need to market to them. The same way that marketing presents your organization’s products and services, and the brand itself, to prospective customers, you need to present the company to prospective employees. In the current economy, there is a lot of demand for high-skilled workers, and a smaller pool of individuals looking for a new job. So you’re now competing with many other organizations to attract and retain those employees, and if you don’t have an attractive story, you’re going to have a hard time getting their attention.
The solution is not as simple to define, however. There are a zillion articles out there which will tell you all of the things that employees say they are looking for in their career, ranging from a competitive salary, strong benefits package and a generous vacation policy to the more difficult to quantify and achieve friendly working environment, flexible schedules, education and career advancement opportunities and more. Unless you’re the size of Google or Facebook and can offer your employees a full campus of amenities and an incredible paid family leave program, you’re most likely going to have to pick and choose a few of the things that are the most important to your highest-priority target candidates.
Now here’s where it gets more complicated: how do you know WHO your target candidates are, and what is most important to them when looking for a job? This is where most organizations get lost. They have no idea who their target candidates are and what makes them tick, because they’ve never sat down to really define the ‘personas’ of those individuals.
Buyer Personas – Why They’re Crucial For Recruiting
Consider one department in your company for a moment – for example, customer service. Within customer service, let’s say you have twenty employees, and twelve of them do a satisfactory job. They complete their assignments on time, they’re courteous and helpful when communicating with customers, they get along with the rest of your staff, and they don’t take advantage of flexible schedules or paid time off policies. Great, these are your core people. Now let’s say that five of the twenty are the above-and-beyond type. They want to work their way up to the next level in your organization, they are huge supporters for your company, and they go out of their way to improve the customer experience. They bring fresh new ideas to the organization and take on the out-of-scope tasks such as planning the company’s annual fundraiser. These are your high-priority target candidates, and the ones you want to replicate when hiring new staff. The remaining three are clock-punchers. They’re here for the paycheck, and little else. They can’t wait to leave at the end of the day, they voice negative opinions in every meeting, and they have a hard time getting along with the rest of your staff. These are the people you obviously want to avoid hiring in the future.
The key is to develop a buyer persona for the different types of people in the ‘above and beyond’ group. Who are they? What do they have in common? What gets them excited about their job, and what do they like to do when they’re not working? Perhaps many of these individuals are working parents who live within a few miles of your office. They may be enticed by an on-site daycare or fitness center so that they can enjoy more quality time with their families when they leave the office for the day. These same people may not care whether you have a foosball table or free snacks delivered to the office, and they may not be looking for a higher salary so much as a convenient and flexible schedule. Or perhaps these ‘above and beyond’ people are individuals who left a different career track to join your company. They wanted to get away from the competitive environment of other industries in order to have a more enjoyable working environment and a team that was more supportive.
The point is that it’s impossible to know what your recruiting message and strategy should be until you know what drew your best employees to you in the first place, and what keeps them from leaving. If you want to hire only the best, you need to know what will get their attention, and develop an environment that they can be passionate about.
Ready to start developing your recruiting personas? Download our free guide here.