When it comes to attracting top tech talent, recruiters can learn a thing or two from the marketers down the hall. Here are four examples of creative talent acquisition tactics you can use to stand out from the crowd.
Not getting the quantity or quality of job applications you want? Don’t spend hours re-wording job descriptions trying to make them seem more exciting. You don’t have a recruiting problem. You have a marketing problem. Here are four lessons you can learn from marketers to help you adopt more creative talent acquisition tactics and win more and better candidates.
Lesson 1: Build Awareness Among Candidates
Companies with little name recognition are often at a disadvantage when it comes to competing against more well-known and established competitors, and recruiting is no exception. Most candidates would prefer to get a job with a company they’ve heard of, rather than one they haven’t. One of the reasons companies like Google get thousands of applications a day is its high profile. Lesser-known companies can’t expect the applications to come flowing in after simply posting a job online. Their best bet: try a new tactic.
Take BBDO, for example, an advertising company that used its marketing skills to find the talent it needed. Attempting to recruit talented young copywriters, the company created “The World’s First Napkin Book” and stuck it on lunch trays in universities to build awareness among young literature students.
It worked. The month after the campaign launched BBDO received 15 times as many applications as usual.
Lesson 2: Instill Preference to Work For You
Marketers would tell you that creating awareness is only part of the challenge. You also have to instill preference —candidates have to want to work for you.
Defense agencies worldwide know this all too well. With recruitment levels declining, stereotypically stuffy bureaucrats have gotten creative, turning to video games to boost excitement about working for them. For instance, GCHQ, a U.K. government intelligence agency, embedded ad campaigns in Xbox games in an effort to encourage patriotic tendencies in agile-minded 18-34 year olds. If it’s in a video game, it must be cool, right? That’s what these agencies are hoping gamers will think.
Lesson 3: Stand Out From The Crowd
Most companies try to differentiate themselves from competitors. But when recruiting, especially for high-demand positions such as software developers, it’s often hard to stand out from the crowd. As James Clift, CEO of KarmaHire, explains, “There’s nine billion dollars spent on recruitment advertising a year, and there’s all these amazing companies out there, and they really just all look the same right now with their job postings.”
While the roles you are hiring for and the job descriptions you use to advertise them might be similar to those offered by competitors, one thing that can separate you from your peers is your culture and values. With that in mind, Karmahire has set out to reinvent the standard job post.
To make it easier for you to stand out, Karmahire provides companies with a compelling alternative: as Clift explains it, “A really awesome landing page for their job that showcases their culture, their work environment, and what makes them unique.”
Lesson 4: Make The Process Challenging — And Fun
Good marketers know how to attract customers with the right messages, delivered in the right way. Recruiters must do the same. And since CEOs value creativity as “the most important competency for the successful enterprise of the future,” the recruiting and application process needs to mirror the applicants you’re trying to attract.
A great example of a company creating space for innovative candidates to shine in the application process was MasterCard’s ‘cashless society’ campaign last year to find great interns for its advertising department. The company asked applicants to “creatively” promote the benefits of a cashless society. The result: 350 qualified applicants, compared to the usual yield of 20-30 applications for advertising jobs.
By challenging candidates to create original material instead of completing a standard form application, MasterCard effectively got the attention of potential candidates, and incorporated the interview into the application process. Applicants were allowed to showcase their skills and knowledge in the way they best saw fit, and the results were some pretty great interns for the advertising department.
While “marketing” might seem like a foreign word to many recruiters and HR professionals, embracing these lessons can increase your applicant pool, allowing you to find the perfect fit for that position that’s perhaps been vacant for too long.
Typical job board postings just won’t suffice in an age of multiplying online job sites. You need to take it upon yourself to publicize just how amazing your company is. Learn these lessons well, because effective marketing is now the key to effective recruiting.
Do you agree with Erin? Can recruiting learn a thing or two from marketing? What creative tactics are you using to attract top talent?