Candidates are Consumers: Experts Weigh In

At the core of any strong company is its team. Across industries, there is a surplus of underqualified applicants and a scarcity of access to highly qualified, but already employed, talent. “Just like marketers, talent acquisition has started looking at the buyer’s (or candidate’s) journey and the marketing (or talent acquisition) funnel,” says recruitment marketing professional Tracey Parsons, “And at the very top of the funnel comes leads, a new focus for the talent acquisition function that has traditionally only prioritized applicants.”

 RecruitingFinding, hiring, and retaining top talent is essential to a company’s success, so companies fight over those candidates. “Over the past few years, candidates have held all the power in the recruitment process, and with the strength of the market right now, recruitment will continue to be about seeking out people who aren’t necessarily looking for a job,” says HR Director Emily Disston. “Given this reality, it will be crucial to move past legacy recruitment strategies in 2016 and instead focus on the marketing of your company and employer brand.” Consider candidates as potential customers when thinking about what may influence talent to choose your company.

 

88% of US consumers conduct research online before making a major purchasing decision and choosing a job is an even greater investment than choosing a laptop or refrigerator. If companies want top talent to ‘buy,’ they need to make sure that candidates find positive things when they do their research. “Successful hiring companies realize that recruiting is like marketing,” explains iCIMS CEO Colin Daily, “from creating a brand presence, to attracting candidates through multiple advertising channels, to nurturing applicants by bringing them seamlessly through a talent acquisition funnel.”

 

While talent acquisition has traditionally focused on applicants, with whom a conversation has already started, accessing passive leads requires the development of an attractive public brand presence. “Marketing should be SMEs in social media, SEO, and branding techniques that are easily transferable to your talent acquisition needs,” says DAXKO VP of People Dawn Burke, “HR, you have no excuse anymore to ignore the importance of branding and targeting.”

 

Creating high quality, compelling content that is true to the company brand can help create that presence and attract candidates. “Just like your prospective customers want to hire the best of the best, prospective employees want to work with industry leaders, too,” says Influence & Co. President Kelsey Meyer. “Those future employees want to know that the team they’re about to sign on with is credible, innovative, and ultimately worth committing their talents to — and when it’s done right, your content can show them that.”

 

As is becoming more and more true of how we learn, live, and buy, the greatest potential lies in treating HR marketing as opening a conversation with potential candidates — before the interview. “Interactive content is a unique differentiator,” says serial tech entrepreneur Tamer Rafla. “Other than being more approachable, it offers clear usefulness and utility — less time and effort, and more value. And until every employer branding professional is an interactive content marketer, your recruitment organization has an instant competitive advantage.” Infographics, videos, and quizzes are more likely to engage target candidates than a flat company blurb.

 

In crafting content, consider what makes your company different from others with similar roles, compensation, and benefits. Candidates know that they will spend the majority of their waking lives at work and want to know that they will enjoy that time. “Today, people require more than financial compensation to thrive in a business setting,” says TalentCulture CEO Meghan Biro. “The top talent is looking for organizations that embrace inclusivity, collaboration, and transparency.” CultureIQ CEO Greg Bresner agrees.Company culture is more important than ever. It’s not that company culture was ever unimportant, but it’s quickly proving to be a ‘must-have’ rather than a ‘nice-to-have.’”

To stay relevant in a competitive market, being innovative and aggressive are key. “If HR can adopt a marketing mindset, effectively moving from reactionary cost center into a proactive and strategic function that’s driven by data instead of gut feelings, by increasing innovation instead of minimizing risk, and by possibilities instead of compliance,” says recruiting expert Matt Charney, “then it’s not only going to survive in the future world of work, HR is going to thrive.” Instead of settling for subpar candidates in need of work, make excellent candidates want to leave their jobs to work with you.

 

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Danai Kadzere

Danai Kadzere

Danai is a Content Marketer at Happie. Before Happie, she worked as a freelance writer, ghostwriter, and children's book author, after graduating from Harvard University with a BS in Human Evolutionary Biology. If she's not working, she's probably reading, baking, or getting lost.