Talent Acquisition: Do you farm?

“Farming” or Employment branding is the hot topic these days

We have truly entered the era of branding and marketing.  Candidates are as careful checking you out as you are in checking on them.  They will check your website of course, but then they will look for you on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and possibly Glassdoor.com and Vault.com or other specialty sites for the industry. It is said that 3 out of 4 will check you out before sending a resume. They will tweet and message their friends looking for opinions, references and discussions of what it is like to work for you.

With “farming” you have both a bit more control and a bit less.  You can engage with the right people before you need them, establish a talent community and become better known as a company that values its employees.

Starting with your company’s identity, vision and goals you can craft a web presence that will attract the right people.  You need to have an articulated employee value proposition – that give and get between the company and the employees, preferably written and agreed upon by all parties. But don’t stop there.  You can’t climb up on your horse and ride off in ALL directions – you have to pick a destination, you need a plan. What is your talent acquisition strategy?

There are a number of methods and tools to use. What are you currently using? What do you wish you could use? Social media are a set of tools, a tactic, a distribution channel for information, including branding and marketing. You can’t really use it well unless you have a strategy in place first

Begin to build your company’s social media presence using the tools now available: your website, your career page(s), your company’s Facebook page, LinkedIn company page, Twitter site and tweets, the company YouTube channel or, if not all, choose at least one or two.  You will begin to be noticed as a company.  Generously give useful content to your potential customers and potential employees.  And listen to how they respond and then respond to them. This is the new baseline and best practice.

What does your website look like? Everyone who sees you online will check it.  Can the link to the Careers page be found on the home page?  Or is it buried under “About Us”?  Are the pages and links useable.  You want your ideal candidate to be able to find your job posting easily.

When you get to the Career page, is it attractive?  Does it show your values?  Your culture? Why it would be fun to work here?  Can a mid-career person see if they would be a fit for the culture?  Can a recent graduate?  A contractor or temp? Alumni looking to come back? Is there a video from the departments you have openings in that talk about what they are doing and accomplishing?  Is there one that shows why it is fun to work there, or a quote or video about how that real person in that real job likes working for your specific company?

When outside visitors click through to the job listings, can they recognize the title as a fit for them?  Is the department there?  When they click on a job posting, does it leap off the screen and say “see what a great job this is”?  Is it written from the job seeker’s point of view?

Let’s look at a couple of dos and don’ts: Santen does a good job of branding, but Sequenta, unfortunately, does not, yet.

After you establish your company branding, you need to know exactly what problem the open job will solve or what opportunity it will allow the company to pursue.

This will give you the context and content for writing the job description. You can write a posting that will highlight what your unique employee value proposition is and why the right person will want to work for you.  You can define the right person as someone who has the skills and experience and interest to solve this particular problem or pursue that particular opportunity for your particular company. You don’t want to lift a boilerplate, generic description from Monster or the company handbook, because you don’t want to hire a generic person.  You need that special problem solver, talent, even if it is just a duplicate of someone you already employ but for the next shift.

Now you have a job posting that will stand out on any job board as well as on your site and a video you can post to YouTube. You can also post the job description and video to your Facebook page and LinkedIn company page as well as Tweet about it with a link back to your company job description. This will also increase the number of people who come to you.

How do you get this information into the minds of the people who have this talent?  There is no point at all of getting into the minds of the buggy whip makers when you need a computational biologist of a particular type.  Sure you can cast a wide net, but that, like bottom trawling, only disturbs the ecosystem, it doesn’t improve your catch.

Establish an outpost in each of the major (and perhaps some of the minor but specific-to-your-industry) social media sites.  Where are the particular, stellar people currently interacting, on- or off-line?  Where are your current stellar employees interacting? Is the company already present in those places? How can you get your wonderful, exciting job posting in front of them?  And when you do, can they respond to it and to you, ask questions, make suggestions, even tell you that the skills you need don’t exist in the same person?  Why would they want to interact?  What is in it for them?  Job seekers, at least the good ones, don’t stay job seekers for long and if your conversation is only about the jobs you need to fill, they will get bored and leave.  So what else can you offer them?  New ideas, training, a chance to ask questions of your stellar employees or founders?

You could just barge into already established sites and groups and start posting your job description, tweeting it, interrupting the current conversation to say “Me, me” or you can establish your company reputation first by giving the same great content you have developed for your website and make working for your company look even better.

How do you do that?

Fill out your profiles and company pages.

Post information that will be interesting to the sort of people who work for you and who may want to work for you. Remember that they may be old hands, even alumni of the company, current employees, consultants and contractors, recent grads or just people who are interested in what your company is doing.

Ask your employees to contribute to the conversation and reward them for doing so.  Yes it does expose them to the blandishments of recruiters, but why would they leave such a great company?  The chance for a new prospective hire to actually talk with someone on the inside says how confident you are that the company is a great place to work.

If there is room for a video, use it.  For slides, use them.  Post other things that are public – talks given by the CEO, presentations by the sales people or the scientists, presentations by experts in the field.  What other great content can you, your employees and founders think of that would make your social media sites “hot” and the place to go for information for the top people in the field?

Start the party.  It will take some time to get off the ground.  But when it does, you will be attracting the right people and they will be glad to hear that you have an opening that fits their needs, wants and values.

 

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"C" suite, HR and Hiring Managers, recruiting, Retention, talent management , , , , , , , , , ,

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