Fifteen years ago, I decided to break it to my family that I’m no longer on track to be a social worker and had instead decided to major in advertising. My family was pretty thrilled that I was entering into a familiar territory, as my grandfather founded an agency in 1951 specializing in recruitment advertising. It was important for me to learn about other facets of strategic communications – other industries, consumer journeys, disciplines, etc.
After over a dozen years wearing various hats in fields spanning beauty, food & beverage, pet, healthcare, tech and even online education, I began a new chapter in a new industry in a very familiar building – one where I spent many Saturdays playing reception while my dad finished up work and several sick days laying on the couch in my grandfather’s office drinking 7UP – I started my new role as Director of PR & Communications at Shaker Recruitment Marketing, where I’d be responsible for adding to the earned and social thinking that we bring our clients.
Being new to the category certainly brings an abundance of learning each day. However, while they might seem like entirely different industries, the consumer and talent worlds are actually quite similar. I’ve noticed there are far more similarities than differences. The foundation is still very much the same – we need to deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time in the right places. Sure, there are nuances with each industry, but at its core, it truly is that simple.
That said, there are some marketing mix levers we can pull a bit more in the talent acquisition and retention space.
Employees offer a rich amount of potential to bring their employer’s brand to life! I mean this not only in terms of content creation but also when it comes to reach and message amplification. I’m a firm believer in advocacy and empowering ambassadors to speak on a brand’s behalf. Who better to do that than those who live and breathe the brand every day? Having a strategy with well-defined content pillars and guardrails, along with a clearly defined brand voice, creates a very strong foundation for establishing and engaging with a community. According to Edelman’s 2017 Trust Barometer, their global annual trust and credibility survey, institutional trust, including business, government, NGOs and media, are in a “trust crisis,” further stressing the importance of that peer-to-peer credibility and endorsement. It carries an immeasurable amount of weight.
This peer-to-peer trust certainly is the case with negative reviews, as well. While there can be understandable trepidation, a solid engagement strategy – when to respond and with what messaging – can help diffuse and even shine a positive light. According to Glassdoor, 62% of their candidates reported that their perception of an employer improved when they responded to reviews. Also, encouraging participation among highly engaged and satisfied employees can add positive testimonials both improving the total score and providing other perspectives on the brand, culture, people and work experience.
When considering the best way to attract candidates, don’t forget how people often get their news. Getting into news media – especially outlets with high shareability – is an incredibly efficient way to extend your brand message via a credible source, while also earning good will. Rethinking your message from delivering your company’s job fair details to announcing that your company is bringing dozens or hundreds of jobs to the area is a powerful and newsworthy shift. Stories about employment and job opportunities will never get old.
Mind you, I’m only 100 days in, and coming from a social and earned background, my tentacles tend to be on high alert for these types of opportunities. The explosion of tech, AI and UX in this space is incredibly exciting, and I’m thrilled to be part of this industry shift that will help create better experiences for both the candidate and employer.
I can’t wait to see what the next 100 days bring…and 100 days after that…and 100 days after that…