Not so long ago, most job seekers scouted employment opportunities in newspapers, sent off their resumes to recruiters and then waited for the phone to ring.
In the digital age, where competition for top talent is more intense, the onus is on employers to use every innovative tool they can to identify, attract and impress prospective candidates – long before job requisitions might even be available.
Part of the reason for this is, in contrast to past generations, today’s tech-savvy job seekers have a world of online employment information at their fingertips. They research continuously, can be extremely selective about which employers they will consider and, according to studies, typically favor companies offering opportunities for advancement, strong wages and benefits, work-life balance and a sense of purpose.
It behooves savvy employers, therefore, to address this trend with proactive outreach designed to forge relationships with potential candidates and familiarize them with everything their brand has to offer.
Here are 5 ways recruiters can accomplish those goals in the digital age:
- Grab Their Attention – Wherever They Are
Modern workers, especially millennials who are the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, prefer a technology-driven approach to a job search. They will still go to career fairs but will primarily research and interact with companies through online job boards and social media sites.
That’s why it is critical for prospective employers to identify the types of employees they hope to attract, determine which physical and digital locations they frequent and go there – everywhere – with clever programs that stand out from the recruiting competition.
For instance, Riverbed was interested in amassing a database of future engineers and developers with the propensity for innovation, ability to perform well under pressure, discipline to meet deadlines and a competitive spirit. What better way to do that than to offer up some contests? Through a series of hackathons, programming challenges and coding competitions, the company provided a forum for interested contenders to challenge themselves, gain online recognition and win cash prizes. This gamification approach allowed Riverbed to interact and make connections with promising, new talent.
- Promote Your Brand
Candidates insist on engagement at multiple levels from recruiters and the companies they represent. To meet these expectations, consider building your brand through digitally delivered candidate updates on trends, product innovation and career tips. Let them get to know you before you have a job to fill.
In addition, consider having an active presence at trade shows and job fairs that your ideal job candidates might attend. Such events can be a cost-effective goldmine for finding and influencing good talent, and the media attention they draw can help extend brand recognition. Riverbed, for example, sponsors numerous industry trade shows each year where it places top speakers, drives hackathons and other engaging activities and meets with press that results in news coverage that drives awareness.
- Clearly Articulate What’s In It for Employees
Nearly two-thirds of millennials say online content drives their loyalty to a brand, yet the content they’re receiving is turning them off by not helping them navigate their everyday problems, being too long, sales-driven and not tailoring messaging to their interests, according to a NewsCred survey.
The same applies to hiring. When reaching out to prospective candidates, employers must not make the mistake of only stating what they want in an employee; they must also clearly articulate what’s in it for the employee if they choose to join the company. Whether it’s describing compensation packages and perks, company culture or the potential to move up within the organization, it is necessary to tailor communications in a way that will appeal to the specific desires of target employees.
Video offers a viable way of accomplishing this by allowing candidates to visualize how a potential employer might fulfill their career goals. Along those lines, Riverbed recently produced a series of 2-minute video “what’s in it for you” snippets focusing on the company’s staff, culture and team environment. The videos, shared across multiple online sites and at job fairs, served to quickly familiarize prospective employees with the various benefits of joining the company.
- Recruit Current Employees to Help
Nobody can sing a company’s praises as loudly or credibly as its own employees. Smart companies recognize this and seek to convert their workers into brand advocates.
Aside from creating testimonial videos and case studies, one of the most common and effective ways of demonstrating employee satisfaction to potential hires is through award programs that dub companies as the “best and brightest.” Such honors often attract media attention, spreading the word about companies delivering rewarding workplace experiences and career opportunities.
Another successful tactic that Riverbed has used to convert employees into brand advocates is to provide them with a one-click platform, called Riverbed Share Jobs, to quickly and easily disseminate job opportunities and company news to friends and family across key social media sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
- Over-Manage Your Digital Voice
It is imperative to properly manage your company’s digital presence and social platforms for positive engagement with potential candidates.
This means embracing technology and processes to ensure that messages to prospective employees are delivered compellingly, consistently and regularly across every digital platform. Employers should also have systems in place for responding to all outreach across these channels.
No matter where a company is positioned in the race to attract top talent, it is vitally important to know the types of individuals you are going after, their likes and dislikes and the digital domains they frequent. With such knowledge in hand, build an aggressive and creative strategy to connect and engage with them, even if you don’t have a job available just yet.
In the digital age, recruitment efforts should always be running at full speed rather than trying to go from zero-to-60 in the race to attract the best talent.
Writer: Lori Spence