Talent Acquisition

4 Ways to Lead with Mission and Purpose to Attract Informed Candidates

Searching for a job can be exhausting. Candidates have to screen through hundreds of job postings, hoping to find that perfect job that matches their skill sets and their values, giving them a sense of purpose beyond just making ends meet. The tasks of work are simply more enjoyable when one knows they’re contributing to a higher purpose.

In his book Conscious Capitalism, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey writes, “Every conscious business has a higher purpose, which addresses fundamental questions such as: Why do we exist? Why do we need to exist? What is the contribution we want to make? Why is the world better because we are here? Would we be missed if we disappeared?” While the purpose is the difference your company is trying to make in the world, he explains, “mission is the core strategy that must be undertaken to fulfill that purpose.”

As an example, Yahoo’s search engine faltered through frequent changes to its mission. In the meantime, Google’s search engine skyrocketed as the company stayed trued to its original mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” A consistent mission inspires passion in employees, whether or not their job relates to creating the core product.

Here are four ways your company can attract informed candidates with your mission and purpose.

1.) Show how each job fulfills the mission

The tasks of customer service, accounting, recruiting and even writing code can all be somewhat similar across organization types. If candidates are coming from another industry, they’ll have an easier time of getting on board with your mission if they understand how the job they’re applying for fulfills it.

Example

Airbnb strives to weave its mission into job descriptions, considering how each role contributes to the overall mission and interacts with its values. A job description for an Administrative & Communications Coordinator reads, “No global movement springs from individuals. It takes an entire team united behind something big,” appealing to Airbnb’s higher purpose to create a sense of belonging for travelers while staying relevant to the role’s need for a good teamworker. The company ranks #35 on Glassdoor’s 2017 Best Places to Work list.

2.) Tell customer stories

Satisfying end users or customers is the outcome of a successful and profitable company. By sharing stories of happy customers, prospective employees can see how their work will contribute to the whole. Videos, customer testimonials and photographs all serve to educate candidates on what purpose the company fulfills.

Example

On its Glassdoor profile, Imagine Learning posted a video showing how a student using its learning software learned to read and speak. For someone applying to a highly technical role such as site reliability engineer, this touching video could inspire a candidate to a greater sense of purpose, and motivate him or her to apply.

3.) Differentiate with your mission

As discussed above, how Google and Yahoo went about creating their respective search engines got vastly different long-term results. In employment marketplaces where candidates have a choice of companies that do essentially the same thing – such as medical, transportation, or food service – a compelling mission creates a culture that attracts informed candidates with similar values.

Example

All healthcare organizations serve to assist in healing the sick and injured. But in the tight marketplace for medical professionals Dignity Health sets itself apart from other healthcare organizations by leading with its core value of humankindness. The non-profit organization developed a standardized method for measuring the kindness of individuals, and recruiters are trained to ask questions designed to reveal the interviewees’ essential character. This approach resulted in success: the company ranks #1 on our 2017 Best Places to Interview list.

4.) Find out why employees stay

If the purpose of your company is obvious but its mission and values aren’t, it’s time for some self-reflection. The best way to do this is by gathering information from the source: employees. Glassdoor reviews, employee surveys, and internal focus groups are a great place to start. Once you’ve identified the common threads of what makes employees stay, you’ll be able to craft a compelling mission to test with employees and then share with candidates on your careers page and Glassdoor.

Example

When Docusign set out to define what makes up its culture, it conducted a series of focus groups and “stay interviews,” finding out why employees joined and what made them stay. It then distilled its values from this research – and now shares that on its career page and Glassdoor, netting Docusign a #23 spot on our 2017 Best Places to Work list.

Companies that know why they do what they do and communicate it in a compelling way will attract candidates who are aligned with the mission – and keep employees engaged by filling them with a sense of purpose. To find out how the Glassdoor Best Places to Work stay true to their mission, download our eBook Actionable Advice from Top Company Leaders:

Insights from 2017’s Highest Rated CEOs and their CHROs.

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