As an army brat, I spent a ton of time listening to my parents talk about field operation strategy as they pursued different degree courses throughout their careers: the artillery, manpower and understanding the enemy – all critical to success. No element was ignored or passed up as unimportant. Every piece was aimed toward one goal – completing the mission.
Now in wartime, there’s no clear winner or loser based on just one mission. In fact, many missions and wars don’t add up to this win/lose scenario because it’s not so clean cut and no points are assessed – a parallel to this war on talent everyone is talking about, if you think about it. Fortunately for all of us, at least people’s lives aren’t at stake as we in recruiting and HR haphazardly try to get it right and “win” this never-ending war, while filling more reqs than we can count.
What’s clear to me across the board after talking to thousands of people in our industry is that our approach, from a tactical perspective, is unclear. We don't necessarily know how to strategically compete, or where to even start. So we start by talking salary. Everyone loves money, right?
So there we are, negotiating nickels and dimes. And a competitor comes in with an offer your candidate can’t refuse, and one that you can’t match. Then what? I hope it’s pretty clear that money can't be your competitive advantage. Anyone can put a price tag on a job, but money can’t buy anyone happiness.
However, I'm probably getting ahead of myself. That negotiation is far down the road, much after the research and application phases of the job search. This is when you really should be marketing your priceless competitive advantages – like culture - instead of competitive salaries and benefits. Having this great company culture pays off in hiring and in overall company success too, according to a Glassdoor study that showed that public companies recognized for high employee ratings and culture outperform S&P 500 by 122%.
It’s clear that culture is a win in every aspect, but how do you use it to win the war on talent? Here are three areas of your candidate experience to embed culture in your recruitment marketing:
1. The job description. I would be doing us all a disservice if I didn't start by talking about how to portray your culture in the job description – the first line of marketing for applicants. Remember that each aspect of your job description and career site is a reflection of culture, at least to the candidate. From your cookie-cutter template to the stereotypical job descriptions, think about the impression you’re leaving on candidates. Show them who you are with photographs and videos. Speaking of video...
2. Recruiting video. A great video is hard not to watch. Yes, you read that right. It should be compelling, creative, and the content should be unique to your company. If you are setting up stools to get close-up shots of management talking about your culture, I hope your culture is just as boring as your video will end up being. This is your chance to make an impression.
You can see what I mean if you watch this great recruitment marketing video example from software company Medallia. Here’s a tip: video is the way to go as far as marketing content because video is optimized to show up more frequently in News Feeds on Facebook. So even without spending advertising dollars, you can reach plenty of potential candidates.
3. Say no to stock photos. If you're using any stock photography on your career site, please take it down. Really, though - that's an awful idea. If you’re going to take the time to portray your culture, use the people that ARE your culture. The real stories of your employee instead of some buttoned up case study. The nuance to marketing culture is that to be perfect, it needs to be honest. That’s it.
Bonus tip: blog! If there’s an area where you're having a particularly hard time hiring, let that group create their own blog about the work they are doing and the culture on that team. Use hiring managers as your key ally in content development, as they’re just as motivated as you are. If you’re interested in seeing this idea in action, check out the engineering team’s blog at Indeed.