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Do You Want to Attract and Engage with the Best Talent?

Photograph © Gary Franklin 2011

Whilst things are ‘improving’, if that is the right word, many organisations still suffer from either having a poor employer brand or not even giving it any thought. The lack of attention given to promoting what it is like to work at your organisation, can be very detrimental and a significant hindrance in your ability to attract, engage and entice the best talent in the market. As a candidate I know that if a company showed more of an interest in me and my aspirations, made the special effort to provide me with the information important to me, my general disposition towards them would be very positive

There has been much written about candidate engagement over the last few years, whilst it has slowly gained a level of importance, it is encouraging to know that how we engage with potential candidates is now a key factor in the minds of many Talent Acquisition leaders. Still few are actually doing much about it other than tidying up an application process or using better technology. What is being done for the most part is without structure, objectives or a long-term sustainable approach and lacks effectiveness. Or so it would seem judging by the conversations I am aware of.

People are listening and asking questions, hungry to learn. I go to seminars, conferences and have conversations with plenty of people in similar roles that have many of the same challenges. The subject of Candidate Engagement, what it means, how important it is, the dynamics, psychology and methods of approach have moved from being part of the discussion to being the conversation.

Now we don’t have all of the answers, none of us do, but it seems to me that there are some simple concepts to grasp.

  • Everyone is a potential employee if you get the proposition right for them

  • Everyone can be a potential applicant

  • Not everyone is a potential candidate – some just won’t fit or have the skills you need but they are interested in what you have to say and will have opinions others will listen to

  • Everyone could be a consumer (in the right industry) – alienate a candidate and it will cost you money

  • Talking costs nothing – tell them what THEY want to know, not what you think they do or just what you feel comfortable telling them.

  • Every employee you have has a story to tell, make sure the majority have a good one

That last point is a huge subject that covers a wide range of HR aspirations and failures.

So how do we engage with the world and give people the information they need?

In the complex companies forces need to be aligned; Marketing, Branding, Talent/L&D and Communications need to work together to create an environment that can be used to let everyone know what it is like to work with you and what opportunities it might provide them; professional and personal. Get people interested in you and your company and they will be more likely to want to be part of it and work with you. The change is likely to take a bit of time and effort, therefore money, but it doesn’t have to be a huge amount. Can you really afford not to? There are companies that you compete with in the quest for top talent that are doing this already, appealing to those you want to attract as well as probably enticing your current colleagues away from you.

At the moment we have a very strong candidate driven market, where the average person looking for a new job has a few choices and is in higher demand. They can afford to be choosy. It is no longer acceptable that just because you are one of the biggest companies in the world, with one of the best brands that people will want to work for you. Why would they when you don’t engage in the early stages at all or that you don’t give them insight into what it’s like for work with you, what our culture is like or what opportunities exist for them to help their careers?

Engagement is not about just giving a candidate a good experience during the interview process or the lifecycle of a job, it’s about fully embracing the concept and looking at everyone as a potential employee. They are no longer candidates, they are followers or interested parties who need to be given a reason to keep coming back to your site or platform or community. They have to want to be there, they want to experience what you are, they want to be informed and if you get it right they may also apply for the job. But why wait for them to take the initiative? Why wait for them to come to you?

Over the last few years a number of platforms have emerged to help you entice and engage with those that have a general interest in your organisation, possibly long before they consider actually applying for a role with you, this could be a long term relationship where sustainable effective engagement is needed. Some of these platforms could replace or be an alternative to the typical ATS, others will be add-ons that can integrate. Products or platforms such as Beamery, Avature, Candidate.ID, Meet & Engage, Clinch, Talent Brew……the number keeps growing, each giving you the ability to not only engage but also to organise their interests and skills making targeted messaging or accurate matching to jobs more effective than ever before.

Can you afford not to engage with your future potential workforce today?

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