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Jan 24, 2023

However much we read about 2023 being a recessionary year, the fact remains that there are still approximately two open jobs for every job seeker.

We can see this by looking at the latest JOLTS update, which reported there were more than 11 million open roles, while The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 6 million unemployed persons. Add that to the 4 million people

voluntarily quitting their jobs, and you get a messy picture.

There are macroeconomic and sociological factors at play for sure. But don’t think this is the only answer, and that you – as HR and recruitment professionals are devoid of any blame.

For it’s also the fact that if you have unfilled roles in your organization, it’s likely that the clear, compelling reason to work for your brand that candidates desire is missing. Without this vital element, jobseekers may be waiting on the sidelines or looking elsewhere.

The big challenge for 2023: Sell them on your brand

While we must be careful about making mass generalizations, it’s generally accepted that younger workers today want to work for brands that stand for something more than just pure profits. They want to work for a company can build a better world through social-good initiatives like diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors; purpose; and more. Without considering the value younger workers want, you’ll end up with employees “quiet quitting” actually quitting, or working for your competitors who do stand for something.

Commentators have labeled these efforts ‘stakeholder capitalism’, as opposed to simply shareholder capitalism. And much ink has been spilled encouraging and criticizing these ideas, whether in The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, or Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends reports.

Now these issues are making their way from theory to practice; from the boardroom to the break-room. So It’s incumbent on leaders to strongly consider what their approach should be.

But let’s be clear: Employer branding is not soft — it’s a powerful tool.

Whether it’s visual branding or purpose and meaning, the value of an employer brand exponentially increases over time.

Consider that 77% of consumers want to purchase from a brand that shares their values. Or that 46% of consumers would pay a premium for a trusted brand.

Here are three ways recruiters and HR leaders can increase velocity among candidates to fill open positions:

Develop an EVP for how your organization approaches hiring:

I know: This is a big one. It’s not easy to overhaul a brand, much less a culture, with beliefs, values, and principles, especially in today’s complex world.

However, as I mentioned above, it’s crucial that organizations at least consider the possibility of doing so.

These principles will cascade throughout the rest of the organization — from the financial ratios on an income statement, to the technology adoption to the way candidates are recruited and hired.

I believe that any employer value proposition (EVP) must contain four key dimensions: credibility, relevancy, aspirational, and differentiating.

Be credible: Your EVP should be credible and backed up by evidence. Potential candidates need to know that you’re serious about your social-good initiatives and aren’t just paying lip service to them. Before you think that being credible or branding is somehow a “soft” or intangible business case, consider that 88% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding on the brands they like and support. So, showcase your track record supporting DEI, ESG, and meaning initiatives on your website and in marketing materials. This way candidates can see exactly what you’re all about.

Be relevant: Make sure your EVP is relevant to your target audience. Candidates want to know how they can make a difference by working for your company, so explain how your social-good initiatives tie into your business goals and objectives.

Be aspirational: The best employer branding communicates aspirational values that appeal to potential employees’ sense of idealism and desire to make a difference in the world. Your EVP should inspire people to want to work for you today, tomorrow, and far into the future.

Be differentiating: One of the key dimensions of a strong EVP is that it differentiates your brand from the competition. Explain how your company’s social-good initiatives are unique and why they’re a valuable addition to your workplace. Showcase the ways in which you’re leading the pack when it comes to supporting DEI, ESG, and meaning initiatives. Stand out from the crowd and attract top talent with a compelling EVP that communicates your company’s values and purpose. Building an EVP shaped by your organization’s beliefs will pay dividends on your talent for years to come.

Wrap all these ideas in brilliant designs

Once you’ve landed on the principles that will shape your organization for

years to come, the next step is to put them in beautiful, innovative design. Many leaders overlook the impact a well-executed visual brand can have, but they do this at their peril. Commentators have recently argued that more of the S&P 500’s value can be found in intangible assets like intellectual property, R&D, and brand power. A visually stunning brand allows companies to shorten their recruiting cycle for three important reasons:

  • The arresting look of marketing materials out in the market will cut through the noise and clutter of today’s landscape.
  • The message you’re trying to convey will be clearly articulated and easy to comprehend.
  • You’ll attract the kinds of top talent that are already attracted to these top-tier, consumer-grade brand experiences.

Remember: market to candidates like you would to customers

In reality, recruiting candidates today looks almost identical to what good marketing looks like.

Savvy recruiters know this, but I’d argue that many are still underestimating the scale and complexity of the modern recruitment marketing tech stack.

Think about today’s digital marketing flows:

– A CRM captures your customer data and builds the technological infrastructure to create and distribute marketing content, track leads, and deliver reporting to the executive leadership.

– Landing pages and other assets draw in customers and their data to be used for future campaigns.

– Programmatic advertising delivers marketing content in real time at the best price to the best possible audience, making every dollar spent much more efficient.

– Lead-scoring technology assesses whether that marketing opportunity should instead be a sales opportunity.

– This sequence is all presented in comprehensive analytics and reporting to make better decisions.

Do your recruiting and talent acquisition practices resemble this process?

If not, it’s time to rethink how your employer brand and the infrastructure to support it could be failing your hiring goals.

Recruiting is the new marketing

The employer brand is all built on brand-defining principles that flow through to the rest of your organization, from the leadership to the culture to the technology and beyond.

These principles impact the candidate experience, which impacts the onboarding experience, and eventually the employee experience.

I believe that recruiting is the new marketing for today’s modern organizations.

And it all starts with what you believe about your organization and, in turn, your employer brand.

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