Ask any growth-minded entrepreneur, and he will tell you that people are the lifeblood of his business. Dig a little deeper, and that same entrepreneur will tell you that hiring, retaining, and motivating great people is one of the most difficult - and at the same time, most rewarding - facets of growing a business.
So why is it, then, that all the buzz surrounding content marketing seems to focus on business-to-business lead generation and customer acquisition programs but doesn't ever seem to extend to using that same content marketing know-how to recruit the best candidates?
In marketing, we talk a lot about the B2B buying funnel and stages like awareness and interest, consideration and intent, and evaluation and purchase. If done correctly, a smart marketer will match the appropriate content with the right stage of the buying cycle and the right target.
How about the recruiting funnel? You rarely hear about that, but it really doesn't work all that differently. Here are a few tips for using some of the business-to-business content marketing practices you already have in place to make a significant impact on your recruiting efforts.
Make your content remarkable or don't bother.
LinkedIn currently shows 193,813 job listings. Indeed claims it has listed 536,955 new jobs in the last seven days. Facebook has 346 open positions ... in its Menlo Park headquarters alone.
It's a crowded and confusing world for the average job seeker, but also one filled with plenty of opportunity for those with lots of talent or who are 99th percentile types. Think anyone is going to pay attention to your generic, copycat job description in a market like this?
All of your careers-related content - not just your job descriptions - needs to be remarkable. In this case, sometimes remarkable means choosing show over tell. Don't just tell your candidates that your position comes with tremendous growth potential, show them what they could become in three or four years. Don't just tell someone that they will be working with top talent, show them the talent.
Example: Check out what Tableau software does with its careers section. Yes, the pure user experience is a bit "heavy," but Tableau surrounds the candidate with information - company story, photos, employee profiles, and culture-oriented videos.
Distribution is a critical piece of the puzzle.
Here's what the average company does with a job opening: Post on the corporate website. List on LinkedIn or Monster. Publish a generic "we're hiring" message on its social media properties. And ... that's pretty much it.
And yet, a 2014 Jobvite survey tells us that more than half of currently employed U.S. workers are actively seeking or are open to a new job. If that doesn't encourage you to get creative about your distribution, I'm not sure if anything will.
Get your employees involved. Assuming you've created an environment where people like to work, they are your most effective recruiters. Give them one-click options for sharing, though. Keep it simple, stupid.
Example: When Right Source Marketing has open positions (that's right - we're hiring!), we send a distribution email to all employees asking for help, and we keep it super simple. After all, employee referrals are typically the best referrals. See below for a sample.
Tell (and sell) your story.
Have you ever been in an interview where the interviewer nails the whole, "Here's who we are, where we came from, and where we're headed," speech? It's that moment when, as a candidate, you get so fired up about helping this company achieve its mission that you start to compromise on logic, negotiating position, and even location.
As the company doing the recruiting, you have to capture that spirit and find a way to do it via digital content. Use video. Use written testimonials. Use employee bios. But just keep telling the same story, with the same passion.
Example: Phunware, one of the fastest growing software companies in the U.S., uses a corporate video to showcase the company's people and long-term vision.
Help your candidates build their own story.
Most companies do a mediocre job of explaining the types of career paths available to prospective employees, both inside and outside the company. Today's job seekers, especially millenials, are desperately seeking a clear path to their next big thing - so help them out. Tell them where they can go inside the company. Tell them what they can achieve outside the company. But if you choose to tell them nothing, chances are you'll be dealing with the candidates who offer no help in moving your business forward.
Example: memoryBlue, a Right Source client, uses its Alumni Directory and Alumni Profiles to showcase what its best people do after they leave the company. As a training ground for some of the best of the best in high-tech sales, the company is proud to see some of its top people move on to more prominent sales careers.
Use your existing marketing assets and tactics.
If hiring the best people is critical to your company's success, then you'd stop at nothing to reach, engage with, and bring on those people, right?
Then don't forget to bring out the big guns, and throw all of your existing marketing assets at these candidates. Chances are you already have some stellar blog posts that display your thought leadership, some media coverage that shows your company is a cool place to work, or maybe some awards that acknowledge your company's industry leadership.
Use it all. Don't hold back.
Example: CustomInk doesn't hide from the idea that its employees absolutely love the company, and it does a phenomenal job at promoting its workplace benefits.
Make an investment in content marketing for recruitment.
Not unlike your business-to-business content marketing efforts, your business-to-candidate content marketing efforts require a budget, a plan, and the right people running the show.