Not getting the quantity or quality of job applicants you want? Don’t assume you have a recruiting problem — instead consider you may have a marketing problem. Instead of re-wording job descriptions to make them more compelling, or finding another job board where to post them, approach your recruiting woes as a marketing opportunity. Here are four basic strategies marketers use to win customers to help you obtain more and better candidates.
Build Awareness Among Candidates
Most companies don’t have the name recognition of Apple or Microsoft. That recognition helps, and lesser-known companies have a tougher time recruiting. Without big brand recognition to inspire candidates to apply, you’ll have to do more than post jobs in the expected places. You have to get creative.
Example: BBDO, an advertising agency, needed talented young copywriters. Where do you find young writers? Universities! So BBDO made “The World’s First Napkin Book,” stuck it on university cafeteria lunch trays to catch the eye of young literature students. In return, BBDO received 15 times more applications the month after the campaign launched than usual.
Instill Preference to Work for You
But in addition to knowing who you are, candidates have to want to work for you. That’s called preference — the choice of Apple over Microsoft (or vice versa).
Example: Defense agencies worldwide know this well. With recruitment levels declining, video games have become a go-to media to boost excitement and encourage patriotism. GCHQ, a U.K. government intelligence agency, inserted ads into Xbox games to attract the interest of agile-minded 18 to 34-year-olds.
Stand Out From the Crowd
Most companies try to differentiate themselves from competitors. The same is true when recruiting. To attract employees that stand out, you have to stand out, and the most obvious way to communicate your outstanding-ness to job seekers is, of course, your jobs page.
Example: KarmaHire CEO, James Clift says, “There’s nine billion dollars spent on recruitment advertising a year, and there’s all these amazing companies out there, and they really just all look the same right now with their job postings.” Karmahire has therefore reinvented the job post, letting companies create ” a really awesome landing page for their job that showcases their culture, instead of a job post,” Clift says. While Apple might have jobs similar to those at other companies, what makes it different from Microsoft is its culture.
Make the Process Challenging — and Fun
Good marketers attract target customers with the right message, delivered in the right way. Recruiters must do the same. And since CEOs value creativity as “the most important competency for the successful enterprise of the future,” the recruiting and application process needs to mirror the applicants you’re trying to attract.
Example: Wibidata developed a playful recruiting process that attracts applicants while screening them at the same time. This software development company created a unique careers page on its site, designed not only to attract a larger quantity of applicants in the highly competitive tech sector, but also to filter out the best candidates–all through a custom version of Portal 1, a popular videogame. Those who complete the most levels are the victors, and probably the best candidates for Wibidata’s jobs.
What have we learned? Like Liz Ryan recently said: “The recruiting process is broken.” Traditional recruiting isn’t enough anymore. The typical job board posting just won’t suffice. If you want your candidates to be outstanding, you need to be outstanding.