By Melissa Asher, PMP, SHRM-SCP, CPS HR Consulting
Recruiting and retaining employees in today’s competitive job market requires more than traditional methods, especially for public sector organizations. To be effective, progressive organizations are adopting marketing tactics to attract and engage talent. This article explores various marketing techniques that can be applied to the recruiting process, providing insights and strategies to optimize finding and retaining talent.
1. UNDERSTAND YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
Define your ideal candidate profile by considering qualifications, skills, background, and motivations. Think through where your target candidates spend their time, both online and offline. This is critical to tailoring your message and knowing where to place your message to resonate with your desired talent pool. An example of this is to post a job opening for a financial position with the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers (CSMFO). Or, for recruiting in a rural area known for mountain biking, post on a Facebook group for mountain biking enthusiasts.
2. BUILD A STRONG EMPLOYER BRAND
Your employer brand plays a crucial role in attracting top candidates and can help you retain your current team. Develop a strong employer value proposition (EVP) that showcases your organization’s unique culture, values, benefits, and career growth opportunities. This can be a focus on family, commitment to employee development, stability, care for the community served, flexibility, or other things that make your organization worth joining. Then consistently communicate your EVP through multiple channels, including your website (external and intranet), social media, and employee testimonials. Highlight what sets your organization apart and why candidates should choose to work with you. This is also an opportunity for your current employees to reconnect with and reinforce why they love working for your organization.
3. CREATE COMPELLING JOB DESCRIPTIONS
Craft job descriptions that go beyond a list of responsibilities and requirements. Apply marketing principles to make your job descriptions engaging and captivating. Use persuasive language, emphasize the impact and purpose of the role, and clearly outline the benefits and opportunities it offers. This is especially important for public sector jobs where unclear or technical language is often used. Your goal is to give prospective candidates reasons to apply. Tout the benefits and promote your organization (see EVP above). Make sure you are using short and descriptive job duties and leading with a clear job title that most people will understand. If you are really feeling ambitious, incorporate multimedia elements, like videos or infographics, to enhance your job posting.
4. UTILIZE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
Leverage the power of social media to reach and engage with potential candidates and highlight your current employees. You probably already have a presence on some platforms, like Facebook or LinkedIn. Leverage that presence by posting regularly and include your job openings. Create and share compelling content, including employee stories, organization news, and industry insights. These can be short quotes from employees, photos of your work, short videos filmed with a mobile phone, or testimonials from your customers. Also, actively participate in relevant groups and discussions to raise your organization’s profile in the industry and with potential candidates. Frequently promote your organization using your EVP language. It’s okay to start small and increase your activity over time.
5. BUILD BRAND AMBASSADORS
Tap into your existing talent pool by building brand ambassadors. Brand ambassadors are current employees who represent the face, voice, values, culture, and attitude of your organization in a positive way to build awareness and interest in the organization. They will authentically communicate and connect with current and prospective employees through a variety of ways:
- Attending in-person events
- Posting and sharing organizational content
- Creating online content (i.e., blogs, newsletters, testimonials)
- Generating interest and leads in the community
These individuals create a positive “buzz” by spreading the word about your organization to as many people as possible through word-of-mouth marketing, event marketing, content marketing and social media marketing. This also builds a sense of pride, not only in the brand ambassadors, but across the organization as current employees see their colleagues touting why your organization is a great place to work.
6. OPTIMIZE CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE
One of the most important things you can do is to apply customer-centric principles to the candidate experience. Streamline the application process, provide regular updates, and offer personalized interactions. Set yourself apart by creating an application that is easy to complete, limiting supplemental questions, and providing clear communication and timely feedback to candidates. Don’t become the black hole of applications. Quickly determine your best applicants and reach out to them personally for an initial screening conversation over the phone or via Zoom. These steps will create a positive impression of your organization throughout the hiring journey, making it more likely that you will snap top talent.
Incorporating marketing tactics into your recruiting efforts can revolutionize the way you attract top talent and keep your current workforce engaged. Tapping into the “why” for your organization is the first step, spreading the word as far and wide as you can, and putting thought and effort into creating a positive experience will give you a competitive edge in today’s job market.
So, what is your EVP?
Melissa Asher is a Senior Leader at CPS HR Consulting, leading their Talent Acquisition division. CPS HR Consulting provides integrated HR solutions to the public sector. We offer unrivaled expertise in organizational strategy, recruitment and selection, classification and compensation, and training and development. CPS HR is a Diamond Level Business Affiliate of CSDA. www.cpshr.us