You market to your target audience to encourage them to buy your company's products or services.
But are you marketing to potential employees to encourage them to work for your company?
I was invited to speak to that question at the 2015 Seasonal HR Association Conference earlier this month. The attendees are in charge of hiring people for jobs at national parks, resorts and other places that provide seasonal employment.
I had never addressed that specific subject before, but it occurred to me that these HR professionals - and you, as well - could attract top talent by applying a few of the same marketing concepts you may already be using to win customers.
Reach Out Year 'Round to Potential Team Members
First, embrace the idea that marketing to prospective employees is not a quick fix. It's a long-term, multi-channel effort. Placing a single newspaper ad in January won't attract a year's worth of customers. It won't help you reach the right employees on an ongoing basis either.
What's Your Story?
When the economy is stronger, recruiting gets tougher. That's why it's important to share your company's true, unique story as often as you can. What makes your work environment what it is? What are your beliefs and values and passions? What defines your company culture?
It may take a lot of effort and frank conversation among your team, but you must define your story before you can create authentic, engaging messages that separate you from other employers.
Share Your Brand Personality
Think of all the touchpoints you can use to make an impression on the people you want on your team: your website, business cards, email signatures and footers, packaging, invoices, online and on-site video, and On Hold Marketing to name a few. Use those opportunities to give glimpses into what makes your brand and your work environment unique. The cumulative effect of all those touches can provide interested talent with valuable insight about your organization.
Build a Storytelling System
Start by dedicating a section of your website to your future team members. Then, on a regular basis, add new content that tells your employees' stories and showcases your brand personality. Over time, you'll paint a rich portrait of what it's like to work for your company.
A few types of content you might create:
1) Capture video of your happy, successful employees talking about what it is they value most about your company. By showcasing their strengths, you'll also communicate your quality standards to prospective employees.
2) Encourage workers to tell their own stories in a dedicated blog.
3) Create recruiting videos that feature your management team speaking about specific employment opportunities.
4) Share your team's professional victories on your social media channels.
5) Maintain a database of people you'd like to have working for you, as well as recruiters and others who have access to talent. Send them monthly email newsletters about your current opportunities, stories about your company culture, and other positive news.
Yes, defining your story and building a storytelling system will take time, but since they both will lead to robust content that can attract qualified employees for years to come, it'll be time well spent.