Talent Circles

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Secret to Building Your Employment Brand

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

HR professionals, it’s time to start thinking like marketing gurus. No longer can your marketing plan be an afterthought, but instead must be the first thought you have when it comes to the strategic path of your recruiting and hiring. Managing the staffing needs of your company may be your primary responsibility, but marketing your company as an employer is the first step in mastering it. Marketing in HR is nothing new. However, what is new are the tactics being utilized, and even more so the way they’re being used. Effective recruitment marketing includes pieces that are part of a bigger strategic plan or framework. Without that framework, it’s all just a shot in the dark.

When you think of building your employment brand, you likely think of the tactics involved, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, professional organizations and other networking opportunities. These are all proven and effective ways of recruiting, but without seeing how they all fit together, you have a constant handicap. It’s like the difference between using the instructions to assemble a piece of Ikea furniture and just winging it. You might make it through, but there will be that handful of screws left over that leave you wondering whether or not the bed is going to fall apart in the middle of the night.

This is where your talent community comes into play. A framework is created using all of your recruiting and hiring resources. It connects your contacts in professional organizations to your social media, which connects them to online discussions and blogs, which connects them to hiring events...and it goes on and on. Your framework must be built on a strategic plan. How do you want to connect with candidates? What kind of candidates are you seeking? How large of a pipeline of potential candidates do you wish to have? The answers to these questions help to shape your framework.

Your talent community essentially creates a pipeline of potential candidates for your recruiting and hiring efforts. The way it does so is by connecting you with these candidates far before a position ever opens up and keeping the line of communication open through multiple channels. It’s said in marketing that typically an ad must be seen several times in order to be remembered. The same is true of your employment brand. In fact, it helps to think of your employment brand the same way other companies think of their businesses, as having savvy customers who have a choice of where to visit or in your case, apply. Your talent community creates multiple experiences across many channels for your potential candidates.

Those experiences actually create a path for candidates, though it’s not a path you might define or expect to be the same from person to person. One candidate’s path may begin at a career fair, while another’s may start by discovering you on LinkedIn. The actual path taken isn’t as important as the fact that there is a path. The last thing you want is to invest your time and money into connecting with potential candidates for it to lead to a dead end. A talent community creates a constant conversation. This constant conversation puts your employment brand at the forefront of your applicant pool’s minds and makes recruiting and hiring quicker, easier and more successful.

What channels do you use in recruiting and hiring that you could utilize in building a talent community? Let us know in the comments below.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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