Advertising beer night is not recruitment marketing
Although most HR professionals have no background in marketing, they are typically assigned the more specialised and challenging task of handling their company’s recruitment marketing.
How do they position their brand to attract the best talent in their field?
This question is tough to answer, and it is one that HR professionals across the tech ecosystem have been struggling with more and more.
As the world produces more unicorns and other successful tech companies, the competition for the very best talent is getting stiffer.
It’s no longer enough to provide a competitive salary and benefits package – candidates want something more, even if they can’t always precisely define it.
Unfortunately, most recruitment marketing or employer branding is not particularly advanced.
Most often brands tend to skew their recruitment marketing toward a random aspect about their company, such as the fact that they offer catered lunches on certain days, or that they can play video games on breaks.
Such data points are helpful, but they don’t provide the complete picture that would sway candidates in their direction.
As a co-founder and content strategist at Ambidextr, a venture-backed firm focused on scalable content marketing.
I have even seen at least one company rest their recruitment marketing strategy on the imagery of their beer nights, and no, they did not produce or sell alcohol.
Any employer branding this one-dimensional is more likely bound to filter away the best talent rather than attract them.
Psychology and startups
A helpful paradigm for recruitment marketing comes from the field of psychology, in particular, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Brands should see to it that their recruitment marketing touches upon all five rungs of the hierarchy, beginning with the bottom in ‘Physiological Needs’.
Even if your company does not offer gourmet meals as Facebook or Google does, you still must emphasise how you cater to their well-being, via your fitness programs and work-life balance initiatives, or even, free food and drinks (however occasionally).
No one, after all, can innovate on an empty stomach. Show them as Robinhood does on its career page that you attend to these basic physiological needs that many companies mistakenly overlook, using consistent messaging across both copy and visuals.
As for safety needs in the context of work, it most often refers to finances.
You need to show that your venture offers competitive compensation and that there is wealth (pun intended) of other company-backed savings and investment programs to help your people secure their financial well-being even further.
Relatedly, it’s important to highlight that your startup is well past the validation stage and has achieved the sustainability, if not escape velocity, of a fast-growth and very stable tech company.
This is best done through a third-party press. For instance, Singapore-based blockchain company, Pundi X, prominently documents its coverage in Quartz, CNN, and Forbes, which many companies believe it or not still fail to collate.
Such documentation, especially in a bleeding-edge field like blockchain, can signal to potential candidates that your company has the stability and hyper-growth speed for them to likewise grow and grow fast.
The next two needs are interrelated.
Need for belonging and love
To highlight how you can fulfil the need for Belonging and Love, you must convey that your work environment is supportive and that people get along.
Contrary to the popular notion, this does not boil down to employees being able to drink or party with one another. Instead, you should show how the work environment is itself conducive to growth.
People feel psychologically safe enough to give constructive criticism to anyone, and in turn, receive feedback from others.
So rather than just state your company’s values, your recruitment marketing should also describe your process for measuring how people should live up to them – that is, your philosophy on feedback.
Whether it’s radical candor or 360-degree feedback, you should be transparent in explaining these procedures and mechanisms.
By doing so, you prove that your company has the ultimate kind of professional love. People care enough about you to point out areas where you can improve, even if it may be tough to bring up in the first place.
This kind of environment will push people to go beyond themselves, achieve and chalk up accomplishments that will contribute to their needs for Esteem, which is the second-highest rung on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
In terms of recruitment marketing, this involves highlighting team members who have won individual awards, gained admission into fellowships, or earned certifications, advanced degrees, or other merit-based qualifications.
Jobs platform Kalibrr, which is backed by Y Combinator, regularly promotes the success of its employees, such as a developer who placed in the top twenty-five of Google’s Code Jam 2015.
More employers need to view these external accomplishments not as a deviation from their official duties, but a validation of their incredible talent.
The topmost rung on the hierarchy of need is, of course, Self-actualization, which is defined as a person reaching their full potential.
In the same way that self-actualisation is the focus of most people’s lives, so should you, too, making it the centre of your recruitment marketing.
You must celebrate how your company can empower individuals to achieve a career- or even life-defining accomplishments.
Such self-actualisation will vary by profession. For an engineer, this might entail gaining a patent for an innovative technology he developed, while for a marketer, this might mean publishing a book about the company’s history.
What’s key is you prove there is breadth at your company: There is enough space to accomplish their own goals within the venture’s broader goals.
Also Read: 7 effective ways to motivate employees
By giving top-level talent a holistic picture of what it is like to work at your company, they can more easily imagine themselves there.
They will be more likely to join you over a competitor who is merely promoting their flexi-time or free beer. The best talent, after all, isn’t looking for a jungle gym, but for a place to grow.
Editor’s note: e27 publishes relevant guest contributions from the community. Share your honest opinions and expert knowledge by submitting your content here.
Image Credit: Austin Distel