I think we need to put more thought into trying to create Gravitational Recruiting. That is, recruiting that pulls in applicants (active and passive) like matter in space to the Earth or the Sun.
Currently, we have more of a mindset of just get something out there to be seen. As if, someone just seeing that our company has a job opening is enough to get someone to apply.
But, we can not get too salesy and pushy, because people do not like to be sold to or recruited when they are not really looking (fairly happy).
How do we create Gravitational Recruiting?
Firstly, we need to market to the people who would think (if they knew more about your company and job) – “I really want what you have to offer in the job.” We need to know what they want, what is missing in their current roles, what their challenges are, what their problems are, etc. We need multiple targets, because we might be resolving multiple problems and one size does not fit all.
Secondly, we need to create emotion engaging messages that resonate with our targeted applicants. We need to show that we have what they have always wanted and they could be living the dream by working for us.
Thirdly, we need to use the right media that our targeted groups are at.
If you had a food truck, you would go where you knew there were starving crowds. Starving crowds is the targeted group, the food truck and marketing on the truck would show how they would be filled and get a great new flavor or experience coming to them, and where they set up (where the crowd is at) would be the media/location. What kind of marketing or sales would you need? You show up and people are pulled to your truck because they are starving and crave what you have.
Obviously, that is why the active candidates are so easy to target. They are pulled to you because they are starving for work and an income. So they come without much more than a job post that just says what the company wants. That is all that is needed and they are pulled in (by the gravity of their need).
What about passive candidates? You know, the people that say they are happy where they are at and try to get off the phone as soon as possible when you call. What are they starving for? It does not necessarily have to be about more money.
Could be a shorter commute or telecommute opportunity. I know I have heard many candidates say they are looking because they are tired of the drive in (unless they are unemployed, and then they are more open to driving farther).
Could be less travel. I have heard of many contractors that are tired of the 75% or 100% travel and want to settle down.
Could be a cause that your company serves. Nonprofits have been using this for years to attract talent at lower wages. For profit companies could stand for something and have a cause as well. Think of Ford in the early days…their cause was to make cars affordable and accessible to all. Some people wanted to make that happen. Startups also often have an advantage here, because they are often trying to change the world in some way.
Could be specific experience that would be gained. Perhaps you are offering a manager position and someone would like to get into management for the first time. Perhaps you are offering a position that will get exposure to a technology they always wanted to work with. Perhaps you are offering a position in an industry that they have always wanted to work in. It is always difficult getting your first job in a new area, because so many managers want people who have been there and done that. So if you have a position that will allow someone who does not yet have the experience get into the position, you have something to offer.
Could be a benefit that could not be had anywhere else (or very rarely). Perhaps you have a dog-friendly office and a group that could be targeted are people with the skill-set you are looking for who have always wanted to bring their dogs to work. Perhaps your company has on-site day care, laundry services, banking, barber, car shop, etc…or agreements with nearby services so that employees can get their tasks done while at work. Has your company ever thought about hiring a concierge to help the company’s employees and make their lives easier?
Ask your current employees – why did you accept the position and come to work here…why do continue to work here…why do you stay? They will let you know what things they were starving for and how you are keeping them fed. It may be the commute, experience, etc, etc. With this information, you can target groups and create messages that will pull in others who are starving for the same things.
If you do a lot of digging and you still can’t find things in your company that people are starving for, then that might be the problem why you might be having a hard time attracting talent (especially top talent who are more demanding because they are in demand). If that is the case, then you need to work with management and the executives to start creating some things that will fulfill the targeted group’s needs and desires.