Be a digital recruiting success

October 28, 2016 -  By

is_75908143_hiringEffective digital recruiting requires captivating storytelling.

If you could have five minutes of your dream candidate’s attention, what would you say to dazzle him? Imagine what your ideal candidate would like to hear. Desperate companies tend to throw everything they can offer into the conversation, hoping to get lucky. This is like trying to marry someone right after a first date. It doesn’t work that way.

You can see the marketing version of this scenario on the home page of many company websites in the green industry. In addition to oodles of pictures, you can see testimonials and awards, buttons for a dozen business specialties and links to the two dozen communities the company serves. This approach is confusing, lacks pizazz and fails to inspire action.

If you want to be a digital recruiting sensation, start thinking like savvy digital marketers. They know one simple truth: Your digital media need only to convince potential candidates to take a single action that sets them on a path to success with your business. If they do that, you’ve earned permission to have them act again and engage more until they’ve reached the desired destination—theirs and yours. That candidate’s journey with your company ideally promises even more than he imagined.

How that’s accomplished is older than the dirt beneath your feet. It’s through storytelling—one compelling story after another, with a specific purpose in mind. You have that, right? Here’s the secret. If you can learn how to tell your story in a digital environment, you can tell it on any stage at a moment’s notice.

The Landscape Digital Institute and LM recently surveyed the industry to create the “2016 Landscape Industry Digital Marketing Report.” One of our findings was that only 11 percent of landscape companies have written marketing channel objectives, which suggests the “spray and pray” approach is driving their marketing and recruiting efforts. And let’s be clear about one thing—recruiting is marketing.

So let’s return to that five-minute interview with your dream candidate. What specific outcome are you hoping to achieve? When you commit to that objective in writing, you’re that much closer to knowing the story that will influence his decision. This is how skilled website developers make sure every page works together to deliver a silky smooth digital experience.

I would guess somewhere on your website is a call to action for career opportunities. Does that page simply collect information, or does it tell a story that captures the X factor that distinguishes your company from others, so superstar candidates know you’re speaking to them?

Communication channels need objectives

Kelly Dowell, business developer at Dowco Enterprises in St. Louis, conducts live leadership and lifestyle development events for the company’s employees under the umbrella of Dowco Academy. Guests are invited. This training is another communication channel. As such, it has specific channel objectives that keep the curriculum focused on achieving them. Dowco Academy adds value for employees because it helps build trust and confidence about working for a company that cares about their well-being. That’s great marketing for recruiting and hiring. Better still would be to invite outsiders who might be potential candidates and give them access to that value for free.

The story of what it’s like to work for Dowco is embedded in every one of its live events, so working at Dowco means more than just earning a paycheck. That experience develops new relationships and creates a buzz in the local communities the company serves. Dowco plans to make this training available online, which is another channel that needs its own objectives. One purpose of online training is to migrate people into the live training where they can get the full experience.

How digital marketing works

When I was writing my book, “Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business,” I came across an article on LinkedIn about a recruiter who noted that every job interview question can be distilled down to three:

  • Do you want the job?
  • Can you handle the work?
  • Will we enjoy working with you?

My reaction at the time was that’s exactly how digital marketing works. So I dedicated a few pages of the book to explain why. Just as a job candidate has to prove his fit, a company needs to show buyers it really wants their business, has the expertise to handle it and that everything about the experience will be remarkable.

Recruitment, marketing is a process of taking an individual on a journey with an uncertain destination. For that journey to be everything it can be, candidates have to tell themselves a story that validates their decision to join your company. Later, they’ll use the story to justify it again for their spouse, friends or boss, so it has to be a good one.

Your job is to help your employees tell a story that sizzles. You can only do that by mapping out the journey so all employees know the right stories to tell at the right time. That’s what will dazzle, inspire and spark change for every candidate your business discovers.


Quick tip:

Make sure your “career opportunities” page tells a story that distinguishes your company from others, so superstar candidates know you’re speaking to them.

Photo: ©istock.com/cigdemhizal

Jeff Korhan

About the Author:

Korhan is a consultant who helps Green Industry businesses use social media and Internet marketing to create exceptional customer experiences. Contact him at jeffkorhan.com.

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