The Business Improvement Network

Branding for growth

By Simon Curtis

Growth in its offering, growth in its profit and growth in its headcount. When our offering grows, we shout from the rooftops about our new products and services, and employ marketing teams to spend cumulative billions on advertising. When our profits grow, our shareholders, the financial press and media in general rejoice the hike in profits and most public companies list their real time share price on their website. So why, when we are growing our headcount, does the same not apply? We outsource the advertising, let someone else shout about our now-anonymous company. We put the story of our success in the hands of someone who may only be working from a paper job spec, with a tick list of ‘beneficial’ and ‘essential’ skills.

I recently met with the VP of one of the UK’s largest listed technology companies who was aggrieved after spending close to £80k on recruitment fees for three senior sales staff. His dismay lay in the fact that of the three hires he made, all three were people he already knew; in fact, two of the three worked for his previous company. Interestingly, in this instance, the VP didn’t question the outcome, he questioned the value the recruiter had added. Despite getting exactly what he asked for at the agreed fee, he was left disappointed. When I asked what his company had done to attract the sales staff themselves, I was met with a long silence.

Is it time that we changed our recruitment strategy? Shouldn’t we take back control of the elements that (as the employer) we should be shouting about? And make the most of the abundance of free resource and networks that the web and social media offers? This isn’t a ticket to stop using recruiters, because believe me, you will still need them. It is about taking responsibility for promoting your company in a way that is fitting in today’s day and age.

The most successful employers I have worked with over the last five years in particular have five things in common when it comes to successful recruitment strategy:

  • They have defined their employer brand. They know their story, their values, their culture and their people. This acts as a foundation to attract potential candidates and is integrated into the recruitment process.
  • They are proactive. Plan ahead, remember the 7 Ps. Have a headcount growth plan, identify skill gaps and understand your attrition. By planning in advance, you can use your employer brand story to attract like-minded individuals via social networks before any vacancies go live.
  • They value partnership. Whether you like recruiters or not, find a great one and don’t drill them on price at the first opportunity. Let them understand your employer brand, business plans and incentivise them to deliver your needs. Make sure where possible that you leverage your own networks and resources before engaging them on a search.  A great recruiter will find your ideal candidate without an advert – so next time, test their mettle.
  • They embrace technology. Enable candidates to apply to you with the greatest of ease. Create a sexy careers site, tell your employer brand story, talk about your people and consider capturing candidates on mobile devices (have you got your CV on your iPhone?). Check out sites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube that are providing a visual window into your world of work like never before.
  • They create a great candidate experience. Make everyone want to work for your company, whether they get the job or not. This could be easier than you think and typically requires no capital investment. Get it wrong and it could cost you more than just a hire. Virgin Media recently studied the impact of their own candidate experience and turned it into a revenue stream.

So there it is. Maybe it’s time to start thinking about changing the way you recruit in order to change the results. Shout about your employer brand and tell your story - you might even have some fun along the way.
 
If you are not sure where to start, then let us TuneUp your employer brand.
 

About the author

Simon Curtis is a seasoned recruitment professional - and open water swimming fanatic with many 10k swims under his belt – he is the MD of Tuned Talent Solutions in Reading.

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