Much like fishing, recruiting new employees requires the right bait. You can use company cars and expense accounts to lure in potential candidates, but you’ll end up wasting precious resources as you throw countless fish back into the water. Recruiting the right employees — and keeping them aboard — requires some unique tactics.
For example, at Influence & Co., we have a very nontraditional workplace. Potential candidates are often drawn in by the casual dress code, happy hours, time off, and autonomous work environment we offer, but these are only perks of working for us; none of these perks define our culture or communicate who we are. That’s where our content comes in.
More than nice-to-have perks, a solid company culture — one that’s actually lived out day to day — is our best selling point. And while we won’t shy away from tooting our own horn from time to time, we rely mainly on our internal influencers to spread the word. And the content we create is our fuel for that employee advocacy.
Particularly in nontraditional workplaces (like ours), it can be hard for employees to really describe their work experience to other people. Content around your company culture gives employees a valuable resource to showcase their workplace, their team’s values, and the culture of their company to people in their networks (including potential future employees) who may be curious about what they do all day and why they love it so much.
When your employees are engaged in the work they do, they’ll want to share their experience with others — and content is the perfect tool for sharing that experience with their networks.
And while content helps explain culture to friends and family, it also serves as a reminder for your team. Reading about your culture helps employees “zoom out” and remember what the company truly stands for. It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day stress and deadlines, but reading a post about your company values, how you started, and how far you’ve come can inspire your team.
This kind of culture content also helps in the referral process. I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve interviewed candidates who learned about our company through an article their friends (our internal influencers) shared online. They are excited and knowledgeable about our culture and values before we even start the conversation. This glimpse into the daily workings of the company helps both the recruiter and the potential candidate find a great mutual fit early on.
Your internal influencers are key to sharing your culture content and attracting the right candidates to your team. Ready to let your culture shine? The following steps will get you started:
I’m not talking about worms or lures here. Think of your bait as your company brand. Work with company leaders and stakeholders to determine what your brand looks like and how it expresses your company values. Your employees won’t share this culture content if they don’t believe it’s reflective of their experience.
It’s also important to be aware of the tone and voice your company wants to portray in written content. Does your company want to be seen as extremely professional and buttoned-up, or do you want to showcase a more relaxed and flexible vibe? Think about your brand, the way it translates in writing, and how it will be perceived by potential and existing employees when you’re deciding on the bait you’ll use.
Once you know who your ideal candidate is, explore your local fishing holes. Consider common spots like Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, and research where these candidates are looking for jobs. Which social platforms get the most engagement when these people are looking for a new job? When you share your culture content, where are you seeing the most interaction? Share your content there yourself, and encourage your internal influencers to do the same.
Feeling a little overwhelmed? Bring in some muscle to help with the heavy lifting. Your marketing team is well-versed in content marketing and can provide expertise when it comes to brainstorming content topics, bringing your ideas to life, and getting them in front of the right audiences. Even better, your marketing team most likely has an understanding of analytics and data reporting, which can help you understand what’s working and what isn’t.
Your content is ready, but what now? First, include your content in conversations with potential recruits. We used content to hire 30 people in one year, and we noticed a major improvement in the quality of candidates when we included our culture content — which was due, in no small part, to the fact that people who weren’t culture fits weeded themselves out.
Second, create an avenue for these internal influencers to share the content. Employees are effective content distribution assets; make sure you give them the tools they need to help you share this content. We use Slack and companywide emails to update our team when great new content is published. You can take it a step further by including all the right links, hashtags, and images your team might need to share.
Remember, your internal influencers often provide the highest-quality employee referrals your company receives. If you’ve worked hard to build a solid culture and your content reflects that, it’s time to let your influencers do the rest.
I love pop culture, my dog, driving with my sunroof open, and everything Mizzou-related. I'm driven by finding new ways to encourage and engage our team, and I start each morning by asking myself, "What would Beyoncé do?