Watch the Youtube video HERE
I was a featured speaker at the Hiring Success 18 annual customer event organized by SmartRecruiters in San Francisco from March 13-15. SmartRecruiters provides Arkadin and other leading companies with cutting-edge Talent Acquisition software that manages every phase of the hiring process. I was honored to be invited by SmartRecruiters to talk about how recruitment today is turning into a new marketing activity. This article is based on that speech.
I began working with Arkadin 8 years ago as Global Director of Product Marketing & Digital Communication. Arkadin is one of the largest and fastest-growing companies in Unified Communications & Collaboration services (audio, web & video conferencing) delivered in the Cloud. Arkadin is also a proud member of the NTT Group, one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world.
When I first joined the company, my job was to launch new products in audio, web, and video conferencing, as well as to deploy our corporate website and develop our social media. Just as earlier in my career with companies such as Coca-Cola, ReadSoft and Siemens, my job was all about brand management, communication, vision, mission, packaging, brand identity… and of course, the customer experience.
Then, 3 years ago, Arkadin undertook a sweeping digital transformation initiative across all areas of the company – HR in particular – and I had to ask myself how I could transform my love for products into love for people, in order to reach our ambitious revenue target of 400 M€ in 2020 – which meant achieving a 30% growth increase in the Unified Communications business.
To accompany this digital HR growth with an average of 400 people to hire per year from across the world was both an exciting (and logical) challenge to accept, because the way I see it, there’s really only a very small step from Marketing to Talent Acquisition.
In Marketing, we talk about a funnel composed of the 3 stages of the consumer journey: I Know, I Like, I Buy (a product). An almost identical funnel can be applied to Talent Acquisition, but with a different destination: I Know, I Like, I Apply (for a job). Because in the same way we target clients to sell products, we can also target candidates to “sell” jobs – and more importantly to “sell” a company culture with its core values and inner beliefs.
1. AWARENESS: The “I KNOW” stage of the journey
As a Marketer, you first need to answer the question: Why buy my product? What benefits and unique value will it bring to my consumers or customers? As an Employer, the question is basically the same: Why work at my company in particular? Instead of addressing business decision-makers, you need to talk to candidates according to their different job profiles.
Whether you target customers or candidates, the marketing methodology is the same: You first define what makes your product unique and different for potential customers within your industry sector – or identify the reasons for choosing you as an Employer over your competitors. This is how you develop your brand personality and your EVP – your Employer Value Proposition. A strong Value Proposition balances rational and emotional factors to ensure that your brand personality will be a subtle combination of the Yin and the Yang.
At Arkadin, the slogan that expresses our Employer Value Proposition is “Be Contagiously Enthusiastic”. Why? Because Happy Days at work make Happy Careers for our employees, contagiously leading to the global success of our company!
Once you have your Value Proposition, your objective should be to create and increase your Brand Awareness thanks to a 360° integrated media plan. And the first channel where your Brand should be showcased is, of course, your Careers site. For the purposes of Talent Acquisition, it’s essential to also actively advertise on social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter – at a minimum. But today, one of the most powerful channels of communication to increase awareness of your brand might very well be the social networks of your own employees. By liking and sharing job vacancies and company news articles, employee advocacy is becoming the new generation of advertising for your brand!
2. INTEREST: The “I LIKE” stage of the journey
This is the stage where you transform mere awareness of a Brand into liking or even loving it. It’s a critical stage in which the feelings and emotions of your target audiences must be stimulated to create an affinity, a subtle alchemy, with your brand.
Marketing Content Management plays an instrumental role here. By building up an editorial plan with topics posted across your website, your blog and pertinent social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, you’ll capture the interest of your target audiences and engage in powerful conversations with them.
At Arkadin, we have 3 main types of content: Thought leadership (management styles, self-development, coaching, skills, behaviors and postures to have at work, etc.); Tips and tricks (useful subjects for job-seekers and employees alike); and Social Life (the real lives of employees behind the scenes, featuring photos and stories about internal events, from Charity programs and Sport Championships to Sales kick-offs and Incentive programs, etc.).
Every additional detail that can tell your target audience more about your company and the career opportunities you offer is a selling point. Your employees are simply the best advocates to talk about their jobs and company with truth, enthusiasm and credibility. Produce as many video testimonials of your employees as you can: I know from experience that they’re the most effective marketing materials you can publish on social media.
By stimulating good feelings and emotions within your target audience, little by little you’ll nurture a positive image and job seekers will start liking your company – and even dream of working with you!
3.ACTION: The “I BUY” / “I APPLY” stage of the journey
In Marketing, merely capturing the interest of your clients with great branding and marketing content isn’t enough. You have to create a positive Customer Relationship at each touch point thanks to regular direct mailing campaigns or field operations to connect more directly and physically with your target audiences.
It’s the same with Talent Acquisition. It’s vital to manage relationships with candidates at each touch point, generating a positive experience every step of the way, during telephone calls, email conversations, meetings at school events or job fairs, and interviews, right up until the job contract is signed.
A Talent Acquisition Team dedicated to enhancing the candidate experience
In order to manage these new end-to-end candidate relationships, at Arkadin we built a new team of Talent Acquisition Specialists around the world, 100% dedicated to recruitment. They all use the same Applicant Tracking System, SmartRecruiters, which basically works like a CRM system, automating and monitoring our hiring process at each step.
And we all employ the same best marketing practices:
- We’re #ContagiouslyEnthusiastic on social media. As these are the first points of contact with candidates, our team members always show their best profiles on LinkedIn and share their jobs with their personal networks for brand advocacy.
- We use a Pull Communication approach: we advertise our job vacancies according to a relevant and targeted media plan. Either we communicate on mainstream job sites to reach standard candidate profiles, or we publish on specialized job boards and blogs when we need specific competences.
- We don’t talk about job descriptions but only about job ads. We use SEO natural ranking marketing techniques to ensure our job vacancies are well ranked on the web through search engines on job aggregators or Google.
- In addition to natural ranking, we also practice paid SEA (Search Engine Advertising) to generate more traffic towards our job vacancies to boost the number of applications.
- We also use a Push Communication approach: The team sends direct mailings and directly approaches candidates to create Talent Pools to fuel a pipeline of leads.
The use of marketing techniques to hire people is a deep trend which is transforming our HR business, but it will never change the fact that recruitment is a human industry. That’s what makes it unique (and what makes Arkadin #ContagiouslyEnthusiastic!) Marketing methods help to recruit faster and cheaper that’s certain, but most importantly, they allow our team to spend more time enhancing the quality of the candidate relationship. Emotional intelligence, creativity and love for people will always be essential for successfully recruiting those who will fit with your company culture.
Talent Acquisition is definitely the new Human Marketing and if I have but one thought to leave you with, it’s this: Think like a Candidate, Act like a Marketer and Love People.
View de video presentation HERE