The Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce recently hosted Talent Day, an event intended to highlight and raise awareness for the need for talent in the Greater Green Bay area. The goal for the event was to have a community conversation in hopes of finding a solution for the hiring problem many companies now face in a post-pandemic environment.
Attendees ranged from businesses large and small, and industries from manufacturing to retail. They all came to the event with the same problem: talent attraction and recruitment.
Does any of this sound familiar?
“I have 50 open positions that I need to fill immediately.”
“I’ll hire anyone who wants to work and shows up.”
"Where are all the workers? Doesn’t anyone want to work anymore?”
“I can’t even think about new business development until I find enough people to get the product shipped that’s already sold.”
Our agency hears these comments from our clients every day. It never used to be that way. In fact, until recently, recruitment rarely came up in conversation. Now, it is often a critical piece of the strategies we develop.
Chris Czarnik, author of 'Winning the War For Talent' isn’t surprised by this and says it was a mathematical certainty as there are 10 million more Baby Boomers retiring from their jobs than the Generation Xers moving into them.
The Formula for Success
Finding new employees is no different than finding new customers for your business. In fact, Czarnik says much of what he learned about 'Winning the War For Talent' came from studying how successful companies sold their products to consumers. The lesson here is to sell jobs the same way you sell products and services because, at the end of the day, you are selling the job.
(Photo Credit: Greater Green Bay Chamber)
Here’s how we break that down into three easy-to-execute steps.
1. Target the right people.
You don’t want just any candidate to apply. You want someone who not only possesses the skills you need, but also the personal qualities that would make them a good fit for your company.
Outlining the skills needed is often the easy part, but how do you know what personality traits will make them a good fit for your company? One tip we use is to interview your best employee. What do they value? What made them decide to work for you? How would their peers describe them? Take those characteristics and incorporate them into your job description.
Here are a few questions Chris shared that can help provide insight into what would attract future employees:
- What job did you have before you started? - What was your life situation at the time you started? - What was the problem that led you to a different job? - What were the words or phrases in the job ad that brought you to us? - What are the two things before starting that you heard about our company that turned out not to be true? - Why did you stay?
2. Deliver the right experience.
That experience starts with messaging on your website. What images and words are you using to attract the candidate you just described? Do those images and words set you apart from your competitors?
The right experience is also about making it easy. The old adage used to be the 3-click-rule. Website users had an expectation of getting the information they came to find in 3 clicks or less. But, things are different now and the number of clicks no longer correlates with a website user's satisfaction. Instead, user satisfaction comes back to basic web design and putting your message where the website users are going to look for it.
3. Distribute your message in the right places.
Distribution is perhaps the most experimental phase of the recruitment process. In other words, there are no black & white guidelines that tell you what to post or where. Partly, because there are so many options – social media, paid ads, job boards.
When you find the right channels, ensure your job description and job ad is saying what you want it to say. Chris shared,
"Job requirements and/or experience on a job description were designed to convince people not to apply."
Chris encouraged that you look long and hard at the bulleted list on the job description you're about to post and ask 'why?'. To be even bolder, Chris suggests saying 'no experience preferred'. This statement is an example of how you, as the employer, can open the door wider for people to apply.
When writing a job ad, think about the personal or professional things that are causing someone to job search. Do they hate their current boss? Do they feel underutilized? Whatever the reason may be, use that knowledge to meet potential employees where they are at emotionally.
"If you're unhappy because of X, Y, and Z, come work for us."
We strongly encourage our clients to think of the messaging phase as an iterative process. Recruitment tactics can be expensive and time-consuming. The best approach is to test different tactics to find out what works for you. As your starting point, go back to your best employees and ask them where they go to learn about new job opportunities.
You certainly don't have to embark on this recruitment journey all alone. There are a number of resources and organizations that are here to help.