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Ensure a Positive Candidate Experience When Hiring Contingent Talent Remotely

As digitization, coupled with the global pandemic, propels contingent hiring online and with more individuals relying on employer reviewer sites to evaluate businesses, delivering a positive[...]

March 10, 2021

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Improve Your Hiring Methodology with a Little Help from Marketing

Sales tactics are always changing. The rise of the internet and social media has brought with it a major shift in how we attract and convert customers. Today’s sales methodology is customer-centric and highly personalized. We no longer cast a broad net blindly into the dark, but instead, use targeted campaigns that illuminate the buyer’s needs and how we can meet them. Conveniently, this strategy can – and should – be used to shape your hiring methodology as well.

The History of Marketing in Eleven Sentences

Marketing as we know it today didn’t exist before the 1960s. Selling a product was a promotional game of luck – salesmen went door-to-door peddling their wares while advertisers created catchy slogans for magazines and tv commercials. There was no targeting, no consideration of what the customer truly needed. Sales was about moving the product, not selling a solution. It wasn’t until the mid-1950s that the customer became a central component of sales. Peter Drucker, an Austrian business consultant, began looking at “marketing” as a central philosophy of business in the mid-1950s. It was to be a process used to research and identify customer needs and fulfill them.

In 1960, Theodore Levitt, a lecturer at Harvard Business School, expanded upon this idea in his article “Marketing Myopia.” The article further defined marketing as “the idea of satisfying the needs of the customer by means of the product and the whole cluster of things associated with creating, delivering, and finally, consuming it.” Thus, the concept of sales was forever changed. One might call it the death of a traditional salesman.

Customers and Candidates Are More Alike Than You Think

Marketing, at its core, remains the same today as it was at its inception. The customer’s needs remain central to business. However, these days, our research processes and tools are much more intelligent, and our marketing models are more fleshed-out. Brian Halligan, CEO and co-founder of Hubspot, created the inbound sales methodology, which includes strategies like defining the buyer’s journey, identifying buyer personas, and creating customized marketing messages to reach and convert them.

Today’s job market isn’t that far-removed from today’s consumer marketplace. There are a lot of similarities between candidates and customers. Both follow a pipeline of awareness, consideration, and decision. Both have a variety of opportunities to choose from. Both have specific wants and needs. And both have a tremendous amount of power. Today’s job market revolves around the candidate, just as the consumer market revolves around the buyer. Whether you’re hoping to score a loyal customer or a loyal employee, you’d best keep them at the center of your inbound strategy.

What Your Hiring Methodology Should Look Like in 2018

You’ve likely updated your sales models to reflect modern best practices, but what about your hiring models? Sure, maybe you post to online job boards or work with tech-savvy recruiters, but is that enough? In my opinion, no. Good-quality candidates are hard to find these days. The onboarding process is long and expensive, and hiring the wrong person can lose you as much as 30% of their first-year earnings. You need to meet candidates where they are and give them all the information they need to make the decision that’s right for the both of you. We can look at inbound sales tactics for inspiration.

Create Buyer Personas

For those of you who don’t know, a buyer persona is a handy document that encapsulates your ideal buyers based on market research. It includes things like demographics, pain points, motivations, goals, and more. It offers insight into the mind of your buyer and determines other strategies within the sales methodology. Talent personas would be equally effective. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What’s the demographic of my ideal candidate? Where do they live? How old are they? What’s their current job title and income? You can answer these questions using simple research.
  • What skills and experience do they have? Is he or she a team-player that worked across several departments, or are they someone who is highly-skilled in one area and capable of working on their own? Look at past positions, industries, and brands for this information.
  • What are their goals or, in other words, why would they be interested in your company? Is it all about the money? Are they after growth opportunities, a different company culture, or a better work-life balance? Sometimes, candidates will tell you this right in their summaries. Other times, you may need to look into the companies they worked for previously.
Building a narrative around your prospects makes it easier to rule out over or underqualified candidates early in the process, saving hiring managers a lot of time and money. You may even want to pass on your personas to recruiters to use in their search.

Craft Targeted Content That Connects

The next step in the inbound marketing methodology would be creating content that attracts different buyer personas, like blogs or videos. The hiring equivalent of this content would be your job description and company message. Remember: always keep your ideal candidate in mind. Think about what information you would want to know about your business if you were searching (or being recruited) for the job. I’ve written before about the importance of writing targeted job descriptions, so check out the post for tips.

Educate and Advise the Prospect to Win Them Over

Ideally, a successful inbound marketing model concludes with either a sale or a brand advocate. After attracting and converting a prospect into a lead, the next step is to position the product as a solution to the buyer’s problem. Sales teams would do this by educating the buyer on why their product is the best choice. In an inbound hiring model, this would occur during the interview process. Refer to your candidate personas to determine interview style or specific talking points. For example, if you know the candidate is looking to grow their careers, ask them about their goals and provide examples of how they can grow within your company. Obviously, you can also use this information to make your decision about the candidate, too.

Two Paths Diverged (But They Were Both a lot Alike)

As you can see, the inbound methodology isn’t just limited to marketing; buyers and candidates follow very similar paths. The candidate becomes aware of your business through the job listing, they consider your business while reading the job listing, and will make their decision after the interview. Even the tactics you use to move the two through each stage are alike. The only difference is that the end goal isn’t to get a loyal customer, but a dedicated employee who wants to stick around for the long haul.

Casey Enstrom
Casey Enstrom
Casey is one of the staffing industry’s household names, specializing in sales and operations leadership. He brings extensive knowledge of business development and sales strategies, predictive analytics, leadership, and human capital solutions. Prior to Crowdstaffing, Casey served as the Vice President of Technical Sales, North America, for a Fortune 1000 staffing firm.
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