In April 2019, the U.S. monthly unemployment rate hit 3.6% – the lowest number in over a decade.
This is great news for job seekers, but not so much for businesses with staff roles they need to fill. A competitive hiring market makes it difficult to attract top talent – especially if you work for a brand without a lot of industry visibility or big bucks to shell out for recruiting efforts.
Many companies are turning to content marketing to reach potential job candidates – as well as to engage and support their existing workforce.
Corporate climate change
A business climate rife with mergers, consolidations, and restructuring – combined with the influence of major workforce disruptors like startup culture and the emerging gig economy – have effectively killed off the days when employees were likely to remain with a single company for the duration of their careers.
Not that they necessarily even want to do so anymore:
According to a 2018 survey by staffing firm Robert Half, 64% of professionals see strong benefits in changing jobs every few years – including higher salaries and better potential for career advancement. And that rate rises to 75% when looking at workers ages 18 to 34.
Yet, today’s workers aren’t just job-hopping for more dollars and a better shot at the corner office (which doesn’t really exist anyway thanks to the open-office trend). Reports like ManpowerGroup’s Millennial Careers: Vision 2020 say the younger generation also looks for signs that an employer will recognize their skills and contributions, support their need for creativity and flexibility, and that the total job experience will reflect their values and priorities.
In short, they aren’t just looking to make a living, they’re looking for job opportunities that fit their lifestyle – in and out of the office. And what better way for companies to show off their workplace advantages than by sharing engaging content that highlights their companies in creative, unique, and compelling ways?
By doing that, some enterprising brands have managed to draw increased attention – and a talented field of qualified job applicants. Here are a few tips from their efforts to assist you in your brand’s recruitment marketing.
Tip 1: Use social media to put your in-office experience on display
Social media has become part and parcel to the workplace experience, as workers are commonly expected to leverage key platforms, like Facebook, LinkedIn, and even YouTube, to share company happenings.
Likewise, prospective employees often take to their favorite social sites to research the companies they are considering in their careers, to get a clearer view of each organization’s workplace values and vision, as well as to gain a deeper sense of its less-publicized qualities – like what it’s really like to work there day to day.
Microsoft Life’s Facebook community: Social-savvy businesses can give candidates an insider’s view of the intangible aspects of work life from the workers’ perspective. One company that does this really well is Microsoft, which has created a Facebook community, Microsoft Life, for its career-focused brand fans.
In place of a static cover photo, Microsoft showcases an eye-catching video composed of employee photos and testimonials that speak to the soft benefits today’s candidates seek – like a corporate culture that emphasizes diversity and celebrates employees’ unique ideas and contributions. The page is updated regularly with posts, photos, and other content that reinforce these positive messages as well as highlight how Microsoft’s products and services support them in other organizations.
A day in the life of a Cielo Bank employee: Cielo Bank may be a market leader in credit and debit cards in Brazil, but the company may still sometimes struggle to attract young and creative financial professionals. To shift the perception of its career offerings from an inflexible bank to a future-focused employer, Cielo created a video series for LinkedIn using previous program trainees who discuss their daily work life. As a result of the effort – built around popular recruiting themes like innovation and quality of life – the company increased its inbound job applications by 52%, picked up a 2018 Content Marketing Award for Best Use of LinkedIn for Content Marketing, and even compelled a high-profile Brazilian influencer to reach out and ask for a job.
Booking.com elevates the career experience: Similarly, video plays a huge role in Booking.com’s hiring plan, as the travel site has produced a YouTube channel, Planet Booking, dedicated to showcasing details of its desirable office experience. Not only does the content feature interviews with department managers and conversations with employees, it highlights cultural values the company upholds outside the office, like the importance of giving back to the community through volunteer work.
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Tip 2: Offer education and empowerment to advance careers
As the workforce gets younger, different priorities come into play. For example, given that they don’t expect to remain in one job for their whole lives, millennials place a high priority on working for a company that offers opportunities to expand their skill set and increase their knowledge base. According to the ManpowerGroup study, four out of five say the opportunity to learn new skills is a top factor when they consider a new job, and 22% intend to take an extended break from work to gain new skills and qualifications.
To deliver on these information-age expectations, businesses in recruitment mode can leverage their content assets to highlight the ways they promote self-education and reinforce the value of lifelong learning.
GE schools the future generation of STEM workers: While it’s common for companies these days to offer benefits like tuition reimbursement and on-the-job training programs, it takes a truly dedicated organization to promote higher education among audiences who won’t even enter the job market for at least a few more years.
That’s what GE did with its 2017 Balance the Equation initiative. You may recall the high-profile launch of this campaign, in which MIT professor and pioneering female nanoscientist Millie Dresselhaus was elevated to rock-star status with her likeness placed on T-shirts, billboards, ad spots, and even an emoji. By depicting a life where society treats women scientists like the celebrities they should be, the initiative aims to inspire the next generation of female job-seekers to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Then, to put its money where its mouth is, GE used the initiative to launch both an educational bus tour of college campuses and a company pledge to put 20,000 women in technical roles by 2020.
Tip 3: Make your content do double duty
Your recruitment content doesn’t always need to be built from scratch. In fact, the videos, interviews, social media posts, and other assets in your marketing campaigns can serve this purpose with a bit of extra effort.
For example, in his keynote address at Content Marketing World 2018, Andrew Davis shared an intriguing recruitment campaign produced by Capital Group. The company repurposed video footage from the TEDx-like talks it regularly shares with employees and added interview clips and b-roll to refocus on drawing interest among job applicants.
Tip 4: Shift your all-work-and-no-play mentality
The job search can be a grind – for both seekers and employers. But adding levity into the equation can give both sides an edge over the competition.
Kantega demystifies development: Kantega, a Norwegian software development company, was looking for a way to attract skilled developers. Demand is high for these candidates. To give its recruiting an edge over the competition, Kantega produced The Mysterious Life of Developers, a mockumentary film documenting the everyday life of developers narrated in the style of David Attenborough.
After posting on YouTube, the video rapidly became a viral hit, generating over 180,000 shares, 60,000 comments, 200,000 reactions, and 22 million views. And on top of getting picked up by major industry news outlets – and picking up a 2018 Content Marketing Award for Best Use of Video in Content Marketing – it hit the marketing mark by driving a 3,571% increase in traffic to Kantega’s career website.
MailChimp swings for the fences: Of course, digital formats aren’t the only way to marry entertainment and employee recruitment content. As a prime example, look at these baseball cards that MailChimp created a few years back to pass out at job fairs. As this LinkedIn post details, the cards were fun and easy to read, and provided just enough information on each open position to get candidates interested in talking with its recruiters.
Beyond building awareness about open positions, MailChimp also creates content that helps take some stress and uncertainty out of the job hunt – such as this article posted on its careers page, which details the company’s recruitment process from application to offer. (The only thing it doesn’t explain is what that raccoon is doing in its team photo.)
Tip 5: Put candidates’ talents to the test
Employee satisfaction is a nice thing for a company to get high marks on, but the ultimate goal of a company’s recruitment process is to find the best person for the job at hand. And for popular industries with dozens of qualified applicants, it can be tough to gauge which candidates truly exhibit the right combination of skills and capabilities rather than those who look great on a resume but lack the ability to perform to the requirements of the position.
Jaguar Land Rover gamifies the job competition: For this reason, your organization may want to consider creating content designed to bubble up the best candidates to the top of the interview list. Jaguar Land Rover invited engineering talent to participate in a crack-the-code challenge delivered through a mixed-reality app developed for the band Gorillaz. The goal was to entice diverse, creative, and highly skilled coders to submit a job application.
Employ your content marketing to its potential
Employment is a buyer’s market right now, so businesses need to do everything they can to compete for qualified talent and keep their existing workforce stimulated and satisfied. No matter what kinds of roles your company might look to fill, strategically created recruitment marketing content can be just the thing to raise your visibility among skilled applicants and fuel your business with the right (human) resources.
Interact with thousands of your fellow content marketers – and you might find a few to put on your hiring list. Attend Content Marketing World Sept. 2-6 in Cleveland, Ohio. Register today using code CMIBLOG100 to save $100.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute