As we're constantly telling our clients, one of the best ways to engage existing and potential candidates is to be a great storyteller. A big part of powerful storytelling is understanding your audience. If you want to hire the right people, you first need to make sure that you're targeting the right audience.
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"The first – and most important – step is to know what talent you'll need," Falon Fatemi, CEO and founder of Node, writes in a Forbes article. "If you don't start with an ideal candidate profile, then chances are high you won't hire the right fit."
Here is some advice on how to harness the power of storytelling to maximize the efficacy of your recruitment marketing messages and improve your hiring outcomes.
1. Do the Research
Creating "candidate personas" can help you target your messaging. Start by determining which kinds of personas you need. Then, gather information about what motivates each of those personas. Think about the main 'types' of candidates you are looking for, and then answer relevant questions about them.
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- Where do these profiles spend their time?
- How do they learn and get industry news?
- What events are important to them?
- Who do they follow?
The more you learn about the candidates you're looking for, the more effectively you can target your messaging.
2. Create Candidate Personas
Once you have done the research and know what you're looking for, you can use this information to create fleshed-out candidate personas.
"The greatest benefit of utilizing personas is this: If you know your audience, the likelihood of creating programs and producing content that will engage it increases exponentially," writes Buyukataman.
To create your personas, combine what you've learned about the realities of the candidate types you're looking for with the ideal qualities and traits you'd like to find in a future employee. The more complete and in-depth your candidate personas are, the more helpful they will be in guiding your recruitment marketing messaging.
To improve your results, focus on the ideal traits and qualities that you're looking for, such as quick-thinking or flexibility, rather than fixating on years of experience or tangentially related qualifications.
"Managers can usually find job applicants with sufficient technical skills – or at least the capacity to acquire them," workplace expert and author Lynn Taylor told Business Insider. "But you can't teach, for example, honesty or character."
Especially when you're looking for career-long employees, the right traits can more than make up for slight lacks of experience.
3. Craft Targeted Messages
Now that you know what your target candidates are like, you should think about how those kinds of people want to be engaged. Attracting candidates is in many ways like getting a first date. Just as you wouldn't expect good results from spamming all your potential interests with the same canned lines, you're not going to get good results from generic messaging in your candidate outreach. This is especially true for hard-to-reach passive candidates. The best of the best have many options and will favor companies that seem more specifically interested in them over employers that send out mass mailings.
Nurture campaigns allow you to move passive candidates through the talent pipeline. By targeting the messaging you use in your nurture campaigns to specific candidate personas, you'll increase the click-through and read rates of your emails. People want to read things that are helpful to them. If you understand the persona profiles of the candidates you are reaching out to, you can selectively include the articles, videos, and infographics, that they will find interesting in your emails.
Targeted messaging should also be used across your web assets, such as in your job postings and on your career pages. While persona-specific messaging should be used in the corresponding job postings, career pages and other assets that will be viewed by many different types of potential candidates require a slightly different approach. Look at what all of your different candidate personas have in common and use those factors to inform general assets, such as your company's recruiting videos.
Danai Kadzere is a content marketer at Happie, a candidate sourcing and engagement software.