talent brand

Why talking about career growth opportunities is essential in getting the right candidates

Published by Stephanie Heisz, Talent Advisor, TalentMinded Inc.

Most job ads are boring and generic; a sea of sameness.  But what do candidates really want to know? What would make the best talent take notice of your job opportunity?

One common theme that almost always comes up during the interview process is career growth. What’s the next natural progression from the role they are interviewing for? Yet for many firms this almost never makes it into the job ad, let alone the screening process.

A question we like to ask candidates is “if you were offered the job, what factors will you use to determine if this role is the ‘right job’ for you? 80% of the time career growth makes it to the top of the priority list.

Don’t get me wrong - the culture of the company has influence over the candidate’s decision, however we find that ‘what’s the career path?’ gets asked the most. 

This raises the question - why don’t more companies ‘talk’ about (and promote) the opportunity for career advancement in their job ads?

I was at a tech social recently and asked people – ‘when you are reading a job ad, what entices you the most to apply to the job?’ When talking to people it became clear that opportunities for career advancement was huge!  People want to be challenged, promoted, valued, on a mission and progressing their own goals as much as the companies they work for. Win-win.

Yet, as we are all too well aware – many companies are still posting job ads that list what the person will do – not what they will become (Lou Adler).

Here are some real live examples, tips and job ad excerpts from some of our favorite clients and most admired brands on how they address career advancement opportunities in their job communications:

  • “Why join our team? This is your opportunity to learn the business from the ground up, and eventually take those skills and apply them in a more senior position at the company.”
  • Prove it. Share statistics about promotions within the company – “In 2015 we had 40 in-house promotions - once you join our company you won’t want to leave. We’ll provide you the opportunity to move-up.”
  • “But know this. If you do decide to apply for this position, and we agree that this is the right job for you, you'll be supported by a plethora of internal programs whose only focus is the continued progress of your career.”
  • “People in our career track drive delivery and capability excellence through the design, development and/or delivery of a solution, service, capability or offering. They grow into delivery-focused roles, and can progress within their current role, laterally or upward.”
  • Be authentic. If there’s no fast track growth plan, then don’t make it up.  Candidates trust and are attracted to authenticity.
  • Provide mentorship. If the growth opportunity isn’t readily available or yet defined, providing mentoring or coaching can be a great alternative to finding and keeping great people.
  • All of this ties back to job seekers thinking the grass is always greener on the other side, and that in order to advance they will likely need to move to a different company. If you address areas of growth within the company early on, it could help keep employees around longer. We suggest that hiring managers map out at least the next logical career progression for someone entering into a role at their company.

Paint a picture of where your ideal candidate is currently and what are they not getting that you can offer them and then advertise that.  And if/when the question of career progression comes up in the interview phase, and it will, at least you would have a well thought out answer.

Recruitment Resolutions: Getting Ready for 2016

I'm not a huge fan of resolutions however I do value the inspiration and fresh outlook a new year can bring to business.  So I say—forget getting a gym membership and resolving to drink less coffee—for a real change in 2016, look for opportunities to revamp and refresh your recruitment! What changes will you make to your recruitment process in 2016 that will have a measurableimpact on your company's business? A little reflection and a few changes now can get you off to a great start and working toward big results in the New Year: better hires, faster time-to-fill metrics, improved retention, and a positive impact on revenue

Here are five suggestions to get you started:

  1. Review your Recruitment Process: Time to take a step back and ask the hard questions. Is your recruitment process really working—and are you satisfied with the results? Does your process meet the needs of candidates? Are there steps that you can tweak or remove to get the same or better results? Do you have the tools you need to make good hiring decisions? Only by digging down into what’s working and what’s not can you begin to create a plan to make 2016 your best year ever. Consider taking this time to map out your current process identifying areas of waste and brainstorming on ways to improve and save time.  This process will help you make room for new ways of doing things better. 
  2. Refresh Your Referral Program: Your employees are going to be super active and social over the holidays—make sure they’re always recruiting! You’ll want to have planted those seeds when employees’ friends starting thinking about finding new jobs. Now’s also a great time to review where your referral program succeeded and fell short over the past year—do you notice any patterns? Are your incentives working? Referrals should account for 20% or more of your hiring.  If you're not there—how can you give the program greater corporate visibility in 2016? Consider giving your program a name or kick starting the New Year with double the bonus for referrals to make sure you don’t miss Q1 hiring targets. A little planning now can help transform your referral program into a candidate-generating powerhouse.
  3. Conduct an EVP Survey: Your unique Employment Value Proposition (EVP) are all the things that make your company a great employer, above and beyond a paycheque. Ask your employees: why did they really choose to join the company, and why do they stay? Gaining a better understanding of what your employees value about working for you is a critical step in developing recruitment and retention strategies that really work, and the insights can also be used to better target messaging on your career page, blog, job ads and more. (And CEOs, don’t discount this exercise—what your employees truly value is often different than you’d think.)
  4. Add an Assessment Tool: Reflecting back on your best hires in 2015, do you know what’s made them successful? If not, find out! Many assessment tools benchmark and build profiles using the profiles of your current staff. If you are looking to hire more people like those that drive success in your organization, now is a great time to profile and analyze your current teams. We recommend solutions like Predictive Success, a candidate-friendly and highly accurate assessment tool.  Also watch out for new tools on the market like Fortay that help you assess culture 'fit'.
  5. Revitalize Your Social Media: As the excitement of a new platform wears off, dust begins to settle on our social media presences. Don’t let your feeds be ignored! Take a moment to leverage the analytics behind these tools and review what worked and what didn’t about your social media outreach, and plan for how you can better use these tools in the coming year to support other aspects of your recruitment strategy. Or, if you’re not already using Glassdoor, Facebook or Twitter to promote opportunities to potential candidates and share insights about your company, then now is a great time to build a strategy. It’s critical to have an editorial plan, defined roles and responsibilities, and social media guidelines your staff can follow year-round.

Your recruitment resolutions don't have to be super ambitious or disruptive. There is innovation in simplifying processes, getting back to basics and piloting new trends on a small scale to determine what works.  With a little strategic thinking and foresight, you can be ready to start the New Year with a bang—and get the jump on your competition. Think ahead and make recruiting smarter your company’s key competitive advantage.  Here’s to an awesome year ahead!

We’re TalentMinded!  We help companies modernize their recruitment.  We audit and assess your recruitment function and make smart recommendations to help move your company forward.  And it’s not just about the ‘shiny’ stuff.  Our clients appreciate our pragmatic and analytical approach that provides recommendations that can be easily implemented and most importantly, actually work. 

At TalentMinded we are passionate about helping our clients grow by hiring the right people.  If you need to develop or re-work your recruitment strategy, ramp up hiring fast or need help resourcing a special project, then TalentMinded may be the right solution for you.  Contact us for more information about what we do and how we do it - kim@talentminded.ca.

What are your 2016 recruiting resolutions? Please share your thoughts with us on Twitter @betalentminded!

Why don't companies reward the people that care about them?

Why do organizations not reward external people (like alumni, clients, followers) for referring company career opportunities to their friends/family, social networks and other channels?  There are some companies that do but at TalentMinded, more often than not we uncover organizations that are just in the stages of perfecting their internal employee referral programs; they’re not even thinking out of the box! 

Years ago I worked at a company that paid out rewards to what they called, ‘brand champions’.  If you referred a new business opportunity and/or a candidate that was hired they would present you with a gift card of your choice.  There were terms and conditions of course, but overall the success of the program was less about the monetary value of the reward (in this case it was usually $250.00) and more about the passion for the brand and recognizing fans for helping them succeed.    

It was through programs and values like this that they built an engaged community of external brand champions that believed in the mission, cared about their success and always took the time to help.  It was about building strong partnerships and relationships and it worked!  The program was so successful in fact, it was like having another recruiter on their payroll! 

These types of channel referral programs are not new to how businesses drive sales and revenue, so why are they virtually obsolete from how we attract and acquire new people to our companies?

Leveraging a company’s external reach to talent through broad social media networks and other spheres of influence is core to recruitment success in today’s digital world, especially for new start-ups.  Much like a strong marketing program, to survive (or at least compete) companies must optimize all channels in the talent ‘ecosystem’ to drive awareness and ultimately create better quality, predictable talent pools. 

We know the best candidates (and customers) come from referrals – inside and out – so we’re curious – what’s stopping companies from developing this type of external program to help access and reach the right people for their business?   

We’d love to hear your successes, challenges and thoughts on external referral programs!

Comments welcome or reach out direct at kim@talentminded.ca

Author: Kim Benedict, Managing Director/Co-founder, TalentMinded Inc. www.talentminded.ca