PR for Recruitment: How to attract talent

The number of UK job vacancies from May to July 2022 was over 1.2 million, more than 60% higher than the pre-COVID-19 level. Businesses from across a range of sectors are all united by the challenge of how to attract talent in this market. This dearth of candidates has led to organisations paying well above the going rate in order to attract talent, with wage growth rising at its quickest rate for almost a quarter of a century despite economic challenges. However, simply offering more money is not enough to attract the brightest and best. To find the right employee for the job and stand the highest chance of retention and productivity, candidates must buy into that company.

In this article, we look at different ways a business can attract the best talent, and how it all begins with a consistent and engaging external communications strategy.

Communicating company culture:

One of the after-effects of the pandemic has been a heightened awareness of the importance of company culture. A positive workplace environment underpinned by a tangible commitment to wellbeing, has become a significant motivation for moving candidates, and lifting the lid on what life is like at your organisation can be an effective way to communicate this.

One platform that has come to the fore to attract new employees is TikTok. Once solely the home of dance trends for Gen-Z, TikTok has firmly established itself as a platform for businesses and brands to attract talent. Unlike LinkedIn where recruiters traditionally spend a significant amount of their time, TikTok provides a medium for less explicitly ‘professional’ content but more scope to engage and entertain potential candidates and showcase your culture.

There are many ways organisations can use the platform from providing top interview tips to creating day-in-the-life videos with employees. These forms of content not only show a ‘fun’ side to your business but the authenticity and explicitly non-corporate nature of user-generated content (UGC) can also help truly engage potential candidates and get them to buy into your organisation through a more human-to-human connection.

An example of this is recruitment agencies using trending sounds and hashtags on TikTok to communicate company culture and benefits of working at the company. Companies and recruitment agents are using hashtags such as #recruitment which is already racking up more than 600 million views on the platform.

Profiling grass-root investments:

Employee UGC is a fantastic way of communicating the realities of what life is like at your organisation and this runs all the way through a business. For senior executives, an integrated LinkedIn and media relations strategy centred around thought leadership can be an effective tool to communicate high-level messages about company vision and culture, as well as giving your business a face and personality that candidates of every level can buy into. Read more here about how senior figures can use social media to their advantage.

However, whilst leveraging your C-Suite can deliver real impact when hiring, putting the power into the hands of more junior employees also has untold potential when helping to attract talent. Notoriously enthusiastic, creative and keen to get stuck in, profiling interns and other junior-level employees within your organisation is a great way of showing not only the investment your company is making in the next generation, but it also communicates the trust you place in employees outside of your senior team.

One business that has had great success doing this is the challenger dating app Thursday. Thursday’s founders have empowered their paid interns to deliver a series of low-budget creative activations to amplify their exposure and announce their launch. This strategy has delivered a series of viral posts on LinkedIn such as the below, not only increasing awareness for the business but also communicating the opportunities that are available for ambitious interns and showing candidates people within the company that they can relate to.

Promoting company initiatives:

As well as promoting your organisation’s investment in talent it is also important to be raising awareness of your business’ investment in wider social impact. Operating a successful business is no longer enough – balancing profit with purpose is ranking higher and higher on candidate’s priority lists.

Whether your business is a start-up that has been launched with social impact in mind or if you’re a large corporation making multi-million-pound investments, communicating these projects externally is vital. Candidates are now expecting businesses to take a stance on environmental and inclusivity issues so communicating the tangible actions you are taking to overcome some of these challenges must form a central pillar of any recruitment strategy.

An example on this is leading sports brand Nike. Nike launched a ‘Move to Zero’ initiative which is intended to reduce carbon emissions by 30% across its entire supply chain by 2030 as well as other initiatives. While many businesses have suffered reputational damage as a result of ‘greenwashing’ and exaggerating claims, concrete actions like these are surefire signs of an organisation’s commitment to social issues.

Creative Campaigns:

As candidate numbers remain low, one avenue recruiters are exploring is looking outside of traditional hiring fields and tapping into the transferrable skills of the wider jobs market. For many employees, the pandemic provided an opportunity to re-assess life priorities and many embarked on wholesale career changes across both sectors and disciplines.

For businesses, this shift has presented an opportunity to engage a wider audience of potential talent. However, engaging this entirely new audience will be a challenge. One-way organizations have tried to do this is creative campaigning to educate these new audiences about the potential opportunities that are available and how their skills can be used in ways they may not have considered. The government attempted to deliver a similar campaign that received widespread backlash last year due to its flawed messaging so ensuring your messaging hits the mark and is relevant to your audiences is vital before delivering a campaign.

Personal Profiling:

As the founder or CEO of a company, using your personal brand can be seen as low priority but it can deliver significant benefits for your wider business. Achieving this person-to-person engagement can be critical when driving employees to the business and can play a significant role in communicating the company’s culture, values and brand. With the job market never being so competitive, using personal profiling can increase the interest potential employees have in your business from adding a face to the company and having that initial feeling of a connection.

An example of this is REED Recruitment. We supported UK recruitment brand REED and its chairman in promoting the ‘Keep Britain Working’ Campaign during the nationwide lockdown. By developing a media strategy that included direct interviews and insight from chairman James Reed, we were able to position him and the company as thought leaders and resulted in 42 new businesses signing up to this campaign.

If you’d be interested in discussing how a PR campaign could help support your recruitment goals, get in touch with our award-winning team today.

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