Five ways to be useful to talent

PSC’s first listicle! YAY!

A few weeks back, I posted the case to abandon “human” when it comes to employer brand and recruitment marketing, and instead focus on being useful. So, when it comes to being useful, here are my top five tips and tricks to start infusing useful into your candidate conversations on social and beyond.

1. Guide them

If you are recruiter who is interacting with talent, there are probably 10,000 questions that you are asked each day. There are probably common threads. What are their barriers. Remember, they know very little about the inner workings of the company and they day to day activities of the job. They can guess, but those guesses are based on the job descriptions, which we all agree are a little less than we would all desire. And since they don’t know really anything about the environment, the team, the work, the job, tell them. You know the common questions candidates ask, use your conversation space on social and in email to educate and enlighten them. Be unexpectedly helpful by telling stories about what’s really happening at your company. And you’ll get bonus points if you tell it from the point of view of an actual every day employee. Answer those questions. Help them see what it’s really like. This is the easiest way to be useful and lower some of those barriers we talked about. Tell them stories about who fits in at your company. Tell them why they fit in.

2. Tips & Tricks

The second way to be useful is a riff on the first one. It’s simple tips and tricks. Are there tips and tricks you can give your universe of people to help them see who fits in and who is successful is what are you looking for? What is your process? How can they stand out? Coach them, teach them. In addition to how to stand out and our process, tell them the clever hacks that people at your company employ to get the job done? Share this with people. People love to learn new ways to use their skills and experience. They are always looking for ways to hack their day. Productivity hacks. Time management tips and tricks. They want that. Beyond your own organization, tell them how to be a great candidate. They are hungry for this information. And the beauty of this category of content is that it is so readily available on the internet. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase curate before.  It’s all already out there, so use it!

3. Show them a story

A third way that you can infuse more useful into your content strategy is visually. People love to see things. You need to show me. Show me vs. tell me. Videos, photos and visual content drive a lot of engagement. If you want to educate your audience on your company, the work, the team, the things that make your brand and company unique, consider video and visual assets. They have the unique ability to illustrate your story more vibrantly that words alone. Consider Facebook Live events. Live stream an event in your office. It can draw people into the organization and drive a lot of traffic, eyeballs and potential candidates to what you are offering. And if you can find ways to infuse video into your answering of questions, bingo! Think about offering Video based Ask Me Anything. And it’s ok if they are filmed on an iPhone. There is an real quality to it. It’s not over produced, it feels real and useful.

4. Support them

There is no better use of social media than helping support your universe of people. It shows prospective employees that you care and are interested in their success. By not supporting your customers when they have problems, questions or concerns, it speaks very loudly. Like really loudly. So, if you have no capacity to support your customers on social, you should be immediately looking at ways to do this. When someone asks a question or comments on your posts, respond. Unless they are trolls, never feed a troll. But most times, candidates just want to know what it’s really like to work there or what the status is of their application. This is where we have the biggest disconnect with our audience.

5. Lightly up

Finally, let’s try to lighten up whenever possible. I mean, the world is very serious and finding your dream job is a trying business. Just as it is in finding A-players in a tight labor market. And let’s not confuse levity with humor. Very few brands can pull off funny. Ever. Usually backfires. Levity is something different. It lacks seriousness. The advice here: Do not take yourself so seriously. You are an employer brand, it’s about people and the impact they have on your business. You might even have some fun at work, it’s ok to show that. We had great success sharing our ugly sweater contest on Instagram. We also had some nice success sharing one of our sales team mates turning somersaults on bubble wrap. It’s ok to be light. It’s useful to your readers to show them what silly means to your brand. And while the competitive nature of talent acquisition is very real to us recruitment marketers, it is not real to your prospective employees. Lighten up. Social media is where people go to take a minute break in their day. Remember that. Add something light to the conversation. It may be hard and it is going to require some testing to find your footing with levity. On the flip side, some brands should not leverage levity. Serious topics require like zero levity. If you are say a funeral home, levity may not be for you…

Social is growing up and as social marketers we need to evolve as well. It is time we give up the ruse that brands and products can be human and transition to a more tangible goal of usefulness. Because where we are today in trying to convince our audiences that brands are human could be something more meaningful and valuable to your audience when we put on our hats to be much more useful.