I often get this question: how do you overcome management objections to utilising tools like blogging to brand and engage candidates? Allow me to respond…
Way back in 2008, I attended the Australasian Talent Conference in Sydney where I participated in a workshop facilitated by USA-based Heather Hamilton of Microsoft on how to engage your candidates with blogs.
I went along because I was intrigued and a tad cynical that allowing employees of your company to post blogs (ie to tell it like it is), would work in your favour; essentially build a followership and result in the majority of your candidates being sourced through this approach.
Clearly, she changed my mind. Not only was I seduced by the notion that you can actually have a job working from home writing about your employer (and she did say, often in her pyjamas), but she presented rather compelling evidence that this approach actually works. Go figure.
Much like the evolution of online and social media, the younger generation (and not-so-young as the Facebook average demographic would now have us believe) are forcing organisations to consider other alternatives in engaging their attention. They want information at their fingertips that is quick, easy to access but above all, entertaining, transparent, honest and really tells them something about who you are as an employer. Not the fluff around the values or mission statement you have on your wall. I also considered that I, as a Recruitment Manager at the time, had no immediate access to a discussion with candidates, no easy and effective mechanism to tell them about all the great projects and changes happening in my business.
Now… I realise that Microsoft could be considered the exception rather than the rule – after all, they are in the IT business, are the leaders in innovative tactics and are recognised as one of the world’s best employers. You’d expect their employees to say great things, right?!
Doesn’t matter – a quick scan of the recruiting and employer landscape in America suggests blogging is fast becoming a highly successful recruiting and branding tool – and just one of many you need in your kit bag.
Ben Gotkin of US Company RSM McGladrey, wrote a great article on corporate blogging:
“Why has corporate recruiting been so slow to adopt blogging? I believe it ultimately comes down to a lack of understanding and a lack of trust by the traditionally conservative and risk-averse entities existing in many organisations. These are barriers that can and should be overcome.
To me, a corporate recruiting blog creates a dynamic, digital recruiting brochure that can be accessed by anyone, anytime, anywhere. A blog can tell stories, promote opportunities, educate candidates, and provide an inside view into what is happening in your oganisation. I wanted to peel back the top layer of my company and let candidates see what it was like to work here.
However, building a business case and obtaining approval for the blog didn’t happen overnight. Several considerations and benefits had to be address and understood first. So what does it really take to get started?
- Commitment; You need someone who is creative, who has a marketing-mentality and who has good writing skills.
- Obtain buy-in from your marketing and legal departments; Develop a policy or guidelines regarding the nature and use of content. Develop a disclaimer for your blog as well.
- Identify contributors and subject matter; A blog with multiple contributors can not only spread the workload, but also provide diverse voices and opinions. Decide the subject matter well in advance. Subjects could include job-search tips, company recognition, spotlighting people, locations, community service activities or types of jobs.
- Create links; Traffic to your blog will be highly dependent on the links you create to it and from it.
- Create content! Written blog posts should be brief – typically two to four paragraphs.
Creating a corporate recruiting blog is simple, economical, and effective way to tell prospects and candidates who you are, what you do and what it is like to work for you.
A few further suggestions for overcoming management objections……..
How can I trust the message is “approved” or consistent with our culture?
- Develop and agree a blogging policy or guidelines for the Recruitment/HR function.
Implement an agreement with your marketing/communications department to review and provide 24 hour turnaround on content approval.
- Develop a three to six month strategy around content – brainstorm topics and seek approval for the strategy.
- Draw content from what is already available within your organisation. Think about, and utilise messages that are already communicated to internal employees. Content should be consistent with your culture and include much of what is already written internally or elsewhere.
- As “blogging” is a new concept in Australia, I recommend a more formal approach to writing as a start.
- Appoint ‘approved’ bloggers and share it around on roster.
How much time will it take?
- You can blog as often or as little as you like – the more you blog, the more you enhance your branding and appear in internet engine searches.
- Entries should be short and simple – no more than 250-500 words.
Blogs should take no more than 30 minutes to write.
How much will it cost?
- Blogging can cost nothing but the time of your staff. Free blogging programs and websites are readily available and most company websites can be easily changed to include blog posts. The Santos website is a good example.
- Your organisation essentially receives free advertising and branding to a self-selecting audience.
What are the benefits?
- Increases your company’s online visibility; Blogs give you an increased presence on major search engines like Yahoo! and Google. A well-written, routinely updated, keyword-oriented blog can enhance your chances of garnering high rankings on search engine return pages, significantly increasing the number of times your employment brand message appears.
- Attracts Talent to Your Company; Blogs provide a distinctive way for you to speak directly, openly and honestly with your active and passive candidates, generating interest, trust and followership. Provide candidates with a real insight into working for your organisation. Tell them what you need them to know about working for you, anticipate and answer candidate questions. Communicate on upcoming projects, roadshows, how to apply, training courses they should complete, what you seek in candidates, interviews with hiring managers, success stories, changing terms and conditions which may appeal to candidates, and other company news.
- Drives traffic to your Website; Blogs serve as another channel on which to promote your brand and company, and to drive traffic direct to your website. Posting a blog enables you to bypass the complexity of updating the Company website.
- Quick, Simple, Effective, Free; Blogs give you the opportunity to tell your story in real time, as often as you like, and to a specific audience. By its nature, Blogs can encourage those not actively seeking work to return to the site for industry and company updates – thereby enabling you to also capture the passive job market. You have a simple, quick and effective interactive communication tool to support your recruitment strategy and branding – it enables you to personalise your message to a self-selecting audience in real time. With no geographic or time boundaries, you can be in touch with candidates 24/7.
- Competitive Differentiation; Blogs allow you to build personal, long-lasting relationships with job seekers through unparalleled access to information they can’t source elsewhere. With your own blog, you can join in the online conversation, influence it, and advance your company’s brand and job market perception.