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Leadership

How To Make Your Company A Talent Magnet, Even In Tough Markets

While chatting with a CEO based in San Francisco recently, he commented on the talent shortage for software engineers in his area. "Unemployment is at zero percent for those folks," he said with a grunt. "Twitter, Google, and Facebook have sucked up all the decent ones."

It's hard to imagine a talent shortage in this economy. However, for some in-demand skill sets, it's tough to identify good candidates, let alone woo them away from their current employers. And if you're thinking, "I don’t have that problem," studies show you may soon.

Top Talent Doesn't Job Search Online

In the last decade, online recruiting has become the main vehicle for finding talent. This infographic shows millions of job seekers are using social profiles in hopes of connecting with you, the employer. However, what’s missing from the mix are the very people you want for your jobs.

The superstars you desire are busy. They are working at jobs they like, doing things they love. They are so caught up in the work they do, the last thing they are worrying about is building a better LinkedIn profile so recruiters will find them. Moreover, the best talent doesn’t worry about losing their jobs, nor are they concerned about being ready for the day they’ll need to look for new ones. That’s because they never job search online. Instead, they look for ideas, beliefs, and vision that they can relate to. Then, they start conversations with the people presenting those concepts and that leads to their next opportunities.

Want to Attract the Best? Give Them Something To Discuss

If we know the talent you are looking hire are attracted to thought-provoking ideas and people online, then the solution lies in creating digital recruiting assets in the form of stories, research, and initiatives designed to engage conversation—better known as blogging. In fact, there is a term for the creation of this kind of content: employment branding. Here are three examples of the kind of blog content that can get top talent talking:

1. Stories of the success showcasing their peers within their industry or skill set.

2. Examples of innovation that breaks the rules and challenges conventional thought within their professional area of expertise.

3. Contests and initiatives designed to let them challenge their abilities and provide them with recognition of their talent

Employment Branding=Talent Magnet

What makes employment branding different is how it shines the light on ways top talent are succeeding professionally. We all know one of the key differentiators between average employees and top employees is the latter cares more about what they do, than who they do it for or what they get for doing it. In short, to attract the best, we can entice them with content that speaks their language.

Here's an example. Continuum, started in 1983, is one of the world's biggest design and innovation consulting firms. The company helped Procter & Gamble create the Swiffer, collaborated with Samsung on flat-screen TVs, and worked with Insulet Corp. to launch a wearable insulin pump for diabetics. It hires and retains some of the brightest talent in the world. One of the ways it finds new talent? Continuum blogs about its work. Here are some of the pieces its contributed:

5 Steps To Designing A Better Health Care System

In Our Information Age, Secrecy Is Sexy. How Can Brands Create An Aura Of Mystery?

How Design Thinking Can Help Prevent Another Mortgage Bubble

Notice that none of these titles say, "Hey. We’re hiring!" or "Check us out, we are amazing to work for." They don’t need to say that. The stories speak for themselves. The work Continuum does isn’t just interesting, it’s worthy of sharing with others. And that’s exactly how I heard about the company.

The Best Evaluate Carefully Whether to Apply

A professional I know wanted feedback on a cover letter he had written. He said, "This company is exceptional. I need to make a powerful first impression." When I asked him what the firm was and how he heard about them, he shared with me not just Continuum’s website, but the article he had originally read that had prompted him to go to their site and see if they were hiring. In his own words: "Look at the work they are doing and the caliber of talent on their staff. These are the type of people I want to have as my colleagues. Do you think they'd hire me?"

The fact that this highly accomplished individual was putting so much thought into the process, and even questioning whether he was worthy of employment, is ideal for a company that only wants the best to apply. No only does it weed out those who realize they don’t have the right background or experience to work there, it inspires those who do to think carefully about the best way to present themselves. This kind of personal investment in the application process creates an optimal situation for hiring managers.

Takeaway: Employment Branding is Authority Marketing

Companies using blogging as an employment branding tool can proactively leverage original content to get in front of (and more importantly, on the minds of) the talent needed to keep their business growing. Content of this type acts like a talent magnet in that those who connect with the work on a deep level will be inspired to make the effort to track down information on your company as a way to strike up a conversation. From those connections can come the holy grail of cost-effective, highly successful recruitment resources: employee referrals. Better still, given the content can go viral (i.e. shared through social networks) and can be circulated repeatedly (i.e. re-posted on social networks monthly with backlinks to the original post), it becomes a digital recruitment asset that can be used to continuously catch the attention of top talent who missed it the first time.

In the same way marketing departments worldwide are learning they must retire their outdated "yelling and selling" techniques and replace them with an emphasis on educating and sharing through blogging to earn credibility and acquire clients—better known as authority marketing—human resource departments are now learning they also must use these same techniques to attract the best talent. Which means, if your company isn’t looking at ways to leverage blogging to create a buzz amongst the best and brightest within your industry, then you could find itself in the future struggling to deal with a talent pool that cares more about your benefits package than your business mission.

[Image: iophoto via Shutterstock]

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