19 November 2014

Are you delivering niche marketing or corporate blanding?

I was MC at the ATC Sourcing Conference in Melbourne last week. It was, as usual, an excellent day of learning with a varied array of speakers who made the audience think carefully about the future of recruitment through the lens of sourcing.

Here's a summary of the major points I took away from the Conference, thanks to the keynote speakers, Mark Tortorici, Fiona Anson, Matt Charney, Karen Lawson, and Derek Zeller.

1. Sourcing is a skilled job with different core competencies to those of a traditional recruiter
Sourcing Master Trainer, Mark Tortorici suggested that in hiring a person to train as a sourcer, the core competencies and interests to look for include: technology aptitude, 'hacker' mentality (likes to take things apart), interest in data, research and/or puzzle games. These competencies could be developed through hobbies and scholastic pursuits, not necessarily work.

2. A learning (and unlearning) competency is important in all employees
Mark said what is critical in hiring the right people and inducting those employees effectively, is to teach those employees how to continually learn (unlearn) in the workplace.

3. Marketing nous is critical for all recruiters
Research indicates that a job seeker will review a job ad for approximately four seconds to decide whether to consider the position more closely. The consequence of this is that you need to use bullet points and intros in your job ads like you might for a movie poster (eg Catch Me If You Can: The real story of a true fake) to hook job seekers in those first few seconds.

In creating marketing material specific to a desired candidate market, the core messages that must be contained in your content are:

#1 Advancement: quality people want a career not just a job
#2 Money: quality people expect to earn more
#3 People: quality people want to work with people like them
#4 Technology: quality people want to work with cool stuff
(Matt Charney)

4. Define a niche. Create engaging experiences for that niche
The future in social networks is specific or niche networks catering for very defined markets. This will lead to the decline of general networks. (Fiona Anson)

The purpose of building a social network (to accomplish a recruitment goal) is to build brand desire. Focus on the candidate experience and that mostly means, feedback! If candidates don't want to be associated with your brand then even if they are in your network, they won't engage with you and won't become a candidate for a vacancy. (Fiona Anson)

Personalised marketing content resonates when it:

·   surprises me
·   knows my struggles
·   knows my preferences
·   generates emotion

Far too much of what goes on within companies in recruitment marketing is better described as 'employment blanding'; it's all far too generic and distinctly unmemorable. (Matt Charney)

5. Your own database is almost always the best and most under-utilised resource for candidates:
Setting up a 'next action' flag or task in your database (and then acting on it) is the single most important thing you can do to ensure that you maximise the value from an asset (ie candidate) you have already invested time and money to capture and assess. (Derek Zeller)

6. If you are in any sort of third party or intermediary business (eg recruitment agency, travel agency, stockbroker etc) collaboration with customers is critical to avoid your business becoming irrelevant:
Companies have to evolve their business model to avoid disintegration by customers who connect with each other. (Karen Lawson)

I leave you with some questions you might do well to ask yourself as a recruiter:

How much is my future linked to my capability to source high calibre talent?

Do I know where to reliably find high calibre talent?

Am I a better sourcer of high calibre talent than 12 months ago? Two years ago?

What am I doing to ensure my sourcing skills are better than my competitors and my clients?

Your career as a recruiter almost certainly depends upon your answers to these questions.

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