The sacred art of engagement

Employer engagement can be a bit of a minefield, especially knowing how to keep candidates engaged throughout the process using digital media.

But it doesn't need to be, its you that is making it difficult!

We are consumer led, service driven and brand aware, more so now than ever before, if someone or something displeases you, you tell everyone, if you get a great, not just a good, but a great service or experience, you tell people about it. With the constant immersive use of social media, internet aware users and being constantly switched on and plugged in, we share everything, we see everything and, more importantly, we ignore a lot!

We tweet, we re-tweet, we share, we take photographs, we video, we blog, we vlog, we comment, we re-comment, we quote, we pretty much spread the word to everyone that will listen, read or watch. And we love it!. But we do have a very throw away attitude to digital, in this arena we swipe left or right and quickly move on. Our actions are mood dependant too. What we like today we will dislike or ignore tomorrow.

It's fast, dismissive and gone forever. So we need to make a difference, make it stand out and make it stick in the minds of the consumer.

So why would Employer Engagement be any different? Think about attraction in the same way you think about retail, you heighten brand awareness through campaigns, advertising, events and media all channels. You maximise interest with benefits, offers and deals. you make an offer they can't refuse and hope that this experience and product will drive them back again and again.

Although candidates don't generally come back again and again (if you employ them or keep them engaged and informed, then they shouldn't need to) you should make them feel that they can, just because they are not right at this specific moment in time for a specific role, there may be other opportunities that they might want to pursue.

Remember - they will tell everyone about a great experience, even if they didn't get an offer. They are the voice and ears of YOUR brand.

It's just tea and biscuits

Fortnum and Mason recently underwent a major redevelopment of their website, the goal was to give the 'online customer' the same experience as going into the store. (which, incidentally, is an amazing experience)

It was an iterative development with their end user at the heart of every decision and thought process

  • They asked and listened to their current customers
  • They looked at the emerging customers they wanted to attract
  • They used analytics to pull user data to give relevant insights to make educated recomendations
  • They built a cart facility and linked similar products to the customers preferences to give personalised experience
  • They put feedback (talk to us) mechanisms all over the site to enable customer interaction and conversation
  • They built iteratively and checked the experience along the way

In full collaboration with their creative partners, they created the first fully responsive e-com site using open source technology. A breakthrough in creative forward thinking. Fortnum and Mason became very user centric and developed a solution that focused on giving the visitor the best possible experience, surfacing ONLY content and products that was relevant to the specific user.

As a result, they went on to win numerous tech and digital innovation awards, as well as being nominated for numerous other out of industry awards.

Not bad for a 300 year old family run corner-shop!

Promote a journey and an experience

We can learn some valuable lessons from this approach and execution. Why do we treat consumers and candidates so differently, Why do we think that candidates searching for jobs, want to scan through job after job to find the right one? why do we surface the same content to everyone irrespective of why they are there in the first place? and why do we make it incredibly difficult to go from search to accept?

Whilst presenting at the Catalyst London 2016 event, Adam Shay - Director of Consulting Services, commented “If candidates aren’t willing to jump through hoops then they don’t deserve the job!” said NO reputable hiring manager EVER!

He went on to say that if anyone still thinks that, then they are in the wrong role. A good point well made. Hoop jumping is for performing dogs at Crufts and does not have a place in our industry. (this bit is my addition)

Think Candidate - Think Journey - Think Apply

How can we utilise digital, technology and innovation to give the candidates the best possible experience?

How do we make them feel that they are part of the company before they even apply? and should we even bother?

How do we let them down gently when they are not the right match, whilst ensuring we don't damage brand?

Before joining Alexander Mann Solutions my career was based on delivering digital solutions and innovations, predominantly led by technology and markets. A very binary approach, you might say. Here we do things slightly different. we don't put all our eggs in one shopping cart.

With digital you have to think different, not just once, but all the time. But you don't just think digital, you think solution, you think online and offline, you think innovation, you think creative, you think mobile, you think web, social and platforms. At Alexander Mann Solutions, we think all of the above but right at the top of the list we think candidate.

We have to think candidate first. client is not king, candidate is king. we need to think candidate first and we need to thing about the user journey.

The work we do can have a fundamental impact on peoples lives, for the better!

A three dimensional approach

Discovery - Nurture - Apply

As with consumers, the candidate journey predominantly starts with research on Google, Social Media and peer rating sites.

Data released from CareerBuilder showed that as many as 73% of candidates begin their job search in Google—far more than any job board.

With this in mind - it’s more vital than ever that companies consider and optimize their employer brand, social recruiting strategy, the content they create, how easy their jobs are to find on Google, and much more.

But lets not fool ourselves into thinking that we will convert everyone in their first interaction or visit. Marketeers understand this in the consumer world and this most certainly crosses over. We need to put this same thinking into the candidate journey by utilising and enhancing the nurturing phase.

Candidates will be ready to apply along any of these phases, sometimes on their first visit or interaction. But lets not kid ourselves that our work here is done! companies need to prepare to impress them with an outstanding apply experience too and this experience should be the same experience irrespective of device!

They want them to enjoy their tea and biscuits as well as appreciate the tin it came in!

By any means necessary

I think that sometimes we believe that we should only use one medium to flow through the journey. If we engage them though digital channels we need to continue the process through the same channels. When was the last time you got something real through the post that wasn't a bill or spam?

I don't think the only vehicle is digital though, I really do believe that there is a whole offline experience that needs to be woven into the journey too. Its a foolhardy notion to think that if we build the greatest, most engaging awesome careers site that people will come in en-masse. You need drivers, signposts and reasons to look at your wares.

Thank you.

Thanks for reading my meanderings, I take my hat of you for getting to the end! This is the first introduction to Digital at Alexander Mann Solutions.

Phil Brooks - Digital Lead Manager Alexander Mann Solutions

Created By
Phil Brooks

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