Hays UK jobs and employment blog


When worlds collide: what marketing can teach you about attracting top talent

By Clare Kemsley, Managing Director of Hays Marketing, Retail and Sales, UK&I

Today, more than ever before, it is hard for a brand to engage with consumers. The world is full of organisations shouting about their achievements, offerings and successes. Activity is constant, across all channels: inboxes are inundated with emails, YouTube is full of adverts, and Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are stuffed to the brim with promotional material.

Content overload

Propelled by mobile devices, content production has exploded in the last three years. Some estimates say that there has been a whopping 300 per cent increase in the amount of content produced in 2018 alone. Which, when you think about the volume of content your own organisation produces every day, may not come as much of a surprise.

However, there is one large, looming problem with this. Our content consumption – the amount the average person reads, watches, listens to and engages with each day – is not rising. Whilst it has undoubtedly increased in recent years, there is not the same exponential growth as within content production. In short, it will plateau – if it hasn’t already.

So, the question that every good marketing leader needs to ask now is: “How can WE be heard above the noise? And how do we keep customers engaged with US, and not our competition?”

Hyper-personalisation to the rescue

The answers lies, at least in part, in hyper-personalisation. 

Not simply the latest marketing buzzword, hyper-personalisation is targeting customers with messaging and content that is relevant to their interests and needs, at moments when they are most likely to engage with it. Yes, it’s data-led, automated and can involve a multi-channel journey – but at its heart, it’s very simple. Give the people what they want, when they want it. If you put the wrong message in front of a consumer, at the wrong time, you may have lost their loyalty forever.

So, what can this teach us about attracting top talent?

The key message to take away is that first impressions matter. In the world of recruitment we are acutely aware of this. Candidates today are no different to consumers: they are judging the experience you provide as a potential employer before they even apply for a role.

Our recent What Workers Want 2018 report, which surveyed over 14,600 professionals in the UK, found that candidates are being deterred from applying due to poor experiences along their ‘applicant journey’: 47% cite a lack of preparation by an interviewer, 61% have been discouraged by negative employee reviews online, and 45% do not complete an online application process if it takes longer than 15 minutes.

With an acute skills shortage, these kind of mistakes could mean the difference between a successful, productive and efficient team, or low productivity, employee morale and missed deadlines.

Lend your marketing know-how

It is the role of the marketing team to understand customer engagement, this means that marketing leaders like yourselves can, and should, lend your expertise when it comes to securing the best talent not only for your team, but your organisation as a whole.

In particular, you should:

1. Audit your application journey: Marketers are fine-tuned to spot inefficiencies or missed opportunities for engagement. Put these skills to good use and apply for a role at your organisation yourself. See how long it takes you to successfully submit an application. Use your common sense and ask yourself if the process seemed too long, poorly structured, or off-putting in any way.

2. Own the content strategy: When reviewing your application processes, don’t forget to review not only the time it takes to complete the process, but also what communication is going to the applicant at each interval. Ensure these communications showcase your organisation at its best, from images on recruitment materials to copy on job adverts, which keep the applicant engaged at each and every step.

3. It’s all about the brand sentiment: To find out if the culture being promoted by the employer is authentic, applicants are looking to employer review sites, so it’s essential to understand what the current sentiment is about your employer brand online. Conduct a health assessment by analysing employer review sites and conducting social media listening exercises. If this assessment is unfavourable, lend your marketing know-how to support a strategy which encourages current employees to share positive comments about their experiences, and address negative feedback by demonstrating any changes or improvements you are making.

Learn more about our Digital Solutions to help put your employer brand ahead of the competition.

Request your copy of our What Workers Want 2018 report to discover how to optimise your applicant journey. 

About this author

Over her last ten years at Hays, Clare has developed a detailed understanding of creative and customer focussed industries and the talent they need to succeed. She is a believer that great behaviour drives the culture of the business and allows the customer experience to be one of the highest quality.


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