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How to think beyond traditional forms of recruitment to find talent

As companies compete to attract and retain top talent, employers are increasingly exploring new ways to find the right candidates. While traditional recruitment techniques, such as job ads or recruiter support, can be useful, there are many other methods that can be just as effective if not more so. In this blog post, with the help of Rob Fryer, Brand consultant and owner of BrandStorm; Kaush Patel, Director of Your Lead Machine; and Simon Udal of Simon Udal Design, we’ll explore some of these alternative methods for recruiting talent and provide tips on how to successfully implement them.

Why do you even need to look at alternative methods of attracting talent to your organisation? 

Well, in the last quarter, the number of people in employment reached a record high with increases in both the number of employees and self-employed workers. This means that the candidate pool is small and employers must work harder to get attention. 

What’s more, despite a cost of living crisis, research shows that people are looking for far more from their employment than a generous income. Other key drivers include: training and personal development; company culture; flexibility; brand reputation and more. This means that employers need to look at how they present themselves to the outside world if they’re going to stand a chance in the recruitment game. 

Company reputation

One essential element that many businesses overlook is their brand. As Rob Fryer claims, it can significantly impact a company’s ability to attract and retain top-tier talent. 

“In the modern job market, top candidates have more options than ever before and also their priorities have shifted. Paychecks and career ladders are not top of the agenda, instead candidates are seeking brands to work for that share their values and have a clearly defined purpose beyond profits,” he says. “They carefully evaluate potential employers and are more likely to be drawn to or trust a company with a positive brand perception as it signals a better work environment, opportunities for growth, and a sense of belonging and stability. 

“Trust also goes hand in hand when it comes to your brand. A purpose led and established brand communicates professionalism, reliability, and trustworthiness. Candidates are more likely to trust a company with a reputable brand, especially if they clearly demonstrate they practice what they preach. Trust is a fundamental aspect of any successful employer-employee relationship, and a respected brand helps establish this trust at the very beginning of the recruitment process.”

How can businesses build this trust into their brand and attract and keep top talent?

It comes down to three things: brand purpose, mission, and values.

Your brand purpose is why your business does what it does; your mission is how you plan to achieve your purpose; and your values are the principles and beliefs that your business stand for and that guide its every decision. 

Rob says that by spending time clearly defining and demonstrating these elements to your workforce and the outside world you can generate “employees that are more productive, innovative, and committed to the organisation’s success, and create a sense of belonging and loyalty, leading to reduced turnover rates and associated recruitment costs.”

To build these crucial brand elements, he recommends workshopping ideas with leadership teams, employees and stakeholders to help define and communicate these in a meaningful way, and engaging with a brand consultant for extra support and guidance. 

Company culture

Defining your cultural fit is also crucial for the long-term success of an organisation because employees who share similar goals and beliefs are more inclined to collaborate constructively, thereby increasing overall performance.

Rob continues, “Analyse current attitudes and behaviours, and how employees interact with each other and clients, especially those who are already aligned with the company’s values and contributing positively. Using employee surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews can provide valuable insights either internally or with an external mediator.”

These insights should help you build a happier work environment and Rob argies, “you can foster a network of employee brand advocates too who are proud of the company they work for and actively promote it.” He continues, “They share their positive experiences with friends, family, and professional networks, effectively becoming brand ambassadors in the talent market.” Essentially, recruiters for free!

Visual identity and website

We’ve looked at the emotional connection you can make with potential candidates through messaging and behaviours but what about visual elements?

Simon Udal suggests that having a good brand and a good website plays a massive part in forming a good first impression – which is crucial in attracting talent. 

He says, “A strong, original and consistent brand showcases what a company stands for and differentiates it from its competitors. As a graphic designer, I try to communicate ideas and information visually, be that marketing and sales material, brochures, leaflets, signage, logos, reports, websites etc. The list is varied but all must follow the corporate brand because this will help customers relate to a business, increase awareness, keep consistency and gain loyalty. 

“A website is essential too; not only is it a visual way of showcasing a business, but it also shows credibility and of course, is an easy way to get information out there which would potentially attract the talented employees everyone wants.”

How well does your website perform? There’s nothing more frustrating than getting lost in a website or waiting hours for something to download – user experience is key. And, from a design perspective, the simpler the website design, the better. Try to avoid using too many colours or hundreds of different typefaces. Two or three fonts should be sufficient and they have to be legible. 

“Company reputations, career progression, flexibility, pay packages and a myriad of other factors all attract top talent but good design and an effective website have to run alongside too,” he says.

Of course, visual tastes vary from generation to generation and it’s never easy to appeal to everyone. Simon says, “Gen Zs have been brought up in the wireless and digital world; a world of never ending content and all available instantly, 24/7. They prefer bolder but cleaner designs and are technology influenced. This needs to be taken into account from a design point of view but that doesn’t mean it won’t appeal to skilled leaders too.”

He continues, “With a website, a hugely important factor is to ensure that it is mobile-friendly. More and more web searches are now done on a smaller screen and this is true of both Gen Zs and other generations. The design has to adapt to different screen sizes without any rendering issues.”

Social media

Your website isn’t the only visual asset you own and in fact, many visitors will see your social media profiles first so they need to look good too.

Simon says, “The other major way to appeal (and this can be a short-term trial or long-term project) is by embracing social media. Keeping on top of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest and LinkedIn for example will appeal to Gen Zs who are totally comfortable expressing themselves through digital means. Video content has now changed the way that brands use the internet and this content should be catchy and relevant to get attention immediately. When designing video content it is best to use a vertical video fit for Instagram reels, TikTok and Snapchat.”

Simon concludes, “Gen Z are certainly a powerful group in today’s business world and design has to cater for their expectations but let’s not think that this will alienate other highly skilled leaders. Funky, diverse designs with styles influenced by technology and social media can be solutions for everyone spanning multiple generations.”

Referral Programmes 

As we mentioned above, your employees can be your best recruiters and referral programs can be a highly effective way of finding talent. 

Encouraging your employees to refer potential candidates for job openings can have a tremendous impact on your recruitment efforts. Not only does it save time and resources on the recruiting process, but it also leads to higher quality hires. 

By tapping into your employees’ networks, you gain access to a pool of candidates that may not have otherwise applied. Additionally, referred candidates tend to have a higher acceptance rate and stay with the company longer. It’s a win-win situation for both the employer and the employee who referred them. 

Referral programmes can also be a great way to foster a sense of community within the workplace, as employees see their contributions valued and recognised.

Lead generation 

Think lead generation tactics only work for attracting customers? Well think again!

Kaush Patel comments that attracting talent and generating sales leads are not a million miles apart. He says, “Just as you have to attract new clients, you have to showcase your business to attract new staff. Whether that be using inbound or outbound strategies the principal is the same. Technically you are selling a role, instead of a product or service. Especially in the current market where it is so competitive to source new recruits. 

He continues, “Your messaging, offering and targeting has to be very precise, just as it would be for a lead generation campaign. For example you may own a Accountancy Practice. Instead of utilising LinkedIn to find new clients, you may be messaging accountants to ask if they would be interested in finding out about a new role. A sales meeting or a first interview, in reality you are selling in both circumstances.”

These are just some alternative methods for securing new talent within your business. For more help of setting succession plans, crafting job specs and more, Lodge Court HR consultancy is here to help. Get in touch with us today.

And thanks again to Rob Fryer, Simon Udal and Kaush Patel for their support in writing this article.

Rob is the Founder and Owner of BrandStorm. In the early stages of his 20 year career journey, he worked alongside some varied and well known brands such as Marks & Spencer, Maersk Shipping and GSK which gave him great insights into how brands operate and communicate. 

Simon Udal Design was established in 1995 to produce innovative for logos, annual reports, brochures, newsletters, packaging, leaflets, advertising, point of sale, exhibition graphics and web design.
Kaush Patel is the founder of Your Lead Machine, a modern and vibrant telemarketing business that believes traditional sales strategies should be left in the past and instead, believes in generating high quality sales leads through the power of conversational selling.