You won’t attract most candidates – no matter how hard you sell or how much employer branding content you drown them in (even if it’s dipped in caramel chocolate).
They’re just not your piece of cake.
If candidates aren’t impatiently picking up what you’re throwing down, know this:
You don’t have a funnel problem.
Or a reputation problem.
You don’t have a recruiting strategy problem.
No, it’s not a candidate outreach problem either.
You don’t have a candidate experience problem.
Neither do you have a talent market or competition problem.
These are all symptoms of a bigger problem.
The problem is a threatening, scary, bleak (but easily fixable) VALUES-SHAPED crater in your recruiting. A crater you can turn into the hottest destination for top talent – yes, even if you work at the most boring, basic company on the planet.
But you have to be ready to show the real company…by embracing your company’s unique values and communicating them. By adopting values-based recruitment.
What is values-based recruitment?
Values-based recruitment is a recruitment strategy that focuses on matching the values of the current and envisioned company culture with the values of the applicants. This strategy turns communication in recruiting upside down. Instead of evaluating the values in the later stages of the recruiting process, the organization communicates its values starting at the first touch point with candidates. That means job profiles turn into values-ambassadors of the company and create meaning for candidates.
Also read: What Leadership Means To Us At HackerEarth
Values-based campaigns excel
Data best reveals the power of this strategy. We analyzed LinkedIn outreach campaigns with the goal to attract senior talent for HR, marketing, legal, and IT roles. On one side, we looked at best practice campaigns. You know the ones that everyone is doing.
On the other side, we had campaigns that communicated values first. These values-based campaigns achieved 20 times higher application rates than best-practice campaigns. From 100 prospects, more than 30 responded, and of those more than 20 applied. But they did much more than that.
Even people that were happy with their current employer applied (“I was not looking for a job, my application just happened”).
There were people that applied that you never see in the open job market. The top 0.1% of talent with CVs that leave you shocked in awe, make you wonder if conspiracy theorists are right. Maybe aliens are amongst us after all, because no human being is able to achieve these results.
Candidates were so excited about the possibility of landing these jobs. They even took the time to write 1 to 2 pages about what they need to be productive and happy as the first step of their application.
The magnetic effect of those values-based campaigns was so strong that top candidates even kept applying 6 months later. They knew that the chance to get a job advertised 2 seasons ago was 1/∞ (“I know when you divide 1 by infinity the universe might collapse, but I had to risk it because your company is what I have been looking for all my work life”).
Aside from communicating values first, how were the values-based recruitment campaigns different?
- The job profiles were designed like landing pages, not like boring requirement lists
- The value proposition of the job profiles was derived from the company’s culture
- The LinkedIn messages were very concise (3-5 lines maximum) and had a non-intrusive tone of voice
Before we can understand how values-based recruitment works, we need to understand how the world has changed.
Why aren’t you happy?
“Quiet quitters” make up at least 50% of the U.S. workforce. And the number is increasing, especially among younger generations.
But what’s behind this? Think about all the desolate and gray workplaces that exist. Those employers believe that a solid paycheck satisfies all work needs (Why aren’t you happy? You’re getting paid on time).
At these places, the individuality of an employee isn’t what counts. They force employees to fit into a structure designed by last century’s mechanic management theories. There, employees sit out time to wait for their paychecks. If they have not found their best friend in the organization with whom they can make fun of bad leaders, they suffer in silence or leave the company.
Why are you so lazy?
Let me tell you: there are two fundamental ways of looking at humans. You can assume that everyone is lazy by nature. That’s wrong as it’s damaging. It leads to a management style of control and a culture of distrust. The cost of control is exceptionally high. Think about all the surveillance systems you need to install and manage!
Management of control replaces intrinsic motivation with extrinsic “carrots and sticks”-motivation. People only jump as high as they need to avoid the stick or to catch the carrot.
Today, many companies are complaining that millennials are lazy. They assume that millennials tend to speak out more about their needs than previous generations, so they want the benefits without working.
That’s absurd. Actually, they are doing exactly the opposite. By telling you what they need to be sustainably productive and innovative in a world of digital overwhelm. They help you to create a work environment in which productivity can flourish.
Older generations communicate their needs less because their upbringing left them believing they have no right to ask for individual needs. As businesses set the rules of the game. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t have needs. When you adopt values-based recruitment, you’ll see that people of all ages are excited to apply.
Also read: 10 Key Employee Retention Strategies In Tech
Define your blue talent ocean with values-based recruitment
Simon Sinek explains that people don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it. That’s the foundation of why Apple attracts loyal customers and is one of the most valuable companies on the planet. The same applies to recruiting and talent marketing. People don’t apply for tasks. They apply for why they should perform them.
In other words, people crave to contribute to something larger than themselves. They want to be with people who share their beliefs and feel a sense of belonging. Your people want a workplace where they are NOT treated as exchangeable machine parts. Recognize and embrace their weird individuality. The people want to be seen, heard, understood, and respected. They want to enrich their lives with meaning.
This is great news for you. Because if you can turn your recruiting activities into “values windows” of your company, you’ll stop fishing in the pond of meaninglessness like everyone else. You’ll be fishing in the blue ocean of meaning.
It’s a market that you create with your identity. And if on top, you can make people feel appreciated and valued, you’re going to drown in applications. Then you’re offering a way of life, a committed community, a home, a destination. This comprehensive guide on values-based hiring can help you walk the first steps.