"Whether you want to attract young grads or experienced experts, you need to start with understanding what your employer brand is all about," says Blake Wittman
- Autor článku Petra Vrbová
Blake, GoodCall is not a “classic” recruitment agency since you for example don't advertise all your open vacancies?
This is true. We set out 8 years to evolve the recruitment industry, wake it up a little. We brought some new ideas and tools to be able to better engage candidates in ways they were used to from other industries. We very much pioneered the notion that talent sourcing was a crucial part of doing recruitment, and not just reviewing CVs and interviewing the best. We started using social media, video and lots of new technology to find and approach candidates in really unique ways. We also launched the first mobile app for jobseekers on the Czech market. Later on we created a matching site for developers and recently we partnered with Microsoft to help upskill the market for digital skills with ITjede.cz With our sister companies Recruitment Academy and Datacruit we are constantly reviewing how to best cultivate the HR market for everyone.
How did you actually start with the very first HR marketing activities at GoodCall 8 years ago?
Our biggest move back then was using social media to invite people inside our culture. Josef Kadlec was and is instrumental in that. Documenting what was happening, rather than complicated informational posts, made it easy to connect and identify with what we were doing. Also, back then it was more difficult to find companies willing to let young people, sometimes fresh out of school (or still studying!), work flexible hours when they want, and from where they want.
Why is HR marketing so important for companies from your point of view?
It’s important because it’s the looking glass into your company. We’re living in a country, and a world, where companies are the sellers and talent are the buyers. Whether you want to attract young grads or experienced experts, you need to start with understanding what your employer brand is all about. So I recommend having a look at your company culture, ask people both internally and externally. You’ll discover that your employer brand is simply the flip side of the coin from your internal culture. Figure that out and you are one step closer to having a successful HR marketing concept. Because don’t forget, people nowadays do most of their research and a lot of their decision making, before they ever contact you. So if they find boring, irrelevant social media profiles, an old-school website, and a career page that is confusing and not informative, you will lose out on lots of potential future employees.
What would you recommend to the companies starting with HR marketing. Do they for example all need a recruitment video?
What is absolutely critical is to ensure that what you put out there is authentic. Wherever possible try not to script it so much…be it interviews with employees, or short bio’s on your management, try to let them speak as they would to a person who just asked them a question. Step number one is having a fantastic career website. One that includes important information like your company culture, info on employees, success stories, why people enjoy working, and what the future looks like. If you make it to step number two, start thinking about making a video, but go to a company or an expert who has made some already to help you out.
Do you agree that it is crucial for HR department to be in close touch with the marketing department in order to run successful employer branding activities etc.?
In most cases, yes, I do think HR and marketing should be in touch. Most HR people are not experts in creating a brand message and spreading that through proper channels - that’s what marketing professionals do. At a minimum I would recommend to sit down with your marketing department and have a discussion on how they promote the company brand/product/service and start to relate that with how you’d like to raise awareness of your company as a great employer.
Petra, you have been in marketing for more than 8 years now. What do you think is different about HR marketing specifically?
Based on my experience, it is definitely the toughest discipline in Marketing. I used to be in charge of promotion of several e-shops, musical festivals, bourbon brands, a peer-to-peer provider, an online lottery, African coffee, and many more businesses. But HR Marketing has been the toughest one. The most specific aspect is definitely the time constraint. If someone asks me to set up a recruitment campaign when there is no other prior marketing related to their company culture, benefits, etc. then it is not enough to rely just on a PPC campaign. Even if the campaign is well set up, with a great graphic design, and awesome text, and generates hundreds of clicks, people will still double-check who that company is and there is a risk that ex-employees or unhappy current employees will start leaving bad comments under the ad. So, if there is a company that struggles to find new talents and this happens, it is essential to revise the current status and culture - what I can do to make current employees happier, how can we attract more people, should we add more benefits, provide them with accommodation when it comes to blue collars, etc. Then you can react to those negative comments. For example, “Yes, it might seem that there used to be much more we could do to make our employees happier. But we took it seriously and as of last month, we can provide all our employees with 2 extra weeks of leave” or “We would be more than happy to speak to you about working for us, please contact us on this email.”
At GoodCall, you also provide consultations and help with regard to HR marketing and Employer branding. What are the biggest struggles with this?
If it is a different case than described above and the problem is not related to the company's reputation, then we usually pay a lot of attention to the job ad and the application form. It often happens in companies that are hiring blue collars, even handymen, where the application form has a large number of fields to fill out. The recruiter is asking them to upload their CV, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, previous employers' names, detailed description of education, etc. That can actually scare candidates away. Full name, plus email or phone number is enough. Another thing you should definitely pay attention to is the job ad, make sure that it is attractive and not completely boring and lacking important information like a detailed list of benefits.
Where do you think companies make the most mistakes from an HR marketing perspective?
Companies are quite often missing a complex strategy, mission, and vision for the company and the brand itself. Therefore their communication is not consistent and unified. It can even be confusing. Another big problem is when a company doesn't realize the potential of HR marketing activities and relies only on a PPC campaign to bring in new candidates. It can have results, but in the end, a really good job ad, landing page, ad text, graphic design, and a user-friendly contact form all together are what matters the most. Plus as mentioned, a company needs a good employee benefits package, a strong reputation, and a pleasant and inspiring work environment, which can be reflected in the external communication materials.
Read more interviews from GoodCall! Head of Technical Recruitment explains how to succeed in IT recruitment, Head of Commercial recruitment speaks about changes in candidates' requirements within the past year and Managing partner in Hradec Králové shares, why reskilling is so desired and desired these days.