Every touchpoint of a business is an opportunity to bring a brand to life. An opportunity to amplify the brand, making us more conscious or aware of it. If the moment at which a consumer interacts with a business is muted or anonymous, it’s a waste of that opportunity. If a touchpoint doesn’t feel appropriate to our expectations, it may even create discord.
This can be an enormous challenge for businesses. Is the business set up to deliver a unified brand strategy? Does its brand strategy convey an idea that can be delivered across a myriad of touchpoints? Does the strategy have the right amount of internal support and engagement to be delivered? And does it focus on the communication of an idea, or the experience of the brand?
Recruitment is one business area where brand is really being left behind. This is a missed opportunity – a chance to represent and instil a brand’s values from day one. It is worth bearing in mind that many prospective recruits are also customers. Anyone going through a recruitment process is likely to talk to their friends and family about it, meaning candidates are also influencers.
HOW HARD ARE BUSINESSES TRYING TO DELIVER A POSITIVE IMPRESSION OF THEIR BRAND WITHIN THE RECRUITMENT EXPERIENCE?
The instinctive answer for most businesses would of course be that they’re trying very hard. But if we take a deeper look, could they be doing better? Job descriptions across the board are using the same language. Cultures and success criteria are described using the same language. Businesses are invariably conveying a ‘sea of same-ness’ when it comes to recruitment, when they should be using it as an opportunity to communicate what’s different about their organisation, not what’s the same.
In addition to this, despite huge changes across society, organisations are also still adopting a pretty traditional recruitment process. An ad is posted, applications received and reviewed, candidates interviewed and a favoured candidate gets an offer. Seems logical enough – but in a world where we are now increasingly happy to select a life partner through technology, have recruitment processes really kept pace?
WITH DRAMATIC CHANGES TO BUSINESS AND SOCIETY, CAN TRADITIONAL RECRUITMENT MODELS STILL BE APPROPRIATE?
Sites like LinkedIn may stock CVs and be effective at matching square pegs to square holes, but by recognising the pace of change elsewhere in business and society, we can see that a business replenishing its existing people stock with a ‘more-of-the-same’ approach is not a progressive people strategy. Indeed, more enlightened companies talk about hiring for attitude – but it’s all too true that an assessment of ‘attitude’ relies on intuitive interpretations, often based on likeability, sitting in a short-lived recruitment window and against a backdrop of easing the burden of over-stretched people.
I RECENTLY WENT THROUGH A RECRUITMENT PROCESS THAT FELT REMARKABLY DIFFERENT…
First, a bit of background. I spent almost 20 years working for the same company. As in any 20-year career, there were highs and there were lows. When the company and I went our separate ways, I took some time out to review what I really wanted to do. Whilst I knew I didn’t want to do ‘more of the same’, the recruitment processes I was consistently faced with led me to one conclusion only: ‘more of the same’ was going to be the simplest way to get myself bought.
The next challenge was the fact that after 20 years, I’d managed to get myself into a pretty senior position, and collected some swanky job titles along the way. Whilst this creates pedigree and denotes experience, it also means a pretty rarefied candidate in what is a broad-brush recruitment market. Perhaps this is precisely why networks that cut through the obstacles of recruitment are seen as being so important.
I ended up setting up on my own, which was cathartic as well as practical. It helped me get a sense of my own perspective and also understand some of the areas where larger, less agile companies were failing to meet client needs. By this point, I’d become pretty picky about working for another company – though I acknowledged that I got more satisfaction and stimulation from being part of team (that wasn’t just me and the dog). That’s when I came across a different sort of recruitment opportunity and finally found a company I wanted to work for…
WHAT IF, RATHER THAN DESCRIBING AN ATTITUDE WE’RE LOOKING FOR, WE DESCRIBE A BEHAVIOUR WE KNOW OUR BEST PEOPLE DELIVER?
Imagine that. We call it What Great Looks Like™. By finding out what it is that makes someone a high performer, we can build a picture of the profiles that are most likely to emulate the best people an organisation currently has.
It’s all about analysing a person’s Intellect, Values, Motivations, Behaviours and, lastly, their Experience – because if we know what our people are really like, we know who we are really looking for in a crowded job market. It’s also in the best interests of candidates and employees, because we’re marrying people to the right roles, where their potential has the opportunity to truly be delivered. I don’t just think that’s interesting; it’s the way the world should be.
What Great Looks Like™ bears gifts for any brand and should be gold for marketers. Brands should be looking for tangible behaviours that are identifiable and distinguishing, rather than communicating their intentions that may or may not have synergy with the way the organisation really behaves. Knowing an organisation’s best behaviours should definitely feed into its brand strategy with confidence, and into its myriad of touchpoints.
The recruitment process I’ve just been through was different in all sorts of ways. My response to a values questionnaire was delivered back within 24 hours and provided empirical evidence that I’d be a good fit. That was quite spooky at first. If you’re choosy about who you want to work with, a data point showing that you’re a good fit for each other is quite disarming. This meant that subsequent interviews weren’t focused on how I’d fit in, but more on what I wanted to achieve. That the founder also said he wants to create the best place in the world to work sealed it for me – so here I am. They knew I was a good fit, they wanted me, so the band starts to play and we step onto the dance-floor together.
What does all of this tell me about their brand? Well, these people are experts so I’d expect them to be good at recruitment, but this felt like a recruitment process that was fit for the age we live in, taking advantage of the technology at our disposal. Better still, whilst they practice what they preach, the expertise is of course available for others to use.
My new employer is called Chemistry and you can find out more by going to: www.thechemistrygroup.com