Lori's Story

How I Developed a Small Business Approach to Recruitment Marketing

Hi, I’m Lori Creighton.

I’ve been on a learning journey with recruitment marketing for several years. It started when one of the companies I was working for asked me to do something to help them get the word out about their open jobs.

Back then, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as recruitment marketing, but I was sure that I could use my marketing skills to do something.

The something that I thought of was to publish content that told people what it was like to work at this company. So, I started writing blog posts and making videos that featured the thoughts and voices of employees sharing their experiences.

The attention that this sparked, along with the reaction of both the employee and employer, sent me on a journey to see what else I could learn about using marketing for recruiting. That’s when I discovered recruitment marketing and employer branding.

Lori Creighton, Content and Recruitment Marketing Consultant

Learning Resources with a Big Business Perspective

As I scoured the internet for learning resources, the content that I found was from employer branding professionals who worked in the enterprise world of big businesses. From them, I learned about communicating with value – specifically employer value. This really made sense to me because I could see how communicating with value made connections with people. But I didn’t know how to take my small business clients through that process of discovering and documenting their employer value proposition.

Part of my challenge was that this process was new to me. The other part of the challenge was that I had not yet figured out how to talk about this work in a way that would get my clients excited about recruitment marketing and find a budget to do something they had never done before.

Lori Creighton, Content and Recruitment Marketing Consultant

Convinced That Small Businesses Need Recruitment Marketing

Even though I knew I didn’t have everything figured out, I was absolutely convinced that recruitment marketing was not just what small businesses needed today. It was their future, because technology has changed human behavior, and companies weren’t going to get better recruiting results unless they changed their behavior to match up with the people they want to reach.

I decided that my best starting place was with something that I knew: storytelling. I said to one of my clients, “Let me talk with one employee every month. I’ll write their story and we’ll publish it on your blog.” And she said, “Let’s do it!”

We started publishing one story a month beginning in January 2018. From the very first story, we had wonderful raw content to work with to promote the company’s jobs. Not only did we have the story that I wrote, but we had a bunch of testimonials, and I wrote social media posts to go with the testimonials.

We saw right away that the social media posts that included employee stories or testimonials received more attention than anything else they were posting.

Related: Read about my StoryBrand connection to recruitment marketing

Employee Experience Uncovered Employer Value

It wasn’t too many months into this process when I had an idea that would enable me to bring the employer value component into this work. I modified what I learned in Adele Revella’s “Buyer Persona” masterclass to what I was doing with employee interviews.

Suddenly I had a way to turn these employee experience conversations into the groundwork for developing the company’s employer value proposition just by doing some simple qualitative analysis of the employees’ words.

My client loved this! Not only did they have powerful recruiting messages that made them stand out, but they also had information that they didn’t have before about what their employees valued. We used this to bring a tighter focus on the messaging. And when we had enough of this qualitative data to see patterns, the pillars of their employer value proposition (EVP) popped out.

And you know what? We never had to go through a big process to develop an EVP because it naturally emerged from talking with employees about their experiences.

Related: What do buyer personas have to do with recruitment marketing?

Immediate Impact Along with a Long-Term Strategy

What I figured out was how to build the recruitment marketing car while driving it. The process that I’ve developed is based on employee experience interviews, and I’ve been practicing this with other client companies for the past several years as well.

Gathering and sharing employee experience stories is how small businesses can not only get started with recruitment marketing, but this might be all they need to do. And it may even be all they want to do. I knoew from experience that small businesses don’t need to copy everything the enterprise world is practicing – and they shouldn’t. That includes recruitment marketing.

Related: Read about my "They Ask, You Answer" connection to recruitment marketing

Every Business Can Change Their Recruiting Message

Even though small businesses don’t need to emulate all of the recruitment marketing tactics that big businesses are using, I’m convinced that any business that wants to do better with talent attraction needs to promote their reputation as a good employer. The first step to do that is to change their recruiting message.

Is that last sentence surprising? Did you think I was going to say – the first step is to tell employee experience stories?

Here’s the biggest epiphany about my whole recruitment marketing learning journey: when you gather and tell employee stories, you suddenly have a way to change your message.

Changing your message is what you need to do to stand out in the crowd of companies competing for the same talent.

When you start with employee experience, you can talk about what people value and not just what the job is about. That’s what you need to turn an interaction that’s mainly transactional into one that’s relational. And building relationships is what marketing is all about.

Does that just blow your mind?! It still does for me, and I can only give God credit for leading me to this insight.

Put Recruitment Marketing Tools in the Right Hands

There’s one more epiphany that I need to share. When I first started speaking to community groups about recruitment marketing, I thought that Human Resources professionals and Recruiters were the people who I needed to reach. Why? Because they’re the people who own the key performance indicators (KPIs) for recruiting.

I’ve found that putting recruitment marketing tools in an HR professional’s hands doesn’t necessarily mean they can use them. Marketing is a very different skillset from HR. It's marketing professionals who can bring small businesses part of the solution to their talent attraction problem.

I say “part” of the solution, because expanding your reach and stimulating action is only going to go so far if the rest of the businesses’ application and hiring process is generic and burdened with friction.

Employee Experience Storytelling is the Starting Place

Ready for some good news? Employee experience storytelling is the starting place if you want to build a better talent pool. When you begin to think of connecting with people through what they value, that mindset ripples out into everything else you do.

When you’re starting your journey to a destination you’ve never been to before, you need a path to follow, and I’ve created a path for you with my online course – Better Message. Better Talent Pool.

The process of creating this course actually helped me to refine how I do this work for my clients, and I can teach you the framework that I’ve developed so that you can talk with employees and turn what they say into compelling recruiting messages.

Ready to build a better talent pool?

Get details of the course here: https://www.homesteadmedia.net/talent-attraction-messaging-course

I'm here to help you on your recruitment marketing journey. Let's go!

Lori Creighton

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