A quiet war is currently being waged in New Zealand business, as companies compete fiercely to attract staff from the limited pool of talent available.
With unemployment at an all-time high, workers know
that they can easily jump ship and find someone else willing to pay a little more, offer a more comfortable role, or something that offers real growth potential.
With the heat escalating across the industries right now, it’s an important reminder that recruiting is just an elaborate sales pitch where you offer money in exchange for most waking hours. of a person’s life.
When all the companies are selling essentially the same thing, the trick is to convince your target market that you’re a little better than everyone else – and there’s no one better for that than advertisers.
What makes you different?
Advertising strategist David Thomason told the Herald on Sunday that recruiting in today’s environment is a marketing challenge.
“Whether you’re trying to sell your business to a customer or an employee, the principle is the same,” says Thomason.
“You have to show people what makes you different, what makes you desirable.”
He says reading most companies’ vision statements is a laborious chore, filled with inane statements that say nothing about what the company actually stands for or does.
He says that if you can’t properly articulate what you stand for, it’s hard to tell the potential employee why they should sell your wares rather than your competitor’s just down the street.
If your entire pitch is based on clichés about being “an innovative company striving to make the world a better place through technology,” then you’ll give a prospect little reason to sign on that dotted line.
The best price doesn’t always win
New Zealand advertising executive Damon Stapleton recently told the story of two bookstores in a shopping center on his popular blog.
It was the night of a Harry Potter book launch, and parents and children were rushing everywhere to get their hands on a copy. The bookstore Stapleton worked for was selling the books for $10 less than the competitor — and yet, when the time came, people lined up for hours outside the competitor’s store.
“[The marketing director] started having a meltdown in the copier paper section,” Stapleton writes. “He made weird noises and kept saying but our books are getting cheaper again and again. It was like a weird marketing mantra to protect him. But the price was not the problem.”
The other store had the rich smell of coffee wafting through the air and there were these big leather chairs that made people feel welcome. The other store, you see, was just a bookstore.
Whether companies are selling to a customer or selling a job to a potential worker, the principles are the same. You might be able to offer a little more money, but that doesn’t guarantee job seekers will buy what you’re selling.
There’s a reason tech companies can often get away with paying far less than their traditional competitors. It’s the idea that this place is going somewhere, rather than slowly dying.
This is especially the case at a time when current employers are more willing than ever to match the price you offer to avoid the hassle of recruiting staff.
So what exactly are you offering? Is it a leather sofa and the rich aroma of coffee or just a slightly better price?
reason to flee
The work of behavioral scientists like Daniel Kahneman has shown that while we like to imagine ourselves as rational beings, many of the decisions we make are fundamentally driven by emotion.
Thomason says it doesn’t stop when it comes to the professional setting.
Employees, current and potential, don’t leave their emotions at the door when they show up.
“Employers have to ask themselves if they’re giving people a reason to flee the building,” says Thomason.
Even profitable and successful organizations can fall into the trap of creating a culture that people just don’t want to be part of.
The additional problem here is that leakers tend to talk. Word of mouth advertising doesn’t just work when it comes to selling items in your garage.
In New Zealand’s small industrial clusters, it doesn’t take many frustrated current and former employees to give a company a reputation as a bad employer.
This news will travel and it could be the thing that pushes a potential staff member one way or the other when it comes to making the decision to join.
Remember, people are emotional. And being a good recruiter often means being a good employer for those currently in the organization.