Purple squirrels are legendary in the recruiting world — the “unicorn” jobs that you just can’t find the right candidate to fill. Like Bigfoot, you know the candidates are out there but just can’t seem to find them.
In the past, the term was used for the most highly specialized roles, but the reality is that the phrase fits any job category where there is more demand than supply. This includes less technical roles that are still mission-critical and hard-to-fill positions such as warehouse staff, customer service, or other roles essential to your business.
Making light of the struggle to hire hard-to-fill positions by calling candidates purple squirrels doesn’t discount the fact that the clock is ticking to hire the right person.
When traditional hiring strategies don’t work, use these tips.
1. Assess your job description.
If you’re competing with other companies for top candidates, keep in mind that your outdated job description won’t work in the modern era. If you take the time to write an interesting and informative job description, there will be no need to “post and pray” that candidates will respond to your ad.
Start with a thorough analysis of the job itself. This should include some competitive research into other companies that are posting for the same position. How are other companies approaching the job description? What title are they using? Are they including compensation notes in the job listing? Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes. Take the time to review the job listings your potential candidates are coming across and assess how yours measures up.
Some key areas to consider when developing a winning job description include:
- Job title: The job title can be clever, but don’t make it so clever that your best candidates can’t find it in a search. Focus on providing a clear job title so you can attract the right candidates with the right skill set to the role.
- Reason the position is open: Is the company in growth mode? Is the position open due to an employee promotion? A positive reason could be great selling point that you’ll want to mention in the ad.
- Selling points: Think about the job from a sales perspective. What would attract you to the role? Consider making every job requirement into a unique reason that someone would want to work in your firm.
- Watch your tone: It’s important to write your job description in a friendly, approachable tone. Also, consider adding some information about your unique company culture to give candidates a sense of your environment.
2. Build your social presence.
In 2015, AdWeek reported that 92% of recruiters used social media to find candidates. In 2021, it’s safe to assume that number is about 100%. Social media is an ever-present feature in the lives of almost everyone these days, so recruiting teams that fail to make use of these tools will also fail in their hiring goals.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of “noise” on the major social platforms, making it difficult to build a brand presence that gets noticed if you’re selling something — and make no mistake, if you’re hiring, you are selling. Or, at least you should be. Your goal in a job advertisement or on social media is to promote your workplace as a desirable destination for candidates. This takes salesmanship! (Or, salespersonship.)
Building your social media presence is an effective way to support and elevate your company’s reputation with your target audience (e.g., potential candidates, customers, other business contacts). Recruiters should post regularly on social media and actively connect with individuals on the platform to further expand their network. The goal is to engage these networks with positive information about the company, the culture, and the jobs available. This effort is not something you should leave to computer automation, either. Each interaction should be personalized, authentic, warm, and welcoming to represent your corporate brand.
Don’t get stuck in a rut with your posts. Focus on offering quality content through a variety of formats. By sharing video, articles, and graphics, for example, you will have a much greater chance of appealing to and engaging with your target audience. Use these tools on social every day to find top talent.
3. Use your voice and build content.
Speaking of social media content, there is no doubt content marketing is a critical strategy for 2021. What many recruiting teams don’t realize is that content marketing isn’t just for marketing. It also can serve as interesting and engaging resources to pull in more candidates for your hiring process. Candidates today, and particularly millennial job seekers, are not just looking for a paycheck; they’re looking for a home that can inspire and engage them. Recruiting teams and hiring managers can use marketing content to share the values and priorities of their company while creating a sense of what their culture is like.
Ultimately, your goal is to use your job description, social media presence, and content to create an employee value proposition that makes working at your company an attractive proposition. This effort will increase your success in attracting candidates away from your competitors while decreasing your time to hire.
Team Up with TERRA
TERRA Staffing Group has connected thousands of employees with top companies. Since 1983, our creative efforts to match employers with top talent have kept our business and our clients successful. For assistance with filling your open positions, talk with our team today.