How to hire employees that don’t know you exist

May 1, 2019


When it comes to making big decisions, and setting goals, most people try to make the process more manageable by introducing focus. When embarking on a diet, we often imagine the end goal - our ideal weight, and saving tends to be more successful when it’s for a specific event, like a holiday. It’s no different when it comes to applying for jobs. Searching for vacancies at companies who you already know align with your current professional goals or are the ‘type’ of company you want to work for is a logical step to simplifying the process.

But, whilst this makes sense from a candidate’s perspective, it does (as I’m sure you know all too well) present a significant challenge for HR teams across most businesses. Many struggle to attract top talent outside their area of business specialism, simply because the candidates they are after may not know they exist!

I was recently speaking to a large multinational media company who practically had marketing specialists and digital media gurus knocking down their front door for jobs, in many cases having issues qualifying out candidates; but when it came to recruiting for their finance department, they were left scrambling for high quality applicants.
So, what can these companies do to ensure they get in front of and recruit the right talent, across all areas of their business?

Understand your pain points then talent map

An important starting point is to evaluate your sourcing strategy - identify the areas of your business where you are failing to bring in the best candidates.

At a large finance firm, this pain point might, for example, be the IT department. Developers are unlikely to search the career pages of one of the ‘Big Four’ if they work in a niche development role but instead focus their job search on those businesses that are destination employers in their space.

Without first identifying the areas of the business struggling to attract top talent, it is difficult to establish an effective course of action to tackle the problem. Have you thought about the fact that candidates for varying departments will respond differently to the same resourcing tactics? If the aim is to improve IT recruitment you need to understand what works for them, not just in general but for those specific roles.  

To get an understanding of how you can improve your sourcing strategy and start attracting high-quality candidates, you could consider working with a sourcing or industry specialist on talent mapping. But, rather than just doing a common competitor mapping exercise, this should involve looking at those businesses with the best in class talent in your areas of pain – they should not be direct competitors as they are likely to face similar challenges. By Talent mapping destination employers, you are able to start getting ahead of the competition by uncovering the strategies and messaging that actually resonate with your target audience.

Targeted Attraction

Now armed with a clear idea of effective engagement tactics, strategies and an understanding of the market, you can start direct targeting campaigns to change perceptions amongst candidates. This means that they will not only become aware of your business, but see applying for a role as a good career move (even if you don’t offer stand out perks like Google style massage rooms and nap pods!).

Talent Pooling for life

Talent Pooling doesn’t start at the point you have a job requisition, it starts a long time before that with tailored content to engage, educate and excite potential hires. Once you have mapped the market, and understand how to engage with this workforce, you need to then proactively find candidates and have initial engagements with them to allow you to share your story. This way you build up a bank of people who you would like to work at your organisation in the future, and can start getting them not only interested but excited about joining your organisation. The nirvana is as always, a highly-engaged talent pipeline of great candidates that want to join your business in the future. This will help not only drive down time to hire and cost per hire but also, as these candidates are the best in class, the time taken to impact your business.

Technology can help you get to this point, past standard sourcing platforms there are a number of solutions that ensure you are targeting these people in the right way. To make a great first impression, you can analyse their online presence to understand how and when is best to engage them. Finding out whether they prefer to be approached on LinkedIn or via the phone, and whether to write to them in detail or use abbreviations, all serves the goal of increasing the chances of actually getting through to them. And ultimately opening the door to establishing a relationship.

What Next

Unfortunately, finding these people and putting them in a talent pool on its own often isn’t enough to get a passive candidate, or someone who’s never heard of you, to apply for a job. So, that is where content becomes king. Delivering targeted communications to people in your talent pool can help peak their interest in your business. However, that is only the case if the content – whether that is short blogs about awards or CSR pieces on what the business is doing –makes them think that working for your organisation would be a smart career move. Again, this is where the right technology can help through its ability to deliver tailored content as part of a personalised journey. It’s all about planting the seed with candidates – engage, educate, excite.

The final area you may want to look at is ensuring that candidates are getting an individual experience on your career pages. Leading companies are now using technology to deliver agile content that best responds to their specific needs and interests of the user. So, rather than just receiving general blogs such as the top ten reasons why it’s great to work for your business, a developer might see an article about a day in the life of one of your IT employees or details of digital media projects, awards and good news stories when logging onto the career page. By being targeted in your approach, you will let candidates know you understand what they care about even if this triggers secondary subconscious thought patterns.

Whilst talent mapping, pooling and using technology to better identify and engage talent are crucial elements of getting on the radar of employees that don’t know you exist, I should mention that having a strong employer brand that portrays what are great place to work you are is also key. This will resonate with people regardless of experience or background, and together with the other strategies outlined go a long way in getting yourself on their map as an employer of choice.

Those HR and Resourcing professionals that are able to improve recruitment processes across all business stream, and attract diverse talent, will play a significant role in driving growth and performance for their organisation.

If you have any thoughts or questions, or would like to find out more about our services please contact us.




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