The news makes me fear for my job. A couple of years ago we only had to deal with the minor threat of blanket redundancy. Now having left austerity through the gift shop, we professionals face a wholly different problem: clever people. Young, virile, smart aleck, clever people. Curse their little cotton socks.
If last week’s staggering A-level results are anything to go by, then sixth form students have chosen their career path before they’ve even set foot in the university that’s currently chasing them over gold-paved streets shouting “pick me, pick me”.
That’s why if ever there was a time for big corporates to employ some recruitment marketing, it’s now.
The company needs YOU
There’s an army of sharp, infant whippersnappers out there with a clear view, not only of the path of higher education they wish to pursue, but also of where they want to end up professionally. They’re just waiting for the right employer to pull them in the right direction. Which is, in my experience at least, somewhat novel.
A decade ago (has it really been that long?) I, along with a fair amount of my fellow new graduates, finished uni with little clue of what to do with myself. Looking back, I don’t even know why I chose the degree that I did, which is risky to say the least when you do a degree in molecular biology. I opined after leaving that I basically went to university to prove to myself that I definitely did not want pursue a career in molecular biology. Still, I had the time of my life and a great degree; after crossing a lab-coat off my list of aspirations, I became a writer and consequently spent the best part of ten years working ‘on spec’ (or ‘for free’ as most writers prefer to call it).
That was me walking down the career path with my thumb held out, hoping a passing company might eventually give me a hitch. But the paradigm has shifted since then.
Now the kids know their exact roles and in many cases the exact company they want to work for in three years’ time.
They know what and how many A-levels they need to take to stand out. What’s more, they’re not getting an A and two Bs; some of them are getting multiple A*s. That the A* grade even exists at A-level these days shows how tough it is at the top. Competition is hungry, and in three or four years’ time it’s not going to be the universities scrapping for talent.
UPDATE: In December 2014, a survey of successful graduates by graduate recruitment specialist 1PGR revealed figures that paint exactly this picture:
55% of graduates and undergraduates started university studying something related to their desired field of work
92% of people asked by 1PGR had at least two companies in mind that they would love to work for
In short, someone’s plugged in the recruitment iron; the creased shirt of destiny lies before you.
Show them the money
These kids are clever, hungry and aspirational. All they need is a prospective employer to show them the goods.
The social media generation helps – its inherently competitive, self-promotional nature gives a generation of one-up-men and women fresh drive to achieve and succeed. If they’re trying to outdo each other on pictures of piña coladas and hot dog legs by the pool, you can bet the employment playing field is hotter still.
With that in mind, social media is indeed an already impassioned and poignant place to start on recruitment marketing, and a few of our upcoming blogs are to take a closer look at that, so watch this space.
Moreover, applying content marketing ideals, like building digital social relationships, to recruitment marketing is a means to the same end: to build awareness of and trust in your brand, and to an impart an image of a positive and supportive company culture. It’s demonstrating motivated workers who are not only inspired to achieve, but also have no reason to leave. Case studies, social media campaigns, image and video-led content that’s digestible, shareable (even by the people it focuses on, your organically-produced brand ambassadors) and paints the corporation in the best possible light.
There’s a lot to consider in the super-competitive world of recruitment marketing; you cannot simply post an advert for a job, the need now is to have that army of talented recruits knocking at your door before the vacancy even arises.
Recruitment marketing and Shell
Take Shell, for example. This lovely and creative content marketing agency in London has for some time been tasked with the Dutch energy giant’s recruitment marketing, and as a content marketing challenge it’s fascinating. We produce content that speaks not only to talented graduates with a clear view of their career needs, but also experienced professionals that have been in the job for years, even decades. Both have different needs.
While the experienced professionals need to know that by join the best in the world they will hone their already considerable skills to unparalleled levels of expertise, the younger cohort want reassurance that they will be supported and trained to bring out their best, all the while being a part of a fun, lively and super-talented family of other recent graduates.
There is a wealth of highly specialised talent out there now just waiting to be thrown a bone. It is up to companies to identify the exact student personas they wish to attract and start building an image that speaks to those people over a vast multitude of channels they have at their disposal. These guys have just finished their A-levels with a clear path to university. Time to show them the road to success.