The good news is that you know your company is awesome. But if you have a small business or if your organization doesn't have a brand name, it's a challenge to break through the clutter to attract prospective employees.

Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to tell your company's story to attract the best candidates. Here are three suggestions:

1. Present a clear portrait of your company and its culture.

I'll start with a "don't": Tempting as it might be, don't oversell what your company represents or what it offers. Presenting your organization in a warmer glow than it deserves does you no service: It means people will be attracted to your firm from the outside and then potentially unhappy once they're hired.

Instead, consider what your company truly stands for and articulate it in a way that's straightforward and descriptive. To demonstrate, here are excerpts from two "who we are" descriptions from two very different companies:

  • FedEx. "The core philosophy that governs every activity at FedEx is People-Service-Profit (PSP): Take care of our people; they in turn will deliver impeccable service demanded by our customers, who will reward us with the profitability necessary to secure our future. People-Service-Profit: These three words are the very foundation of FedEx Express. FedEx is dedicated to the principle that our people are our most important asset--a belief that motivated and conscientious people provide necessary professional service to ensure profits and continued growth.
  • Procter & Gamble. "At P&G, it's about integrity and character. It's about building trust by being open, honest, straightforward and candid with each other, our customers, consumers and business partners. We do what we say, and we say what we mean. This is what sets P&G and P&G people apart. As a "build from within" organization, we see 95% of our people start at entry level and then progress and prosper throughout the organization. This not only creates many wonderful opportunities to grow and advance, it creates a special camaraderie among fellow P&Gers, many of whom came up through the ranks together.

2. Feature employees describing their jobs and "what it's like to work here."

To describe your company and "what it's like to work here" accurately and positively, what works best are photos and quotes from, and video clips of, real employees.

You'll want to feature people with backgrounds (education, experiences) you want to replicate. If you want former Peace Corps members in your organization, always feature one in your recruiting communications. People like to see "here's someone just like me" because it gives them confidence that this is an organization where their degrees, experience, or education will be valued and they can see this is a place where they potentially will fit in.

How do you get employees to tell you in their own words what they like about being at your company? Ask them. Here are the types of questions that will get you great information to use in recruiting communications:

  • What attracted you to this job? Did the reality of the job live up to your expectations?
  • What do you like best about your job and why?
  • What do you like least about your job and why?
  • Tell me about your typical day at work--please pretend you're talking to a 12-year-old. (Adding the part about a 12-year-old simply helps the employee describe her day without using a lot of jargon.)
  • What are you learning on the job?
  • What skills and abilities do you need to succeed in this job?
  • What is the next step you'd like to make in your career? How is your current job preparing you for your next career move?
  • What advice would you offer a friend about joining this organization?
  • What advice would you offer a friend about how to succeed here?
  • What makes you proud of our company?

Ask this set of questions of selected employees throughout the world and get lots of useable quotes in return. In one global financial institution, I posed these questions of 25 employees and learned that most agreed that "the work we do and the people we work with" were what employees liked best about the job.

In fact, as I've worked on recruiting communications through the years, I've realized that describing "the work you'll do and the people you'll work with" should constitute the core of every organization's recruiting.

3. Give candidates a thorough overview of company benefits.

Your company has a full set of benefits and policies meant to retain your most valuable employees. But you may forget that any one of those benefits may create a compelling reason for a potential hire to submit his application. Different benefits matter more to different candidates, based on their situations. That's why you should make sure that your full spectrum of benefits and policies are easily accessible in your recruiting communication.

For example, an industrial company's recruiting web site contains a section called "Helping busy people living busy lives" that includes a "high-level overview of the benefit plans the company offers to eligible employees." There are links to sections on medical, vision and life insurance benefits, pension and stock purchase plans, and time off and other key policies.

While the information is certainly not as comprehensive as a Summary Plan Description, it gives enough details to get a sense of what the company offers. Here, for example, is an excerpt from the Dental Plan section:

The Dental Plan is designed to help pay the expenses of dental care. Two levels of dental benefits are offered: high and low.

Under the high option, a covered individual can receive benefits up to $2,000 each year. The low option provides up to $1,500 each year. There is a separate orthodontia lifetime maximum of $1,650 per covered individual under the high option -- $1,250 per covered individual under the low option.

It's just enough information to give a prospective employee a sense of what benefits he or she will be eligible for.

Need more ideas for telling your story to prospective employees or communicating benefits and other HR topics to current employees? Check out my book, The Definitive Guide to HR Communication.

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Published on: Jun 22, 2018