Well, I’m glad you asked! Okay, you obviously didn’t ask me… But by proxy to the conversations around finding and recruiting top talent – I have learned there are quite a few things that we can improve on in order to better find the talent. And while there are quite literally thousands of reasons as to why this is such a difficult task right now – I don’t have time to go through them all. Regardless of the reason – as business owners, executives, and hiring professionals – we need to continue doing what has got us this far; seeing the problem, then finding a solution.
While I am certainly not an employee finding/hiring/culture ‘expert’ – living and more importantly, working in the Midwest, has piqued my curiosity enough for me to take a deeper look at the current hiring issue’s and work to find a solution or at least part of a solution for this problem. Now I believe you already know several of the key reasons surrounding the current "talent finding climate" I've listed below – but I'm going to reiterate them as it helps better present the foundation for this writing.
Just the facts.
1. Unemployment rates are at an (almost) twenty-year low. To date, the national unemployment rate is around 3.9% - the last time they were this low was in 2000. Not only that, you will find even lower numbers in some of the mid-western states such as Iowa (2.4%), Wisconsin (2.9%, and Kansas (3.3%). While there are a lot of different factors that tie into the mid-western states being lower. It still serves the point that businesses are having to work extra hard to find and retain top talent.
2. While I’m sure they are plenty of folks who would like to take up arms and attack me for this next statement, it’s the facts. Studies have shown there are fewer young people concerned with going to a 4-year college. While there are a ton of factors that come into play with this – this writing is not about college enrollment. Only leveraging the facts to further the point. Read College Enrollment Stays Flat, Continuing a Decade-Long Trend. And the plethora of other research that comes with this topic.
3. Along with the above point – college dropout rates are shockingly high. On average one-third of college students drop out entirely. Read, 23 College Dropout Statistics That Will Surprise You. At this point – I could write an entire piece on why companies should stop requiring college degrees for jobs that truly don’t require a college education. But I will refrain and save my rants about higher education and well…all public/government ran education for another day.
While there are a lot of other reasons and sub-facets to each of those reasons. The few above serve the point that there are real issues surrounding this topic right now.
Again, I believe you already knew this and so far, I haven’t told you anything you don’t already know.
What I haven’t told you yet, is because of this, we need to look at how we are marketing our organization and ask ourselves if we are doing the best we can to present why we are a great company to work for. We cannot continue doing the same thing we’ve always done to find and recruit talent.. What I have learned (again, by proxy of living in the mid-west) – is companies who are not Facebook, Google, or Bumble can still do a great job of finding young, driven, and smart employees (think ClickStop, Epic Systems, or Henderson Engineering).
Here are a few things I’ve learned that help these companies and others do such a great job of recruiting.
First – be a cool company. Like actually be a cool company – not just a company who wants to look cool. Millennial's and Gen-Z have incredible online BS meters and will see right through it. And... "cool" in this context doesn't necessarily mean having ping-pong tables and nerf gun wars (while that is pretty cool). It is more importantly about how you treat your employees and their overall engagement in the organization and community.
Second – stop doing what 'has always been done.' Innovation doesn’t come from the status quo. Never has. Never will. This flows well in line with the first thing of being a cool place to work.
Third – use more video. I don’t have time to go through the statistics as to why video marketing works so well but with common sense and simple reasoning – it’s not too hard to tell that the viral cat videos (and others) are here to stay.
If you’re a cool company with an awesome culture – show that. Literally, show that. Create a simple one to three-minute video that shows who you are internally and what you're about; in other words, share your why. We recently did this for a client in Iowa who was nominated for a Coolest Place to Work Award (see here) and it turned out really well.
While we have a professional media team who does this for a living – there are a lot of companies who are in a massive growing stage but don’t yet have the budget to hire a marketing agency to help them or they have an excellent marketing team that can do this in-house. Either way, with a little bit of work. Anyone can do this. It’s super simple. Notice I didn’t say easy…but simple.
Creating your own!
Step 1: Come up with a theme and an end goal. What do you want to accomplish? And what would you like to see the finished product look like? Once you have your theme and finished product in mind, reverse engineer it from there.
Step 2: Write a script. This is extremely important, as any well-created video strategy needs to have a flow to it. People relate to stories and stories sell. When writing this – think of it as a movie. You need to plan every scene and each line should be shot with a different background. Think of how you want your “actor” aka employee to say their line. Are they saying it with an attitude? Sarcasm? Confidence, etc. This is also the time to plan your shots (i.e., where does the camera start, where is the subject, where does it end). Also make sure to plan for b-roll (employees playing games, work-spaces, internal/external events, etc..) simple pan shots with no audio that you can use in post-production.
Step 3: (as part of step 2): Add humor and don’t use the same employee for every scene. Show your diversity and charisma through your employees.
Step 4: Schedule your shoot. I know this seems like the simplest of steps and it is. But the tricky part is setting the time aside for you and your employees to make this happen. You obviously don’t want to take out too much time of their day (granted, on average, employees are only productive 2-3 hours a day, according to VoucherCloud). But still… you don’t want to feel rushed. Our suggestion is to allow 4-6 hours to get this done.
Step 5: Shoot the video. Simple. You don’t need a fancy camera as most modern phones shoot in 4K (back camera). A couple of cheap tricks to really increase the quality like using an external mic such as this one (make sure it’s compatible with your specific device), a stabilizer for your phone like this and bam! You’re good to go!
Step 6: Post-Production. Now it all comes together. Granted this part can be a bit time consuming as it takes some time and there can be a bit of a learning curve. But it’s nothing you can’t learn and just about any question you have, Google/YouTube will have the answer. We use both Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro. I am a fan of Adobe Premiere – but that’s just a personal preference. There are even free apps that you can use like Filmora Wondershare – but of course, as with anything. You get what you pay for and there is usually less info on the web on how to use them along with less versatility within your editing capabilities, but it works.
Step 7: Publish it! Post it to your careers page and to all your social media channels. Facebook, IGTV, YouTube, and especially LinkedIn. **To go one step further – after you post to LinkedIn – you can run targeted ads with a link back to your careers landing page.**
That’s it! I certainly hope this helps someone…or lots of people! Again, through my short time of being in the business world I have learned it’s okay to think and be different – you’ll probably be judged for it, at first...but we’re all constantly judging and being judged anyway.
And finally, I’ll say it again as it is worth saying twice; innovation doesn’t come from the status quo.