In our digital age, the dominance of mobile devices means that anyone can reach anyone, anywhere, anytime.
However, this accessibility is deceiving. In an environment of constant information overload, encapsulated in new terms like “infobesity” or “infoxication,” the rules of engagement, the “how” we find, attract, and hire great talent are ever-changing and difficult to navigate.
Notice I used the word engagement.
According to this interview with marketing guru, Seth Godin, “The shift to the era of engagement marketing and away from transactional and mass marketing is well underway.”
This illustrates a broader point: without engagement, people, whether they are job candidates or customers, are tuning out the more traditional marketing messages.
We see this in recruiting, which is marketing, too. It is more important now than ever to take an engagement, rather than a transactional approach, to hiring the best talent.
What is engagement?
To me, engagement means this:
“True engagement comes from authentic, consistent participation across the channels your audience uses.”
“Only in the last 20 years have we seen marketing change from spending money to interrupt people with advertising to market everything you make and everything you say.”
Seth Godin makes a lot of great points that ring true for our modern, digital age.
LinkedIn itself publishes these stats about the response level of an engaged audience: people following your company are 95% more likely to accept your InMail and 81% more likely to respond.
According to Hubspot, Ad blocking grew by 41% globally in the last 12 months. There are now 198 million active ad block users around the world. The average clickthrough rate of display ads is 0.06%. Tired of TV ads? Well, head over to Netflix.
The reason why people tune out traditional push advertising in droves is that unsolicited emails, banner ads, and other advertising are intrusive. They interrupt you from what you are doing. And you do not like to be interrupted. Particularly not, if there´s nothing in it for you.
Seth Godin also says we now live in a world of permission marketing:
“Permission is like dating,” Godin says. “You don’t start by asking for the sale at first impression. You earn the right, over time, bit by bit.” How do you earn it? By engaging your audience.
Marketing needs permission to engage. And recruiting is marketing!
Let´s be honest. Many in recruiting are stuck in an old-fashioned, transactional way of marketing opportunities to candidates. They push out job descriptions without any prior engagement, before asking a single question about the person’s situation, career, and interest in hearing about an opportunity.
It is easy enough to trick yourself into thinking that with thousands of names at your reach on LinkedIn or other social networks, connecting with people is easy.
You as a smart hiring authority or recruiting professional – just like smart marketers – must realize that despite the dramatic increase in accessibility to talent pools due to digitization, the need for human connection is greater today than ever before to successfully engage and make a quality hire.
Really engaging with someone means far more than just knowing who they are. Knowing of them doesn’t mean you know if they’re open to making a move. Neither do you know their career priorities and preferences. The thorns in their side. The things that keep them up at night.
Invest the time to talk about and understand these, and they will engage, rather than tune you out.
Next time, we will talk specifically about what an engagement-based approach to recruiting and hiring looks like. Stay tuned!