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Attracting Candidates With Your Company’s Mission

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A common purpose is a powerful motivational tool. In the hit summer blockbuster, Guardians of the Galaxy, savvy assassins, crass aliens and renegade outlaws band together in an unlikely collective in order to save a planet from total destruction, putting aside their differences to work toward something greater than themselves. Though your business might lack the computer rendered star ships and explosions that draws an audience of millions, you, like every company, have the opportunity to use your mission to strengthen your appeal to job seekers.

Every company has a primary objective, so what’s yours? In order to attract the high level talent that you’re looking for, you must provide a clear, appealing company mission for high level talent to gravitate toward. Today’s job seeker, whether they’re experienced or entry level, whether they’re passive or active in their job search, wants more than just some job. Job seekers, especially millennial job seekers, want to identify with their employer. They want their daily work to be aligned with a greater purpose outside of your company’s walls and to know that they’re having an impact on the world through your company. Even if your company won’t make a huge impact on the future of the human race, simply making your company’s mission a greater part of your employment branding strategy will make your organization much more 3 dimensional and appealing for job seekers.

If you’ve been reading the Accolo blog recently, we’ve been talking, quite frequently, about the effects that the “Talent Gap” has been having on hiring in this country and around the globe. Due to a variety of factors, employers are having a hard time finding qualified candidates for the jobs that they’ve been opening. In fact, the time it takes to make a hire has skyrocketed in the past few years to historical heights of hiring inefficiency. According to a survey conducted by the tech job board Dice, the average time that it takes to fill a vacancy in this country is 25 days, the longest time to fill since they started measuring this stuff back in 2001. And it’s even worse when trying to fill technologically demanding jobs. On average, it takes just under 40 days and 40 nights (38.9 days) to fill a job in the tech industry, 37 days in financial services and 29.2 days in advanced manufacturing (up from 14.6 days in 2009).

Though there are millions of Americans who are out of work, most companies claim that they are unable to find qualified candidates for the positions that they’re advertising. While some of this can be explained by geographically limited candidate pools, of the biggest reasons that the majority of employers and the majority of the unemployed can’t meet eye to eye is that companies aren’t quite sure what they need out of a hire in the first place. According to a survey from the MRI Group, here are the top reasons that employers are posting job ads in this country:

  • 47% Newly Created Positions
  • 36% Vacancies from Resignation
  • 8% Top Grading Workforce
  • 5% Other
  • 3% Vacancies from Retirement

As you can see, nearly half of the demand for workers in this country is generated by positions that have only just been created, meaning that those doing the hiring are operating in uncharted waters. As the second highest cause for job ad creation is “Vacancies from Resignation,” it’s plain to see that many of the hiring decisions that are being made, end up being mistakes in the long run. As technology accelerates the rates of innovation and competition across all industries, it also amplifies the importance that talent plays in running an industry competitive company. If you don’t have people on your team equipped with the necessary know-how to effectively adopt these new technologies and practices, then you won’t be keeping up with the competition when the next big industry innovation comes along. Simply put, if you don’t employ someone who can do it, can’t do it.

In order to attract those highly sought, highly talented candidates to your company, you need to provide something for these candidates to be attracted to. Now, I’m not suggesting you turn your web developer ad into a sleazy center fold, but, funnily enough, the principal is pretty comparable. When a candidate encounters your company through an employee referral or a job ad, it’s in your best interest to leave that candidate with a clear picture of your company’s mission and how the role you’re trying to fill fits in with that mission. All too often, businesses fail to present themselves as anything other than their core functionality (eg: plastic molding, software development), preventing them from appearing unique or even appealing to job seekers. Take a look at what an applicant sees upon encountering your company: the job ad, your company’s website/careers page, your social media pages, etc. How visible is your company’s mission statement? Could you tell one of your friends about this job opportunity in an exciting way after viewing all of this material?

In order to attract driven, skilled pros to your company, you need to present your company as something greater than its core business function. Though you might see Whole Foods as just another grocery store, here’s how they describe their company’s mission: “Our vision reaches beyond food retailing. In fact, our deepest purpose as an organization is helping support the health, well-being, and healing of both people—customers, team members, and business organizations in general—and the planet.” Notice, this mission statement makes no mention of stocking shelves or any clean ups on aisle 5. Attracting talent in today’s candidate driven job market is all about presenting candidates with something to resonate with. By defining your company’s broader mission in a compelling way, you open the door for candidates to form a connection with your company before they’ve even applied for a job.

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