I recently read a piece on Stuart Lancaster, currently a senior figure in the Leinster Rugby coaching team. I do follow the rugby a little, but not closely. Even though I was aware of his background, until I researched him and was regaled with his story of highs to lows to highs again, I didn’t really get what an incredible journey he’s been on and what he has achieved.
You see there’s knowing the story and then there’s appreciating the story. I knew some of the story, but I never connected to it, the admiration and aspiration I feel to it now. When it comes to recruitment, I hope that I’m a little more tuned in to the story of my clients and candidates. Because it’s through the story that connections are made. And so, Hiring Managers out there should be interested to tell the story of their organisation too.
Being different/distinctive from the competition is one thing, but people knowing it is another. So how can you get this message out? Well, most firms are not short of channels to use, from LinkedIn, Company Website, Social Media, Corporate and Public events and this may make the subject for another blog. But today I want to touch on some of the messages that those in the Financial Services talent pool are most interested to hear. Before I do so though, I will mention one channel that’s particularly underutilised… The Recruitment Process itself:
The Recruitment Process: I recently attended a Grad Ireland event on Generation Z and I must say it was highly informative. One of the big gaps in communication that was identified was during the recruitment process itself. To start with, candidates’ expectations of how long a process would take was significantly shorter than how long it actually took. A simple increase in communication to align timeframe expectations would be a start. But as these processes can sometimes run into the weeks and months, this is a key opportunity to communicate directly with the Talent pool. Whether they will be joining the business now or in the future or they’re speaking with colleagues who could be considering a move, the recruitment process is an extended and direct communication channel with exactly the Talent you’re looking to attract.
Let’s look at some of the messages you might want to share about your business:
- Career Flexibility: Increasingly Financial Services Talent is interested in nonlinear career progression. They value companies that can present them with more than one career path. This is an area where I think storytelling in particular can get the message across.
“Tom started in our firm as an Accounting Graduate with an ambition to progress as a Fund Accountant. After two years his interest grew into how the middle office function worked and through our flexible graduate program and with the knowledge he had built, Tom moved into an operational role. After three years he’s excelled in this new role and now manages a small team of settlement analysts supporting the front office activity.”
I never claimed to be a great storyteller, but I’m sure you can do a little better….
- Career Support: What resources are available, much like Tom above utilising the Grad program. Take opportunities to let the Talent pool know through your channels what in house resources are available and what funding is available for external learning. Tell this through the story of existing employees to make it real. Do you have a mentorship program? How is that going?
- Company Culture: Most often when you hear culture discussed it’s described as either good or bad. This is really a huge simplification of a complex and maybe the most important piece of information in a candidate’s decision process when appraising potential employers. Try to talk in terms of the characteristics of your culture rather than in terms of good or bad.
- Creative vs Detail Oriented
- Formal vs Casual
- Flat structure vs hierarchical
- Directive vs Supportive
In this way, you’ll get the message of what sort of people will fit in. I doubt you would ever describe your culture as bad and describing it a good really doesn’t advance the conversation. Get more specific about what makes your firm different.
If you sit down and think about all the channels through which you already communicate to the talent pool (even if they’re currently passive), you’ll start to see all the opportunities that exist to attract the right people to your team. And if you can get that message out through stories, then the ears you want to reach won’t just hear the story, they’ll feel it too.