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Discovering your cultural competitive advantage


The proliferation of social media over the last decade has completely revolutionised the recruitment process, and we’ve seen a huge shift in power from employers to candidates as a result. Article by Dan Dackombe, Director of Talent Solutions at LinkedIn.

As recently as the beginning of this century, job hunting could be a confusing and complex process for candidates. Jobseekers were faced with scarce insights into the range of opportunities available to them, limited data on what fair salaries looked like, and few ways to know if a company would be a good fit for them before signing a contract. Professionals either had to gamble that their application would stand out amongst piles of other paper CVs on an anonymous desk, or hope that by chance they’d hear of an opportunity through a friend or contact. The prospect of finding the ideal role in which one could thrive was almost minute.

Today, professionals have a near endless supply of information on potential employers and jobs right at their fingertips. As well as there being millions of jobs online, potential new hires can quickly find information on what companies are like as a place to work via their professional networks, online forums, or a wealth of news outlets. All this information can be quickly compared to what the company says on its own website and in job descriptions to quickly find the most authentic employer brands.

With this shift in information comes a corresponding shift in power; employers are now constantly being weighed up, assessed and interviewed by candidates, whether or not they’re aware of it. The more forward-thinking employers are using this to their advantage: creating content and managing their online presence so, when the next potential great hire looks them up, they find relevant and authentic information about the company.

One of the major outcomes from this shift is the rising importance of culture and values as a competitive advantage when it comes to attracting talent. Recent LinkedIn research shows that more than half of UK professionals (52 per cent) now consider a company’s values to be a deal breaker when it comes to accepting a new job opportunity. Even if you have a strong set of value and a positive culture, you could be missing out on half of your potential new hires if you’re not doing a good job of communicating them.

Here are some quick and simple steps on using social media to attract top talent:

Lead from the top
Just as consumers are making buying decisions based on what a company stands for, the same is true for candidates. Professionals today are not just interested in what you do, but how and why you do it. Just as social media is a powerful platform to engage your customers, you can be using it to communicate the priorities and values of your company to potential new hires. Making information on open roles, case studies of existing employees and so on available can be a great way to turn your social presence into a recruiting force.

Specsavers is a great example of a company doing this authentically. Co-founder of the popular high street opticians Doug Perkins regularly posts thought leadership pieces via the LinkedIn Publisher platform on issues from eye health awareness to changing dynamics in the industry. Anyone interested in the company can quickly see the issues and priorities of the senior leaders in their own voice. Thanks to this approach, around a quarter of Specsavers’ hires now come through LinkedIn.

Be creative in the content you share
While they still have a place, few people today have the time or energy to digest lengthy white papers. Social media opens up a wide range of opportunities for companies to get creative in the way they share information. This could be short videos shot with customers or employees or graphics and presentations that help bring information to live. Most companies can easily find some great material to work with, whether it’s your workplace in action, or company social events. The newly redesigned LinkedIn Company Pages put more emphasis on visual content, making them a great canvas to illustrate life at your business.

Mobilise your current employees to help
Your existing employees are some of your greatest ambassadors in the offline world and the same is true online. Equip them with the latest company news or interesting job openings on a regular basis and encourage them to share via their social networks. As individuals, we’re more likely to trust what we hear from our friends and contacts than organisations, so make sure you’re putting this to good work.

For starters, make it easy for employees to find, follow and engage with your company on social media. You can also involve your employees in making short videos and images to show potential hires first-hand what it’s like to work for you.

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