You hear it all around you: the job market is tight, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find people. As a field marketing or F2F marketing agency, you probably have to deal with this as well. What can you do to stand out in the job market? Get your brand story straight, know your target audience and use those two elements consistently in your communications. In other words, use employer branding and labor market communication. Specialist labor market communication Kevin van Houten helps you on your way in 3 steps.
Let’s start with some figures. There have never been as many people employed as right now. However, of the 9.5 million people who are employed in the Netherlands, 1.5 million changed jobs last year (source). Moreover, 65% of people who started a new job already think about changing jobs within three months. In addition, 50% of employers are actually not satisfied with the choice they made. This raises two questions. First, is the pond we are fishing in really that small? Second, what goes wrong in the matchmaking process?
“If you know how to properly utilize employer branding and labor market communications, you reach a larger pool of people who are a better match for what you are looking for, making it easier to fill your vacancies.”
So, how to achieve this? First off, we need to look at reach. The group that is latently looking, that is, open to a new challenge but not yet actively looking, is four times larger than the group actively looking for another job. The key difference? The first group does not google job vacancy field marketer. So you can’t reach them with a vacancy on a site. So that group needs to hear from you in a different way. That requires creativity and a little more time, but then your pond to fish in becomes a lot bigger.
Step 1: Your Employer brand story
Every company has a unique employer brand story. Yours too. It has its own genesis and identity. How you run your company, what the atmosphere is like and what you value are all important elements of your story as an employer. Want to avoid a mismatch? Then it’s a good idea to have your core values clear.
You’ve probably heard of Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle. Or of his statement “Start with WHY.” The idea behind it is that people “engage” on shared values, on the why of your business. That determines their attitude toward your company and their subsequent actions. Will come back to that later. That story or your employer value proposition or EVP is the basis for your communication. Important point: your story must be true. People in your company must recognize themselves in it. Because one thing is certain: if your story to the outside world does not match what is going on within your company sooner or later it will backfire. People will talk, online and offline. Gone are great stories.
Step 2: Your target group
If you have your company’s core values in place and your employer brand story sharp, then you are ready to share that story with your target audience. If you know what is important to your target group, you can respond to that with your communication.
So the first goal of that communication is getting to know you. Your target audience does not know you yet or may have heard of you but does not know what you stand for. It’s up to you to take them on a “candidate journey. Everything you decide in your life goes through 4 set stages: see, think, do, care.
“Many companies focus their communications entirely on the do phase. ‘Post and pray.’ So then you actually skip two important phases.”
Applied to recruiting, the first phase is about getting acquainted with your brand and tantalizing them with your story. In the second phase, you want to entice them to take the next step by showing them what working for you entails. If this gets them excited, chances are they will check out what vacancies you have next. That is the third phase.
If you present your vacancies attractively and your application procedure is easily accessible, a candidate who fits the bill perfectly may come into view. Hopefully the match is so good that your new colleague will stay with you for a long time and perhaps even become a brand ambassador who tells others how great it is to work for you. That loyalty is part of the fourth phase.
A word about that application process. Fundraisers or field agents within the F2F industry (sales, marketing, promotion) are mostly young people.That means you want to get in touch with 18- to 25-year-olds, Generation Z in other words. That generation is used to everything being available quickly and on demand. Their mobile is their most important tool. So if you want to make applying for a job at your company easily accessible, at least make sure your job postings are not pieces of text.
Maybe WhatsApp is a good alternative for you. Phone number for more information? Perhaps reconsider. In fact, research shows that 25% of 18- to 25-year-olds are “interested. So exactly this kind of thing is why it’s good to delve a bit into your target audience. You probably already have colleagues in that age group. Ask them for tips.
Step 3: Your communication
Maybe then those colleagues will come up with the following tip: young people are visually oriented. So rather less text and more pictures. Use photos and videos to show what working for you looks like in practice. Large organizations can do that with a nice campaign, such as this one from Defense or this one from IKEA. In both examples, purpose plays the lead role. Defense focuses on doers with their hearts in the right place (Generation D). IKEA shows that their application process fits seamlessly with their core values of “simplicity” and “being meaningfully different. And they are sure to reach a group that already has love for the brand.
But you can also shape your employer branding without a big budget. XXL Nutrition’s ‘end boss’ René van der Zel, for example, posts authentic stories about his employees almost daily on LinkedIn. And Kim Beumer shows on TikTok how things really go at her law firm. This content costs nothing, just some time, but it does get them applicants. Then your job market communication is successful.
So instead of the question “AMC, what can I do with it?” you might want to ask: “AMC, what can it do for me?” Even if that doesn’t rhyme very well.
One last tip. Don’t have the inspiration to come up with posts like this yourself? See if AI can give you a hand. ChatGPT can give you ideas for a text. Or you can let the AI tool combine information about your company and about field marketing into a LinkedIn post. Developments in that area are going fast. Soon you will also be able to have photos or video generated with a few instructions. So maybe in the near future it will become easier to shape your own job market communication with limited resources. But don’t lose sight of your story. That’s what makes you unique. And that employer brand story can ensure that you reach not only a larger group of people, but especially people who are a better fit for you and who might not have considered joining you at all. Until they read your story.
About this article
Kevin van Houten is a labor market communications specialist. After years of working for an agency, he is now self-employed advising companies on labor market communication and employer branding. During our F2Future even in February 2023, he shared his knowledge with us and our clients. This article is based on his keynote.