How to attract great people to your business

8th July 2022
Alice Turner

Alice Turner

Strategic thinker and collaboration enthusiast | Enjoys getting stuff done | Senior account manager at Cohesive | Sea swimming, walking and dreaming of new places | [she/her]

Lego action figures stand on a red peg board, with square and round sockets. To attract great people, you don't put square pegs in round holes

Taking a new job is a risk. Like any romantic relationship, you never really know what you’re getting into until you’ve committed.  Maybe you start to see the cracks, the baggage and the bad habits but only when it’s too late. So if it’s a risk to change jobs and work is as important as ever, how can you attract great people to your business?

While finding a job isn’t *exactly* like meeting a partner, work can be as big a commitment as moving in together. What can companies do to share their ‘ways of being’ with candidates so that everyone feels as sure as they can that it’s a good move?

True meaning of work

At the heart of ‘work’ is a business transaction; the swapping of time and skills for compensation. There are moments not to lose sight of that. But for most of us, our job is much more: over the course of the pandemic, we’ve realised that work accounts for a big part of how connected we feel to others, the intellectual stimulation needed in a day and a sense of belonging. Despite political reports that working from home only increases the amount of cheese you might eat, rather than your productivity, a Stanford study found that hybrid working arrangements accounted for a 13% increase in productivity when compared with five days a week in the office.

We talk a lot about sharing your values and why that can be good for finding your customers. It’s even more important when it comes to recruitment. Right now we’re in a job-seekers market – the CIPD reported that in Spring 2022, 45% of employers had ‘hard to fill vacancies’. How to stand out in a competitive market and bring the right fit to you?

Make a start

A good clear job ad can attract the attention of potential candidates, and lay out the requirements of the role, but that’s just the beginning of the process. To attract great people with similar values, you need to make it easy for them to get a sense of what the company culture is like, and what it would be like to be part of your team.

Your website plays a big part in this. An About Us section that goes deeper than basic biographies of the leadership team is really helpful. Spotlight stories of new recruits too, and share their insights into what it’s like to join you.

Values have become even more important over recent years, so a strong section that outlines the company’s ethos and mission will resonate with your kind of people. Likewise your blog can be a good way of helping people get to know you. Who’s writing it? What stories are they sharing? Candidates will be able to read between the lines and figure out how open/hierarchical/serious/fun you are as a company from the kind of content you share with the world.

You might consider using Applied or another similar hiring platform that seeks to reduce bias. This sends a strong signal to potential candidates that you value fairness and inclusivity.

And beyond there’s your social presence. What are you like on Twitter? How do you present yourself on LinkedIn? Some companies use Instagram really effectively for showing the behind the scenes view of their businesses. It should be easy to see how you live your values, beyond a page on your website.

Who does it well?

Habito is a disruptive online mortgage broker. Their recruitment content clearly states their values and priorities employee benefits visually; the Habito mission is explained up-front and succinctly and there are multiple types of content to show and tell what it’s like to work there. 

Monzo sticks to its guns with clear and straightforward recruitment content, with extra narrative around their benefits package to show their values.

Shift Design, a social impact design consultancy based in London offer testimonials from current staff to add colour to their mission statement. 

The checklist

Telling your story is a powerful way to hit a chord with the candidates you want to talk to.

  1. Put yourself in their shoes. What story are you telling now – on your website, via social media? How valuable is your content to your intended audience?
  2. Know who you are. What is it you want to say? This is an opportunity to readdress and clearly communicate what you do, why you do it, and the underlying values and beliefs behind all you do.
  3. Know why. Define your current recruitment problem, and the potential value for your business of getting your content right. Build a business case for investment and make a commitment to valuable content to engage the right people.
  4. Involve everyone. An inclusive company culture values everyone; showing this in your recruitment content gives candidates a sense of where they might fit. It’s powerful to step out of the hierarchy.
  5. Revisit your website. Use all this thinking and research to get the story straight here: from the messages on your Home and About pages to your Join Us section. Make your website feel like a welcoming home for potential candidates.

Measure, learn and improve.

Watch what works, and refine as you go. Prove the benefits and go deeper. Consider a similar content marketing approach for other areas of the business – client attraction and retention comes next.

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