The Purple Unicorn used to be how Talent Acquisition leaders described the unique challenges they faced in finding talent. It’s no longer simply the case that talent is rare. More and more companies know how to find those purple unicorns – and many of them are deploying incredibly sophisticated search, tracking and selection systems to get to them first!

So, if it feels harder to hire good people today, that’s because it is! Organizations globally need to adjust their hiring strategy to sustain their advantage. Many are already doing so. As Talent Acquisition becomes a more complex picture, the most forward-thinking employers are looking beyond traditional talent pools. The Rainbow Unicorn? Trust me, there’s Diversity teams out there already searching hard every day.

Building a proactive talent strategy

The secret is having a realistic understanding around your organization and the positions you need to fill. Competitive insight allows you to understand how you can differentiate your business to the right candidate. By looking at direct competitors and those companies in your zip code, you know how your proposition competes. If you are not paying the best salary, but the culture is amazing, message that first so you can be honest and informed as to what a candidate will gain when they join.

You can’t control the job market, but you can put some effort and resource behind a few key strategies including:

1. Role validation

Whether you have a newly created position or not, the right job title is key. An initial overview of the role, competencies and attributes required helps to determine the right level, the right title and the potential pool in the local market

2. Target the competition

‘Post and pray’ isn’t working anymore. The number of roles is overwhelming.  Candidates can apply with a quick click on their phone, so they don’t read the job description or location carefully. Busy Talent Acquisition teams don’t have the time to sift through the clutter or respond to the best candidates quickly enough.

Sourcing depends on identifying those companies you admire, as well as those you compete with. Once again, it is time well spent. Think beyond your industry, beyond your traditional talent communities, beyond conventional job descriptions and challenge your own idea of what good looks like. If you can avoid limiting yourself, the appeal for top talent to make a move is even greater if a candidate has the chance to transition into another industry and broaden their own knowledge.

3. Tell your story authentically

Developing an EVP (Employer Value Proposition) showcasing what it is really like to work for your company is a key step in finding the right people to join your organization. It also helps the right people who just wouldn’t fit into your company culture to de-select themselves out of the process at an earlier stage.

Understanding ‘What’s In It For Me?’ also means thinking about how best to bring it to life. Words, imagery, video, animation, online presence? These elements work together to elevate the job description to another level. Providing a clear destination to see the message is important and to do that effectively you need a campaign.

4. Campaign Solutions

Once a segmented attraction message has been created, it is important to create a destination where individuals can be directed to – where you can share the compelling reasons as to why individuals should want to work for your company.

Campaigns can be built on job boards, but  programmatic advertising can be more effective. Programmatic offers the opportunity to deliver a deeper story which will result in more brand engagement and appropriate applicants. It will open up opportunities outside of the limited markets accessed through job boards. All channels will work in combination to ensure the audience is reached, captured and engaged, wherever they are, on whatever device they are using.

Regardless of the budget, role or timelines it pays to be prepared and informed.  Whether you insource or outsource, knowing what you need and where you think you can find the right talent is key:

  • Research and review with free tools to understand the competitive landscape.
  • Understanding your reputation in the market and that of your competitors will allow for you to be prepared to connect with passive and active candidates.
  • Sourcing and building talent pipelines saves time and money in the future as your business grows.

You start building relationships before you need them and ultimately position your organization as an employer of choice for the right talent.

The market is competitive and the outlook can be overwhelming, but knowing the attributes of your business and the places to look will help you find the best talent first.

Jody Robie is the Senior Vice President North America for Talent Works International (TWI). Talent Works International is a global talent communications firm that helps organizations around the world build effective and efficient talent strategies through our research, sourcing and creative teams. Please contact jody.robie@talent-works.com  for more information.