All posts tagged: networking

Using PR to Attract Top Talent

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In movies, we’ve heard about the concept of “force.” Some films use this idea for protection, as in a force field that repels threats. Then there’s the force that’s like a special positive power, helping the good guys overcome the bad ones.

In business, there’s also a positive force. One that’s related to hiring. It’s called candidate gravity. Candidate gravity is the pull your organization has on talent. This pull may be weak, drawing in an insufficient supply of candidates; inconsistent, coming in ebbs and flows; or strong, generating a consistent stream of people. Organizations with strong candidate gravity always draw a stronger flow of top talent their way, leaving second- and third-tier candidates for everyone else. Because so many organizations have a weak or inconsistent pull on high quality people, I’ve dedicated a chapter to this topic in my new book.

How can you improve your candidate gravity? By leveraging often overlooked ways of drawing in candidates. One of those is PR. To help you get starting in using PR for recruitment or to improve your current PR efforts, I turned to a leading expert—Fauzia Burke. Fauzia is the founder and president of FSB Associates. Here’s what she had say on the topic of using PR to attract top talent.

Scott: Why is PR important in today’s competitive marketplace?

Fauzia: I think PR has always been important, but today it also gives you a competitive advantage. In the past the companies with the most money won the image game because they could out-spend the little guys on advertising. PR levels the playing field. If your ideas are better and you are doing good work, you can get the same amount of coverage as a big company. PR helps to build credibility through securing positive media coverage, and a great PR firm will help your company put its best foot forward by getting you in front of the right, influential media. While advertising and content marketing are important, PR is more influential because it provides third party validation and cannot be purchased.

Scott: When properly leveraged, how can a sustained PR campaign attract more top talent?

Fauzia: I like that you are thinking of a sustained PR campaign. Much of the success from PR comes from consistency. Think about it: the first thing most of us do when investigating a new company or person to work with is we “google” it. Hopefully, the top results for your company will be an official website, plus positive press on that valuable first two pages of a Google search result. Along with positive press, you also want to make sure the media is current. A good story from five years ago won’t have the same impact as positive stories every year. You want to make sure your company is presenting itself in the best possible light and appears current.

Scott: What are the steps to get started in incorporating PR into an organization’s recruiting efforts?

Fauzia: Whether you decide to hire an outside PR firm or use staff in-house, obviously your goal is to attract and keep top talent. Think about a plan or strategy to attract the right kind of person. What qualities would they be looking for in a future employer?

Once you have your strategy set, determine who in your organization will serve as your official spokesperson. Just remember good PR is an invitation to prospects to check out your company. Don’t forget to get your house in order first. Evaluate your social media platforms and make sure your content fits your corporate message. Commit to an editorial calendar for social posting and blogging. This may sound like a lot of work, but once you spend some time on the strategy, execution will be much easier.

Scott: One’s one secret people don’t know about writing great PR content?

Fauzia: In my opinion, the best PR content isn’t about “selling” something. It’s about providing helpful information—sometimes information people didn’t even know they needed. When you are seen as an authority in your industry, people will come back to you for thought pieces, opinions and your product and services.

Scott: What’s one closing piece of advice you’d like to share with readers?

Fauzia: PR needs to be a longterm strategy, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. An online brand can take at least 18 months to be fully executed, and even online coverage takes at least 6-8 weeks from the time you start to see results. Pace yourself and stay consistent.

Fauzia’s firm, FSB Associates, is an online publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. She’s also the author of Online Marketing for Busy Authors (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, April 2016). Fauzia worked for Wiley and Henry Holt before starting FSB, and has promoted the books of authors such as Alan Alda, Arianna Huffington, Deepak Chopra, Melissa Francis, S. C. Gwynne, Mika Brzezinski, Charles Spencer and many more. For online marketing, book publishing and social media advice, follow Fauzia on Twitter (@FauziaBurke) and Facebook (Fauzia S. Burke). For more information on her book, please visit: http://www.FauziaBurke.com.

Scott WintripUsing PR to Attract Top Talent
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Five Tips to Network for Top Talent

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Word of mouth is a powerful way to find great talent and fill open positions. It’s also often overlooked. Why? Because people forget to ask for this help. Plus, they don’t realize the potency of this stream of talent.

Just how potent are referrals? In reviewing the hiring practices of 70 companies last year, there was a pattern. Those whose employees at all levels of the organization networked for referrals filled their jobs four times faster than those that did not.

Tip #1: Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
If there’s a “magic bullet” for effective networking and getting quality referrals, it’s this: just ask for help.

Simply telling someone that you need help—even saying the word itself—creates an important dynamic. It’s human nature for us to help one another. When you use the word “help,” you’re reminding the person you’re asking of your shared humanity. This simple approach often paves the way for people to be generous in pointing you in the right direction.

Tip #2: Realize a little goes a long way.
Investing a few minutes each day in referral recon pays off in dividends. And it’s easy; it doesn’t even feel like work.

When a vendor stops by, ask for their help with referrals; at the local office supply store or that restaurant where you’re having lunch, network with the employees you meet; a phone call to a friend could turn into two or three candidate referrals. Small, quick inquiries such as these can turn into big wins when you find a great person to hire.

Tip #3: Get specific with qualities you’re looking for.
Don’t just ask your contacts for referrals to people who are looking for a job. Ask for referrals to the specific type of person you want to hire.

For example, if you’re looking for a store manager, you might say, “Who do you know that is good at managing a retail store? I’m looking especially for someone who listens more than they speak.” This precision helps the person you’re asking thoroughly “search” their mental Rolodex for the right person amongst the hundreds of people they know.

Tip #4: Don’t forget to ask your “obvious” networks for referrals.
How often do you ask current employees for their help with candidate referrals? What about their family members, or the previous employees who left your organization on good terms? Have you asked your own family and friends to put you in touch with referrals they know?

It’s easy to overlook the obvious resources for strong referrals. This oversight comes at a cost. We’re likely missing out on the insight of the very people who are most likely to want to help us.”

Tip #5: Remember the most important “rule” to attracting great talent.
The best attractor of top talent isn’t high salary or fancy titles; it’s being a great place to work. Make sure your organization has a positive and engaging environment and you’ll develop a reputation as an enjoyable place to work. Then when you network and request referrals, the people you ask will go out of their way to refer their friends and colleagues to you.

Reaching out to the people you meet—as well as those you already know—can connect you with impressive talent. Make referral generation a regular part of your tasks, whether you’re the CEO or in a staff-level role. Before you know it, you’ll realize that good people are easier to find.

Scott WintripFive Tips to Network for Top Talent
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