A Recruiting Refresh Helps Companies Thrive

Would you be surprised to know that the major job post sites like LinkedIn, Indeed and Monster all started more than 12 years ago?  Innovation in recruiting seems to have stalled with not a whole lot changing since those early days. Recruiting methods and technology (for the most part) are still stuck in the ways of the past. 

Kat Kibben (They/Them), CEO and Founder of Three Ears Media, has made it their business to help recruiters do better. 

"I started my company because I was a technical writer in the world of recruiting and I realized that no one knew how to write. Everyone knew how to talk through concepts because recruiters are really good at conversation, but there was a block between their brain and their hands. They knew what to say but they didn’t know they could just write it down."

We spoke with Kibben and got their insights on how recruiters can do better. We started by asking a question that had been nagging at us: Why have recruiters been using the same strategies, the same tools for the last 20 years? 

“It worked…The truth is they will not change their strategy unless it doesn’t work anymore. Recruiters are not going out of their way to find more work, because there’s always too much work. When your plate is stacked like that, you’re not going out of your way to find new ways to do things because your current system already works. What I truly believe is that market dynamics have changed and that’s why recruiters are being pushed into the corner and they feel like they have to do something different.” 

They’re right. A LOT has changed in the past 20 years. Almost everyone has the internet at their fingertips, social media is ubiquitous, not to mention the changes brought on or exacerbated by the pandemic. 

So what's changed? How can recruiters attract today's candidates? 

  1. Shift Away from Ultra Professional Tone: “So 10-20 years ago, we didn’t consume as much media as we do today... The average person sees over 3000 messages every single day— and your job post is one of them. Ten years ago, I would imagine that number was shrunk by a third, two-thirds. Simply because we didn’t have as many mediums that were attacking us all the time, and there wasn’t as much competition… Now we’re living in a sea of opportunity, a sea of messages… And with highly professional content, your brain immediately turns off. Because at 3,000 messages a day, that’s not one I’m going to go out of my way to choose.” We see the phenomenon that Kibben mentions in other areas too. The carefully curated Instagram feeds are a thing of the past. Authenticity is required to influence an audience. We can see this phenomenon illustrated in the rise of TikTok. People are drawn toward authenticity— it helps engender a connection. Kibben says connection is lacking from a lot of the job posts you might see today— they don’t do anything to connect with us. 
  2. Shift the focus to what candidates will actually be doing: A lot of job posts today are focused on what competencies candidates need and what the benefits are. And while those things are important, if you write a job post that just speaks to what a candidate needs and what benefits they’ll get— they may be disappointed when they start work and realize they don’t like what they actually do day in and day out. “I think, because of a miseducation in how hiring works, recruiters are overselling information when they’re not really thinking of the candidate as a buyer who is making a very high weight decision,” said Kibben. Kibben argues that not only will these types of job posts increase turnover in the long term, but in some cases they’ll fail to get any qualified applicants. 
  3. Candidates are leaving jobs for different reasons: The list of reasons why a candidate may leave a job has grown. While the same concerns are still there, research suggests that there are new reasons workers leave their jobs. “They’re leaving because they don’t like their team. They’re leaving because they don’t like the culture and what the company stands for anymore. It forces companies to show instead of tell their values and that’s hard to do, it is.”

Kibben makes a great point. It is INCREDIBLY hard for companies to show their values during the interview and application process. 

WorkReels thinks video is a great way for companies to show who they are during the application process. 

Kibben agrees, saying that they see the biggest value add for video with the jobs that America is having the most trouble filling. 

“They’re high volume, low retention jobs and what I mean by that is you hire them all the time and there’s also a 30% or higher quit rate in the first 90 days. There’s a significant segment of work represented by those data points and we don’t talk about them. We don’t talk about them at all, but we complain about the outcomes of not hiring those people,” said Kibben. 

“So video plays out the best there because there’s usually a reason people quit. Let me give a great example- I’ll never forget this video. It was a person working on a telephone wire. The reason people quit is that they didn’t realize how high it was. How high they would have to go in the air to work on those wires. And these people are going into the job and no one communicated that you’ll have to go a 1,000 feet up. And you’ll be connected by a rope and a wire. And that is something that I can say to you 100 times but when you see the drone footage from their eye view and you feel motion sick from the video —you know that job’s not for you. I don’t need the job posting, I think the video did a better job than I could ever do telling that story and those are the kind of roles where there’s one reason why everyone quits. Video does an excellent job of conveying that without you saying ‘everyone quits because of this— do you want to do it? It’s a game changer.”

Video helps candidates to really understand what a role will be like before ever stepping foot in the door. But it’s important that video not become just another advertisement for a job. 

Applicants today want to know they can support your company on a human level. They want to know that your mission is one they can stand behind, feel proud of. 

Kibben offered their thoughts on this point: "I want people thinking about inclusion and belonging and understanding that this needs to be a show instead of tell... I am really asking companies to consider how they show people that they belong, how they show that they’re doing the work. It is so much more than just hiring a speaker for one hour in June— it’s about creating contexts that help people thrive. I would just encourage people to ask what are we doing instead of what is our statement."

Changing the way you think about job posts could help you to attract more of the right candidates. Show more than tell and don’t be afraid of sharing authenticity – it’s what gets people in AND makes them want to stay.

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