Use content marketing strategies to hire the best

The ability of businesses to scale is continuing to be restricted by the employment market. Top notch developers and niche specialists are in short supply and have reached a point of financial disinterest – they are earning at a substantial level and, while being happy to do so, no longer value it as the primary factor for organisational loyalty.

Now, organisations need to realign their offering to attract and retain those who will ensure the ongoing stability and viability of their businesses. With regards to technical talent, this becomes even more crucial as training and up-skilling struggles to keep pace with technology, and elite performers become rare.

So what do they want?

In marketing, we create buying personas to identify ideal clients. As an experiment for a client earlier this year, we did the same for potential employees. In partnership with the recruitment team, we gave our persona a name, learnt about what he does in his spare time and what his interests are. We drilled deeper, learning about his core motivations and what matters to him in life. While admittedly nonscientific, albeit based on limited research, it did offer some interesting insights.
Our persona, who is a 24-year-old backend developer, is aware of his value in the open market and has a low interest in moving jobs. However, he is frustrated at what he sees as unnecessary corporate bureaucracy. The technology he uses at home is as good as, if not better than what he uses at work. He knows more about his job than his bosses do, and he loves what he does, and wants to be allowed to get on with it without being called into meetings, or asked to fill out reports.
He hates uniforms, formal or informal, and doesn’t have any interest in overarching company goals. He sees himself as an independent, who happens to be associated with a business for the time being. While he is not active in the job market, he would be if he thought that there was an opportunity for more freedom, autonomy and the chance to take part in more varied and challenging projects. He has no interest in career progression or titles, but he wants to get better – and would love to learn from the best – either within a business or through being given the opportunity to take part in external training and up-skilling.

Having identified the persona, our client tailored not only the advertising but also what they were offering potential employees. Removing the promises of a high salary, progression and a stable business, they added flexible work, cutting-edge technology and the opportunity to create their own projects. A budget was also allocated for external training, and this included in the package.

The results were profound, and whether it will result in longer tenure remains to be seen, but there can be little doubt that an increased understanding of who you are targeting is preferable to simply throwing money at a problem.