Attracting off-campus talent demands multichannel engagement

Attracting off-campus talent demands multichannel engagement

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Hiring off-campus is always somewhat of a gamble when compared to hiring proven talent, but the rewards are more than worth the risk – you could end up with the next industry superstar, with a perfectly modern mindset, and secure them for what is, at least at first, a fantastic price.

But hiring fresh talent also comes with its challenges. Gen Z – born in 1996 and later – were welcomed into a distinctly digital world. As such they ingest and perceive information differently. If a brand is to engage with off-campus talent, the need to adapt their talent acquisition strategies to suit.

Gen Z tend to use a wide array of channels for information, communication and entertainment. The challenge for an employer is to meet them where they are. This means staying across ever-changing trends – one moment it’s Vine, the next it’s Tik Tok. Born into a web-enabled world, the online habits of the new generation are particularly fluid.

Let’s take a closer look at the challenges faced when trying to court off-campus talent, and how a multichannel marketing strategy can help to solve quite a few.

The difference with Gen Z

Recruiters and TA teams are faced with a problem: campus audiences are no longer interested in traditional employer approaches, nor do they like talking to recruiters solely within work hours. They prefer these approaches to be served up at their convenience, and in a way that is tailored to them. This generation has very different expectations; they want flexibility and versatility in the courting and hiring process.

Likewise, resumes are no longer the make or break documents that they used to be. Young talent recognises that resumes are inherently limiting, and that a recruiter should seek to gain a deeper understanding of the candidate – one that can’t be represented on a single sheet of A4.

All this is to say that the Gen Z audience isn’t restricted to traditional channels. They are on their phones, their laptops, in front of their TVs. They ask their friends (both on social media in person) for recommendations, and before they even think about contacting a company, they do as much research as possible. They are more informed than ever.

Not only do you have the challenge of staying relevant, you also have the challenge of standing out amongst endless other employers looking to do the same thing.

The challenge for marketers is to make sure we are giving them the information this talent wants, delivering it when and where they want it.

What is multichannel engagement, and why is it effective?

To young talent, each online space is an opportunity to express different facets of their personal brand. They show their professionalism and thought leadership on LinkedIn, their personality on Facebook, their highlights package on Instagram, and their fun side on Tik Tok.

An employer seeking to get in front of off-campus talent needs to understand the differences of each channel and play to them. To ensure you get in front of the appropriate eyes, and do so better than your competitors, you need to cover a broad range of channels, and sculpt an individual strategy for each. Indeed, the sheer breadth of Gen Z platform usage sends a clear message: if you want to connect, you have to meet me in the right way, on the right platform, at the right time.

An employer seeking to get in front of off-campus talent needs to understand the differences of each channel and play to them.

You need to get to know what makes them tick; what really matters to them. You then need to deliver the right stuff in the right way. You also need to constantly evolve to changing tastes, as Gen Z shifts comfortably between different platforms and perspectives.

Do all this well, and you’ll position yourself as an employer of choice – one that young talent trusts, and who will be excited to work for you if and when the opportunity comes.

How to craft a multichannel talent engagement strategy

Creating a multichannel strategy is no mean feat. It takes real effort, and the rewards only come if that effort is sustained. To achieve success, it’s important that you:

  • Understand what works where: Does your audience use a certain channel to communicate with family and friends, to gather information, to search for ideas, to be entertained, to look for reviews and recommendations, to find a community?
  • Create an integrated channel strategy: Gen Z moves across all channels quickly, so your strategy and analytics need to adapt similarly.
  • Deliver authenticity across the board: Gen Z are savvy, and don’t appreciate being pandered to. Your challenge is to deliver an engaging and alluring yet entirely genuine strategy across a wealth of channels.
  • Stay consistent: Both the consistency of your message – it must be authentic and reflective of your employee value proposition – and the consistency in the way that it’s delivered.

That last point is an important one. When people think about the word ‘multichannel’, they simply think about the different mediums used to reach their customers. A multichannel strategy, on the other hand, considers how customers move and interact across the various platforms.

More channels mean more touchpoints, and more touchpoints result in more complexity. But that can’t lead to a lack of a cohesive message across those channels and touchpoints. Sure, the message on LinkedIn will be delivered differently to the one on Tik Tok, but it needs to be obvious that they come from the same brand with the same personality.

Creating a multichannel strategy is no mean feat. It takes real effort, and the rewards only come if that effort is sustained.

Data is key to ensuring consistency. The insights it offers will ensure that your messaging can continuously evolve, but that it also remains true to your brand. Someone needs to be in charge of interpreting the analytics and ensuring that the channels are constantly aligned.

Individualism: the new talent acquisition dynamic

In the eyes of young professionals, they are individuals, and they’d like to be approached as such. It’s an entirely fair thought process, and one that employers must understand if they are to attract the new crop of top talent.

But not only is off-campus talent individualistic, they are the most fluid individuals in history. Their tastes and habits change seemingly with the breeze, so keeping up with them requires real commitment.

Another key trait of young talent, though, is that they are good at what they do. For those willing to adapt, the rewards for attracting the next crop are immense.

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