Branding is still all the rage
We’ve written before about the importance of both consumer and employment brands in the digital age. Today’s consumers, for instance, place more emphasis on peer reviews in social media than a critic’s opinion in a paper of record. And according to LinkedIn studies, employment brand is two-times more likely to drive a candidate’s job consideration than company brand.
Staffing curators are well aware this. For years, they’ve been promoting the employment brands of their clients while developing the personal brands of their talent. Now, however, their own brands are becoming just as instrumental among multiple decision makers, which include MSP leaders, client hiring managers and the workers themselves. And that’s why MSPs looking to source top suppliers should be focusing on those partners who are perfecting their crowd staffing and recruitment brands.
Staffing curators as brand ambassadors
Staffing curators know the needs of HR and hiring managers, they understand the technology and online marketplace platforms, they’ve become social media gurus, they know how to polish resumes and pitch candidates, and they’re highly proficient brand ambassadors for the companies they support. In large part, they’ve elevated their sourcing and recruiting efforts by translating their expertise into a sort of public relations/image consulting role for candidates.
They do the same for MSPs and clients by showcasing their compelling work cultures, opportunities, unique incentives, skills development and more. Yet with the attention placed on employment and candidate brands, we sometimes neglect the tremendous value to be found in staffing firms that cultivate exciting recruitment brands. As Samantha Mick writes in Careerealism, “You establish your values, your skills, and what separates you from other recruiters, while leaving a welcome mat outside your brand for candidates to come interact.”
With the right combination of social profiles, digital visibility, platforms, content, inbound marketing and exposure, savvy staffing curators can bolster their presence and reputation to attract the highest caliber talent for MSP programs desperately in need of skilled professionals. Let’s look at why effective supplier brands should be important to MSPs.
Strong staffing supplier brands lead to robust talent pipelines and relationships
Job seekers today sit comfortably in the catbird seat when it comes to career selection. They’re more discerning and have different expectations of ideal work situations than past generations. Company culture, corporate responsibility, sustainability, innovation and learning opportunities trump salary for many young professionals. They’re not only bucking tradition, they’re disrupting it. Job board postings, tedious employment applications and drawn-out processes tend to push talented applicants away. They instead seek information, interaction, socialization and a greater degree of connectivity with recruiters.
In Careerealism’s recent survey, 70 percent of candidates said their probability of applying for a position increased when they knew more about the staffing professionals courting them. “When asked why,” Mick notes, “some responded that they prefer to shape their applications and interactions with you based on what they learn about you, while others pointed out that it helps them feel more confident about applying and better able to understand your perspective.”
Staffing curators that concentrate on creating a solid brand image are the agencies attracting the best talent. They’re not struggling to find needles in haystacks — in-demand professionals are coming to them, building meaningful relationships and seriously considering the opportunities those recruiters present.
Staffing brands drive inbound traffic and interest
From LinkedIn’s most recent talent report, we get a pretty clear picture of a predominantly passive talent pool. At least 75 percent of candidates have established positions and are relatively satisfied there. That means they’re not spending time scanning Monster or CareerBuilder to review positions. However, it also doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in learning about new opportunities or taking their lives in different directions. Most passive talent are willing to discuss their careers with recruiters who have a compelling message and inviting attitude.
The best staffing curators are masters of communication and social networking. Their brands establish credibility, inspire confidence and entice talent to research their offerings further. As Mick observes, “People don’t connect with companies; they connect with the people, values, and culture within the companies.”
Elite staffing curators, by promoting an image that helps candidates identify and connect with them, drive applicants to their job postings. And that translates to a more diverse and talented bench of candidates for MSPs.
Effective supplier brands solidify expertise
The largest players in the industry have familiar names that inform their brands. Yet, big enterprise staffing agencies often attempt to staff every labor category imaginable to capture the bulk of their clients’ business. That can lead to a lack of focus and dilution of service. Smaller suppliers who focus on their core — on specific skill sets and niche categories — are often in a position to deliver a level of quality and customer service beyond their mightiest competitors. Unfortunately, it’s easy for them to get lost in the shuffle. The staffing curators that stand out are those building brands to promote their unique capabilities and expertise.
An effective brand fuels appeal and piques interest, which persuades people to investigate further. “Just like you expect prospective talent to brand themselves for the jobs they want, candidates anticipate that you deeply understand the needs of the field or position and are able to effectively interpret their experience,” Mick points out.
Brands that speak to industry expertise, satisfied customers, happy workers and relationship building are those that captivate talent. It’s difficult for candidates to prepare for an interview when they doubt a staffing supplier’s grasp of their needs, their industry, their aspirations and their desired business cultures. An engaging supplier brand conquers those concerns by conveying a keen sense of knowledge, understanding and a track record of matching similar talent to ideal working conditions.
Let the brand be the beacon
In his much lauded article “The Brand Called You,” influential business writer Tom Peters saw the future of business clearly. Branding was everything, and it rose to even greater prominence in the late 1990s as the Internet allowed any business a competitive, visible, online presence. Peters saw that with these advances, individuals would also need to adopt branding efforts to make themselves recognizable across the countless communication platforms that would inevitably sprout.
Today, personal and professional brands are more important than ever. For MSPs seeking the highest quality talent for client programs, sourcing suppliers can be a challenging process. However, by seeking out staffing curators that are building visible and attention-grabbing brands — whose recruiters are actively engaging talent through their own brands — MSPs can forge relationships with previously unfamiliar yet exemplary partners who bring the innovations and exceptional workers their clients demand.
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