May 10, 2022

Help Wanted

Contributed by FIFTEEN


We have all heard the news reports about how the pandemic has impacted the job force; employees quitting jobs for positions that offer more money, more job satisfaction or more work-life integration – not to mention many in the Baby Boomer generation favoring early retirement. Recent stats by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 4.35 million people evacuated jobs in February 2022 alone, up 94,000 from the previous month. This has left 11.27 million positions unfilled, resulting in 5 million more available jobs than available workers.

While this ‘Great Resignation’ - as it will be coined in our history books - isn’t doing great things for inflation and interest rates, it does drive the need for recruitment marketing.

“In my twenty-five year career in advertising, I have never written as many media recommendations to target job seekers as I have in the past six months,” said FIFTEEN’s Media Director, Jennifer K. Fortune. “It’s industry-agnostic too. I’ve had to target healthcare workers for a hospital system, plant workers and drivers for manufacturing companies, maintenance folks for a property management company and even recent college graduates for local start-ups.”

How does a company’s recruitment efforts stand out among the competition when, statistically speaking, each one of us would need to work 1.8 jobs to fill all the available positions? The answer is not much different from any marketing effort: precise targeting and effective messaging.

If you have open positions you are desperate to fill, you might be thinking your target audience is anyone with a pulse, right? Wrong. Unless there is no limit to your recruitment marketing budget, targeting the right audience will be imperative. Look at your existing workforce and those who hold similar positions and try to match the demographic audience most likely to fill the position. Does the position require a specific degree, like nursing or accounting, or does it require physical strength more often associated (but not always!) with younger males? The more precise you can get about the demographics of your audience, the more precise you can get about where to reach them.

As a general rule, digital media is going to give an advertiser the greatest targetability in terms of criteria such as age, education, employment status, industry, etc. LinkedIn, as an example, is a logical place to promote open positions - both as paid media and as organic posts. However, be aware that some platforms, like Facebook, have put in stop-gaps to avoid discrimination. For example, you can’t target just men or just women or isolate ads to specific zip codes as you can for other types of campaigns.

While more traditional media tactics may result in some wasted exposure, a seasoned media buyer knows how to spend your budget efficiently. For example, depending on the position you are hiring for, short-form (10 seconds) TV spots, with a direct call-to-action, aired during dayparts where unemployed or shift workers tend to be watching can be effective. If you are looking at soon-to-be college graduates, out-of-home placements surrounding college campuses might be the way to go.

One not-so-effective tactic we came across was a direct mail piece highlighting jobs in the construction industry. The issue was that it targeted those who had served in the military (the connection between construction and military was lost on us) and, unfortunately, the recipient had no military history…nor was he looking for a job! If you want to employ direct mail tactics, make sure the recipient list is well vetted to reach the right audience.

But targeting is only one half of the equation. The right messaging is equally important, especially if you want your open positions to get noticed among the plethora of want ads out there.

FIFTEEN’s Creative Director, Rachel Spence, concurs. “Don’t assume that because you enjoy working at your company that everyone else will too. Identify the unique or unexpected benefits your company offers and be certain to include this in the ad copy.”

One element that’s sure to attract attention, especially with inflation on the rise, is money - not just competitive wages but anything above-and-beyond the base salary. For example, if you offer a hefty sign-on bonus, call it out for potential candidates. For others in this post-pandemic world, flexible schedules and remote offices are no longer nice-to-haves but need-to-haves. This is especially true with job applicants considering positions outside of the markets in which they reside. Local companies don’t necessarily have the competitive advantage.

Other benefits worth highlighting in your creative messaging may seem esoteric, but are especially important to Gen Z. Forbes reported that today’s applicants need to know that a company’s values match their own and that mental, social and emotional well-being benefits figure into evaluating the job opportunity.

Despite the unemployment rate dropping to 3.6%, comparable to pre-pandemic numbers, in March 2022, workers continue to have leverage when seeking new employment opportunities. Companies will continue to compete with one another for hiring for the foreseeable future, so strategically- and creatively-sound recruitment marketing will continue to be imperative. However, evolving company culture may prove to be a more critical element when filling positions and lowering attrition rates.

Click here to learn about our own hiring strategy as an advertising agency, and what we look for in potential job candidates.

Return to all Stories