I had absolutely no intention of entering the talent acquisition (TA) world. My graduate degree is in publication design, and I actually started my career as a graphic designer. I worked in marketing in different industries and eventually landed at Sodexo in a marketing role with their TA group. It was a good fit for me.
It really was my introduction to social recruiting as well. We were one of the first companies to use social media - Facebook and Twitter specifically - to connect with candidates, and we made that connection more personal than it had ever been.
Working in the TA group with all the recruiters was an eye-opening experience. Having been on the other side of the job search experience, I had no idea how dedicated recruiters are to the company and how important they are.
I actually took a hiatus and went back to a position on the marketing side of a company for about a year and a half, and I really missed that interaction with candidates and applicants. It was more on the B2B side so it didn’t have that interaction with people. I missed it, and as soon as I had an opportunity to come back to the talent acquisition and employer branding side, I jumped on it.
Today, it’s all about the visual. It seems our capacity to take in information has gotten smaller and smaller, so the sooner we can get someone's attention with a visual, the better the chance they’ll learn more and read more about the company.
Engaging really depends on the candidates themselves, so if they reach out on LinkedIn and that’s how they prefer to communicate, then obviously, that’s how we’ll communicate with them. We do try and lead everyone back to our careers site where we can tell the bigger story, share employee stories and testimonials, and try to connect them with the right profile on our careers site that would fit the position they are applying for.
At CVS, we’re working with hiring leaders and key team members to share stories on their favorite social networks. The key is not just selling jobs or a lot of pushing to “apply now.” Instead, it’s more, “I’m so excited about my job and here’s why I’m excited.” The stories are a genuine reflection of what they do and how someone might be able to fit into that team.
Teamwork and team dynamics are part of the attraction for the passive candidate. It might be someone who’s very happy in their position but is maybe starting to look for the next step in their career, and that story will hopefully resonate with them.
People don’t want to just work for a company, they want to work with purpose and have fun, and that’s part of the message.
Here at CVS, we’re actively compiling stories and creating a career visualization for our candidates. For example, take an intern who wonders if they could actually craft a career with us. We show an example of a senior director who started out exactly where that intern did 15 years ago. We not only show where the senior director has developed their career, but we also give the opportunity to connect with that senior director to understand where they’re now taking their career. We’re conveying that you can continue with the company for a long time to come. We want people at all levels to really understand that they don’t have to go elsewhere to find the next step or two. Instead, there is a pathway here at CVS. The best way to move forward is to visualize real examples in telling a story. For this reason, we’re going away from lots of words, and we’re moving towards an actual visualization timeline of someone’s career. It’s very cool.
At Amtrak, we used a hashtag, #TeamAmtrak. I was surprised at how quickly this idea took off. It wasn’t just employees using the hashtag, but it was also happy customers. You can’t avoid the question of customer service, and we definitely see customer service as being very similar to candidate issues.
It’s all about being responsive and understanding. This is why they’re reaching out. I don’t think that’s ever changed since I started in this role in 2007, but it’s about being responsive and if we’re not able to answer questions, we make sure that customers get to the right person who can. Providing this access leads to appreciation from customers/candidates. In my world, every customer is also a potential candidate, and that’s how you stand out.
The key to producing great candidates is respecting their ability to contribute to the organization.
It is all about hiring for company values and understanding that candidates have an opportunity to grow with the company. You then provide those opportunities and create awareness of those opportunities during the hiring process.