// June 17th, 2010 // No Comments » // Employment Branding
Our level of social interaction almost always plays a part in our self-image. The communities in which we operate, where we find prestige, acceptance and camaraderie, become part of our internal value system. From a retail perspective, advertisers have known this for years. It’s the reason why Coke is always being drunk by thin, attractive, socially conversant people on TV, even though many awkward, overweight and homely people probably also enjoy it in real life. We associate products with an image, which we use to rationalise our choices, and to make brands part of our social atmosphere. I wear Prada, therefore I am like the celebrities I admire who also wear Prada.
Online social technologies have made it easier to create our own tribes, and to interact with a wider array of people. As the limits of geography and chronogeography fall away, our social interactions are becoming faster and more diverse. Want to talk about cross-stitch? There are Facebook groups and discussions forums and probably a Twitter community who will share links on even the narrowest channels of embroidery and haberdashery. Love web design? Hundreds of blogs, communities and places to find inspiration, advice and people who share your passion. The PLUs – the People Like Us.
With this ability comes the opportunity for talent sourcing functions to step away from traditional recruitment and talent identification models towards something more immersive. For the first time, companies have access to the conversations that are taking place around their brands, their employment experience and their fields of expertise. These conversations are taking place on social networks and are searchable, trackable and joinable. They’re happening all the time. And with the right know-how, they’re a devastating weapon in creating expectation and aspiration among talent you’d like to attract.
Seduction is about conversation. It’s about finding common ground for a beneficial relationship, whether it’s a short-term relationship that’s mutually beneficial, or something longer. It’s about presenting an image that’s aligned to shared perception – an honest portrayal of values and benefits, delivered in a mutually-spoken language. Talent seduction is no different – it’s a process of creating connection, establishing a shared platform of interests and mutual benefit, and building trust and respect until the connection is solidified into a transaction or exchange of benefit.
So there are two parts to using social technology platforms to seduce talent. The first part is about content creation and dispersal. You’re going to attract people who share your values, and that includes the value you put on this content. A 3-minute video shot on a handycam might appeal to a certain market, but if you’re going to do a video and you want it to resonate, why not invest more time and resources to make it look better? The same is true of blogs, photo shoots, brochures – any created content transmits both the content and production value to an audience. It’s like a suit – anyone who tells you there’s no difference between off the rack and a bespoke suit has only ever worn off the rack. Putting the effort into your content is investing in your image and brand, and that can only help you appear considered, well-presented and attractive to the right people.
The second part is the conversation. It’s interaction. Being well-dressed is fine for a first impression, but if you sound off like a ladette the second someone speaks to you, it’s going to undo the work you put in to good content. The art of conversation is about listening more than you speak, about thinking before you sound off, and about an evolution of comfort. It’s a balance between sharing stories and responding to other people’s remarks. It’s an opportunity to influence the conversation, which shouldn’t be mistaken for dominating it. It’s creating expectation through shaped communication, not by standing up and screaming about how wonderful you are. And most of all, it’s about personal connection between a brand and an individual’s wants, needs, fears and expectations.
Imagine you go into a bar, and someone comes up to speak to you. They look like your sort of person, you’ve seen them around at other places you go, they’re outfitted in a style that speaks to you. They say hi. You say something back. They say, in a monotone “Thank you for speaking to me. I look forward to speaking to you! Hooray!” Offputting?
This is an automated response in real life. Whether it’s Twitter, email or anything else. It’s anti-human and anti-connection.
And here’s the kicker – if you know who you are (which in this case means you know your EVP and have an established brand) your targets will also know who you are. It means you can be more conversational and approachable – you don’t have to establish your identity or appear flashy. Your reputation will precede you, because you’ve spent time building it through interaction, and through being consistent. You can establish your value proposition in a social community by demonstrating those values and by being open to discussion with people who want to become part of what you offer.
We identify with those who share our take on things. We are more likely to work for companies who share our views on things that matter to us. Some companies might publish a list of those things on a website, and that’s a start. However, if a company can get into conversations about those values, and use those conversations to create a rapport, they can generate an emotional connection. And those are much harder to sever, and much more likely to make us invest in any relationship