ABC recently announced that Arie Luyendyk will anchor the next season of The Bachelor, a choice that sparked some deep water-cooler talk here at Element. We determined that the world’s most dramatic reality show offers much more than yearlong entertainment and guilty pleasures.*
The Bachelor is a veritable treasure trove of professional development resources for HR professionals – and we’re about to prove it. By the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll understand how years of watching The Bachelor have subconsciously prepared you to recruit ideal candidates. It’s almost as if Chris Harrison has been the Mr. Miyagi to your Daniel-san all along [Millennial explanation here].
Embrace the Journey – How to Earn a Rose at Every Stop
It’s an employee’s market in Wisconsin, which makes it tough for businesses competing for top talent. For HR professionals, it’s kinda like you’re one of five contestants sitting in one of five limousines, waiting for an introduction to The Bachelor.
Naturally, you’re here for the right reasons, which means you’re looking for a long-term fit with a loyal employee where both sides are consistently rewarded. But that won’t come easy – there’s a mansion full of competitors and every one of them has eyes for your prize. You’ll need to nail it every step of the way.
Since The Bachelor doesn’t allow contestants to use the word “process,” we won’t be talking about your hiring process – we’ll be talking about your ideal candidate’s journey to an ideal hire. To illustrate, we’ll use three key concepts from Element’s content marketing programs – persona, path to purchase, and content. Here’s a quick primer:
Persona: A profile that symbolizes your target audience. Before you put your life on pause to pursue The Bachelor, you better do a little homework to make sure the target fits your type. A good persona profile should include demographic and psychographic traits along with a personal history.
Path to purchase: Incremental steps leading from a complete lack of awareness to total loyalty – exactly like the journey of The Bachelor. Timing is crucial as interactions must align with where your persona is on their path. For example, a marriage proposal would be wildly inappropriate during the first cocktail party, because The Bachelor isn’t even aware of you yet! You’ll be more likely to get a rose if you start with what you do and where you live.
Content: Original materials created and distributed across integrated communication channels to capture the attention of a persona along their path to purchase. Think of these as the milestone interactions you plan to have with The Bachelor from the first night in the mansion until After the Final Rose.
In terms of recruiting top talent, you probably have a profile in mind for the ideal candidate already. So if you want that superstar to end up being loyal to your company, start by turning your mental profile into a formal persona. Next, create a library of original content your persona will find valuable (e.g., website landing pages, social media posts, promotions of career fairs and community sponsorships). Finally, distribute that content where and when your persona will be most likely to engage with it along their path.
Now you’re ready to begin! It may seem daunting to intersect your candidate’s journey along the five critical steps of awareness, research, alternatives, decision, and loyalty. But as you’ll soon discover, each of these steps is deeply rooted in subliminal lessons you’ve already learned from The Bachelor.
Awareness: How to get the first impression rose
You’re socializing at the first cocktail party, a notoriously grueling affair, while looking for opportunities to stand out from the crowd. In the content marketing path to purchase, your candidate is poised at the point of awareness. This is your chance to earn the critical first impression rose. Ideally, you want to showcase your company’s credibility and culture (not to mention that snazzy new wardrobe).
Unfortunately, that’s way beyond the capabilities of most standard job postings. So why would you want any journey to start with a standardized posting, published and promoted by the same online recruiting sites and head hunters your competitors use?
Instead, start by creating original content your candidate will find relevant and useful. At the point of awareness, you could create an ad series promoting an e-book that positions your company as progressive with an unconventional benefits package. Publish your ads in the traditional and online media outlets most likely to draw attention, even before your candidate starts actively seeking employment. Show that you value their passions and speak their language.
Do this right, and you won’t be the sheepish contestant asking, “Can I steal you for a sec?” Instead, your candidate will come looking for you – long-stem rose in hand – when the time is right. Just don’t overdo it. Push the limits too quickly, and you might start to appear a bit…overserved.
Research: How to use one-on-one time wisely
As a contestant on The Bachelor, nothing is more precious than one-on-one time. You’ve got to make the most of every opportunity, whether your date card takes you on a romantic helicopter ride for two or a ludicrous group activity.
Your candidate’s journey has now reached the point of research. This is where the integrated strategy behind content marketing shines brighter than a Neil Lane diamond engagement ring. No matter where candidates seek information about your brand, they’ll find consistent and relevant information that continues to enhance their impression of your company while fostering a sense of solidarity.
Begin by conducting an audit of your content. Ask yourself tough questions:
- Does our owned content (blog, website, newsletter) present us as a progressive company leading the industry?
- Does our paid advertising (print, digital, outdoor) support our brand promise?
- Do our public relations efforts (contributed articles, events, sponsorships) showcase community involvement?
- Do our social media posts (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram) reflect our company culture?
If you answer no to any of those questions, don’t be surprised if someone else gets your rose and leaves you stranded on a glacier like the lonesome loser of a vicious two-on-one.
Alternatives: How to make it to the fantasy suite
Grab your passport and let’s take a trip back to the good old days. To a time before Nick outed Andi. It was a simpler time then. A time when we could maintain innocent beliefs about the fantasy suite if we wanted to. Before we start this next lesson, let’s agree in advance to strip out any romantic implications and simply focus on what’s relevant. Just like we did in the old days.
In the alternatives step of your candidate’s journey, difficult decisions loom as final choices are carefully considered. Hometowns are over and the stakes are high. The duds and villains have all been sent packing and everyone left is a serious contender.
Fortunately, you’re feeling confident and validated, so you’re ready to read aloud the surprisingly ornate handwriting of Chris Harrison on the fantasy suite card. It’s time to forego your individual rooms and schedule an interview.
The interview represents your single best opportunity to stand out among alternatives. Content developed for the initial steps should be informative rather than promotional, but your messaging needs to change tone as the journey progresses. At this stage, share content that differentiates your company from the competition. Identify unique advantages your company offers and create a unique piece to promote it. For example, you could design a features and benefits infographic that casts your company in a positive light, then distribute the graphic across multiple channels that will intersect your candidate’s journey while they’re weighing alternatives.
Decision: How to avoid getting jilted at the altar
It’s amazing how each finale of The Bachelor manages to be more dramatic than the last. Host’s hyperbole aside, there’s typically tears and tons of tension. After all, the average finalist spends those last few pre-altar hours pacing the hotel balcony like a caged puma. But not the inspired ones.
Call it chicanery if you must. But if all’s fair in love and war, then the same should be true for recruiting top talent in an employee’s market. Savvy contestants on The Bachelor don’t simply stand idly by waiting for their fate to be decided. They strike when the competition is asleep, pulling off the old surprise late-night rendezvous.
At this point, your candidate has weighed the alternatives and approached the moment of decision. So why stop courting your candidate after the interview, just because the competition did? Follow up with relevant content that speaks directly to the tangible and emotional benefits you identified as important to your candidate. A personal email or hand-written card demonstrates a level of consideration your competitors are unlikely to equal.
Loyalty: How to stay together after the final rose
Few things are as disheartening as a romantic engagement followed immediately (in TV time, anyway) by an After the Final Rose breakup announcement. Same with HR. Successfully recruiting top talent can be a fantastic feather in your cap, but retention of that talent is the ultimate objective. After all, you’re playing the long game for the right reasons.
After the hire is official, your candidate enters the long-lasting loyalty phase in the journey. This does not mean your mission is accomplished. Continue engaging employees with valuable content while leveraging their skills as subject matter experts to support your efforts.
For instance, you can promote exceptional employees as thought leaders in blog articles, podcasts, or speaking engagements to attract the attention of similar talent. This will help them build their personal brands while ensuring their professional development. You can further amplify your efforts by recording employee testimonials touting the company culture and work environment in videos and other recruiting materials. If you’re willing to get creative, you’ll find there’s no shortage of ways for you to continue making exceptional employee relationships mutually beneficial.
Will you accept this rose? How to bring it all together
Just as contestants on The Bachelor are tested when many people vye for the affection of a special someone, HR professionals face a tough challenge when they compete to attract and retain top talent. But if you provide candidates with valuable content along the journey to an ideal hire, you’ll be able to rise above the fray and walk away with the winning rose.
Maybe all of this sounds good in theory, but in practice you simply don’t have the time or resources to create so much great content. In the immortal words of Juan Pablo, “It’s okay.” You don’t have to go it alone. Even the best contestants need a heart-to-heart with Chris Harrison once in a while. The experts at Element will gladly talk about creative ways to help you meet your recruiting goals. And unlike the season finale of Bachelor In Paradise, we’ll also talk about the implications of the romantic kiss between Wells and Danielle M.
Give us a call at 920.983.9700 or visit our content marketing page at www.goelement.com/buzz
*Not all employees of Element espouse the significant social and professional implications of The Bachelor. Only the truly enlightened ones.