In today's highly competitive job market, hiring the right talent is crucial for success, especially in the fast-paced and ever-evolving professional services sector. Talent acquisition in the professional services sector is a highly-specialized undertaking. Each of the disciplines in this area has its own unique challenges and characteristics, and those occupying them require expert handling when it comes to recruitment marketing.
The success of professional services companies relies on the expertise of their client-facing employees. Thus, any advantage gained in securing the best talent translates into a competitive edge. This article will highlight five areas that recruitment marketing professionals should address to optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of their talent acquisition process for those in the professional services industry.
In the professional services sector, crafting a compelling employee value proposition (EVP) can make all the difference in securing top talent and gaining a competitive advantage in the market.
There are two primary challenges to recruiting for professional services: The first is that since these candidates are so highly-skilled, they are also highly sought-after. Thus, they are well aware that they can attract the attention of solid organizations without too much trouble. The second involves a prejudice that tends to develop among candidates in this sector who think that the offerings of most professional services firms are essentially boilerplate – that there is little difference between these firms regarding roles, packages, and career paths.
This means that differentiation is key – and the best way to achieve this is by highlighting the compelling, clear differences between the hiring company and the competition.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), sharing items like pay, benefits, and career development is common. Still, employers also highlight offerings currently in demand – like technology, remote work, flexible scheduling, and prioritizing diversity and social responsibility. Company culture and corporate responsibility have become valued commodities among job seekers across all demographics.
As in other industries, the EVP encompasses everything that makes a company unique, why workers enjoy working for the company, and what would compel a job seeker to apply to work there. For the professional services industry, the imperative for getting this information across is the same, even if the methodology and the language need to be more specialized. One never knows what aspect will attract a candidate, so highlighting this information – no matter how minor it might seem – is always prudent.
Also, defining the consumer brand and employer brand as separate entities is crucial, and that's where the importance of EVP comes in. Job seekers are typically only familiar with a company's consumer brand, so a well-crafted EVP helps to clearly define and communicate the employer brand, making it easier to attract top talent.
Building a strong employer brand is paramount in an industry where people are the most valuable asset. The employer brand encompasses all aspects of the employment experience. More accurately, it encompasses the perception of this experience of current and prospective employees. This is an important distinction; as discussed previously in this space, if the employer branding is not in keeping with the current employees’ experience, this can actually harm the employer brand and how the company attracts talent.
The employer brand covers the employer's reputation. However, in the same way a strong corporate brand attracts customers, a strong employer brand will attract top-notch professionals.
Tip: Recruiting for those in professional services should be a two-way street. Candidates should feel that interviews are an opportunity for a mutual appraisal, and having open dialog throughout will help reinforce the employer brand.
An emphasis on the employer brand in recruitment marketing is essential when attracting candidates in professional services. Prospective candidates in this sector are highly-educated and highly skilled, and as such, they tend to be more discerning when seeking new positions. Focusing on the employer brand can provide a clear distinction these candidates can identify when making a decision on whether or not to apply to a company and if they feel they’re the right fit.
Areas in which recruiters can accentuate the employer brand for professional services include:
There are numerous ways to communicate these messages, and it is important that the messaging is clearly understood across all communication platforms and media types.
Tip: Showcase the human side of working at these companies as the culture has shifted to be more people driven. Take time to cultivate and create content emphasizing why people love working there and include real photos, videos, and testimonials.
The landscape of recruitment is constantly evolving, and companies in the professional services sector must keep up with the latest trends and techniques to remain successful.
Given the fierce competition for candidates today, keeping current with proven sourcing strategies, the available talent acquisition technologies, maintaining engagement, and being willing to improvise, innovate, and think outside of the box will be imperatives across all industries.
Ways that recruiters can do this include measures such as:
Understanding the motivations of those working in professional services roles is essential, since these differ from workers in other industries. This is why the deep familiarity mentioned above is critical. A candidate seeking a position in a law firm will have different drivers and motivations than a candidate seeking a position as an accountant. Failing to recognize these distinctions can cause a company to lose out on good candidates.
Today, it is also crucial for recruiters to be mindful that they’re operating “at the speed of business.” Speed is of the essence, which is one reason that the relevant technologies and automation are understood and engaged, as these not only shave many hours off of recruiters’ schedules, but also increase the efficiency of recruitment processes (as they were designed to do) and keep candidates from falling through the cracks.
Finally, strategic planning for the workforce needed always bears mentioning. While active and passive recruitment is ongoing, it’s always prudent to tap internal talent through growing, upskilling, and reskilling workers. These practices are growing in popularity and use across most industries because they bear fruit, so there’s no reason that they shouldn’t serve professional services firms as well. With increasing digitization, most companies now have the ability to source new talent while searching for existing talent within the organization with far less effort than in the past.
As the job market continues to evolve and candidates' expectations shift, companies operating in the professional services sector must prioritize auditing and updating job descriptions to communicate their unique employer brand effectively, attract top talent, ensure internal alignment, and drive business success.
In today’s recruitment marketing environment, the days of copying and pasting job descriptions from years past are over. There are a few reasons for this. One is that the language standards have changed due to culture and demographics, even among professionals. There are best practices that can be followed when crafting job descriptions which can aid significantly in keeping these current.
Another involves the increased value being placed on soft skills. One of the most important aspects involves the increased focus that candidates are placing on the EVP and employer brand.
It is, therefore, vital for companies and recruiters to review and update job descriptions, and to do this regularly to reflect these developments. In addition to the qualifications, compensation, and other requisites, companies should be honest and upfront regarding what is needed for success in the role. This helps to keep both the organization and the candidate accountable.
Maintaining a consistent and compelling message across all recruitment marketing channels is critical for companies to differentiate themselves. Remember that candidates in professional services are particularly savvy. If a candidate views a dynamic new employee video, then moves on to find an old, stale job description such as was mentioned in the last section, they’re likely to keep moving on.
While language has changed along with culture and sensibilities, standards still exist in workplaces – particularly in the professional services industry. Consistency and professionalism in messaging are paramount because many in professional services are legally required to use exacting language (e.g., lawyers, accountants, physicians). Thus, adhering to professional standards can be a determinative differentiator in recruitment.
An audit of recruitment marketing media for consistency should include the following:
Further refining messaging to effectively target candidates in the professional services industry should include measures such as:
With the talent market being more competitive now than ever, it is incumbent upon companies and recruitment marketing professionals to effectively understand and appeal to job seekers in the professional services sector. With candidates being far more discriminating in their job searches, they’ve made it clear that they’d rather work for companies that align with their values.
Developing a holistic view of the candidate, evaluating candidates for technical and soft skills while accentuating the EVP, employer brand, and points of differentiation have emerged as the most successful strategies for recruiting in this industry.
If you’re looking for help with any of the above, the team at Recruitics is here! The Recruitics team is experienced with driving ROI for high-volume hiring. Tap into our industry experts to help optimize your recruitment strategies today.