Reeling them in

How Northeast Wisconsin competes for talent in the digital age

Posted on Sep 1, 2017 :: Insight On
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

Just a couple of decades ago, the job search looked like this: You’d respond to a posting by mailing in a copy of your resume (or, if you were feeling extra desperate, you’d wait in an office lobby with a few copies in tow). Then, if you made the initial cut, there would be an in-person interview or two before finding out whether you landed that open position.

Today? With the rise in technology and digital methods of communication, job seekers have a much different experience.

These advancements don’t just change things for candidates. Employers also need to push themselves to stray from traditional hiring practices in favor of reaching the right talent — and, ideally, making the application process as streamlined as possible.

Organizations in Northeast Wisconsin are taking steps to shake up the job search of old and implement innovative measures to target and attract top applicants.

New North: Selling the region

When it comes to staffing needs, New North Inc. is heavily involved in working with regional companies to draw the best candidates to the area.

“When we’re talking to companies in the region, the top thing that’s always on their minds is talent attraction,” says Jeci Casperson, New North’s director of marketing and investor relations.

It all starts with selling the community as a whole, as opposed to promoting openings at specific companies.

To meet that need and respond to that conversation with local employers, New North created a short video that highlights what the region offers. Interested companies can leverage the video on their own websites and social media accounts to showcase why talent (and, in many cases, trailing spouses and families) should consider northeastern Wisconsin as not only a great place to work, but also to live.

The video, which was created by New North’s marketing and branding committee, was designed with the intention of targeting younger working professionals.

“That’s a big part of the reason why it’s in digital form, and it has a feel that would be attractive to a younger worker,” Casperson says. 

Many large companies — from Miron Construction Co. Inc. and The Boldt Co. to Oshkosh Corp. and Neenah Foundry — have used the video as part of their overall recruitment efforts.

Along with the video, New North has an online tool where visitors can get more details about the area.

“If you’re looking for more information on education and schools or health care or dining, it’s where you go to get all of that information for the entire region,” Casperson says.

So far, New North’s resources aimed at talent have been widely used.

“The talent section is one of the parts of the website that draws the most traffic,” Casperson says. 

How Faith Technologies is reinventing recruitment

Faith Technologies is one company that’s rising to the challenge of keeping recruitment practices relevant — especially with the company’s recent virtual hiring event.

“Faith Technologies takes pride in being a leading innovator, and we weren’t seeing much success in regard to traditional job fair practices,” says Ray Roberson, field talent acquisition manager at Faith Technologies.

During the one-day virtual event, interested applicants could participate from any location and nearly any device.

“This was more of an educational type of event, with a goal of increasing our applicant flow,” Roberson says. Attendees could learn about careers with Faith Technologies, read through recruitment material, watch videos and participate in live webinars.

If they had questions after reviewing those resources, they could chat live with one of the company’s HR representatives.

The event was a big success. As soon as the radio advertisements promoting the virtual hiring event hit the airways, applications started flowing in. “In one day, we saw more candidates than we could see in a week,” Roberson says.

Indeed, Faith Technologies saw a 239 percent increase in applications during the virtual hiring event advertising campaign. Needless to say, it’s an event that Faith plans to continue.

Targeting the top talent

While the virtual hiring event was one of the more involved undertakings, regional companies will continue to innovate new ways — both big and small — to reach the talent they want. Many of those efforts come back to fostering a positive employer brand that appeals to the appropriate candidates.

“For example, community-mindedness is a huge part of recruiting younger talent,” Casperson says. “If you look at some of the initiatives that companies are doing, giving back to the community is a big part of their culture. They encourage employees to get out, be involved and make this place their home.”

And, ultimately, the more talent that makes this area home, the better.

“We’ve read that the top reason that companies choose a new location for expansion or a new facility is talent,” Casperson says.