Today, the auto industry faces a number of unique challenges: creating cars that drive themselves, developing engines that can run more effectively on alternative fuels, and introducing greater digital connectivity into the automotive ecosystem are just the tip of the iceberg. Each of these challenges is also, of course, an opportunity. After a difficult period during and after the global recession, automakers are in an exciting position—they’re actively redefining the future of how people move from place to place, and the world is starting to notice.
In order to meet these challenges, you’re going to need a great team with skilled, qualified workers. This is another challenge—and opportunity—that automakers may or may not be equipped for. While the automotive workforce was for many years defined by a very specific skillset (revolving around the physical mechanics of the vehicles), as the field is changing the requisite skills are changing as well. For autonomous and connected vehicles, companies need to seek out skilled technical workers with high degrees of knowledge in machine learning, computer vision, and related fields—not the kinds of workers who have been traditionally drawn to this industry!
How can the auto industry meet its new talent needs in an increasingly competitive global marketplace? One possible route is recruitment marketing automation, or Recruitment Marketing Automation.
They Say Your Next Hire is Already Employed…
…and not necessarily in the auto industry. This old adage is especially true right now, as the auto industry is beginning to look more and more like the tech industry in a number of ways. There simply isn’t a whole reserve army of highly-skilled, technical laborers who are waiting around for a job in the auto industry. What does this mean from a practical perspective?
Well, it means that many traditional recruiting methods like posting on job boards are likely to be even less effective than usual. Job boards already limit recruiters to the 20% of candidates who are actively job searching at any given time (as compared to the 80% of passive job seekers who don’t frequent sites like Indeed for Craigslist but who would likely consider a new job if a strong offer came around), and in cases where employers are actively trying to recruit outside their traditional set of skills your potential reach is even more constrictive. After all, someone with software engineering skills, even if she is actively job hunting, isn’t all that likely to proactively search for anything even loosely related to the auto industry.
So, it’s critical for automotive companies to reach passive candidates—and not only reach them, but engage them in such a way as to make them reconsider their preconceived notions about the industry. To accomplish this, you need to target potential new hires where they already spend their time. The same person who would never in a million years enter “automotive industry” into an Indeed search query might still notice a targeted ad campaign that positions your company as a hub of exciting technological development and place where smart people can come together to solve the world’s problems.
If you adapt your employer brand to fit your ideal hires, and present them with an EVP that they can latch onto (for younger skilled workers this might be mean highlighting flexibility, growth potential, and the chance to work on interesting products), they’ll come to associate your business with your employer brand, and when they’re ready to switch jobs the auto industry in general and your company in particular will be on their radar.
Recruiting in the Digital Era
The process we described above is known as recruitment marketing. In an era where traditional methods of candidate attraction and sourcing are no longer cutting it, recruitment marketing offers a way to treat talent acquisition a little bit more like marketing. In a sector like the automotive industry, the appeal of such a strategy should be pretty obvious.
There’s already a gap in the pipeline of skilled workers, and it’s imperative that not just recruiters but whole companies commit to redefining the way candidates view the industry. This isn’t your grandfather’s world of garage-tinkerers and oil-specked mechanics. Rather, it’s a technologically exciting sector where a lot of younger workers would be glad to grow a career and learn new skills—if only they knew what was out there.
Because your recruitment marketing efforts are likely to be focused, at least in large part, on the younger generation of candidates (i.e. those who don’t currently think of this industry as a top employment destination), you’ll need to craft a strategy that focuses on their needs and web browsing habits. This will mean a big emphasis on mobile-friendly content, plus wide coverage across a variety of social media and other platforms, all carefully selected based on the exact nature of your ideal candidate persona. Once your brand is a real presence where they spend their time online, talented candidates will start to make their way into your funnel.
Automation for Automotive
Okay, that’s the recruitment marketing side of the equation, but where does automation come in? Because spreading your employer brand in a digital environment requires you to connect to so many channels and post so much content in order to engage future job candidates, it can be hard to pull off if you’re managing all of your content by hand on each individual channel. Conversely, if you can automate the process of posting ads, all of a sudden it’s possible to run dozens of campaigns at once, all aimed at repositioning the auto industry as a hub of innovation and technology.
At the end of the day, I see this as the ultimate potential for RMA in the automotive sector: to change the perceptions of younger candidates efficiently and en masse. With the advent of driverless cars, cloud-connectivity, alternative fuel sources, and whatever else the next five, ten, or even twenty years may hold, this industry is going to be in full transformation for a long time to come.
In order to win the war for talent, skilled workers need to see this transformation for what it is—an exciting opportunity that’s not to be missed. But they won’t get there on their own, so recruiters and HR departments have some work (ideally of the automated variety) to do.