Shifting from ‘post & pray’ to nurturing a workforce pipeline

If you would have told me in 2007 that the work, we do at de Novo would be so heavily involved in human resources, I would have laughed, and maybe even said “No thanks!”

Nearly 15 years later, we are practically embedded in many of our clients’ HR departments. The workforce has been the competitive factor that most did not see coming. In almost every exploratory call, it surfaces as a major pain point for companies.

As employers, we are in a race for talent. As a state, a region and as companies, we are all fishing in the same ocean. Let’s just say that Atlantic cod is less overfished at this point. It’s harder to fill positions with qualified candidates, with some companies unable to keep up with orders and service-based companies working well under normal capacity.

We are going to focus on marketing for your hiring needs, but companies are looking at more than just their compensation package. They are considering remote work policies, expanded and family-friendly benefits packages, and incentivizing hiring practices.

Economics aside, your company isn’t the only organization in dire need of people. So how would you approach it if it were a sales equation, instead of a hiring one? By strategically positioning your company as the best choice for your target audience.

Here’s a list to make sure you are thinking about your hiring process with a marketing lens:

  • Make sure that human resources uses your brand authentically and to your advantage. We’re talking about more than correct usage of your logo — we’re talking about brand voice, story and service. This includes telling your company’s brand story and culture with video, blog posts, quotes from happy employees and the narrative on your employment page. Your company’s culture should be evident in all your communications.
  • Consider how prospective employees find out more about your company. Sure, some people fill out an application on or your website without checking you out, but most are savvy enough to do a deeper search, check out your “About Us” page, look up your listing on, look at your Google reviews and more to get an idea about the company.
  • Control the information they see first. If you’re launching a digital campaign for your products and services, the best practice is to build out a landing page that is structured to capture leads, provide the most important information, and is stripped of distractions. Think of your prospects as leads you are trying to convert. The ultimate conversion is a job application, but micro-conversions such as watching a video, using a chat window to ask a question, requesting more information, or signing up for a newsletter or additional info are all ways to nurture a “prospect” through the pipeline, and the same principles apply to prospective employees.
  • If we are talking about chat windows, if you are requiring anything more complicated than filling out your job application online and submitting it with one click (allowable exception: attach a resume), you’re probably losing prospects. A downloadable PDF or even a fillable PDF that must be either printed or saved and uploaded will cause you to leak potential applicants. Build out your application in one form and keep it as simple as possible.
  • Give them multiple ways to reach you and be incredibly responsive. If you can, add a chat window to your employment /landing page. Provide links to email and phone numbers. Be sure to set up access to Facebook Messenger and DMs on Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • Put additional budget behind it. Think about your prospective employees the way you do your customers. Yes, budget for job posting sites, but consider social media “boosting” and targeting as well.
  • And finally, nurture your prospective employees the way you do customers. Discover their needs and motivations and be sure to tailor your communications. Whether we like it or not, those in the job market have a lot of choices right now. Use marketing principles to ensure you not only bring applicants to your site but that you have a system in place to convince and convert them.

Jen Neumann is owner and CEO of de Novo Marketing in Cedar Rapids.