Careers, Not Jobs: 3 Ways to Attract Candidates with a Modern Mindset

The US unemployment rate has dropped to 4.1 percent. Globally, the rate is just 5.78 percent. While great news for today’s professionals, this creates a number of talent acquisition challenges for employers. The lack of available, qualified talent has led to an exceptional rise in competition, a greater focus on talent development and retention, and a candidate-driven labor market. To compete, organizations must find ways to meet the modern professional’s mindset.

This spring, WilsonHCG and The Muse hosted a joint webinar, Careers, Not Jobs: How to Attract Candidates with a Modern Mindset. Led by Dave Mahr, WilsonHCG’s Director of Engagement & Relations, and Toni Thompson, VP of People & Talent at The Muse, the conversation uncovered an important theme: today’s professionals are seeking careers, not jobs. In response, industry leaders are offering and adeptly marketing “careers” that matter; careers that are flexible, full of long-term growth and opportunity, and show talent their business impact.

You can access the webinar recast at the link above! The following features three takeaways from the discussion – including how employers in the thick of today’s competition can engage, land and ultimately keep talent with a modern mindset.

1. Share Purpose, Showcase Impact
“Candidates want to know more than how a job can further their resume… They want to know how a career can benefit their life,” says Dave. “It’s no longer about about work-life balance; it’s deeper than that. It’s about work-life integration. Candidates are asking themselves, ‘Does this company’s values, aspirations and purpose align with mine?’ We’re seeing candidates who are more intentional than ever about this. In fact, 61 percent of talent 22-37 years old had a career picked out before entering college; candidates now have a relative vision for the impact they hope to make and what’s important to them.”

In brief, today’s professionals want to know how their role matters to the greater business, and they want to believe in the companies they serve. And yet, Harvard Business Review research shows there is significant room for growth and opportunities for companies to leverage this competitive advantage:

  • Companies that operate with a clear and driving sense of purpose, beyond the goal of just making money, have 10X better performance than the S&P 500.
  • 40 percent of employees struggle to describe their organization’s employer brand and how customers “feel” their organization is distinct from competitors.
  • Only 28 percent of employees say they fully know their company’s brand values, while just 20 percent believe their company’s leaders communicate how employees can live out these values in their roles.

Leveraging your people to hone and communicate your brand is an important action step, says Toni: “Employees have stories to tell about what the company stands for, what they do, and why it’s important to them; they have a unique point of view on the impact their role has on their teams, the company, and so on. Capture that! It’s not only great for morale but for recruitment!”

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2. Invite Talent to Learn & Develop
The “ability to learn and progress” is now a principal driver of career decisions. And yet, according to Meridian, 43 percent of employees leave their jobs due to lack of career opportunities and advancement. 

“Which is so sad,” says Toni. “Countless studies have shown that employees are happier, more engaged and productive when employers invest in their professional development. It’s important to communicate why and how you invest in your employees’ development throughout the entire interview process. As we think about the modern talent mindset, L&D offerings are a powerful talent attraction tool.”

As Toni and Dave explained, the need for L&D investments isn't new to many HR and talent leaders. But where can you begin? According to the webinar conversation, there immediate steps you can take that won’t break your budget:

  1. Unique Learning Experiences. The Muse takes time during each company-wide “All Hands” call to educate people on issues they’re not immediately privy to. As an example, the CFO will speak about what makes The Muse a unique Software as a service (SaaS) business. At WilsonHCG there many employee-led committees built around helping colleagues “stretch” in their roles globally.

  2. Joint Recruitment and Internal Development Events. At The Muse’s last recruitment event, the company ran sales-specific training for employees but, rather than keep this closed to the workforce, they welcomed candidates from their talent pipeline. According to Toni, “This was a win/win! Our employees learned important skills, and we gave our candidate attendees more than a typical recruiting event where they feel like they are being sold to the entire time.”

  3. Showcasing Your Senior Leaders. Highlight the career experiences of senior leadership. This can be done via podcast, Q&A blog posts or video testimonials. Authentic insight into how your company’s leaders have grown in their roles creates a “we” environment, provides legitimate insight into career paths, and breaks down hierarchical barriers.

  4. Peer-to-Peer Mentorship. “Younger talent has an unbridled ambition and desire to work hard, but they often need a mentor to contextualize their experiences,” says Dave. “When employees can bring their whole selves to work, they feel a sense of professional and personal development.” When bosses transition to coaches, and managers treat their teams like more than just a name tag, loyalty, productivity and the desire to improve each day multiplies exponentially.

3. Harnessing Employee Engagement
Throughout the webinar, Dave and Toni delved into the five “modern mindsets” of today’s talent – including how companies can respond in a way that drives recruitment, engagement and retention. We explored two of these above, and you can access the remaining three by tuning into the conversation recast and Q&A!

Dave also shared a quote from author Denise Lee Yohn, "Harnessing employee engagement isn’t about selling anything, or even telling employees what they should do; it’s about informing, inspiring, and involving employees so they want to support and advance the brand.” Only when employees are engaged with the brand will they think and act in ways that produce the results you're seeking (i.e., better business outcomes). To operationalize this concept, Dave and Toni shared the need to ask:

  • DO your employees feel an emotional connection with the brand and act as brand ambassadors, actively sharing positive brand information with their friends, families, and communities? Are you equipping your employees with stories to tell?

  • DO employees understand who the brand’s target customers are, how the brand is positioned relative to competitors, and what makes the brand unique and valuable from a customer perspective? Do they sell it with conviction?

  • DO employees have access to tools/data about how the brand is perceived by customers? Does everyone in the company see themselves as brand ambassadors, regardless of if they interact with the client?
There is a direct correlation between strategic talent acquisition, employer branding investments and greater revenue. Find out how industry leaders have aligned employment branding with the greater business – ultimately, to generate greater revenue as well as fulfilled, trusted and empowered workforces:

[INFOGRAPHIC] Employer Branding in 2018: A Fortune 500 Revenue Generator
The Muse eBook: Creating an Amazing Candidate Experience
Learning & Development Employee Retention Industry Trends Employer Branding Employee Engagement


Wilson Human Capital Group, Inc., (WilsonHCG) is a global leader in innovative talent solutions that operates on the principle of providing true partnership to our clients. Through our highly configurable Talent Ecosystem™ model, we transform the talent function into a strategic advantage. At WilsonHCG, the relationships we develop lead to the results our clients realize. Better People, Better Business.®

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