Amazon is coming to town? You ready corporate recruiters?

Amazon is coming to town?

It was not long ago when our best students and best-established talent headed for the sunny skies of California to explore new career opportunities. Those in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields, fled the GTA and Canada at large for what they believed were the best of the best jobs.

The FANG companies, a nifty acronym for Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google, have been and continue to be leaders in developing new technologies, big data metrics, artificial intelligence and a whole suite of game changing social networks. The Canadian technology landscape had been absent of these big players as well as other smaller, but no less exciting opportunities, hence the historical brain drain to the United States. Well the tide seems to be turning, at least in the pursuit of talent and the positioning of high tech companies in Canada, especially in the GTA.

In April of this year, the Ontario Government announced an 80 million investment for autonomous vehicle technology. As well, the GTA governments have come together for a joint proposal to entice Amazon to open a second headquarters here which will require up to 50,000 employees.  And now, as evidenced by the recent Facebook announcement, Montreal will be the new base for Facebook artificial intelligence research. Oh how the times are changing!

Mark Cohon, chair of Toronto Global outlined in a recent Business News Network (BNN) interview that he believes the GTA has what it takes to entice Amazon to open its doors here.  He calls out the quality of life, our diversity and the fact there have been more high-tech jobs created here than either New York and San Francisco.

Ed Clark, former executive of the Toronto Dominion Bank, was appointed by the Ontario Government to head up the Greater Toronto Region Bid for Amazon. Ed plans to highlight to Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, that the skilled labour force already in place here in Toronto, our propensity to attract highly skilled immigration and our generally inclusive country, is a perfect place to set-up camp.  What’s interesting is he notes that even if the Amazon bid is not successful, the infrastructure, the talent and the desired place to live is here and our doors are open to other prospective employers whether they be foreign or domestic.

So, what does this all mean. Well, the Ontario economy is rapidly transforming from a manufacturing based economy to a service and technology one. The broader story from our current crop of tech start-ups as well as the already established players, is that competition for top talent is and will continue to be fierce. According to PWC’s CEO 2017 Survey, 77% of CEO’s see the availability of key skill as the biggest threat to their business and 60% are rethinking their HR function to address this concern.

Are you ready to compete for the best talent corporate recruiters? Whether you’re a big company or small company don’t get left in the dust. You need to be well positioned as an employer of choice if you’re going to entice the best and brightest to join your organization.

Here are 5 steps you can take to beat out your talent competitors.

Step 1: Translate business needs into hiring needs

Understand your companies short and long-term business plan. Are you expanding geographically? Are you growing into new verticals? Are you building new products and services? Translate the business objectives into the skills you will need and the number of employees you will need. Determine how many employees you have today that can fill these roles or can be trained and how many new employees you’ll need to recruit.

 Step 2: Understand your Target Audience

Create candidate personas for each high volume or critical role. Meet with the hiring managers and align on the skills and experience required for these roles. Interview top performers who are currently doing the job and learn everything you can about their needs, wants and desires. Understand what their goals are and what motivates them. Find out about their interests, hobbies and how and where they consume media. All of this will be important for the next steps.

Step 3: Tailor your Employer Value Proposition (EVP)

Assess how well your EVP meets your ideal candidate needs. Where do you align and where don’t you? Check out your talent competitors and what they are communicating. If there are gaps in your EVP, discuss if these gaps will hurt you or if they’re crucial enough to improve your offering.

Step 4: Create Engaging Content

Take the tailored EVP and bring it to life in all your communications for your target audience. If you read my last article on ‘Job Postings – Stick a Fork In It’, you’ll know the first place to start are those boring job descriptions and postings. At minimum don’t forget to refresh the copy for your career site and create visually interesting and relevant content on all the social networks that your target audience are highly engaged on.

Step 5: Get your message out in the right place

Now that you know where your target audience is hanging out, build and activate your communication strategy and media plan. Make sure you’re getting the right message out, in the right place and at the right time. It can be overwhelming when choosing media channels so if you are uncertain which is the best or you want to validate your media plan, consider getting advice from a talent strategist.

If you’re serious about attracting and competing for the best and brightest talent especially those techies, follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way.

Written by Colette O’Neill, Chief Talent Strategist and Founder.

ADVANCE Human Capital Solutions is an Employer Branding and Recruitment Marketing Advisory and Consulting Company. We help companies grow their business by providing expert advice and solutions on how to better attract, engage and retain the best possible talent.