Win the War for Talent with a Candidate Value Proposition (CVP)

It’s not necessarily an expression you hear too often, and you may never have even heard about Candidate Value Propositions (CVPs) before.

They have to be the way forward though, in a tough hiring market like China. How can you differentiate yourself from every-other-company-in-China? How else can you get to the root of what it is that causes people to choose your company over others?

All of us are fighting the good fight, and victory accrues to those companies who can finesse their Job Offers into what appears to be the best available offer in the China market. If the match is done sufficiently well. and honestly, it will fit the aspirations of active and passive candidates in the market, and offer the best career progression in your industry.

The end result is obviously not just a series of nice photographs and advertisements. It’s a statement or series of statements that tap into candidate desires and needs, and position your company as the solution.

But how do you get to produce a Candidate Value Proposition(CVP)?:

Get Help – The methodology involved in producinge a Candidate Value Proposition (CVP) is very much in the skill set of the marketing department. It’s just another way of looking at branding and marketing, but with recruitment in mind as the final objective.

Marketing people have knowledge of th 4Ps (Product, Price, Promotion, Place), and can assist you to build a CVP that will be effective in the marketplace. The good news is that they will need your HR and hiring knowledge to flesh out the actual details but in order to have a successful cooperation you will have to begin to think like a marketer. Just a bit.

Candidate Research – This is the starting point and possibly the hardest thing to do. It requires time commitment and a budget, two things in very short supply for any HR staffer in China []. You know the candidates but you will need the help of someone who can actually get people together in some sort of focus group situation. Someone who can tease out the information that you know is there, but you can’t quite get to.

Analysis of Results – For this issue I would again suggest that you need help from a company that does competitive intelligence or a market research firm. You need someone with the subtlety of interpretation necessary to understand what candidates in your industry actually want, how they view your company, and how they can be enticed to view it in a better light.

Segmentation – Now matter what industry you are in, and no matter your size there will need to be some form of segmentation of your hiring market. If you don’t have any notion of segmentation right now then you probably don’t have the depth of analysis and understanding that you need to succeed. You don’t just need to segment the market, you also need to decide your own company’s positioning within that market.

This is where the hard questions arise: Do you offer high salaries? Or a balanced work and life scenario? Which one are you more comfortable with, and which fits the market best? There are no easy answers here but your answer will determine how successful you can be. Clearly there is no perfect positioning but no all positioning guarantees failure.

Career & Hiring Message – The key to this is to figure out the question: Why do people want to work in our company? What do they value the most?

If you look at a company like Microsoft they can make a CVP that says something like ‘Define leading edge technologies that will change the world’. But they are not the only ones. Even small companies or old industries can take the same tack.

Take for example something as routine as automotive lighting. You might see it as just bits of clear plastic with a light behind. But the true interpretation would lead to a CVP that focuses on the fact that anyone in the automotive lighting business is ‘defining the future look for a new generation of cars’. Take a look at the cars on your street and you will notice that the lights dominate the look now, so this is not a sales spiel. It’s the truth but stated in a way that makes automotive lighting attractive as a career.

So you are looking to craft a message that accurately defines the features and benefits of your product, a job, but in such a way that you maximise your advantage. The CVP has to be a real assessment and not some marketers notion of what is cool and trendy. This might work for mass media advertising for soft drinks but careers are too important to be treated in a trivial way.

Delivery – Now you have to choose where to present your newly created message. The obvious places are recruitment portals and newspapers, but now that you have a method with a fancy new acronym, why not go the whole hog and put it onto blogs, Youtube, social networks, career fairs, radio, TV etc. The possibilities are endless but again each media may or may not reflect the kind of positioning you are aiming for.

What are we waiting for here? Developing a Candidate Value Proposition feels more like play than work.

Go, have fun, and call it your job.