Lining Up Talent on LinkedIn

June 1, 2010




Building a strong employer brand and an engaged talent pool might be all the rage right now, but unless you’re a well-established global brand with deep pockets, it isn’t easy.

Schawk is a design firm of about 3200 employees, with 49 offices in 14 countries and annual revenue of over a half billion dollars. When I joined Schawk a couple of years ago, we had already built a successful business around brand execution for our clients - but ironically, we didn’t have a recognizable employer brand of our own.

Our principal challenge was getting the word out about schawk-51
the exciting work we do and the outstanding career opportunity we offer, in a way that would be immediately engaging to the highly skilled package designers, account and project managers we want to hire. With our budget remaining relatively flat for this year, we needed to maximize our dollars on those initiatives and projects that were going to drive the talent acquisition team forward.  As we all know, retained and contingency search firms can quickly eat away at the budget so we planned to do this without the support of external agencies.

We knew roughly the message we wanted to communicate – that we’re a strong creative company with a star-studded client roster, that we’re ahead of the game in technology and resources, that we are hiring certain types of role. Having successfully used LinkedIn Recruiter to fill a wide range of positions, mid-level and up, we decided to double down on LinkedIn by creating a compelling online presence and building a highly qualified talent pipeline.

Our resulting Schawk Career Page tells our story the way we want to tell it to prospective candidates in a site where they’re already spending their time researching opportunities and companies. Our Career Page, in conjunction with opportunistic use of LinkedIn Groups, has helped us build talent pools in many of the major metro areas where we have a presence – so if a creative position or an account management role is suddenly open in New York or San Francisco, for instance, I’ve already got quality talent lined up.

When setting up the Schawk Career Page on LinkedIn, we leveraged pre-existing assets such as podcasts and video to make the page as engaging and informative as possible. We also added links to other key web presences – the careers section of our website, Facebook, Twitter – that contribute to us selling the company. In our Career Page we have a specific destination to which we can drive traffic, and it has become a launching pad for candidates to explore Schawk as their employer of choice.

We use our Career Page in conjunction with our LinkedIn Group, which is the primary way we keep in touch with our talent pool and further reinforce our employer brand. We typically push out content at least three times a day – whether it’s industry news, Schawk-specific content, or job searching tips, the group provides us with a way to maintain an active dialogue with interested candidates.

The combination of LinkedIn Recruiter, our Career Page and our LinkedIn Group has had a significant impact on our hiring efforts, whether we’re hiring for creative roles, for client-facing roles, or for shared service and corporate roles.  In the past four months alone I’ve filled four SVP-level positions that I would absolutely have gone to a retained search firm for in the past. That’s the equivalent of $200K in savings, on just those searches, all done in an extremely time-efficient way.

In summary, LinkedIn has made a major difference in enabling us to build talent pools and get our content across to the right audiences. With LinkedIn, Schawk’s talent pipeline is vibrant and our employer brand is more prominent than ever.