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Deniz Gültekin

Deniz Gültekin

Talent Brand, Lever

How did you find your way into TA, what’s your story?

I fell into talent acquisition accidentally and a little reluctantly. Prior I had more of a traditional marketing and community building background. I was asked to interview for a Marketing Campaign Manager position at Eventbrite, and later that day, the Director of Recruiting called and asked if I’d try a new role they’d create for me. It was before recruitment branding was a term, so they called it an Eventbrite Evangelist.

It was definitely not my first choice. To me, being innovative or creative was critically important and I just didn’t see it with recruiting. Still, I met with the CEO who had this really compelling story. I was excited by her passion and commitment to company culture and building a remarkable workplace. I realized that was a story I could tell and that we could re-work the recruiting process to mirror a marketing organization. Four years later I’d worked with every single team in the business at Eventbrite across head offices in eight countries helping them attract talent, build pipelines and nurture engines to help teams grow.

Tell me more about that, your early years.

Having a creative communication and marketing background helped me figure out how we could get people’s attention and attract them to the company through creative storytelling. I was able to adapt the marketing playbook around content marketing, demand and lead generation for the recruiting process. We figured out that to effectively scale the recruiting process you had to flex these muscles. You needed to drive quality talent into your pipeline so the recruiters could evaluate and close really quickly. We had a lean recruiting team that was relying on us to drive people to them. At Eventbrite we focused on mapping candidate journeys, really segmenting the audiences and telling the stories of what we’re building in authentic ways that appealed to each different segment of our audience. In recruiting, your vibe attracts your tribe and that’s what we did – and it worked! We just put ourselves out there in really honest ways and the talented people this resonated with self-selected into the process.

What works best to engage and nurture candidates?

The one common denominator, which may not sound that innovative, is staying top of mind through targeted emails. I know a lot of people don’t believe in email marketing, but done right it can be personal and compelling. At Eventbrite, we used Clinch marketing software to get people into the nurture funnel on our career site with a “Keep In Touch” call to action. Our story was, “We know it might not be the right time, but we’re looking for the right people.” For the ones that signed up, Clinch helped collect a ton of information about the roles they were interested in, and anything that would help us segment them effectively. This allowed us to create content that was targeted to them. We worked with VPs of each department to write ‘Inside Eventbrite’ letters about what their teams were doing, giving interested prospects an inside look into the company. This built connections and provided targeted opportunities that converted them into candidates right there. It was pretty cool.

What about passive prospects?

I may be a little biased here but I think the only effective way to attract passive candidates is through employment branding, by remaining top of mind and getting your story out there. Passive candidates are gainfully employed and to convince them to opt in or jump on a call or ultimately throw their hat in the ring you need to stand out and build that affinity for your brand first. I think employment branding allows us to attract the right people to the brand, by building engagement through content at multiple touch points that finds them where they are.

We use those relationships and touch points to create connections with our brand and team that ultimately pull them in for an opportunity at the right time when they’re actually interested and sold on the idea. I think that’s the shift in recruitment thinking; it’s a lot more long-term because that brand affinity needs to be earned over time.

What’s one of your most favorite campaigns?

We had to double the size of our sales team and open a new sales office in Nashville in order to hit ambitious goals. We also had just one sales recruiter for the entire company. One of these “Oh crap!” moments! So we knew we had to tell a really compelling story to get the right talent inbound to make this at all possible.

We had to figure out what was “our hill to stand on,” and how we could tell that story to people who’d never heard of us. We partnered with a company I love, Job Portraits, to create a story about the growth and trajectory of the sales organization. We ran a ton of targeted campaigns on FB, LI, IG and TW especially in Nashville where we had very little brand awareness. We did a big internal campaign using our best advocates, employees, and held hack-a-thons and mixers for people to really get to know us. It was a huge success. 

How do you get your company to stand out?

I think there’s a few ways companies can go about that. One is arming employees with quality content that’s easy to share whether it’s canned tweets or posts that are ready to go or great images. It makes it really easy if you can just have them click a button to share. Another way is making them proud to tell their own stories. People are proud to share what their team is doing and what their co-worker wrote. Giving them that platform to tell their stories is pretty wonderful. At times you can incentivize it and make it fun. We customized links for each of our employees and whoever got the most clicks or sent it the furthest – we’d give them a backpack or a hoodie or just recognition at a team meeting. Ultimately, if employees are engaged with your company, they’re going to want to brag to their networks about the work that’s happening there. It’s our responsibility just to make it easy for them.

What’s the secret to converting great prospects into candidates?

Telling your story authentically and providing high touch experiences is key. We also ensure that the message is supported by our recruiters. Instead of saying “Hey, want to jump on a call?” we have our recruiters frame it with, “We’re interested in your experience. Here’s a little bit about us. Let us know if you’re interested”.

I think it also depends on the company and the company’s brand. At Eventbrite it was part of our DNA to get people to come out for live events and create those delightful personal experiences. We want people to really get to know us so when the time comes, we could quickly close. That may be very different in a different company. You have to figure out what channel or method best fits your candidates – and your vibe!

We’ve only scratched the surface of Deniz’s interview. Listen to all her creativity in full – you’ll be glad you did!

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