Law enforcement officers protect peoples lives who may be in distress and property from crimes, fires, and everything else. Their daily duties can include interrogating and apprehending suspects, providing first aid to someone involved in a traffic accident, and speaking to a class of students about safety or life lessons, all within the safe shift. Therefore, it’s paramount that agencies recruit the ideal candidate who can pivot at a moment’s notice. Finding those candidates isn’t that hard if you create a strategy. Here are our top three tips for recruiting online in 2022.
Tip #1 – Effectively Embrace Your Agency’s Social Media Presence
Notice we used the word “effectively?” We’re trying to convey that you need to create content that promotes the department so that it attracts the type of person you want to hire. No offense to our “more seasoned” leaders out there, but having someone on a video, who doesn’t resonate with the targeted audience, isn’t effective nor practical. For example, suppose you’re trying to attract middle-aged mothers to join the department because their skillsets are valued. You may be doing this because your community consists of an overly abundant number of middle-aged mothers. Whom do you think you need to have on camera in this scenario?
When you have your ideal message carefully constructed and well thought out, make sure you use the most-effective platform for your target audience. We would love to steer you towards a particular platform for a specific age group, but it has been our experience that every community is different from where people gravitate to keep connected with their law enforcement and public safety agencies.
We know there will be some in the profession with the attitude that there are plenty of young candidates who want to be police officers, so there’s no need to cater so much to draw in applicants.
Sadly, these individuals are a detriment to their agency and the community, as they are hindering the hiring of good, solid candidates. According to an article from Yello, more than half of Generation Z candidates won’t even apply if they think the company’s recruiting methods are outdated.
Tip #2 – Connect With Applicants On A New Level
You need to use the correct marketing to target suitable candidates, as we mentioned before. You have to show what makes your organization different from the others and what benefits you offer when you do this. Different age groups will want and expect different things, so you must mention your agency’s appropriate and relevant benefits.
You can go beyond the seldom-seen PDF article posted on your website or a professionally produced video or radio commercial. You need to relate, entertain, and inform your potential candidates to get them to gravitate to your agency. In our social media classes, we show students how to connect with others by being “real and transparent.” We may show you how to have officers who are not intimidated by being on camera make amazing, yet simple and quick, videos to showcase your agency.
Using our previously mentioned police officer, a middle-aged mother, picture this; a live (or pre-recorded) Instagram video where this officer is sitting in their patrol car after having just finished a call involving a child who didn’t want to go to school (yes, people call the police all the time to fill in as the disciplinarian). In the video, she can speak about using her skills as not only a police officer but a mother to help another parent out. This can resonate with those candidates and might get the ideal one to think to herself, “I can still be a mom, help my community, and enjoy a great career.”
It would help if you also considered nowadays that today’s applicants want to know that they’ll be able to use their creativity and skill sets to further the agency’s mission. Gone are the days of shutting down new ideas from a young officer or telling them they need to get some experience under their belt before offering a different way of doing something. While there is a little truth to this, shame on those, who don’t embrace new ideas from newer officers. It’s always amazing to watch an agency bypass the talent they have among their ranks to seek answers elsewhere.
Think about that for a moment. Why would a new candidate, or even a newly hired officer, want to work for their agency when their growth was stunted due to an archaic culture?
Tip #3 – Be A Great Resource (Even If They Are Applying Somewhere Else)
Candidates are looking for a positive experience more than anything. The more assistance and help you give someone looking to get into the law enforcement profession, the more inclined they are to gravitate towards your agency.
There are countless stories in which businesses have referred potential clients to other competing companies because they wanted to be helpful to the person. In doing so, something clicked in the minds of these potential clients and often has led to them becoming a client of the business that referred them in the first place.
We need this thinking in law enforcement. So answer those questions from people who may not even be applying with you. Show you care about the profession so much that you want to make sure anyone wanting to join it has a great impression of you. This will show the professionalism your organization maintains.
Consider making a downloadable infographic (yes, we can teach you these skills, too) with some helpful tips for passing the physical agility exam or motivational quotes from your officers. Then, regardless of where they may be applying, candidates will download your infographic to help them out or keep them motivated. Of course, when they do this, your agency’s badge, name, and social media handles will constantly be in their sight and on their mind. This might be enough to steer people back to complete an application with your agency.
If you’re on a recruitment team, reach out to the people on your social media team, and find out where, how, what, and when you should be posting content to attract your ideal candidates. Then, just as you know your position well, have faith and trust in the expertise of those on the social media team. They’ll get you going in the right direction.