This post was updated in June 2019.
As one of the leading banking and financial services institutions in the US, Wells Fargo is committed to satisfying the financial needs of their customers, and helping them succeed financially. Building an organization around this focus has required that the bank hire people who are equally committed to this goal. As Vice President of Employment Marketing, Aaron Kraljev is tasked with providing strategic direction and leadership for enterprise-wide recruitment advertising strategies.
Wells Fargo operates in over 80 different business lines. For Kraljev, attracting the best talent to meet the needs of each division requires an employment brand that connects with job seekers of any age. We talked with him about how Wells Fargo reaches out to Millennial, Gen X and Baby Boomer candidates.
What are the ways your organization has adapted to recruiting a new generation of job seekers?
Aaron Kraljev: One thing that has always been true about this space is that job seeker behavior changes pretty quickly. We’re always looking to be responsive to that, talking about what we’re seeing today and engaging people in the ways that are relevant to them.
Part of that mindset means that we spend a lot of time segmenting our attraction efforts across different diversity segments. Age is one of those, and the biggest challenge for us is to broadcast and communicate in a way that reaches each of those segments. We know that working for Wells Fargo will be different for a person in their twenties versus a person in their fifties. So, for us, everything begins with the question of who we’re targeting and how, and then tailoring the message each time. Our language and our employment brand, they’re tweaked slightly for each location and division.
I hesitate to say that all Millennials want to be talked to in a certain way. You can’t make those broad statements about huge groups of people. No matter who you are, people need information in the job search, and we leverage information to help people assess the job in front of them.
We want to respect the time of people who are looking for a job. So we’ve made the shift in methodology, investing in educating people about what it means to work for the bank. We’d rather be very upfront and have a candidate decide not to apply than target the candidates who aren’t the right fit.
While we’ve found that younger segments are more adept at technological advances in the application process, we also find that for most of our workforce, people are basically on the same page in how they approach their job search. It’s part of how anyone looks for a job now.
As people are remaining in the workforce longer, have you seen a change in the conversation about benefits and retirement?
Baby Boomers are nearing the end of their career, but so are some Gen Xers. The upper end of them are starting to retire, and we need to start thinking about how to communicate with the spread of a whole generation. This is true for Millennials too -- there are those looking for their first job but also those planning the next step in their career.
What we’ve found is that job seekers of all ages need to know about their insurance plans and their options for long-term savings. And it happens to be one benefit of working for a bank that we’re naturally disposed to have those conversations. Needing to care for children or aging parents, we often talk about those set of concerns as belonging to older workers, but people at any age can experience those things, so we don’t necessarily think of that along generational lines.
How do you measure and track your success with these efforts?
You find out really quickly how well you're doing with your employer brand by your onboarding process. We follow that data really closely to make sure that we’re delivering on the promises we made during the hiring process. We find that at any age, people are looking for openness and honesty when they’re making a decision about a job, and today, we invest in the channels that help candidates make educated decisions.
I don’t think that anyone in this space could say that they have too much data. We have a robust hunger for good data, and that can be hard to come by. We look at our sources of application and sources of hire, we want to invest in the places that are proven pipelines for great candidates.
The trend a few years ago was to post on large job boards, but today there are more tools out there to help you zero in on the candidates you’re looking for. We want to be as efficient with our resources as we can, and for that, we need to be precise.
How do you identify the skills your organization will need in the near future, and how do you identify the candidates who have those skills?
Before I came to Wells Fargo, I had no banking experience. I think that illustrates how we think about these things. We focus on hiring the person, believing that the right attitude is the strongest foundation for the best fit, and we teach the skills from there. As a financial institution, we tend to hire outside our vertical more than other companies might be able to. Knowing that we develop most of our skills in house also helps us avoid searching for the perfect candidate. Sometimes we find that person, but we don’t make it our highest objective.