Attracting and Retaining Employees kicker stock

March 2024
How to attract employees with a marketing mindset By Cassie Flynn

Incorporating marketing tactics like leveraging core values, integrating social media and using humanized communication in your hiring process will help you find better candidates.

The job hunting experience can be tedious and monotonous for your potential employee, with constantly repeating tasks. From typing in their full name, uploading a resume and then retyping all of the content of their resume into an online form, creating profiles and more, your perfect candidate is tired. The more applications they complete, the more jaded they become to the hunt.

Use these tactics to make the process more efficient and pleasant all around — and most importantly, to make sure you can find out if they’re the right fit for your operation.

Simplify the Application Process

Use a short form with only a few questions. Include fields for their contact information, a cover letter and a document upload for their resume. You can simplify it further by offering an HR email address and request applications and cover letters be submitted via email.

Communicate Well

Personal communication is the best way to engage with potential candidates and get a sense of their personality before moving forward with the process. Be open, honest and, most importantly, timely. Respond with personable messages that mention your applicant by name, and compose a message that specifically mentions their experience or information found in their application. Showing you care throughout the recruitment process helps the candidate understand what type of person you are and the company atmosphere. Answer questions quickly and honestly, while displaying your personality.

If a candidate is not a great fit for your company, do not ghost them! There is nothing worse than being an applicant for a great position with a company and going through the application process only to be met with radio silence. Ending an application process personably and politely keeps that candidate happy — and more likely to review your company positively or recommend the position to others.

Ashcombe Farm and Greenhouses features employee stories throughout the store, which can serve as a way to attract new talent and also to help shoppers.
Ashcombe Farm and Greenhouses features employee stories throughout the store, which can serve as a way to attract new talent and also to help shoppers.

Leverage Your Core Values

Core values are the backbone of your brand, your company and the atmosphere that surrounds your employees. Showing what your brand cares about gives potential employees a snapshot look into what your company stands for and how it treats its team.

Take McDonald’s, for example. It’s constantly hiring new team members, advertising this in its drive-thrus where, while you order or wait for your food, you can see posters depicting smiling

McDonald’s team members alongside a list of benefits for all employees. The McDonald’s brand values its employees by offering health benefits, education reimbursement, free food during shifts and more. It clearly displays how the brand cares for its team members in the ads for their open positions.

Use your values to attract the best candidates for your position. What that looks like depends on your employer branding, e.g., how you want your company culture, values and career growth opportunities displayed to the world around you.

Create a Candidate Persona

One of the first steps of creating a strategic marketing plan is to create a buyer persona. This is a physical document that tells you exactly what you need to know about who you’re selling to. Doing the same with your candidates will give your hiring team a personality profile of who would best fit your team. Defining your target candidate gives you the opportunity to define where to reach your target candidates, how to describe the position and how to convey your core values through strategic marketing.

The candidate persona for the green industry will include buzzwords such as “plants,” “outdoor working environment” and “landscaping.” Those buzzwords highlighted in your candidate persona can be plugged into your job description template to be posted online.

The Academy to Innovate HR has a great blog post on how to create a candidate persona at

Marketing Job Openings

When it comes to actively marketing your open positions, you’ll want to keep abreast of the changing atmosphere with online marketing. Paid online advertising and promotion of employment opportunities are both subject to more laws and regulations than a retail paid advertisement.

Federal laws including the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1963 prohibit employers from discriminating against individuals because of their age or gender. Targeting paid ads for your open jobs can cause a bigger headache than you’d expect. Focus instead on more organic ways of reaching talent.

Posting Online

Analyze your candidate persona to establish the spaces online you’ll post your open job. Use keywords in your job description that search engines will pick up in your text. Those keywords will optimize your job posting for job boards like Indeed, as well as Google. Include those same keywords on your own employment webpage.

Write a compelling job description that shows the personality of your brand, along with the details of the position. Be clear on your company’s core values and goals for the position. Be transparent about what the position entails and what experience the perfect candidate might have. Avoid language that can be interpreted as discriminatory.

Follow the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice’s guidelines for crafting an equal-opportunity job description here.

Leveraging Social Media

Use your social media pages to show your company culture. This is the place to truly let your company’s personality shine.

In my time at Ashcombe Farm and Greenhouses, our hiring process was always strenuous. We found that trying to find candidates through traditional marketing, newspapers and job fairs wasn’t cutting it anymore. We started a seasonal hiring spree by creating in-depth videos describing the jobs with managers talking about what they were looking for in an ideal candidate. Additionally, we included shots of the working environment to show applicants where they’d be working within the company. (See our YouTube channel)

Other social media options include showing employee appreciation. Post birthday celebrations and work anniversaries, and allow employees to “take over” your Instagram account for a day. Let the public see behind the scenes of the company, so they can fully understand the company culture.

Practice incorporating marketing tactics into your hiring process and see how the changes help find you better candidates who are perfect for your greenhouses.

For an enhanced reading experience, view this article in our digital edition.

Cassie Flynn

Cassie Flynn is owner of Harken Consulting, a small business marketing consulting firm specializing in helping independent garden centers thrive in today’s competitive marketplace. Harken Consulting offers a range of services including social media management, marketing coaching, strategy development, public relations and more. For more information, visit