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A Strategy for Recruiting Top Talent

By Brittany Hutson

Let’s Detroit’s mission is two-fold – retain college graduates and attract young professionals to live and work in the Detroit region. When the Detroit Regional Chamber launched the platform in September 2018, the vision for Let’s Detroit was to serve as a destination for connecting college graduates and young professionals to career opportunities, places to live, activities to do, and ways to make a positive impact through volunteering.

To advance their mission and incite engagement, Let’s Detroit utilizes three mediums – their website, events, and social media, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. There’s also two newsletters that go out each month. Newsletter sign-ups, social media engagement and website visits have steadily increased this year. In June 2020, Let’s Detroit achieved their target of 40,000 website visitors.

A key part of Let’s Detroit’s strategy is leveraging ambassadors, which are partnerships with college students and young professionals in the region. There are five types of ambassadors, including a campus ambassador and an employment ambassador. As a campus ambassador, college students help spread the word about Let’s Detroit on campus. The campus ambassador is a new position that started in January with 10 students from five different colleges and universities. An employment ambassador helps connect other young professionals to their industry. They are encouraged to share updates about their work, industries, and things they’re doing by writing original content on the Let’s Detroit blog.

 

According to Jorden Bagley, the Chamber’s business development manager for Let’s Detroit, by having ambassadors from within the company, it offers “more authenticity because it’s their people telling their stories,” she explained.

Businesses can leverage Let’s Detroit to not only reach talent in an authentic way, but to also increase visibility for themselves. Through Let’s Detroit, the Chamber works closely with their partner companies to understand how they can get the most value out of the platform. Recent feedback led to the launch of a “Work Here” page on the website this fall. On the page, interested professionals can search job postings and connect with employers.

“That was 100 percent from conversations with potential investors who are now investing in Let’s Detroit and said, “‘This is great, you’re gathering all of these people, but there’s no place for us to post jobs and close that contact loop,’” explained Bagley.

For example, Bosch is one of the companies listed on the ‘Work Here’ page. After selecting Bosch, prospects are taken to the company’s profile page, where they can read more about the company. At the bottom of the page, there are options to connect with Let’s Detroit ambassadors from Bosch.

“We’re constantly redirecting people to have them continually interacting with organizations,” Bagley explained. “The goal, ultimately, is for the company to get to interact with our audience at events, which have moved virtual for the time being.”

Marjace Miles is a Let’s Detroit ambassador and a consumer marketing manager with Ford Motor Company’s Autonomous Vehicles LLC. In March, he helped organize an event with another Let’s Detroit ambassador from Ford in Corktown. “We shared a lot of cool things that Ford is doing in the area to try to recruit people and we also spoke on behalf of Let’s Detroit,” recalled Miles. “We said even if it’s not with Ford, there’s a lot of great opportunities in the area.”

Let’s Detroit was able to quickly pivot when events moved online. They continue to collaborate with ambassadors, such as an August event that focused on young professionals serving on government boards, and a statewide virtual career fair that they cohosted in November to connect job seekers with employers in Detroit and Flint.

“Let’s Detroit has done a good job at helping us to highlight our company and what working in Detroit and Southeast Michigan has to offer,” says Brandon Koseck, senior director of talent acquisition at Ally. •

Brittany Hutson is a freelance writer in Metro Detroit.


Text A Detroiter

One of the things that makes Let’s Detroit unique is the Text a Detroiter function. It allows anyone from around the world who is curious about the city to text with locals who know the region best and can help answer questions.

“The two main questions we receive are: ‘what jobs are available?’ and ‘where do you recommend I live?’,” said Katherine Brown, the Chamber’s manager of Let’s Detroit. “We are receiving a steady stream of texts, even during the pandemic, from people thinking about moving to the region.”

Incoming texts are categorized and routed to an ambassador who can speak to the question. In one such instance over the summer, an inquiry came in from someone in North Carolina asking about the viability of living in the city without a vehicle. The program routed the text to Let’s Detroit Ambassador Jessica Robinson cofounder of the Michigan Mobility Institute. Robinson, shared her insights as someone who has lived in the city for eight years without a vehicle.

In the coming year, Let’s Detroit plans to increase its marketing across the country with an emphasis on targeting people with ties to Michigan who may consider moving back, in addition to emphasizing the cutting edge work that companies in the region are hiring for.