Every industry has its own best practices for recruiting. Luxury brands are no different. Luxury brands are, by definition, unnecessary for pure survival; thus, the attitudes required to advertise, market, sell, and succeed in a premium space are quite different from those of a more traditional retail or sales industry.
If you’re a luxury brand looking to hire, you’ve likely confronted some of these differences. In particular, many potential candidates may view some luxury brands or products as unnecessary or unethical. Navigating the tense waters of hiring in a luxury space means finding ways around common problems, finding the ideal candidates for any given role, and vetting them for the qualities they need to succeed in a fast-paced industry.
Every industry has unique concerns, but none are as isolated within their own networks as luxury brands. Particular audiences, particular branding restrictions, even particular hiring restrictions can all come into play when it comes to finding the best and most talented candidates for a given job. Given the difficultly many brands have in filling open roles and the current global shake-up of the job market, now is the time to make the changes you need to step towards the future.
We’ve put together eight tips for premium and luxury brands looking to attract new candidates. Putting the luxury spin on traditional recruiting is just one part of the equation.
1: Make Your Brand Stand Out
A vital part of recruiting for a luxury brand is making your brand stand out. Now, luxury brands already have an advantage in building name recognition, and a reputation for being unique and outstanding is already part of the luxury space. However, “brand reputation” is different from “employer reputation.” Your goal is to differentiate yourself and portray yourself as an outstanding employer in the same ways you are an outstanding brand. In part, this means developing and conveying your employer value proposition.
“An organization looking to stand out from competitors when seeking to attract top talent must be able to articulate and share how the employee value proposition is lived every day, along with the vision and mission of the organization. Just as an organization has a brand for the external market, there needs to be an employee brand that can effectively communicate the employee experience.” – Sherry Martin, Forbes.
It may require deep introspection to determine what the value proposition is for your brand. While “working for a top luxury brand” can be valuable, it’s not enough. Every luxury brand has that, and you’re competing with those other luxury brands for the best candidates in the industry. You need to do something to stand out from your direct competitors, not just non-luxury employers.
2: Don’t Stay Stuck in the Past
Luxury is often a land of contrasts. On the one hand, some luxury brands are, quite literally, hundreds of years old. Their legacy of generational luxury plays a large part in their staying power, and the perception of “old money” quality powers a lot of their ongoing reputation.
At the same time, even the oldest of luxury brands need to stay up to date. Modern technology provides a wealth of information you can use for everything from R&D to marketing to hiring, so using that technology is essential.
How can modern technology be leveraged for luxury hiring? Modern hiring software and platforms that use AI to filter and select candidates can go a long way towards narrowing your talent pool. Additionally, modern communications technology can be crucial for keeping candidates engaged, avoiding ghosting, and portraying your brand as part of the modern world regardless of your consumer reputation.
After all, no matter how much your legacy of luxury relies on history, modern candidates don’t want to work with calculators and paperwork that computers can easily handle. You need to embrace both that legacy and the cutting edge of technology.
3: Leverage Employee Referrals
One of the core benefits to a luxury brand is that brand itself. People who work for a luxury brand often make it part of their lifestyle and legacy. When a luxury brand shows loyalty to its employees, the employees will show loyalty in return. This relationship can form life-long careers. When your employees are treated with loyalty and respect, they become some of your best ambassadors and can refer high-quality individuals to work for your company as well.
“When you truly care for your employees, they’ll care for one another, your customers, and the community. Go beyond amazing benefits. Foster a workplace that thrives on trust and respect for all individuals — and protect that culture every day. Word will get out. Your people will talk, and they’ll refer like-minded, talented people who believe in your culture and your mission.” – Vivian Maza.
The key here is like-minded individuals. Working in a luxury space requires a particular mindset, and no one understands this better than the people already working for you. Your employees have the best view into what is needed out of new hires and can refer people who meet the qualifications, including many you might not know about from the management perspective.
4: Know What You Need in a Good Employee
Speaking of qualifications, what do you need out of a new employee for them to succeed and bring value to your company? Looking for candidates with the right attributes means knowing what you need.
Qualities such as:
- A history of success in their role, preferably in a premium brand.
- Implementation and adherence to best practices within the industry and the brand.
- Records of success and improvement throughout their career, where applicable.
- A thorough understanding of their duties, role, and position within the organization.
These are general qualities that help set a candidate apart in terms of their capability as a hire. However, they aren’t enough to ensure success. You also need to know the specific role, the job duties, and even what part of the team the candidate will join.
5: Look for Candidates in the Right Places
Luxury brands can follow traditional paths for recruitment, but other avenues are open to them as well. One such avenue is similar to that employed by IT, Biotech, and other highly-skilled industries: feeder programs within universities. Many luxury brands, from Tommy Hilfiger to Brioni, partner with educational institutions to develop programs geared toward creating a pipeline from education to entry-level employment to an ongoing career.
“Gone are the days of the shot-in-the-dark application. In order to burnish their reputations as employers and recruit top talent, leading luxury houses are developing formal programmes with the best universities. These feeder programmes — from Kering’s partnership with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF) at the London College of Fashion to Sup de Luxe at Paris’ École des Dirigeants et des Créateurs d’entreprise (ECF), which offers both a master’s and bachelor’s degree in global luxury management and is supported financially by Richemont-owned Cartier — are now often the key to landing an entry-level position at a top fashion company.” – Business of Fashion.
This applies to more than just fashion brands, of course. Consider looking for local institutions, relevant trade schools, specialty educational facilities, and other organizations to partner with. Creating an education-to-employment pipeline can provide you with a reliable source of candidates and, what’s more, allows you to tailor the educational program to your specific needs as a brand.
6: Network with Luxury Influencers
One of the finest sources of modern marketing for premium brands is their customers. Word of mouth has always been a powerful way to market a product. Modern social media has created a whole new celebrity class of online influencers, people who showcase their lifestyle and their consumption of luxury brands solely to perpetuate that lifestyle.
Influencers are an excellent resource for marketing products, of course, but they can also be leveraged as a source of potential candidates for your company. Someone who loves your brand can attract others who love you, as well, and can be a prominent source of advertising a job opportunity.
One potential roadblock is the growing trend of influencers creating their own brands rather than relying on a relationship with an existing brand.
“In past few years, we have seen a wave of influencers finally taking advantage of their followers and launching brands that are completely aligned with their personality. Chiara Ferragni with her own luxury fashion brand, Jeanne Damas with the launch of Rouje, or Elle Macpherson with the launch of her beauty brand WelleCo, are three different examples of influencers capitalizing on the power of their followers.” – Verb Brands.
As such, you’ll need to find high-prominence influencers who are open to a relationship with your brand for both traditional marketing and employer marketing. This can be tricky but extremely valuable when you find it.
7: Build an Employer Brand on Social Media
Up above, we mentioned that luxury brands need to use modern tools and technology to stick with the times. One of those modern technologies is social media. While sites like Facebook may be struggling with reputation issues, others like LinkedIn are still a powerful source of networking on a professional level.
Social media, especially career-focused social media, is an extremely potent tool for building an employer brand. You can align all of the media you post and share, as well as the relationships you build, with your core values and your employer value proposition. Essentially, social media helps by becoming the channel you can use to leverage all of the other tips on this list.
8: Portray a Higher Purpose
One of the most significant challenges of a premium brand is the perception of inaccessibility. The exclusivity of a luxury product is part of its allure, after all. However, at the same time, your target audience for products may not be the same as your target audience for employees. Your potential employees want to know they’re part of something greater.
In this way, luxury brands have an advantage, particularly if they’re older legacy brands. A premium brand in a technology or future-thinking space might have difficulty convincing others of their enduring legacy. Meanwhile, older brands are more than capable of it because their very existence is a testament to their longevity.
Leverage that legacy. You’ve already proven that you can stand the test of time; now, prove that you can use that position to do something positive in the world around you.
In the modern candidate-driven hiring environment, candidates want to know that they’re contributing to a better future, not just working for a paycheck, day-to-day. Thus, it becomes critical for even luxury brands to consider social relevance and their position on issues that affect everyone, now and in the future. These issues can include anything from giving back to the local community to contributing to the fight against climate change.
Luxury brands are often perceived as powerful. Leverage that power. When you do so, you can attract top-quality candidates who reward you “putting your money where your mouth is” by being engaged, loyal employees.
Finding the Ideal Candidates
Today’s hiring market is highly candidate-driven, despite the millions of people actively looking for work. Many companies are struggling to source the people they need to succeed. Even prominent brands in the premium space may struggle to compete, not just against one another, but against the job market as a whole.
Above, we mentioned making use of the oppportunities you have available to you. One such opportunity is the ability to work with companies like ours to source candidates. Finding passive candidates, in particular, can be a challenge, but we specialize in exactly that. Take advantage of any resource at your disposal, up to and including the services of a recruitment specialist capable of sourcing the best candidates for any open role.
If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, after reading today’s post, please feel free to leave a comment down below or reach out and contact us! We would be more than happy to get a conversation started and assist with whatever recruiting or staffing needs you or your business may need.
Andrew Greenberg’s roots in recruiting date back to 1996. He has experience both on the agency-side and corporate-side of the staffing business, with a focus in the financial services space at companies like Bloomberg and UBS. He also has core experience with information technology staffing, and has worked for major software companies such as SAP Business Objects and IBM/Informix Software. To get in touch with Andrew, you can reach him by email or by phone at (800) 797-6160.