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Why Seasoned Beauty Brands Are Competing with Celebrity-Endorsed Brands for Top Talent

Published August 27, 2023
Published August 27, 2023
Career Group Companies

Does your company invest in and prioritize human capital? If the answer is no, it may be time to revisit your strategy. After all, people are the greatest asset any company has.

In the past few years, we’ve seen innovation in every corner of the beauty industry, from renewed interest in the consumer experience, to lucrative partnerships with content creators and beauty influencers. The strongest brands are always seeking innovation. But if you’re not reinventing your hiring strategy and investing in the next generation of talent, you may struggle  to compete with newer brands.

“Human capital, in particular, is one of the pillars with the biggest power to differentiate and increase the competitiveness of any organization,” says Susan Levine, founder and CEO of Career Group Companies, one of the leading recruiting firms in the country. After all, behind every company is a team of people. Those people directly affect results. Human capital is an essential component to stimulate innovation, which is critical for companies hoping to survive in a market that changes as quickly as social media trends.

The wave of celebrities who have entered the beauty market is extensive and ever-growing. Kylie Jenner and Rihanna have amassed fortunes with their beauty brands Kylie Cosmetics and Fenty Beauty—but the list does not stop there. In the past few years alone, celebrities such as actress Millie Bobby Brown and singers Ariana Grande, Harry Styles, and Selena Gomez have launched their own cosmetics labels. “That’s the biggest thing right now. I get calls every day from candidates dreaming of working for trendy celebrity-founded beauty brands, and that’s something we’ve been seeing more and more in today’s job market,” states Carly Fisher, Director of Recruitment of Fourth Floor, the fashion, beauty, and lifestyle division of Career  Group Companies. When a top candidate is deciding between a trending, celebrity-backed brand or a traditional, established organization, many candidates are opting for the former.

Why is that? And how can traditional beauty brands and start-ups alike attract and retain strong talent—especially Gen Z talent?

Gen Z brings a dynamic energy to the workforce, in addition to creativity, a fresh perspective, and an understanding of their peers’ consumer habits. According to Career Group Companies, these young professionals are not only looking for job stability, but they are also looking for a job that is aligned with their personal goals and values. This means that for Gen Z, being successful means working for a brand they like and believe in.

So, how can companies hoping to attract and retain Gen Z professionals, and compete with celebrity-founded or trending brands, stay ahead of competition?

Create a Strong Employer Brand—and Advertise

Meet Gen Z where they are (hint: on social media)! Most beauty brands are using social media heavily as a part of their sales cycle, but is it a part of your hiring process? Use these platforms to showcase organizational values, company culture, and the daily lives of your team members. Show how you put people first and what it’s like to work for your company, and you’ll attract like-minded professionals.

Companies must highlight their investment in growth, training, and development. Show off your key differentiators and the impact you’ve had, whether that’s through sustainability, community outreach, or corporate social responsibility. Recruiting firms like Career Group Companies emphasize that it is also important to let young applicants know what they will gain from the experience, whether that’s  mentorship, experience working with an industry-leader, or a clear path forward in their career.

Create a Flexible Culture

Gen Z professionals may be workaholics, but at the same time, they value individuality and having a  social life—in other words, they’re thinking about work-life balance earlier in their careers. For these two things to coexist, restrictive working environments may make them think twice about accepting a job opportunity.

For Gen Z, it’s less about the daily hours required and more about having flexibility in their work schedule to be able to go to weekly appointments on a Thursday afternoon, for example. Having work-from-home days is a big consideration. “I work with one of the leading celebrity-founded beauty brands in the country, and the flexible culture (including flexible time off and remote work options) is one of the biggest selling points for candidates—even before they know the name of the brand”, states Christy Chinian, a Senior Account Executive at Fourth Floor who specializes in beauty and fashion recruiting.

“Human capital, in particular, is one of the pillars with the biggest power to differentiate and increase the competitiveness of any organization."
By Susan Levine, Founder + CEO, Career Group Companies

Allow for Autonomy

Gen Z professionals want to find opportunities that favor growth, while still allowing them to be somewhat independent. Offering training and feedback as well as supporting the workforce is also an incentive to increase engagement and motivation in the work environment.

Structure an environment of autonomy that allows creativity to blossom—and recognize hard work when you see it. If you give your Gen Z employee recognition, you will have a loyal partner in your organization. Young talent values being recognized, which is why so many of them are willing to commit to a single company for a long period of time. That’s a win-win for companies hoping to retain strong talent.

Align Your Brand with a Cause Employees Can Get Behind

Young talent cares about more than their paycheck; they want to do something for society, that is, they seek purpose in everything they do. Candidates want to work at companies that value and demonstrate sustainability and diversity.

"A lot of the candidates we work with are passionate about sustainability, and we love that because we are able to match them with clients who are also invested in that or who have sustainability as one of the main pillars of their ethos, which ultimately makes a huge impact in the organization.” shares Emma Jacobs, a Director of Recruitment and Client Partnerships within Fourth Floor. As candidates increasingly seek purpose, organizations with a clear mission or culture of giving back pace ahead. If you advertise your philanthropy during the hiring process, you’ll be able to attract talent with the same priorities.

Offer Managers Training and Be Wary of Bureaucratic Inefficiencies

We’ve all seen it before: two employees within the same company can have vastly different experiences if they have different managers with different managerial styles. Are you offering managers training on how you want them to manage their teams? Is there a consistent structure for feedback, encouragement, and training?

The authoritarian-leadership style is dead. Young professionals should receive guidance, but they should not feel trapped in an environment where hierarchy speaks louder. When their creativity and  individuality are not valued, they will leave—and they will be more likely to take to social media to warn their peers of their experience.

If your company has a lot of bureaucratic processes in place, or unnecessary red tape, this can stifle innovation and may be viewed as discouraging to your team. One example: If the social media approval process in your company has so many steps that content creators are always missing their trend windows or posting a week too late, this may apply to you.

Having more agile and flexible internal communication, as well as more efficient workflows, is the way younger generations prefer to work.

Partner with an External Recruiting Firm That Specializes in Your Industry

With productivity and innovation on the line, rushing through recruitment or deprioritizing human capital is not the answer. For leading brands, a strong hiring strategy allows for future planning and eliminates “the band-aid hire.” By partnering with an external recruiting firm, you are putting decades of experience and market intelligence behind the search, and you are more likely to hire a long-term fit who truly adds value.

According to Levine, “As recruiting partners, we are extremely well versed in market trends and how to find the very best talent out there while providing a high-touch luxury service. We make these perfect matches so that not only is the candidate excited about the opportunity, but the client is also excited about the candidates that are being put up for these roles.”

If you don't know what your competitors are offering in terms of compensation or benefits packages, or even culture and remote work, an external recruiting firm is often able to share insight into your industry so you can put together the most competitive offers possible.

People never go out of style. Investing in and prioritizing human capital is the best way to keep your brand fresh, relevant, and exciting.