Your Message or Theirs? Take Control of Your Employer Brand

As we recently discussed in another Simply Hired Blog, the process of recruiting new candidates for high level, in-demand positions often have much in common with the traditional marketing industry.  Selling a job role to a qualified candidate is akin to trying to convince a consumer that your product is the best among the wide variety available on racks and shelves.

With that in mind, recruiters and hiring professionals dedicate a good deal of time to optimizing job descriptions, but often overlook the more critical aspects of attracting talent: the employer brand.  Before they even step into the interview room, candidates will often get on board or click delete, based on both the company and recruiting brand. This means employers would be well served to devote time and resources to developing both elements.

But First, Definitions

Before we delve into the why’s and how’s, it’s time to bust out the recruiting dictionary for a few definitions.  By company brand, we mean the outward facing reputation that your company develops when it comes to your core business.  If your customer service department has a reputation for being aloof or unresponsive, that could very well affect how a candidate looks at interviewing for a position.  Similarly, if your products are thought of as poor quality, candidates may think twice before considering an interview.

The recruiting brand is equally, if not more, important.  This is the reputation that your company has for treating it’s employees well.  Hiring practices, internal review and promotion procedures, benefits, compensation and more are all critical elements reviewed by potential candidates prior to accepting a new position.  According to Simply Hired research, candidates are 7 times more likely to view job posts from companies branded as “good places to work”.

How to Improve and Establish Your Brand

A company’s brand drives its success in both production and talent acquisition.  A brand reputation can be established or destroyed in real time with poor online reviews, word of mouth sharing of experiences, or in that infamous viral email.  Want to ensure your brand is telling the right message to candidates or looking for ways to potentially improve your message? Read below for four helpful tips to make it happen.

  1. Conduct a Quality Check – What is the “buzz” about your company?

First things first.  Before you begin revamping or establishing a brand in order to help attract recruits, it’s important to find out what’s currently being said about your company out in the real world.  An HR representative or your hiring manager or recruitment department should spend some time perusing the most frequent haunts of job seekers and current employees.

LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and industry-focused hiring boards are all excellent sources or information to find out what is being said about your name.  Pay careful attention to career boards that allow for anonymous posting on companies as this is often the place where your workforce will feel free to speak openly without fear of comments being attributed to a particular name.  

While you’re at it, see what customers are saying about the products or services supplied by your company.  As we previously discussed, company and recruiting brands make up a one-two punch when it comes to attracting or detracting potential candidates.  If you find a lack of information available for your company this could signal a potential opportunity for adding to your story in a thoughtful, creative manner.

Need more proof that reputation matters?  How about a few case studies to demonstrate the concept:

Brian, an accomplished professional in his late-thirties with nine years of progressive experience in his field, pursued a company on his target list. Brian said, “The application process was lengthy and cumbersome. Then, after a recruiter asked me to provide times I would be available for an interview, I had to follow up three times over a two week period before she responded to confirm an interview slot. The interview was then rescheduled twice. The recruiter was nice but the process seemed flaky.”

And how about that stat that job seekers are 7 times more likely to view jobs from companies branded as good places to work than from companies with negative brand reputations?

Terry, an educator looking to return to the workforce, told us, “I was nervous about presenting myself to an organization again after several years of staying at home. The application required me to remember past employer addresses and experiences from many years ago, and I was kicked out of the system twice. I contacted the company and was told they could not find my application. I thought they might have offered to troubleshoot the issue with me.”

In contrast, Brenda applied to her dream company and said, “I was so excited to receive a response within two days! They were organized and assertive about my application. I felt like they really wanted me and appreciated my experience!”

  1. Know Your Candidates

Just as you would know the ins and outs of your target sales or client demographic, so should you know your candidates and their individual backgrounds.  Is your ideal candidate entry level or experienced? What about education level? Are they media savvy or unlikely to have social media accounts?

In addition to demographic information, details on compensation, benefits and career progression can also change from field to field and across title levels.  Each of the above pieces of information can provide valuable insights into how to locate, approach, and pitch to top quality talent, especially important in today’s heated market.

  1. Create a Plan

Once you’ve done your research on both your brand and potential talent base, it’s time to develop a marketing strategy that helps match your company with the talent needed to fill the role.  In addition to casting a wide net, you should also use the data to help flush out the details of your application and interview phases. The recruiting process is typically the one and only chance both job-seekers and prospective employers will have to get to know each other, prior to any extension of an offer.  Take advantage of the information to help maximize the benefit and increase efficiency across all stages.

Need some help kickstarting a plan of action into motion.  Consider the following general points when it comes to marketing yourself to attract quality candidates:

  • Maintain a career site that is mobile optimized and user-friendly
  • Update your application process so that is concise and not overly intrusive
  • Provide communication and acknowledgment of receipt of applications
  • Consider implementing an automated and/or humanized feedback process following interviews
  • Ensure your compensation and salary negotiations respect talent and meet or exceed industry standards
  • Provide flexible work schedules
  • Reinforce positive company culture
  • Provide competitive benefits and career development opportunities
  1. Broadcast Your Brand

Our last tip for taking control of your employer brand takes a page straight out of some of the best marketing campaigns ever designed.  If you’ve already established a solid and renowned reputation for being a five-star employer, be sure to advertise that fact. If your company has received awards for best of in categories, those accolades should be prominently displayed on your main website or on your primary recruitment page.  In addition, consider including a brief resume of your own on all external job postings to ensure candidates know the benefits of interviewing with and working for a company such as yours.

Need more inspiration?  UPS showcases a company blog as well as an employee blog. Similarly, The Container Store has an employee blog entitled “What We Stand For.” If you have a great reputation with current and former employees, let them speak for themselves and be the best brand ambassadors there are.

Closing Tips

A few brief parting points of guidance to help ensure excellence in your employer brand.  Remember that even if you choose not to go with a specific candidate, they are still potential future candidates, customers or partners.  Keep the lines of communication open and professional to maximize future possibilities. In addition, having a quality employment process will help build your employer brand and keep future employees excited to join.

Want even more advice when it comes to navigating the recruiting waters?  Stay tuned for future blogs in our series on best practices that will help you hire, train, and retain your next star employee.

Article Updated from the Original on August 29, 2018