AMA: How to Attract Top Talent with Your Employer Branding

June 27, 2014 at 6:00 AM by Kathleen de Lara

employer brandingAMA: As a small business in the competitive IT/big data space, our biggest challenge is recruiting top talent who have never heard of us.

Our culture is progressive and offers the ability to do work that matters, and candidates have the opportunity to grow their skill sets. We can compete with the big guys, but only if we can get someone to take our call. How can I better engage candidates?

Your company may have much to offer when it comes to career development, but if your team doesn’t have an employer branding strategy, how can candidates be aware of your open opportunities, let alone know about your company?

Managing your employer brand means taking charge of the company’s reputation as, of course, an employer. This means giving insight to the employment experience by using your current team to attract prospective employees. 

Having a solid employer brand is essential to your engagement and outreach strategy and building out the the top of the talent funnel.

It could be:
  • A page on your website highlighting company culture with videos and photos
  • A Facebook status update featuring a picture of employees who recently completed a walk for breast cancer
  • A blog post sharing takeaways from the company’s latest networking event
Related: 6 Awesome Company Culture Videos, 3 Companies Getting Employer Brand Right3 Must-See Examples of Great Careers Pages

There’s a common mix-up between company and employer brand. Anyone could learn about what you sell, but not everyone knows what you do. Behind the scenes is the employee story – remember you’re selling the experience, not the position. 

candidate outreachA good place to start is your social media strategy.

Get into the shoes of a job seeker for a moment and track your behavior for what you’d do if you were contacted by a recruiter from a company you’ve never heard of. 

Here’s a pretty typical sequence: First, candidates will run a search for your company’s name to locate its website. Next, they’ll skim through the company homepage and About page to learn more about the product, service, or good. 

From there, it’s likely they’ll take one of two (or both) options: 

  1. Scroll around your home page in search of some familiar, good ole social media icons, hoping to click through to your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn page to learn more about how you engage with your online following, be it customers, fellow professionals in the industry, or folks who are interested in your product or, 
  2. Click through to your Careers page to get a better understanding of the people working to create said product, service, or good.

How telling are your social and Careers pages? Do they share the story of your company’s employees?

It’s called social networking, not social broadcasting.

Keep in mind your company’s online profile shouldn’t be used as a place to report “Newsflash: We have open positions to fill!” It’s tacky, comes off as desperate, and communicates to candidates that your message isn’t honed — you’re just casting a wide net in the hopes someone will latch on. Candidates need to be nurtured. 

Start with the attraction and engagement to build awareness. Is the content you’re sharing self-serving or does it help your users in some sense? 

Create and share good content on a consistent basis, 

and people will be more likely to gravitate to your brand, share your content with others, 

and over time, you’ll build better recognition of the company and its employer brand. 

What’s going behind closed doors? 

Try incorporating videos and pictures on your careers pages to highlight what it’s like to work a day in the life of an employee at your company.

And we’re not talking stock photos. I mean look at this. 

company culture
candidate outreach

When was the last time such a jolly group of employees got together to get some air and flash their pearly whites? 

With that said, how sure are you that those stock photos actually convey what goes on behind closed doors?

Keep your content (videos and pictures included) as true-to-life as possible. That way, when you do get candidates in the door, they’re not surprised by what they don’t see.

Some companies who are giving outsiders an intriguing, entertaining peek into their company culture include Atlassian, Airbnb, and Lyft. Be sure to check out their company videos. Not only do they help put a face to the name, they put a face to the person who could be your future coworker, manager, or CEO.   

candidate outreachDoes your team know the elevator pitch? 

Keep your company and employer brand in line. If there’s a disconnect between how your company frames itself and what your employees experience, the team risks engaging prospective hires and retaining its current workforce. Your team members are the company’s best brand ambassadors. They’re genuine living, breathing examples who can speak on behalf of your org! This helps you build your network, including your own employee referral program.

For some teams, keeping the company and employer brand in order means fostering good culture and communication from the ground up. Without an airtight, internal branding, your employees could be conveying a disparate message from what you’d like the outside world to believe. It’s good to be positive, but keep your image realistic and relatable. (Remember our bit above on using stock photos?)

Create quality content. Create shareable content.

This can come in the form of a blog, photos, videos, webinars, reports, or presentations, which in turn can be posted and shared on your company’s social profiles as a Facebook status, Twitter or LinkedIn update. 

Think about your favorite companies or blogs you follow. Why do you follow them? What makes them great? A company blog gives companies a channel for communicating more than a hard product sell. It’s the place to establish thought leadership, to share what’s going on with the team, and it humanizes your brand and can generate leads. For example, at the Entelo Blog, we update our site daily to share recruiting tips and HR updates with our audience. (That’s you!)

Create quality content, but don’t stop there. Promote it through social media. Give something, share something so that candidates can learn what you’re about and share that content with their network, too. 

candidate outreach

Speak human, human.

One of the best ways to make a connection between the candidate and your brand is to think of it like a conversation. Does your site or profile use words or phrases you wouldn’t normally say in person? One way to find out is by sharing your content with a friend or colleague who doesn’t work in the same industry and find out if they understand what you’re trying to say.  Does it sound like corporate jargon and blanket terms, or is the wording more approachable, fluid, and casual?

For example, instead of presenting the company as one in the ‘competitive IT/big data space’, take it a bit further and briefly touch upon the types of problems your team helps to solve. Get candidates excited about providing solutions and addressing customer’s challenges. But remember, your main focus should be enhancing your employer brand, not the product. Keep it short and sweet. 

Hope this provides some helpful starting points for enhancing your candidate engagement! Don’t forget to share your biggest recruiting and hiring challenges, and come back to the Entelo Blog next Friday for more AMA: Recruiter Edition. New Call-to-action