How Strong Employer Branding Makes Recruiting Easier

February 24, 2017 at 12:00 PM by Jacob Shriar

welcomecultureetc.pngWhen someone pictures what it’s like to work at your company, what do they see? Is it a positive image? Are there elements that are off-putting? Do they even think about you at all?

Once you ask yourself these questions, you’re on your way to figuring out your employer brand.

Employer brand is one of the most important, yet often slippery and intangible, ways a candidate will evaluate your organization. A strong employer brand makes your life as a recruiter much easier. Here’s why:

  • You’ll get more applications per post
  • You’ll have more engaged candidates
  • You’ll have higher quality candidates applying
  • You’ll have higher candidate close rates
  • You’ll have more engaged employees

The biggest mistake companies make when it comes to their employer brand is that they're not authentic enough. They try to fake it with marketing gimmicks, but people are smarter than that.

You can’t fake an employer brand, and it takes a ton of work from everyone at your company (especially senior leaders) to sustain a good one. But it’s worth it.

Important Note: You have to create an amazing culture and solve any organizational problems before you embark on marketing your employer brand. It will be a nightmare if you try to fake it or don’t address the root issues of your culture beforehand.

Let’s look at a few simple ideas of how you can build up your employer brand and start attracting and retaining the best candidates.

Tuning Up Your Employer Brand

Improving your employer brand is actually quite simple. It just takes conscious effort, dedication, and commitment from your team.

Here are a few simple tips you can use to improve yours.

1. Assess Your Culture

The first, and arguably most important tip is to assess your culture to find areas that need improvement. Candidates have access to far more information than ever before, meaning they will uncover any cultural ills before you have a chance to address them. As a result, covering your bases is crucial. The key to a successful employer brand is to improve your culture from the inside out. Surveys are a great way to help with this. Frequent employee surveys give you an accurate and realistic picture of what’s going on behind the scenes

This is important because employers with a strong talent brand drive 2x the amount of applicants per job compared to other companies, and they see a 43% decrease in cost per hire. On top of that, nearly half of organizations report they’ll increase spending on employer branding to make it easier for ideal candidates to find their roles. 

2. Share Your Purpose

Employees need to clearly understand and get behind an organization's purpose.

When Gallup asked more than 3,000 randomly selected workers if they agreed with the statement “I know what my company stands for and what makes our brand different from our competitors”, only 41% of employees strongly agreed with this statement.

This means that companies need to be doing a better job at communicating what’s unique about their brand. Even if your company doesn’t have an outward mission statement or values, employees should be clear on the org’s bigger picture, how it respects its people, and how their work impacts the world around them.

3. Empower Your Employees

This is important for both your employer brand and for overall employee engagement. Employees need to be empowered, and I mean seriously empowered. Show them the respect they deserve. If you create a culture where employees are allowed to be themselves and make their own decisions, you’ll have a much more engaged workforce.

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, trust in CEOs has been declining over the years, but trust in company employees has been growing. If you don’t take advantage of your employees as brand ambassadors, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. It’s like having a team of free marketers at your disposal; you have to use them.

At Officevibe, our biggest and best source of candidates is referrals, so we rely heavily on our employees acting like brand ambassadors.

Ways To Market Your Employer Brand

Once you’ve taken steps to improve your culture and address any concerns from employees, you can start marketing your employer brand to the outside world.

Here are a few things we’ve done at Officevibe that have worked really well for us.

1. Create A Newsletter

Creating a newsletter is a simple and effective way to stay top of mind with your candidate pipeline.

Once a month, we send out a newsletter to candidates that have given us their email with company news, job openings, and other fun tips to showcase our brand.

We also encourage candidates we like but can’t hire because there isn’t an opening to join the newsletter so that we can stay engaged with them.  

2. Be Active On Social Media

Candidates love transparency, and one of the best ways to give them that transparency is by showing them what life is like at your company through social media.

I’d also recommend empowering your employees to use social media to help you organically spread that message. Encourage employees to share your open roles, pictures of office life, and if they’re up for it, to join you in-person at recruiting events to meet and speak with potential candidates. You can even incentivize them with rewards for taking the time to engage with their online audience about the company.

Your employees are on social media anyway, so as a company you have two choices. You can either discourage them from being on social media (at which point they’ll probably sneak it on their smartphones) or you can encourage them to make your brand more human.

You can have some training on what they can/can’t say, the voice/tone you’re going for, but for the most part, let them be free. If you’ve genuinely listened to them and have a culture that’s worth talking about, let them be honest.

3. Host Events At Your Office

This is something that has worked very well for us with those candidates on the fence about joining our team.

We’ll invite candidates and encourage employees to invite someone they think would be a good fit for organization to our office for pizza and drinks.

If happy hours aren’t your bag, consider other events such as coffee meetups or team lunches. Here, employees can bring in their connections to interface with your company in a low stakes and casual way. The interview process can be high strung, so it’s important to show candidates that you’re not always in evaluation mode.

4. Sponsor Relevant Events

A great way to get yourself embedded into the community and show your values is to sponsor relevant events like meetups and hackathons.

You can use websites like Eventbrite and Meetup or even check out Facebook to find cool events in your area that you could potentially sponsor. Pairing with local industry events shows to candidates that while your interest is not just in your own business goals, but in enabling the community.

5. Be Active On College Campuses

Something else that has worked very well for us is being active at the local colleges we know produce talented developers. While career fairs are the obvious win, connect with the University’s Career Development Department to uncover additional opportunities such as in-class presentations or other event sponsorships.

How Do You Leverage Your Employer Brand? Let us know in the comments below!

Related Articles: 
What The Best Employer Brands Get Right
Why You Should Be Hiring For Culture Add, Not Culture Fit 
Lever's Recruiting Director on Hiring for Culture Fit Versus Hiring for Likeability 

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