We’ve talked a lot about employer branding this year, particularly in the context of the candidate-driven market, because of its importance in hiring top-tier talent.
The best talent has a choice in where they work, and your employer brand is a critical component of that decision. Salary and benefits can only get you so far – particularly because everyone offers similar packages, and increasing them only matters up to a certain point – but your employer brand can be the thing that really makes your company stand out.
This is extremely helpful whether you’re recruiting in-house, or through a direct hire agency, because it not only helps you attract top talent – it also helps you get more offers accepted and helps you retain talent (which should be a key focus this year).
While your employer brand will be unique to your company, WilsonHCG has identified 6 things that the best employer brands have:
- Accolades: The factor that’s rated as the most important aspect of an employer branding strategy is accolades: being recognized as a top employer by a reputable source. External validation not only gives you credibility to back up your claims, but also increases visibility into your employer brand so candidates flock to you. In many cases, the first step to winning these awards is by simply applying – so put your fate into your own hands and start applying.
- Candidate experience: Candidate experience is a close second to accolades, and actually more important in my opinion. The internet, and social media in particular, has given your candidates a voice – and their peers trust their recommendations. More than they trust you, in fact.
Picture this: you make it on the Top 100 Places to Work list and tell everyone about your amazing employer brand, but have several terrible reviews on Glassdoor. Who is the candidate supposed to believe? You’re obviously more biased and incentivized toward your company than the candidate’s peer, so they figure it’s not worth working for your company and go elsewhere. While you can drive your employer brand, you can’t steer it – your candidates and employees do. So make sure you’re all on the same page.
- Recruitment marketing: The third most critical component of an employer brand is the recruitment marketing around it. If you build it, it does not mean that they will come – you have to also promote it, and keep it consistent, throughout your recruitment materials.
So, rather than posting another boring job ad, interject some personality and make sure you talk about your employer brand. Same goes for job fairs, email campaigns, social media posts, and company culture blogs – make sure they are contributing to your employer brand.
- Social Responsibility: Oftentimes, candidates will choose one company over another because of some sort of personal connection – and social responsibility can be the thing that helps someone connect. Choose something that your whole company can get behind and be passionate about, and you will attract candidates who are passionate about that same thing.
This may include veteran recruiting, green initiatives, or diversity programs – as mentioned in the infographic – or topics that are related to your business. For instance, a clothing company that donates suits for homeless people to wear to job interviews, or a software company that gives its product to nonprofits for free. Big or small, you’re helping others – and candidates want to be a part of that.
- Career pages: Once you drive talented candidates through Top 100 lists, word of mouth and recruitment marketing, it’s critical to make sure those candidates can convert into applicants – and your career pages are usually the first place they’ll look.
So make sure they’re accessible, updated, and relevant. Going back to point #3 – they should be consistent with your employer brand, showcasing pictures that depict your company culture, testimonials from current employees, and, of course, they should point to your open jobs (or talent community).
- Job boards: Finally, job boards are rated at the sixth most important factor in your employer brand – although I probably would have left this one off and made this post a top 5 list if I wasn’t posting an infographic. While the infographic makes a good point that job boards ensure candidates are aware of you, I think many would agree that finding a great candidate through job boards can be like finding a needle in a haystack.
While you know it’s in there, you may not ever find it because you’re not being targeted enough in your search. In the meantime, you’re potentially creating a negative candidate experience for hundreds of applicants.
So I probably wouldn’t worry about this one as much, but instead focus on the previous 5 tips that will help you attract, and hire, top talent.