Here at Sevenstep, we get the opportunity to work with some very large, well-known brands on the transformation of their Talent Acquisition strategy. As their recruitment partner, we know intimately how hard these companies work at getting their employer brand to be as strong as their overall brand.
From the outside looking in, the assumption could be that recruiting for a globally recognized company with such strong brand recognition should be fairly easy — yielding bigger applicant pools, higher job posting conversions and heavy built-in interest level with the candidate to make the process move more efficiently. But, the truth is that while lesser known brands must overcome the recognition barrier, the “big guys” need to work just as hard – if not harder – to build a winning employer brand. While their popularity does help, sometimes the overall company brand can overpower its employer brand; especially when it comes to attracting highly specialized talent. Some candidates may be thinking, “I know that company. But, I have no idea what it’s like to work there as a (technology) professional.” And with certain types of candidates, there could also even be aversions to working for such a large company due to possible stigmatized perceptions (e.g. red tape, cultural politics, less role fluidity).
Bottom line… no one has it easy. One bad candidate experience gone viral can very quickly damage a positive employer brand . Managing an employer brand requires an exceptional amount of discipline and instinct no matter what size company you are.
Here are a few ways to ensure you are indeed focused on your employer brand in the right way:
- Draw Your Target: Start at the very beginning and develop hiring profiles of what type of people your company hires. This will naturally start with skills and location of course, but will very quickly move on to more qualitative factors like personality and behavior. This foundational approach is critical to establish your target audience and helps companies stay focused in aiming for this profile at all times through their curation of content and messaging.
- Be Their Research: Any and every candidate nowadays is going to research who you are prior to and during the interview process. You can either hope they stumble onto some positive brand-building content or you can do the work to increase control over what candidates see when doing homework on your company. Social media is the best way to guarantee this strong impression and will likely be the first place they will go — that company’s Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn or Glassdoor pages.
- Focus on Them, Not You: This is an important shift in mentality coupled with a relatively simple pronoun switch. Try to replace “we” and “our” statements with “you” statements within job descriptions and in your recruiter verbal communication. It’s great to explain how many locations or employees a company may have – but think about why this would matter to a candidate (and then articulate this). Instead of “We have one of the largest global footprints in the industry”, say “You’ll get the opportunity to work on a global scale in this role within one of the biggest global footprints in this space.” Benefit-driven interaction with candidates is a key technique to keep recruiting dialogue and practices focused on selling the experience working at the company.
- Tune In: Social media is not a “set it and forget it” task; it is an ongoing and interactive discipline designed to attract and engage target talent pools. Companies must constantly monitor, analyze and respond to comments made on their social media pages. They also need to look at the social media strategies of their competitors to take full inventory of what is and is not working. Great social media strategists not only tune in to online conversations, but they also know how to influence these conversations to get the right messaging communicated about the employer brand.
- Enlist Your Army: This starts with recruiting who are the front line, but moves past this to hiring managers who also must weave employer brand messaging into their interviews. Ultimately, the best messenger of the employer brand is the employee. Companies need to make employer brand equity a priority and work with internal leadership to train recruiters, hiring managers and the current staff to get involved in telling the story via the various channels and touchpoints with potential applicants.
In summary, having a well-established brand does not automatically make this process of building and nurturing an employer brand easier. Companies big and small must make this important investment of their time and efforts. With the right strategy and focus, employers can significantly influence this message and reap the recruiting rewards.
Read more about how Sevenstep helped a global giant in the data analytics space manage the complexities of their employer brand.