When it comes to attracting – and retaining – the top talent within an industry, your employer brand is hugely important. But while we have all heard the term ‘employer brand’ and we all know we should be spending more time on it, how many of us actually know what to do and how many of us realise that in neglecting it, we could be letting our recruitment process down?
In a nutshell, your employer brand refers to how your organisation is perceived within the recruitment market. It is defined as a series of values, USPs and visual elements that position an entity within the viewer’s mind, whether favourably, or unfavourably. Some of the most popular consumer brands in the world also have excellent employer brands, which means that talented candidates are queuing up to work for them. Brands that prove popular with job seekers are not always the biggest, but they are clever at positioning themselves well and blending their offer to appeal to their target group. For example, some companies have a reputation for providing excellent career prospects and others offer higher-than-average salaries. Some have ‘glamour’ or a certain beneficial cachet, while others are known for their innovative, supportive and creative working environments and overall approach to employee engagement.
Positioning your company
The success of your employer brand is generally be measured by the quality and quantity of experienced and qualified candidates applying for roles at your company. If you are finding it difficult to attract high-calibre candidates, then it is certainly worth investing in your branding endeavours. Not only will this improve the quality of your candidate flow, but it will also boost your PR and marketing too by positioning your organisation as a great place to work. Developing your employer brand works in largely the same way as developing your market presence. If you are fortunate enough to have an in-house marketing team, this can be a great asset in the process, or alternatively, you could use an external brand consultant to drive your leadership team through the process and engage the right stakeholders throughout the process. Whichever option you choose, you will need to bear in mind a specific set of factors.
1. Identify your strengths and focus on them
In essence, you are selling your brand to candidates. Improving reputation can sometimes be easier for bigger employers, but even if you are a small business, you can compete to attract the best candidates through clear messaging, a tightly defined offer and great communication. Remember that candidates are generally attracted to either a company or the role itself – so if your company brand will struggle to be recognised in the market, concentrate on offering excellent roles, career progression, working environment and packages. Once you have identified your strength, play to it!
2. Know your candidates!
You want your brand to appeal to a range of target audiences, considering factors such as varying ambitions, backgrounds, cultures and values. Do bear in mind that the messaging used to appeal to a high-flying graduate will be different to that used to attract a mid-career experienced worker in a specialist field. Take care to use the correct language and tailor your offer accordingly. Think about who you are trying to attract into your company and consider what would be important to them when making a decision about where to work. Essentially, you will be anticipating your ideal candidate’s wants, needs and desires in exactly the same way as your marketing activity does for customers – you then position your offer accordingly.
3. Remember you are being judged
First impressions count; whether they are potential candidates or existing clients, you must always be prepared to make a great one. So stay on top of your game and really invest in your recruitment process. Work with your HR department and recruitment partner to firm up processes, communication touch points and branded materials. Invest in digital technologies for job seekers, such as ‘work for us’ and career sections of your website and include testimonials from existing staff. The recruitment stage really is vital and it is well worth working with an experienced recruitment partner to ensure that you are working to best practices. Each stage of the recruitment process will build a powerful judgement in the candidate’s mind, for good or bad reasons. Consider how you will advertise your roles and with which channels and how you respond to applicants. Finding the best place to advertise your vacancies can be both expensive and time consuming so it is worth considering a Talent Attraction Platform such as JobsTheWord, which utilises technology to discover talent and spot key trends in your specific industry.
4. Plan, plan, plan
Once you have sourced the candidates, you must then consider how you will interview – how many people, where and in how many stages, and how you will deal with testing and assessment. If you ensure there are defined processes for communication in place during this phase, the process will be far smoother. You should take a planned approach when it comes to dealing with both successful and unsuccessful candidates.
Remember that good branding is even more essential in challenging economic times to give you that all-important edge in the competitive recruitment market and bring the best talent into your business. So focus on your employer brand, deliver a co-ordinated strategy and witness the benefits.