The Power of Branding
“Let’s start off by stating the obvious here: finding and recruiting top talent is difficult. You and your organization need to stand out in today’s candidate-driven marketplace. In order to do that, organizations no longer have the option to ignore employment branding as it has become a necessity for driving talent acquisition.
An employment brand is the way your organization’s prospective applicants, candidates, and employees perceive you as an employer. Want to know the best example of employment branding? Google. They are so good at employment branding, that it’s actually easier to get into Harvard than it is to get a job at Google!
However, not all of us are fortunate enough to be the Google’s or the Facebook’s of the world; where candidates are doing everything they can to just get their foot in the door. So the question then becomes: how do you get your company in the minds of the right candidates before you even have the opportunity to find them?
Not all of us are at the point where thousands of applicants are applying to every position, but with a few focused tips and easy to implement strategies, we can all do our part to build and grow our company’s employment brand.
- Concentrate on Internal Branding and Retention: One of the biggest selling tools for any company is the talent they already have. Do your top performers know how the organization feels about them? Do you recognize and nurture their career goals? You need to position the culture and vision of your company to not only potential candidates, but also to your own employees. You would be surprised at how your company’s strategic goals and visions are easily lost and misunderstood by your own employees. If it’s not effectively trickled down throughout the organization, then why even have them at all?
Internal communication and branding is just as important as external messaging. Your employees are your biggest advocates, and by helping them understand their value and place in the organization’s success, you have set up one of your best recruiting tools.
- Ensure That All Employees Can Pitch the Company: Pitching isn’t just good for your company’s softball team, it is important that all employees can effectively communicate the company elevator pitch. Every employee, no matter how high or low on the totem pole, are all sales people for the organization, and therefore, should be singing off of the same sheet of music. How many times are we with friends at a happy hour or a networking event, or even at a family or neighborhood BBQ and someone asks us, “What do you do?” or “What does your company do?”. Can all of your co-workers articulate that in a concise meaningful way? If not, lean on marketing and leaders to give employees the tools they need to have a consistent voice.
- Marketing is Your New Recruiting Partner: Marketing departments have powerful tools to keep the company top of mind in the industry. They are masters of digital campaigns and targeting certain sectors, geographical locations or interest groups. Their sole purpose is to build out your company’s brand presence, so why not work with them to ensure you are getting the message out there in the right way? Leverage marketing to ensure you are using tools like social media recruiting and marketing to grow your presence. They may even provide you and your team with content that you didn’t even know you already had.
- Personalize Every Communication: Make sure you put a human voice to every communication, starting with the job posting. Candidates want to know how they can make an impact in their role. At times, we are better at explaining the skills needed than actually focusing on selling the job. Make it applicable to each and every candidate. Engage them in a meaningful way that proves you aren’t a hiring robot. This is especially true about Millennials. They want a job that fits their passions and values. They are more interested in what the work is versus what the “job” is. It is important to learn about your ideal candidates and market to them on a personal level. Consider that the quality of your interactions with potential candidates is more important that than the quantity. You only have one chance to make that first impression, so make it count!
- Data Matters: Many talent acquisition teams are managing high volumes of open job requisitions, and may be viewed by hiring managers as paper-pushing administrators. Break through that mold and find ways to be more impactful in your day-to-day. Review your current applicant tracking databases to find out who your top talent is and identify the skills, traits, education, and experiences they bring to the table. By using this data, you can begin to establish a profile of your ideal hire. Use that profile to strategically target candidates, companies, educational institutions and groups with large focuses of those “ideal hires”. Being more strategic with this data will catch those ideal passive candidates that aren’t in plain sight.
- The Candidates are in the Driver’s Seat: Keep in mind, it’s a candidate’s world, and we are just living in it. To attract top talent, you need to find out where active and passive candidates “hang out” online and in-person. Research top networking groups, users groups, and interest groups to find out where they are spending the most time and engage them. In order to appeal to what motivates them, both on a professional and personal level, you have to have a strong value proposition that speaks to those motivations. Talent acquisition must work intimately with candidates to develop an awareness of the factors that motivates them to explore his or her options — and to offer viable career answers.
Whether you are an enterprise-level organization or a small mom and pop shop, we all need employees to keep the lights on. Today’s tight labor market requires more attention to detail than ever when it comes to the areas of recruiting and retention; with it, forcing employment branding to be top of mind for talent acquisition leaders and teams.”