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Mastering your employer brand to fuel talent acquisition

Sheridan GaengerJuly 5, 2016AwarenessConnectionEmployer BrandingQualificationRetention

When potential employees consider the kind of employer you'd be, they're referencing your employer brand. Over the past couple of years we have seen a radical shift in how employer brand impacts hiring, fuels omnichannel recruitment marketing and ignites your overall talent acquisition strategy.

What is your employer brand and how does it relate to your overall omni-channel recruitment strategy?

Defining employer brand

Your employer brand tells the world, including your active and passive candidates, what it's like to work for your company. From the day-to-day operations, to team activities, to community, everything that encompasses your business is correlated to your employer brand. And in today's shifting market, to get your "leg up" on the war for talent, your employer brand is crucial to the success of your talent acquisition strategy.

Your employer brand is where the talent attraction or sourcing process within the candidate journey begins. Consumer marketing best practices have taught us something powerful when it comes to branding strategy -- if a passive or active prospect is not impressed or 'wowed' by the items a store is advertising, promoting and selling, they won't give your brand a chance. Now we can relate that analogy to Talent Acquisition.

We know the landscape is competitive, unsettled and evolving quickly. We are moving from a process, a set of tools and a candidate model that said, ‘please just engage with our job application' to a revolutionary approach - the omnichannel approach - where organizations have the ability to cross-market across a variety of channels to activate the sourcing process. The new arena in which we are playing is one where a modern, active candidate wants to engage with your company, get to know it and see first hand what employment looks like - and it all starts with your employer brand.

Corporate brand vs. employer brand

Your corporate brand and your employer brand are connected but distinct. When a potential buyer interacts with your marketing site website or a candidate engages with you on social media - you as a brand are telling them a story. These omnichannel supported avenues become channels to educate and influence your target audience. But where the lines become more defined are In terms of recruiting and the objectives shifts from: "what the market thinks of my brand" to "what candidates think of my brand."

Are they both important?

Absolutely. Some candidates will be attracted to your company on the basis of your corporate brand, just as some consumers will be attracted to your products on the basis of your employer brand. Generally speaking, however, your ability to source and engage candidates and secure top talent is dependent on the strength of your employer brand alone.

When thinking about the correlation between your employer brand and your talent acquisition strategy, the common denominator truly becomes: Influence and activity.

Creating a memorable and transparent employer brand keeps candidates, passive and active, informed and excited about what your company stands for and what your company delivers to its' employees and community. Sharing targeted, applicable and welcomed content allows these candidates to organically learn about your brand as a stand-out entity and start the process of understanding what your brand has to offer when it comes to employment opportunities.

Four ways to influence the candidate experience

Here are 4 ways to keep your employer brand on top of mind to naturally influence candidate impression:

1. Visibility

Is your employer brand visible? Job seekers have to know your brand to appreciate it. Think about the companies everyone has heard of, such as Google, Facebook, Zappos, Amazon, and Target. How did they become so well known?

What makes these companies unique is their desire and mission to stand out and get noticed across the board - from candidates to consumers and everyone in between. Leadership made a deliberate decision to get the company "out there," and they harnessed every tool available to make it happen. These decisions didn't happen by accident. There were multiple initiatives to get these brands seen. Through optimized career websites, social media marketing, content marketing, smart media, employee spotlights and advocacy, events, as well as traditional mediums such as press, logos and events, showcasing your brand at every moment possible, creates new opportunities for candidates to see you in all your glory.

In "How to Move Your Brand from Invisible to Visible," Jeff Bullas suggests "radical openness" as one way to gain brand visibility. Bullas is talking about personal branding, but his suggestion strikes a cord. Think of social media tool developer Buffer, which employs about 60 people. Buffer made global headlines when it announced that all employee salaries would be published on the web. Talk about radical openness. That move garnered Buffer tons of visibility and made a powerful statement about the type of employer it was and aspired to be. Getting noticed can take time, but applying and embracing the omni-channel approach to your larger strategy makes this concept a near reality rather than something that could or could not happen over time.

2. Online Presence

Online Presence includes social media - but is also so much more - it's about everything else outside of community. Your online presence is a combination of all the places your brand exists. Your career website is a great place to start, but you'll need to scale beyond your career website for maximum impact.

It's about thinking outside the box and taking that extra step. Company videos, employee testimonials, contributed content authored by company experts and thought-leaders, and interviews of key company personnel captured in the press are all ways companies get the word out about their employee value proposition (EVP). Something as simple as a casual interview with your company's CEO to discuss your mission is a great way to grow your online presence and grow a positive brand reputation in the eyes of your candidates.

3. Social Influence

As a brand, if you are looking to influence and educate your candidate community, your social footprint is a crucial piece of this puzzle. Take a look at these stats:

Using social media to both craft and communicate your employer brand is key. If building a social presence isn't on your list of priorities, it needs to be. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest can all be leveraged to tell your brand's story and showcase what your brand has to offer employees. Social media can also act as a positive outlet for current employees to give a voice to your brand, showcasing that human touch for your brand.

Social influence isn't limited to social media. Your company's presence and participation at industry, philanthropic community events are also a good way to highlight your brand to both active and passive prospects. In fact, it's the best way to put real faces, real stories in front of the candidates that are interested in getting to know your brand on a different, more personal level. Social gatherings foster natural conversations and storytelling. Getting out into your community is a great way to increase your social presence and brand recognition.

4. Branded Assets

Branded assets, such as career pages, landing pages and customized emails, reinforce your EVP while keeping your company in the line of sight to potential employees.

Your employer brand is communicated through every aspect of your business, from your applicant tracking system, career sites, smart media, content creation, email campaigns, and through to your talent community. The manner in which your hiring managers and recruiters interact with prospective employees all relates back to how your candidates can and will receive your employer brand. It's all of these motions that give your brand a voice and make it shine and stand out.


And as the war for talent continues, companies that strategically create and communicate their employer brand will be in a much better position to attract top performers than companies that don't. An organized and streamlined employer brand will provide monumental advantages to your brand as you invest or even begin to think about implementing a talent acquisition strategy. From decreasing cost-per-hires, to bettering your application processes, improving candidate experience, to fostering a community of engaged candidates, everything ties back to your employer brand and your brand perception.

In this shifting market, it's imperative to stand out and it all starts with your employer brand.

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