Leveraging Your Employment Brand to Boost Your Sourcing Strategy

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Jan 8, 2014

As employment branding becomes an increasingly popular discussion in talent acquisition, I’ve seen more companies embracing the concept. During the last couple of years, new career pages have been built out to include videos about company culture, employee testimonial quotes and pictures that show “life in the office.” Social media sites – even those not dedicated to “careers” – are being used specifically to depict company culture. Some companies have been extremely successful at creating a compelling employment brand to the point where loyal “fans” (or ambassadors, even) have emerged, much like in consumer branding. Although the content that’s being produced seems to be working, is it enough to engage a greater number of active and passive jobseekers?

When I asked the potential employers I’ve interviewed with during the years for more information about their company, the majority of the answers seemed to be standard. They’d tell me how long the company has been in business, a couple of the perks or benefits employees enjoy, and maybe a bit about the organization’s future plans. Although it was good information to know, there were no details that made me feel excited about the potential of working there. Even worse, I had no desire to positively share my experience with other jobseekers or refer them to job openings. There was an obvious disconnect between the employment brand and the interview process that was causing an adverse effect on what the company intended to accomplish. It wasn’t until I experienced a positive interview process that I understood the impact this has on candidates.

To make the most of your employment brand, make sure it is the centerpiece of each interview and hiring stage, starting with your sourcers and recruiters. Below are ways you can do this effectively:

Bring brand awareness internally. If you haven’t already established your employment brand, it’s past due. There are plenty of examples that provide ideas on how big name corporations have branded themselves, as well as smaller startups. Once the brand is established, it’s important that you bring awareness of it internally. Brands often focus so much on trying to get recognized among “outsiders” that they fail to get their current employees on board. Since sourcers and recruiters will be “selling” your brand to others, they need to fully understand your employment brand first. Those involved in creating the employment brand must educate all employees, especially those involved in the interviewing process, on the employment brands’ objectives. Additionally, sourcers and recruiters must understand the nuances within the defined brand too. For example, if they’re recruiting for specific job functions or locations, they must grasp the distinctions between working for the technology department and the marketing function or the San Francisco headquarters and Dallas satellite office. Be sure to update all employees regularly when there is new material they can share with the candidates.

Discover individual stories, and let it get personal. Employment branding is more than just what the company produces; it should also include employee testimonials. There are plenty of companies that are using employee testimonials as part of their brand. But how much better do you think testimonials could be if people are actually telling their personal stories to candidates? I put it to practice. When I tell potential candidates about internal opportunities with my company, I make sure to tell them my own story – including how my company found me (through Twitter) and how my individual strengths were not only noticed but developed so I could continue to grow. I explain why I respect my leadership team and why this company surpassed any employment experience I’ve had in the past. My passion for the company was palpable and I could see how it sparked the same enthusiasm for the company in these candidates. Several of these people were hired and have been engaged from day one. Additionally, they brought in some additional top-notch referrals. My genuine testimonial during the initial stages of the interview process only helped confirm the brand truly is as good as it’s made out to be.

Train on marketing techniques for job postings and social media. One of the more obvious functions of talent acquisition is the regular job postings on career sites and social media sites. And, unfortunately, this is becoming a problem. Recruiters are posting the typical job description lingo with a link to apply but it’s becoming so redundant that candidates are numb to it – they’re not paying attention anymore! Sourcers and recruiters must work with their marketing team to create “marketing” job postings that speak to the candidates. Different job functions and locations mean that candidate values vary, so it’s important to take that into consideration in the job descriptions. Utilize specific employment branding material to create an attractive and cohesive piece that will get candidates hooked before they even get to the job description. For example, if you are recruiting for a tech position, include videos from someone in that position talking about the team, projects and career path.

Have supplemental collateral ready to share. One of the issues that sourcers and recruiters face during the interview process is the drop-off rate for candidates between scheduled interviews and the offer letter. This can be especially true if there are several interviews or if there is significant time between interviews. Conversations with interviewers can blend together if candidates are caught up in multiple interviews with potential employers. It’s important for sourcers and recruiters to provide supplemental links to information about the employment brand after each conversation so candidates are kept engaged during the process. This should be the case for candidates who didn’t move forward in the interview process too. They should be moved to the talent community and considered as future hires, or they may refer someone in their network who will fulfill an immediate need.

Having an employment brand is an absolute must. Candidates are increasingly digging into employers in more depth before even accepting an interview. Update your employment brand regularly and manage your reputation. Most importantly, get your employees involved by allowing them to breathe life into your employment brand, and give it opportunity to resonate with the people that it touches. This will not only help you find the right candidate to fit your culture but it also causes these “perfect fits” to spread the word to their own networks, leading to more top-notch employees.

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