The world of work is changing.  More and more, it’s a candidate-driven market, with the average millennial changing jobs up to four times in the ten years after they graduate.

These graduates are your talent pool and are scrutinising their application choices in as much the same way as they are making any other purchasing decision. No longer are they reading 2-Dimensional Amazon reviews to compile their shortlists. Instead, they are turning to review sites such as Glassdoor, using your website and using their social media to inform their choices. In short, they are “speccing you out”.

Savvy companies will know that brand identity has never been more important and will acknowledge that as a concept, it’s so much more than just a recognisable logo or a slick website.  It goes a lot deeper than that.

Effective and competitive branding should convey the identity of the organisation, the working culture, and why it would be a valid choice for a potential employee.  Indeed, it will forge an identity and create a ‘tribe’ mentality – a team united in a common mission.

With this in mind, it is undeniable that recruiting companies must create a brand identity which is appealing.  Job seekers must like what they see.

So if you are hiring, what should your strategy be, and why exactly is it so important in your recruitment process?  

Employer Branding: What is it?

William Tincup, President at Recruitment Daily refers to employer branding as a company’s “unique scent”. A strong brand should incorporate a triad of pillars.  It is a harmony of values, culture and experience that come together to forge one holistic candidate experience; one that is crucial in winning the war for the best talent.

Maybe this is why 59% of companies say that employer branding represents one of the key components of their hiring strategy, while 83% of talent acquisition leaders say that employer branding significantly impacts their ability to hire great candidates. By 2020, it’s likely to be a key part of most recruiting teams’ long-term strategy.

Employer branding: How can you make this work for your recruitment process?

Every company has a brand whether they like it or not.  Companies can never completely control their employer brand but the savvy ones will want to shape it, and there are a few critical areas of focus.

The Website

Your company website is the primary touch point for interested candidates.  Companies should ensure that the site is easy to navigate and informs potential candidates about the company itself, its mission and the people within it.  It seems obvious, but it is imperative that the site is fully optimised for mobile. A whopping 94% of smartphone job seekers browse or research companies on their mobile… be ready for them.  

Everything that a candidate sees reflects on the brand. A great website will:

  • Highlight your Employer Value Proposition: Although this sounds like jargon, essentially, your EVP forms the unique properties, values and rewards that you are able to extend to your employees.   Put simply it should answer the following question…why would people want to join your organisation? Your EVP should be highlighted at every stage of the hiring process, but it ought to be particularly clear on the website.
  • Provide credibility: Candidates respond best to the words of your employees. Employee stories, testimonials, and videos will give candidates a look at what your organisation is really like.  All of these strategies are great ways to make a human connection with potential employees through your website.

The Application Experience

The best candidates have plenty of opportunities in today’s job market, and as such, the application process must be easy, streamlined and indicate that you value their application.  

If you are aware of how crucial your website is in the positive representation of your brand, it is more than likely that a lot of time and money has been spent cultivating it. 60% of job applicants abandon an online application if they are too lengthy or complex – which is staggering considering the time and money spent in getting the top talent to fill out your form in the first place! Such high drop off rates not only lead to the loss of top talent, but it also incurs brand damage from candidates frustrated with the process, not to mention the higher costs associated with abandonment in cost-per-click recruiting models.

One way of avoiding this pitfall is to become your own A/B Tester! Walk a mile in your candidate’s shoes.  Apply from all the platforms open to you…your mobile, desktop and tablet. How is the process? How does it make you feel about your employer brand?

Creating a seamless and positive candidate experience adds unlimited value to your brand – and not only in recruitment terms. There are also bottom-line implications of unprofessional recruitment practices. 25% of UK job seekers have stopped or slowed their purchasing behaviours from a brand where they have had a poor recruitment experience.  In short, your employer brand should align with your corporate one.

Social Media

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that social media in all its forms has become THE most widely used channel for companies looking to build their employer brand and attract applications.  A closer look at the data tells us that 25% of all job seekers use social media as their primary tool for job searching. Furthermore, 73% of applicants aged 18-34 found their last job through social media.  Looking through the talent lens, 50% of recruiters rate candidates found through social media to be the “highest quality”.

So then, a social recruiting strategy clearly drives results.  To effectively integrate it into an employer brand, companies should get social themselves.  Social media gives candidates a channel to interact directly with your brand and employees. Platforms such as Instagram are great…it provides a window into your culture, organisation, and those within it.  

Whatever your preferred channel, it is crucial that your socials are actively maintained, and that your marketing team is fully aligned with your recruitment goals.   Joining relevant conversations, responding to reviews and messages, and giving candidates an attractive vantage point of the work environment, culture and opportunities available to them are all fundamentals if your social media is to work for you.

Content

Content in all its forms is the way in which an organisation can educate and build a relationship with consumers.  As we mentioned earlier, candidates of calibre are approaching their job application choices in the same way they are considering other buying decisions.  Know it or not, but your choice of content is key in the recruitment process. Well written, informative content allows your candidates to learn about your company, its ethos and the space you work in.  It provides your backstory, and as such answers, their question of “would this place be a good fit for me?”.

Today’s content goes beyond the written word.  There are plenty of diverse and interesting tactics that companies can use to help promote their employer brand.  Providing an appealing vision which inspires might best be achieved visually; photography, imagery or video for example.

Your company Tone of Voice (ToV) must align across all your channels.  The easiest way to define ToV is to think about it as the personality of your brand.  If your company was a person, what would they sound like?  Would they be authoritative? Friendly? Colloquial or informal?  This will vary depending upon your product. For example, if you are a legal firm you will need to sound very different to if you are a digital marketing agency.  Whatever ToV you decide upon this must remain consistent across all your branding.

By giving your brand or company a proper ‘voice’, you will extend an impression of authenticity, trustworthiness and honesty. On the flip side, inconsistent tone of voice gives a dissonant, self-contradictory impression; one that applicants will pick up on, even if only on an unconscious level.  You will lose out on applications to other companies where candidates feel more comfortable, and feel they would better “fit”.

Recruitment is costly. Don’t waste time and money by attracting, interviewing and employing the wrong candidate.  Current figures suggest that employers wouldn’t re-employ 39% of their most recent hires. Eliminate this scenario by using your content to increase the relevancy of your applicants.  Make sure you use your ToV to help add to your brand. Use it to inform. Ensure applicants understand your company, the role and what you are looking for before you have to spend time filtering them through your hiring process.

Employee Advocacy

Review sites such as Glassdoor have provided us with an age of unprecedented transparency.  There is nowhere to hide, and as such are a mixed blessing. Poor employee experience and bad candidate management are out there for the world to see.  With this in mind, your current employees are your secret weapon. Your brand is in a position to sink or swim based on the genuine stories and perspectives of your employees and alumni.

This employee generated content is trusted far beyond your corporate messaging.  Most candidates will check your Glassdoor page during their job search. In fact, Glassdoor reports that 70% of candidates look at reviews before they make career decisions.  So, much like your social media, your page should be actively managed.  Make sure you respond to to comments from candidates and employees on Glassdoor.  Actively engaging with candidates that have taken the time to write a review (positive or negative) shows everyone that you care and that you are willing to address the areas where you may have fallen short.  

It’s a small world.  The chances are that whatever industry you operate in, someone will know someone (who will know someone) that has worked with you, for you, or has applied for a job with you.  84% of people trust peer to peer recommendations over any other form of advertising.  With this in mind, it’s crucial that your brand allows everyone who can amplify your employer brand to be “on-board”.  One great way to do this is to afford your employees some freedom on social media.  Providing them with this platform to build their own brand in line with yours, they can share elements of their working lives with others.   After all, they are in the best position to advertise what you offer effectively and without costing you a penny! 

Embrace Technology

The digital age requires organisations to embrace tech, and your talent pool will expect you to have a handle on it.  Millennials and fresh grads will be hesitant to apply to a brand with outdated systems and an ‘analogue’ approach to the recruitment process.

Tech can lend a huge boost to your employer brand and recruitment process.  It provides A1 communication channels and refines the application process. Used effectively, technology can streamline candidate engagement and their job search.  It can manage applications, assessment and selection processes, as well as interview scheduling and feedback. Thanks to technology, all recruitment teams can provide an exceptional candidate experience that reinforces employer brand.

How We Can Help You Polish Your Employer Branding

At Ignite Digital Talent, we go above and beyond to help our clients showcase their unique proposition as an employer. It is critical for us to get a thorough understanding of who you are as an organisation, what values you represent and what matters to you the most when building a team. The reason for it is simple – a good showcase of your employer branding will attract a more refined pool of talent, decrease the time to hire and, most of all, it will ensure higher retention and satisfaction of your employees. It is our mission to always be adding value to our clients. Whether they need a talent acquisition partner to assist them on large hiring projects, help in filling a one-off role, or guidance in how to improve their employer branding, our methodology is continuously progressive and client-centric. If you would like to find out more about how we can help you, contact us today. 

Conclusion

Your company IS your brand, which in turn is both your proposition and your product.  Successful employer branding will help you sell your ‘product’. It will carve you out as a desirable and aspirational employer;  a place where your team can be proud to work and can develop. Used well, your employer brand will help you to build your reputation and professional veneer.  

A well designed, well-kept website and maintained social media profiles are essential in attracting your next stellar hire.  They both promote your business and provide a glimpse into the organisation you run. Well written, informative and relevant content can educate and set you apart as a leader, one that truly “knows” their industry.

They give you an opportunity to scream about your value proposition and give you a chance to promote all you do well and address the areas where you may have received criticism.   

Keep those candidates who visit your site interested!  Chances are you have invested heavily in your website and your online application process.  Make sure you offer a streamlined, efficient and simple journey, one that is easily navigable on a small screen to get a valid return on your investment.

Once in process, candidates should be treated with respect and professional courtesy.  Treat each candidate equally whichever stage of the process they may be in. ‘Nos’ are just as crucial to your public facing brand image as the gold applicants.  After all, a disgruntled rejected candidate is a lot more likely to let rip on Glassdoor than the one signing their shiny new contract.

However, nothing really shouts louder than those you already employ! Your current team and alumni are your greatest asset.  We have mentioned the review site Glassdoor already. Platforms like this facilitate a “straight from the horse’s mouth” megaphone for all those who have passed through your doors and sat at your desks.  Employee generated content is trusted far above and beyond the corporate message that could be generated by a savvy marketeer. Stepping into the shoes of your employees will help to ensure you operate an organisation that fosters goodwill; one that offers a supportive, ambitious environment where your team can grow and flourish.  

Show them a little love, and they will want to shout that from the rooftops!

Infographic The Importance of Employer Branding Ignite Digital Talent Blog

About the author: As Client Relationship Director, I am responsible for helping grow the new and existing client base of Ignite Digital. I work as a “trusted connection” with my clients and candidates aiming to deliver the best service I can to connect talent to opportunity.

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