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Recruiting and marketing may be two separate fields — but in today’s digital world, the lines between the two have become increasingly blurred.

The recruiting landscape is now a candidate-driven and highly competitive environment. As a result, the strategies recruiters use for candidate sourcing now mirror the tactics marketers use to attract customers — the main overlap being branding.

If you’re new to employer branding, today’s blog post is for you. We’ll review what it is, why it’s important, and offer five methods to improve your strategy. Let’s get into it!

What is an Employer Brand?

An employer brand refers to a company’s identity and reputation as an employer. It isn’t just dependent on the quality of your company as an employer — but rather on the general perception of your company as an employer. The goal of refining your brand is to attract and retain high-quality employees.

Why is Employer Branding Important?

Today’s candidates have access to a wealth of information regarding open positions and hiring companies. The modern candidate will spend time researching jobs and employers to identify which roles and companies are most appealing. 

According to an iHire survey conducted, 39.1% of U.S. companies do not have an employer branding strategy. So a strong branding strategy is critical to attracting your ideal candidates. 

5 Steps to Improve Your Employer Brand

If you’re ready to attract top talent, it’s time to take a look at your employer brand and the ways in which you can improve it:

1. Analyze Your Company Culture.

A strong employer brand starts from within. In other words — if you want candidates to perceive your company as a great place to work, it must actually be a great place to work.

In the past, a flashy career page and a few hand-picked testimonials could make any company look like a dream employer. But in today’s hyper-connected world of social media and review sites, word-of-mouth travels fast. If your branding efforts promise an experience you don’t actually offer, candidates will find out.

The best way to gauge the strength of your company culture is to speak directly with your employees. Whether through anonymous surveys or face-to-face meetings, find out what they love most about working at your company — and what they’d like to be different:

  • Do your employees feel your benefits program is satisfactory? 
  • Do they want more open communication with leadership? 
  • Do they have a clear picture of the potential for growth? 

Listening to your employees will not only help you identify weaknesses your company can improve upon— but, you’ll also identify which strengths you must showcase as part of your employer brand.

2. Develop a Content Strategy to Promote Your Employer Brand.

Here’s one thing that modern recruiting and marketing strategies have in common — content is more important than ever. To build a strong employer brand, you must craft a comprehensive, multi-channel content strategy to engage your target candidates.

Although an ongoing content strategy is a long-term, time-consuming commitment, your efforts will ultimately pay off in the long run.

Here are some key tips to develop better recruiting content to support your employer brand:

Consult your candidate personas. To build a strong employer brand, your candidate-facing content must resonate with your ideal candidates. Here’s where candidate personas come in. Candidate personas are profiles of potential candidates that include a set of preferred characteristics like work history, skills, goals, employment preferences, and much more. They can help you personalize recruiting content for your ideal candidates. 

For example: let’s say your ideal candidate for an entry-level marketing role values collaboration in their work environment. You can use this information to create a short video of your marketing team working together or a blog post that explains the value of collaboration in the workplace.

Use storytelling. The goal of your content strategy is to engage candidates on an emotional level. Storytelling adds a personal element that differentiates your employer brand from similar companies. 

Through written and visual brand storytelling, talk about the journey of your brand and of specific employees. These stories will resonate with candidates and show your company as a collection of real human beings rather than faceless employees.

Emphasize your company values. Modern job-seekers want to work for employers who mirror their own values. For this reason, we recommend clearly defining the core values of your company and promote them throughout your content.

 3. Establish an Employee Advocacy Program.

Not all of your employees are recruiters — of course — but they’re an integral part of the employer brand building process. We recommend that you offer incentives to employees who recommend new hires, share content, and promote branded information.

Remember — employees who feel valued and appreciated will be more willing to advocate for your brand and company. Recognize and reward your employees’ efforts and they’ll become valuable brand ambassadors.

4. Leverage Social Media.

Social media has quickly become an essential marketing channel — and it’s equally as important for recruiting. So it’s critical to build your employer brand on social media if you want your ideal candidates to find you.

Most recruiters leverage platforms like Twitter and Facebook to post job listings — but that doesn’t contribute much to brand building. Instead, use social media to engage with candidates and share valuable content. Consider creating a separate profile for your recruiting efforts to distinguish your employer branding from your traditional marketing efforts.

5. Test and Measure Your Employer Brand.

Improving your employer brand is an ongoing process and may seem hard to quantify. But much like marketers test and measure the success of their campaigns, recruiters should test and measure their strategies. 

Companies often think they have a strong employer brand — but really they have no idea. Measuring it is all about tracking the right metrics which include:

Reviews and ratings – Your company ratings on review sites like Glassdoor are extremely important—as it’s the first place many candidates go to learn about the quality of your employer brand. Track your ratings over time and identify common critiques that could indicate a larger problem within your company culture.

Retention rate – Employee turnover is fluid and unpredictable—but retention rates can be a key indicator of the quality of your employer brand. 

Source-of-hire – Track source-of-hire to understand what channels your hires come from. This metric will help you identify your top channels and determine where you should focus your efforts.

Employee satisfaction – An employer brand requires a healthy culture and happy employees. So, it’s essential that you measure employee satisfaction across all teams and departments. Anonymous surveys are a great way to let employees provide honest feedback about their experience without fear of repercussions.

An Example of Great Employer Branding

Let’s take a look at how this megabrand attracts — instead of intimidating — top talent using social media:

Microsoft’s Humanization

Microsoft uses the Twitter profile @MicrosoftLife to share content about their employees and company culture. Their Tweets include brief stories and video clips about specific employees. 

This approach to social media humanizes their employer brand and provides candidates with a specific channel where they can always find new content and information.

Building an Employer Brand Brings in Top Talent

Modern job candidates have more power over the hiring process than ever before. It’s no longer enough for companies to post jobs and hope the right candidates come to them. Businesses must prove they are worthy employers — and to do so, they must make their employer brand an ongoing priority.

Remember — honesty is the most important element of your employer brand. The best branding can’t make up for a lackluster culture or unsatisfied employees. Don’t try to make your company seem like an amazing place to work — strive to actually make it an amazing place to work for your current employees. If you can do that, a big part of your branding will take care of itself.

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About the author

Ryan Hadfield

Ryan Hadfield is a content marketing director at ZoomInfo, the leading B2B contact data solution.

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