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How to Hook Good Applicants with Strong Employment Branding

by | Jan 11, 2023 | Corporate HR

Building a strong brand presence should be more than just a focus for the marketing team. Creating a positive employment brand is an important component when it comes to recruitment. Companies like Google and Salesforce have reputations for being great places to work, from their creative and collaborative work environments to excellent perks, like Google’s free cafeteria for employees. When a company has a reputation for being an awesome place to work, applicants come flocking.

What is employer branding?

But let’s back up for just a moment? First, let’s answer the question, “What is employer branding?”

In simplest terms, employer branding is how an organization is viewed by its employees and how it’s perceived in the greater employment marketplace. However, it goes deeper than that. Consider, if you will, that the people who are on the receiving end of an employer brand are a type of audience. There are three main categories of audience members:

  1. Employees who have been hired by the organization and who may or may not still work for it
  2. Professionals who have interviewed for a job with the organization, but did not land said job
  3. Other professionals in the marketplace who have neither worked for the organization not participated in its hiring process

For the first two categories, employer branding is tied directly to the experience that these professionals have with the organization. That’s because, as employees and job applicants, they’ve had direct interaction with its officials, including its hiring managers and other important officials. For professionals in these two categories, an organization’s employer brand is the experience that it provides for them. This includes the experience that it provides for applicants during the recruiting and hiring process and also the experience that it provides for those candidates once they’ve been hired as employees.

For the third category, employer branding is more reputation than experience. That’s because these professionals have little direct interaction with the organization outside of what they see on its website and its social media accounts. So, a more elaborate definition of employer branding could be the experience that an organization provides for both job candidates and employees and the reputation that it holds with other professionals throughout its industry and the employment marketplace.

Why is employer branding and recruitment so important?

As we all know, securing the best applicants is challenging in such a competitive market these days.  Applicants will reference social media, online reviews and will weigh the benefits that a company offers. Get applicants excited about working for you! A strong employment brand can be the extra factor that makes an applicant come work for your organization.

Below are some of the main benefits of effective employment branding:

  • Creates a sense of urgency and excitement about working at your company
  • Engages the mind, heart and dreams of candidates
  • Complements the company’s product/service
  • Provides a clear, compelling reason to work at that firm
  • Is consistent with what employees believe about working at that firm
  • Evokes feelings of fun, prestige, challenge or rewards

This is why it’s important to understand what employer branding is. There’s a whole marketing team devoted to building a company’s brand image to market to customers. However when it comes to hiring, it’s also important to market to applicants who want information about the culture and work environment. A great product or soaring stock price doesn’t necessarily speak for a company’s internal operations.

Building a strong employer brand

While we’ve already established that employer brand development can apply to both job applicants and current employees, the focus of this blog post is on the former. Considering how tight the job market is right now and how qualified candidates are in short supply, company branding for recruitment is critical for employers seeking to successfully hire the best workers in the job market. And yes, it’s true that companies are also losing many current employees, so much so that it’s been dubbed the “Great Resignation,” but organizations must hire workers first before they can worry about keeping them.

With this in mind, good employer branding is a multi-stage process. First, you must attract the right job applicants. Then you must continue to engage those applicants through effective employer brand development strategies. And then, if all goes well, you hire the applicants and they become employees. Once again, though, the key to the entire process is the experience that you provide to job seekers and applicants. If your company provides a positive experience, then it will brand itself in a positive way. If it provides a poor experience, then it will brand itself in a negative way. It really is that simple.

As we mentioned earlier, there are three categories of audience members for employer branding. In addition, there are two types of employer branding positioning. One type is for job applicants and employees. The second is for the other professionals in the broader job market. As a company, you’re either positioning yourself with your employer brand in regard to the experience that you provide for applicants and employees, or you’re positioning yourself in regard to your reputation overall.

Ultimately, your employer brand positioning should send the message that your company is an “employer of choice” within the employment marketplace. When you’re viewed as such, more professionals will want to work for you, and once they become employees, they’ll want to stay with you.

What are employer brand positioning strategies?

So we’re targeting job seekers and applicants with a strong employer brand through proper positioning, with the ultimate goal of attracting, recruiting and hiring them. Which strategies and techniques are required for accomplishing this?

Below are five employer branding strategies for attracting qualified job seekers and applicants and positioning your organization as the employer of choice within your chosen industry. (While reading through these, think about your applicant tracking system (ATS) and other recruiting tools that your organization uses and how well they help you carry out these strategies. If you don’t use an ATS or other online applicant tracking software, then it’s high time that you do!)

#1—Create an easy and friendly applicant experience.

The applicant’s experience (once again, there’s that word) during the recruiting process sets up their expectations for how things will go as an employee. Let’s say an applicant applies to two comparable jobs at similar companies. At company A, the application process is smooth, the recruiter and hiring manager are friendly and the communication is seamless. At company B, the application process is disjointed, difficult and communication is lacking. The applicant will choose Company A without hesitation, based on their experience up to that point.

#2—Showcase company benefits.

While salary is a huge factor when applicants make a decision, it’s not just about the money. If you can’t beat the salary that a competitor is offering, it doesn’t mean you’ve lost the applicant. Promote the other perks that you offer. Do you allow employees to work from home, do you offer benefits or a 401K, do you have flexible vacation time or free snacks in the office? All of these things can add up and influence an applicant’s decision.

#3—Write a great job posting.

Freshen things up – don’t publish the same job postings over and over. Define your company’s style and culture. For example, if your organization is a tech company, write something edgy with “techy” jargon. Attract applicants that are a good fit with the company’s values and work culture. Finally, make sure to clearly state the responsibilities and qualifications for the job. This will help weed out unqualified applicants from applying.

#4—Build a strong online employment brand.

Leverage social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to develop relationships with applicants. This is a great way to communicate more about your company’s work environment and culture.

#5—Offer a strong careers page.

Stand apart from the competition by having a careers page that’s modern, sleek and catches the applicant’s eye. Market your company. Include information about your mission statement, values, perks and benefits. Make sure applicants can easily apply online and that the process is user-friendly. Don’t lose applicants because the application process is a multi-page effort that requires logins, requests for redundant information and unnecessary steps.

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