As of June 2022, there were nearly twice as many job openings as unemployed people. Needless to say, companies have intense competition when trying to gain top talent.
While there are many things you can offer job seekers, such as a high salary or great benefits, few things can be more convincing than a strong employer brand. If you don’t already have an employer branding strategy, now is the time to make it a central focus of your talent acquisition efforts.
By understanding what employer branding is, how to incorporate it in the interview process, and how it can improve interactions with your business for both new hires and existing employees, you can stand out in a tough job market.
What Is Employer Branding?
Part of employer branding is how you market yourself to potential candidates by presenting the perks and benefits of working for you. It is usually informed by your company values and company’s mission, which can help you attract like-minded candidates to apply for your job openings.
However, employer branding isn’t entirely within your control. In many ways, it is a reflection of your company’s reputation. This includes both your reputation among your current employees, as well as how the workforce as a whole perceives your company.
There are several factors that can influence employer branding, such as the work environment and company culture. The reviews that your employees post on Glassdoor, social media, and other career sites help create your employer brand (for better or worse).
However, employer branding can go beyond these elements to include how your company brand looks and feels. This is built by everything from your website design, the user-friendliness of your app, the word choice in a job posting, and the images you choose for your blog and social media. So, carefully consider how you want your employees and prospective employees to feel when they interact with your brand.
Because of this, a good employer brand isn’t just what you try to convey with the help of your marketing team. It’s what your company lives day in and day out.
Why an Employer Branding Strategy Matters
A strong employer branding strategy has a direct impact on your ability to attract top candidates. In fact, while 92% of employees state they would think about leaving their current job to work at a company with an “excellent” employer reputation, 50% wouldn’t consider joining a company with a poor reputation, even if it paid more. Research from Glassdoor reveals that 86% of job seekers use company reviews to decide which jobs to apply to. Like it or not, candidates are more likely to trust the opinion of an employee than your recruiting marketing materials.
Employer Branding and Employee Retention
Because of this, your employer branding strategy goes hand in hand with your employee retention strategy. Do you provide meaningful work to your employees? What do you do to make sure they feel valued? How do you create a positive, engaging working environment? Do you encourage a healthy work-life balance? These factors will ultimately be the most important test of your employer brand, because they will influence how employees feel about your business — and what they share about it with others.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your team members about what is and isn’t going well in their workplace experience. Positive comments can reveal areas that you can highlight in your employer branding. Negative comments reveal opportunities to improve. Employee engagement initiatives that develop from these conversations will benefit both current and future employees by helping you live up to your stated company culture and making employees feel valued.
How to Convey Your Employer Value Proposition
Employer branding stems from how you define your unique employer value proposition (EVP) and market it to potential candidates. This is the “promise” that you make to your employees, which you fulfill through your company culture and day to day work experience.
An employer value proposition isn’t focused on how much money you pay. Rather, it emphasizes the deeper purpose and meaning behind your work. It showcases how you can help people grow their careers and find happiness working on something that makes a difference. It shows how you, as an employer, care for your team through quality of life benefits.
These compelling messages are what make the difference in attracting top talent — and are often why they consider applying to work for you in the first place.
Highlighting the EVP in Your Marketing
A strong candidate experience backed by your employer branding begins well before someone applies for a job. Your website’s career page and the job descriptions you use for open positions should communicate your employer brand. This should be more than just a bullet point list of perks and benefits.
The language you use on these pages can highlight your culture and employer value proposition. By focusing on these areas, you can even illustrate the type of candidates you’re looking for.
For example, you could describe in your job description how your office provides an open and inclusive environment where everyone’s opinions are respected. Talk about how you accomplish this, be it through weekly town hall meetings where everyone can share their thoughts, informal get-togethers, company surveys, and so on. This can be just as important to a candidate as whether your company provides a 401(k) match.
You can make this content more compelling by supplementing it with photos (no stock images!), videos, or even blog posts that showcase your employer branding. This could include testimonials from current employees about why they love working for your company or photos from a recent event (such as a company volunteerism outing).
Align the Interview Process and Employer Branding
Of course, the employer branding becomes most apparent as you engage with potential employees during the hiring process. Even something as simple as sending timely interview scheduling updates or incorporating your brand into your emails can help the process feel more personable and less “corporate.”
Your interview process should focus on the candidate with clear, straightforward communication. For example, when conducting a phone screening, the person doing the interview should clearly communicate the next steps in the process and when the candidate should expect to hear back. In fact, the 2020 Job Seeker Nation Survey found that 58% of job candidates listed “great communication” as contributing to a positive candidate experience.
The interview process is also where you establish expectations for the job and your organization. A 2019 study from the U.K. found that 48% of workers have left jobs that “didn’t align with their expectations” in areas such as job responsibilities, work-life balance, working environment, and benefits.
In other words, you should never try to make your company seem “better” or different than it is just to match what a top candidate is looking for in a job. You should be honest about all aspects of the job and your company. This approach can prevent these instances of misaligned values that can lead to negative online reviews, high turnover, and decreased productivity. Being open and honest also helps candidates feel valued while building trust with your company.
The best talent will look for these and other differentiators when interviewing with you. After all, they deserve to work for a great employer. When you effectively communicate your employer brand in the interview process by being honest and open about your company and showing candidates that you value their time, potential employees will take note.
It’s Time to Improve Your Employer Branding
You can’t always control what others say about your business online — but you can control the interview and onboarding experience when meeting with job candidates. The hiring process is your chance to demonstrate the unique value you can provide as an employer. Standing out in a good way makes you far more likely to land top talent.
As you actively work to strengthen your employer brand, you will create a better workplace for your team. Your retention and online reputation will improve, and you will be better able to convey your unique EVP during the interview process.
Prelude can help. By helping you create a personalized, engaging experience with every candidate touch point during the hiring process, you can develop a positive employer brand that makes a lasting impression with candidates.