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Employment Branding > Talent Acquisition

Perfectly Defined: 5 Best Practices for Defining Your Employment Brand

Now that you know the payoffs of a defined employment brand, it’s time to get started with actually defining that brand. Defining your brand starts with assessing your current brand, which you can do by taking these five tests to determine if you need to define your employment brand. The results of these tests may surprise you. Oftentimes, companies will find that what they think their employment brand is differs drastically from what others say it is.

Defining your employment brand will help create alignment between how you want others (current and potential employees) to view your brand, and how they actually view it. The goal is to make sure your brand image (how others view you as an employer) accurately represents your culture (what employees actually experience every day).

Below, I’ve listed five best practices – both new and time-tested – to utilize as you work to define your employment brand message and communicate it to the most qualified talent out there.

  1. Make your message come alive: Defining your employment brand is about showing the outside world what’s unique about you – and doing it in a memorable way. Look at your company’s career site. Is it visually compelling? Does it leave a lasting (good) impression? The same goes for your company’s presence on social media, in the mobile space – and even in your job postings. Use these platforms to your advantage, and don’t bog them down with flat “about us” copy: Find new ways to engage candidates, such as through the use of recruitment videos, which engage candidates on multiple levels, depicting what everyday life is like as an employee. (For inspiration, see how Six Flags portrays the day in the life of various employees or how Chipotle uses video to portray its unique culture.) Sharing videos and photos of company events is another great way to portray your brand.
  2. Create a positive, user-friendly applicant experience: You might not put much thought into the actual application process, but here’s why you should: an estimated 34 percent of candidates who try to apply for jobs don’t complete the application process due to a frustrating application process, according to CareerBuilder internal research. Not to mention that the experience you provide is yet another reflection of your brand; create a poor user-experience and candidates will think poorly of your brand. Make it as easy as possible for candidates to search and apply for jobs across all channels, including mobile. That means limiting the number of steps candidates must take to search for jobs and submit their resumes as much as possible – and doing regular maintenance checks to ensure all the links are working properly.
  3. Use “you” language. Remember, your employer brand message is all about the job candidate. As mentioned in previous posts, candidates want to know what’s in it for them when they’re considering where to work. With that in mind, turn the focus on them when talking about your employee value proposition. (For example, use phrases like “As an X employee, you’ll get the opportunity to…” and “When you join our team, you’ll enjoy such and such benefits”.) Most companies fall into the trap of simply discussing their mission and values; however, unless you really go deeper and discuss how that mission and those values relate to – and enrich – the employee experience, candidates will simply glaze over those things.
  4. Know what’s important to your audience. What CMO would approach product branding and advertising without properly researching his or her consumers? Human resources professionals should take the same approach to employment branding and recruitment. After all, your job offering is your product, and the job candidate is your consumer. It’s just as crucial that you take the time to research your ideal candidate base, learn what is important to them in an employer, and use that information to shape your employment branding message.
  5. Be consistent. Be everywhere. It’s well-documented that today’s job candidates search for jobs much the same way they make purchasing decisions: They manage multiple points of contact in a fragmented media environment. Whether searching company career pages, job boards, niche sites, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, attending in-person networking events, or social gatherings – job candidates are everywhere, utilizing multiple avenues at once to research employers and opportunities. Whenever and wherever your employment brand is represented, you need to ensure it is being represented consistently. (That includes turning your employees into employer brand ambassadors, so they can contribute to word-of-mouth recruitment marketing.)

Finally, as important as it is to define your employment brand and know who you are as an employer, it’s just as important to know who you aren’t. Not every company can be Google – and that’s okay. There’s no “one” best place to work. Yes, Google has a strong, defined and consistent employment brand that draws candidates in, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for every candidate out there. The important thing is to be true to who you are as an employer – or who you want to be – and defining your employment brand means defining the values by which everyone in your organization should try to live and reinforce every day. Again, don’t try to be something you’re not. You offer something unique as an employer, you just need to find out what that is and clearly define it for both your internal and external audience.

Keith Hadley

About Keith Hadley

Keith Hadley is the employment branding practice leader at CareerBuilder. Hadley has over 20 years of experience helping organizations grow by aligning the human elements with business strategy. As a consultant with RSM McGladrey's Strategic Planning Group, Hadley worked in Paris, Frankfurt and Chicago helping small, owner-managed businesses integrate principles of marketing, business development and organizational behavior. Today, Hadley leads CareerBuilder's employment branding practice, building research-based brands and launching them across an increasingly complex and fragmented digital media environment. Hadley works with large and small business alike with a passion to see them attract and retain the people they need to be successful. Hadley received his undergraduate from Baylor University in History and French. He earned his MBA from University of Illinois at Chicago.

I really enjoyed this series of articles about employment branding and have forwarded them to some of my clients.  Great information here, thanks!


 @LucasVanZandt Thanks, Lucas... let us know what kind of response you get.  Curious, what advice would you add to the list? 


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  3. [...] what candidates are hearing about you – and from there, create a strategy to manage your online employer brand [...]

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