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Employment Branding > Talent Acquisition

Make Your Culture Your Brand: Tips for More Competitive Recruiting

Your Culture Your Brand“Just because your company is a ‘Plain Jane’ doesn’t mean your recruitment function needs to be,” said Randall Birkwood, consultant and CEO at Ascendant Talent, during his session at the recent ERE Conference and Exposition, Beat the Big Brands at Hiring: Building a Winning Talent Acquisiton Department Against the Odds.

While recruiting may come easy to companies like Google or Apple, which already have a great deal of brand recognition, not every hiring manager and recruiter has it so easy. But that doesn’t mean they can’t compete for top, in demand talent. It’s all a matter of how you sell yourself.

One problem so many hiring managers and recruiters run into, Birkwood says, is their focus on compensation as a recruiting tactic; however, people leave companies for more than just pay. And here’s where recruiters have to start getting creative and really think about what makes their company a desirable place to work.  In short, recruiters have to think like marketers:

Step 1: Define who you want to hire. Think about people who will be successful at your organization, people who will be satisfied, and people who will stay for a while. In order to know who matches this criteria, however, you must first…

Step 2: Define your culture. What’s a good way to define your culture? Survey – and learn from – your top 20 percent of performers. Ask them the following questions:

  • What do you like best about working here?
  • Describe our company culture.
  • What personal attributes are most important for an employee to be successful here?

Step 3: Make your culture your brand. Enlist the help of a marketing professional to help you create your employment brand message. Your message should communicate what makes you different from your competitors. Ask yourself, “What is unique about my company and its culture?” (This is where that feedback from your employees will come in handy.) As you create your brand message, keep the following things in mind…

  • Get to the heart of the matter. “Remember,” Birkwood says, “You’re not dealing with creatures of logic, but rather emotion.” In other words, candidates respond to stories, rather than facts. “You don’t have to have the sexiest career site on the planet, but you have to hit those emotional triggers,” he explains. How do to that? Showcase your company culture on your website by including photos from company events, highlighting awards and recognitions your company has received, including employee testimonials and recruitment videos.
  • Leverage your employee networks. Employee networks are key to your recruiting success, according to Birkwood. Employee referrals make up 30 to 50 percent of external hires. Recruit your top performers to be brand ambassadors. Make them the star of your recruitment videos. Have your employees speak to your company’s values.
  • Create a consistent message across multiple channels. This may take a complete overhaul of your careers website, your social media pages and anywhere else your company has a presence. It’s no easy task, but it’s an investment with long-term payoffs: If you create a strong, clear, and consistent brand message across multiple channels, eventually the best candidates will start ‘selecting in’ while other candidates screen themselves out.

Do you consider your culture your brand? How do you make sure current and potential employees get the message?

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.


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