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Ping pong tables, gluten-free snacks and office beers kegs just aren’t going to cut it in this hiring market. The key to standing out in a sea of employers vying for top talent? Employer branding.

WHAT’S EMPLOYER BRANDING?

Great question, and a perfect place to start! Basically, your employer brand is what people think about your company – your reputation, if you will. It’s the way your workplace is perceived by current and past employees and also prospective candidates, based on what they’ve seen, heard, read or, of course, experienced first-hand.

A strong employer brand (read: a good reputation) helps to set you apart, differentiating you from the competition and boosting not just your recruitment efforts, but your employee engagement and retention, too; helping you hire the right people, and keep them for the long term.

DOES IT REALLY MATTER THAT MUCH?

Long story short, yes, employer branding really does matter that much – and it’s only becoming more important. The majority of job seekers today are doing their due diligence: checking out your website, scrutinizing your social media and getting elbows deep in Google reviews before they even consider applying for an open role.

WHAT DO CANDIDATES WANT?

Understanding your ideal candidate is the first step to building out your brand. This may require you to conduct a little research of your own in order to gather some industry-specific intel, but we’ll get the ball rolling with a short list of some of the most common things people say they’re looking for in 2022:

  • Flexibility, hybrid + remote options, freedom to choose when, where + how they work
  • Work-life balance, more paid leave benefits + vacation time
  • An environment where people are prioritized + mental health is championed
  • Learning + development opportunities, coaching, support + mentorship
  • Growth, a clearly identified path to promotion with the organization
  • Fulfillment, happiness in their day-to-day
  • A sense of belonging, comradery, a positive + enjoyable culture
  • Transparency + communication, honesty + mutual trust
  • Shared values, community involvement, to do work that serves the greater good
  • Diversity, equity + inclusion, equal opportunity


CRAFTING YOUR PITCH

Now that you’ve got a pretty good idea of what your candidates want from their next employer, it’s time to figure out which boxes you check – so put your thinking cap on, take another peek at that list up there and consider what your company offers that candidates are after.

Ask yourself this: “What makes your company a great place to work? What can your company offer that your competitors can’t?”

Maybe you offer paid time off for employees to volunteer for causes they care about? Great! Pride yourself on helping junior team members develop their skills? Super! Promote from within whenever possible? Fabulous! Boast an absolutely unparalleled workplace culture? Brilliant!

Once you’ve finished step one, we’re going to take those great perks and awesome benefits and use them to craft a “pitch” or a “sell”, allowing you to tell your unique story to prospective applicants: communicating your values, vision and mission and clearly demonstrating why, among a throng of employment options, your organization is the number one choice.

MODERNIZING THE CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE

The time has come to review your current hiring processes – and get ready, because they’re probably going to need some tweaking. Candidates in this market have no shortage of options, and providing a positive, personalized hiring experience from application through to onboarding can be a game changer.

This is your opportunity to amp up the wow factor and make a great impression – so you’ll want to make sure you’ve got your pitch nailed down and you’re ready to put your best foot forward right out of the gate.

A peek behind-the-scenes

If you’ve been doing the bare minimum on LinkedIn and Instagram up to this point, it’s time to change that. Your social media channels are an incredible (and often underutilized) tool for internal recruitment; you can use these platforms to show off your unique culture, showcase star employees, share photos and videos of celebrations and give job seekers a glimpse into what it might be like to be a part of your organization.

Building out a dedicated part of your website to share current job openings alongside photos and stories of your company and your people is another great option.

Remove any roadblocks 

The last thing you want to do is lose out on a great candidate before you even get to the interview. Show candidates that you value their time by ensuring your online application process runs smoothly, it should be user-friendly, intuitive and relatively simple.

Gone are the days where employers could get away with ambiguity around salary and benefits, busy candidates can quickly lose interest if they have to go on a wild goose chase to track down basic information about the role. Review your current job postings and check that they include all pertinent information, and a clear way to contact your team for more information.

If you’ve got a general or shared mailbox where candidates can send inquiries, be sure it’s checked regularly! Not responding to a prospective employee for days on end, however unintentionally, is a surefire way to leave get off on the wrong foot.

Get future-focused

Growth and development opportunities continue to be a huge factor in the modern candidate’s decision-making process, so make sure to put them on center stage! Demonstrate your investment in them and their career trajectory by identifying clear opportunities for advancement. Generally, a candidate wants to know that there’s a future for them at your organization, and this is your chance to show them what that looks like.

Loosen your proverbial tie

Those super formal, suit and tie interviews we’re all too familiar with? They might just be going the way of the dodo, as employers start to see the value in taking a more casual approach to this often nerve-wracking experience.

By embracing a less structured interview format, conversation can flow more freely – making it much easier to learn about a candidate and make a genuine connection.

Meet and greet

The chance to have a one on one meeting with the CEO usually goes over well with candidates, but don’t underestimate the value a meet and greet with some members of the team they’d be joining!

You might consider bringing them in for an office tour, or even arranging to meet over a coffee or a pint. The idea is to provide a platform for the candidate to openly ask questions about the culture, management or the company in general from people with first hand knowledge of the role.

Don’t drag your feet 

In this market, speed to hire is essential. The more time you spend humming and hawing, the higher the chance of losing a great candidate to another opportunity – or worse, a competitor. Of course, you want to be thorough – the goal isn’t to abandon all standards, simply to have the ability to act fast when you find the right fit.

It’s a good idea to regularly review your hiring processes, checking to see if anything can be streamlined. You might find it easier than expected to cut down on the number of required interviews and overall length of the process!

AFTER THE OFFER LETTER IS SIGNED

Oh, happy day! Your top candidate loved your laid-back interview process, they totally dig your incredible team and they’re excited to start a new role with your organization – but your work’s not done just yet. Providing a positive candidate experience continues even after the offer letter’s been signed.

On-point onboarding

Make sure you’re prepared for their start date, and that you’ve arranged a clear and comprehensive schedule for them to follow for those first few days and weeks as they get settled. The experiences your new hire has during this period are going to shape their impression of what it’s like to be a part of your organization – and you certainly want that impression to be a positive one!

Bring out the welcome wagon

Let your new employee know how genuinely excited you are to have them on the team. Have someone on the team walk them around the office and make some initial introductions, show them where the bathroom is and how to use the coffee machine. If possible, provide them with a welcome package or arrange for a team lunch – these things seem small, but they make a lasting impact.

Offer ongoing training and support

Set your new hire up with all the tools they’ll need to be successful in their role. In addition to providing a comprehensive training program, be sure connect them with a peer who they can go to with basic questions for the first couple weeks. Offering remote opportunities? Better be sure you’re providing the same quality of training and support to your WFH team as well.

Be true to your word

The quickest way to disillusion an eager new employee is by reneging on the promises you made during the interview stage. Keep track of your communication throughout the hiring process, making note of important details to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

For example, if you promised there would be mentorship available, make it a priority to connect your new hire with a potential mentor early on.

Sing their praises

Recognition and incentives are huge motivators, improving morale and boosting employee engagement. Celebrate wins with your team, letting them know how much their work is valued and how important a role they play in the success of the organization.

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

Now that you’ve got your employer branding down to a fine art, don’t hesitate to ask your team to help you spread the word about what a great place to work your company is! A couple ways to do this include:

  • Writing a Glassdoor or Google review
  • Providing a testimonial for your website
  • Engaging with your content on social media
  • Creating their own content + tagging your company
  • Attending a career fair as a spokesperson
  • Participating in the interview process, sharing their experience with candidates
  • Referring friends or family


If you’d like to chat about employer branding, your hiring strategy or the job market in general, give us a shout – we’d love to connect!

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