Attract More Applicants with Your Employment Brand

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You wouldn’t for a moment try to sell a product or start a company without somehow creating an accompanying identity—without a brand. Your brand is, in short, the single most important driver of customers to your products and services. Similarly, your talent brand is essential in driving qualified employees to your organization. Companies with strong talent brands not only have lower costs per hire, but also find it easier to retain current employees, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Yet, some companies give little or no thought to creating a talent brand.

Defining Your Brand

Creating a talent brand is more than bringing in a foosball table and telling everyone you’re a fun place to work; it’s more complex and can be difficult to define. When trying to decide or refine your talent brand, a good starting point is to open a dialogue with current or existing employees. Ask them questions like:

  • What defines their experience?
  • What talents do they feel are most valued or missing?
  • Does the environment nurture them to excel and grow?
  • Do the organization’s leaders inspire them?

Answers to these questions will define your internal reputation. Put aside your biases or what you think their answers should be. Try to connect with how current talent experiences your brand. This internal reputation is a key piece of your employment brand.

Promoting Your Brand

Visibility is another key piece of branding, and the proliferation of social media has made it easier than ever to convey your talent brand easily across a wide range of media. There are tools and outlets galore to showcase your brand: blogging, videos, real time feeds—a virtual play-by-play of your daily triumphs or quarterly challenges.

Promote your brand by sharing links to your publications, products and partners—anything you feel reflects an important aspect of your company. Job seekers who feel a connection with your brand will seek you out, even if you don’t have a current job opening. Just as importantly, candidates who fall elsewhere on the values spectrum will be less likely to clog your talent searches with ill-fitting applications.

Enlisting Talent With Your Brand

When it’s time to enlist a new hire, a generic job listing may not bring in the candidates you’re looking for. Generate job postings that engage potential employees, perhaps even challenge their preconceptions of what a job posting should be. Sure, you’ll need to cover the basics—highlight the responsibilities and requirements—but that’s no longer enough. You wouldn’t try to sell a product by describing only its shape and size, so don’t recruit with bare bones information.

Include unique benefits, working environment and organizational values. Add links to your company website and social media outlets. If you strike a chord with the right candidate, they can easily find out more about you—and about other employees. You’ve got more than a brick façade for potential team members to identify with; employee testimonials and other glimpses inside the personalities and accomplishments of your staff are a great way to engage candidates.

It Works Both Ways

Make sure candidates are aware of your values, but you also need to identify what makes them uniquely qualified to accomplish your goals. What makes them a good fit? During the application process, ask questions that determine candidate alignment with your talent brand.

Hiring is not a one-way communication. Social media has given a new voice to both employer and employee. Current staff and candidates alike inform organizational identity. Companies, in turn, shape employee expectations and values. The greater your organization’s contribution to this dialogue, the greater the candidate response will be. Not only will you hear from more potential employees; you’ll also learn more about those candidates. But your talent brand is more than just your voice in this conversation—it’s everything you have to say and everything you’ve been told. So choose your words wisely, communicate clearly and often and be prepared to listen.

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photo credit: International Information Program (IIP) via photopin cc

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