What Is Employment Branding?

In today’s job market, it isn’t enough for companies to offer a competitive salary or provide employee perks to attract top talent. Job seekers are looking to join organizations that essentially serve as an extension of themselves—with similar missions, vision, values and goals in line.

Is your company’s message compelling enough to bring them to the table?

One of the most powerful tools in your recruiting toolbox is your company’s employment brand, the impression that employees and potential new hires have of your organization. In fact, more than 75% of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before even filling out an application.  If your company has a bad reputation, it can really hurt your recruiting efforts.

Having a clearly defined employment brand can help your company stand out from the competition, improve the candidate experience, deepen the applicant pool and keep hired employees engaged in the long run. It’s essentially your company’s value proposition, says Brad Stultz, a human resources coordinator at Totally Promotional.

“A company’s branding should be an identifier to the company’s culture. When an applicant applies for a position, they aren’t just seeking a role in the company. They’re applying to become a part of the culture.”

Of course, any company can say they provide a great working environment, so we talked to HR experts to see how they put employment branding into practice.

Employment Branding Starts with the Job Posting

Employment branding is not about a tagline or glossy images, says Alyssa Krane, a chief strategist at Powerhouse Talent. Developing your brand requires authenticity, and including  your company’s unique message throughout the candidate’s journey.

“The secret to a strong brand is deeply rooted in your organizational mission and purpose to ensure you are targeting the right talent populations, not simply the masses. From there, it is about brand alignment, team training and advocacy. Great brands are consistent and use each channel in which they communication to reinforce their brand messaging.”

Your job posting serves as a first impression and should accurately reflect the company’s culture, says Elizenda Jean-Claude, business growth, HR strategist and founder at Launch to Scale.

“Visuals and text should be a true reflection of what you promise to your customers, and what impact  potential new employees will have the chance to create for customers. Information on the hiring and interview process is a great opportunity to reflect the brand. Often companies list the key values, mission statement or vision of the company so it is clear to the employee what they will be key contributors, too. The message people receive after submitting their resume is also really important.”

To be certain the investment in your brand stretches beyond recruitment advertising, and has the intended impact, recruiters should look at the candidate journey more holistically, says Stultz.

“What are the touch points and how are they supporting your brand? Are recruitment professionals aligned and delivering the intended candidate experience? Does the experience live up to the employees experience? Authenticity is critical in this work.”

Offer a Positive Interview Experience

If you’re a good company, or even a great one, your brand has the potential to attract top talent—and keep applicants engaged. Unfortunately, most employer branding falls short during the hiring process, says Scott Wintrip, president of Wintrip Consulting Group.

Wintrip adds that many employers are slow to hire and quick to fire, creating a negative hiring environment. One of the culprits? Too many interviews.

“One or two interviews with prospective job candidates have expanded into three, four or even five rounds. As a result, filling one job can take weeks or months—all in an effort to get it right the first time. The most talented people bristle at this standard approach to hiring. They view leaders who engage in a long, drawn out hiring processes with suspicion.”

To avoid an adverse experience, give candidates consistent feedback and “a red carpet experience,” which gives candidates engaged in the positive aspects of your brand, he says.

Once candidates move to the interviewing stage, companies should continue reiterating the brand message, says Natasha Rachel Smith, chief communications officer at TopCashBack.com, a coupons and cash back membership website.

“Ask candidates what attracts them to your company. This will be a good opportunity to see if their goals and values match yours. Once you reach the offer stage , ensure you incorporate the organization’s mission statement into the job overview—detailing how the position will contribute toward achieving it. This will ensure the candidate is clear about what they’ll be working toward and the wider mission they’re looking to achieve.”

Don’t Stop Employment Branding After Hiring

An employer must keep their brand intact in all stages of the recruitment and hiring process, especially after a candidate officially becomes an employee, says Nick Howison, a digital media manager at BI Worldwide.

The company recently worked with national pizza retailer, Pizza Hut, to get a 360-degree employment engagement communications program, in an effort to enhance the restaurant’s employer value proposition.

“Our goal was to activate the new brand from the inside-out to combat high turnover. We applied our approach to employer branding: 1) The culture lived internally, and 2) The perception of working for their brand externally.”

To monitor Pizza Hut’s progress, BI Worldwide initiated a series of surveys to uncover drivers of engagement. They then launched a campaign that targeted onboarding, defined the new employee audience, developed store leadership support, and implemented more strategic back-of-house communications and training. In the first 30 days, the company saw a 5% decrease in employee turnover.

Howison says companies can similarly apply these strategies to attract and retain talent.

Learn More

To learn more about how to develop an employment branding strategy, download Jobvite’s
7 Sins of Employment Branding.