A product’s brand is about way more than a logo, palette, or website… it’s about how it FEELS to use it. Apple knows that we feel different and progressive when we snuggle up with our iPhone, and Nike knows we feel hip when we slip on our Dunks: These brands give us all the feels!

A company’s employer brand works the same way, and should go well beyond the language on a careers page or job posts on Facebook. Employer brand is all about capturing how it FEELS to work at a company, how it FEELS to tell a friend about working there, and how it FEELS to never want to leave.

For recruiters, a strong employer brand makes a tough job a whole lot easier. Employee stories, referrals, reviews, and engagement are the fuel that feeds the candidate pipeline, and work much like the assets a marketing team deploys to generate leads.

Brand Matters in a Buyer’s Market

Unemployment rates are hovering near 10-year lows, so a first impression means everything when it comes to converting a potential recruit into an interviewing candidate. Three out of four professionals are passive job seekers, and while they may not be actively looking for a new job, when their interest is piqued they WILL check out your company.

This is your chance to hook those passive job seekers as they visit your careers website, social media channels, and Glassdoor page. Employer brand is your company’s smile, handshake, and best-foot-forward greeting… its first impression!  78% of candidates decide to apply for a job before they actually speak to a recruiter, and in a buyer’s market, the best marketed brands will win almost every time.

Recruiting Has Become a Marketing Business

Competition for talent is more fierce than ever. As the list of recruiter-focused tools and networks continues to grow, and the level of candidate savviness increases, companies will continue to fight for every single application.

Telling your workplace’s story through its employer brand is a great way to draw in those candidates who are looking for a place to truly call home. Products are sold through customer stories, and now positions are sold via employee stories. Amazon reviews are to products as Glassdoor reviews are to companies… and the picture they paint are more important than ever.

When 66% of candidates believe interactions with employees are the best way to gain insight into a company, providing access to your team can really seal the deal. Sharing videos, quotes, day-in-the-life stories, and chances to meet employees during the interview process are all great ways to showcase your business as an ideal workplace.

More than half of HR professionals plan to hire or engage with a recruiting marketer, and the other half will be destined to watch their candidate pipelines dry up – it’s time to start thinking like a marketer!

The ROI of Employer Branding

When a company begins to develop and apply employer branding principles to its candidate experience, the results are often clear: More applications, increased web traffic, higher social media engagement, etc. In addition, research is now showing that developing an employer brand can actually save your company money and positively impact your bottom line.

Marketers focus heavily on managing the reputation of their brands, especially in a world where bad iTunes reviews can tank your app and snarky Trip Advisor comments will keep guests away from your hotel. Half of all job seekers will visit your Glassdoor page and pour over every positive and negative review, so a good reputation is just as important for your company as it is your favorite restaurant.

When your company’s reputation goes South, it can actually increase the cost of each hire. Harvard Business Review recently found that a 10% increase in salary was necessary to convince candidates to accept an offer at companies with less than stellar reputations – and that’s if they applied at all!

With unemployment rates low, candidate research and engagement high, and more and more companies getting their recruiting and marketing efforts aligned, it’s time to take control of your employer brand. It’s time to bring your recruiting and marketing teams to the same table to tell your story.

This year, more than ever, your employer brand matters.

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