• Ashley Lauren Perez

5 Reasons Why Startups and SMBs Need to Invest in Employer Branding

Updated: Oct 2


Would you like to cut recruiting costs, build better awareness, and make it easier for your recruiters to engage candidates? If those benefits made your heart beat faster, then it might be time to seriously consider employer branding. More and more, I’ve heard talent acquisition leaders say they know branding is important, but assume only established companies with bigger budgets and more resources can effectively build one.


If you believe that, then I’ll assure you startups and SMBs can still make an impact with employer branding, even without crazy budgets or full-time marketers on their team.


Quick Facts about Employer Branding’s Impact


According to LinkedIn, companies with a strong employer brand compared to competitors see a 43% decrease in cost-per-hire on average. Additionally, these companies receive 50% more qualified applicants and hire 1-2x faster. Wouldn’t that be nice?


With employer branding, a little can go a long way. You don’t need to create high production value videos, sponsor the biggest booth at hiring events, spend thousands on ads, or invest in fancy CRMs. Instead, start a solid foundation, make it manageable, and scale as you go. Getting clear on your EVP and how you speak about company culture, sprucing up your career site to provide more information, paying attention to reputation sites like Glassdoor, and sharing your story through blogs or social media can make a big difference. The good part is that most of these things don’t require an obscene budget to see success.


How Employer Branding Helps Startups and SMBs


Supports a lean recruiting team. For headcount, most growing companies add to critical areas of the business, such as sales and R&D. That means hiring more people with an already lean recruiting function can be challenging. If you can’t hire additional recruiters, employer branding can act as an inbound recruiting tool. Once you create a foundation and build momentum, your employer brand will attract passive candidates, convert them into engaged applicants, and potentially reduce the time your recruiters need to source.


Creates a consistent, clear story. To engage candidates and be memorable, you need to have a clear message. Defining your employer brand and what your company stands for will ensure consistency throughout your marketing, recruiter communications, interviews, new hire onboarding, and more. Candidates and employees will understand why you’re the place they want to work for, increasing engagement and loyalty.


Bonus: your story is also how you can differentiate from other companies, allowing you to be more competitive.


Builds candidate awareness. If your company is newer or smaller, chances are your consumer marketing isn’t quite “in your face” like more established brands. Without the added exposure from your consumer brand, you have fewer opportunities to piggyback off their messaging to create candidate awareness. By building your employer branding efforts, you’ll propel awareness forward, helping your brand become more recognizable and getting you one step closer to hitting The Rule of 7. Candidates are more likely to accept cold emails or apply to your company if they’ve heard of you before.


Helps employees rally and refer. Employee referrals are incredibly important for recruiting. Not only does it reduce the time recruiters need to source for qualified candidates, but it also ensures candidates are engaged and informed, creating more effective new hire onboarding. By having a clear brand, your employees will know how to talk about your company, what the benefits are, can describe your culture, and more. This gives them a common message they can rally behind and will allow them to promote your brand even further.


Bonus: most people trust the word of people they know over companies. Having employees promote your open roles can establish credibility in the market much quicker.


Stretches limited budgets. Your team might have a limited recruiting budget, which means you probably don’t want to dump it all into hiring a full-time recruiter or brander or purchase technology. The good news is that you can build an impressive brand and recruitment marketing strategy without blowing your budget. With candidates leveraging online resources to research companies, your digital marketing efforts can get in front of them for significantly less than if you were to invest in other avenues, such as print or digital ads, events, and so on.


So before you write off employer branding as a pipe dream, think of the benefits that can make your recruiting efforts much easier in the long run. The competition for candidates’ attention is only getting more challenging. Do you really want to be ten steps behind your competitors? Don’t put off what you can start today!


Need help with employer branding? Let’s work together. Learn more about Harlow Creative Co. here.

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