Over the years, I’ve worked with companies who felt like they were hitting a wall with their recruiting. No matter how hard they tried, they weren’t gaining the awareness they’d hoped for, candidates weren’t seeing their jobs (or didn’t care), and people weren’t responding to recruiter calls or emails. As the concept of employer branding became more important these recent years, many recruiters have taken it upon themselves to up the ante with their marketing efforts to engage candidates.
And the results were...okayish.
I commend the recruiters who saw the value in recruitment marketing and have made an effort to understand more about the company's offerings and the exciting things about the jobs they were hiring for. However, the reason why it may not have had the same impact as they’d expected is because there’s a lot more to an effective employer brand than some razzle-dazzle in your communications.
Chasing buzzwords and trends reactively won’t pack a punch to make your messaging memorable. Sometimes, it’s worth taking a step back and be thoughtful about building your employer brand and marketing strategy. Not only will it help you get clear on what you’re promoting, but it will also better support your inbound recruitment efforts.
Elements of a Fully Baked Employer Brand Strategy
What’s Your Story? (Employer Brand)
For starters, let’s talk about what you’re promoting in the first place. Yes, sharing details about what your company does is important, but that’s not all there is to it. For employer branding, it’s about identifying who your company is, what your company offers employees, and why people would choose your company instead of someplace else.
A few things to consider when building this out:
What’s your company’s overall value proposition?
What’s the current state of your employer brand?
How do your employees view your company culture?
What specific elements can help you establish an employee value proposition that allows you to stand apart from your competition? (Hint: bring your employees’ voices into this)
What’s your look, feel, and voice? (i.e., if someone quickly came across a piece of content or message, is it distinct enough for them to recognize it’s yours?)
All of these elements build your story. It helps people see why working for your company is exciting and inspiring. And by using specific language and examples that truly showcase your company for what it is and what it has to offer will help candidates determine if it aligns with their personal values and professional goals (aka, quality candidates).
Where Will You Share Your Story? (Recruitment Marketing)
So, you have your message, offering, voice, and aesthetics sorted out, but maybe you’re getting stuck on what comes next. You might have gone through the work of adding these things to your career site and job descriptions. Maybe you’ve shared it internally and posted a few times on social media. But then what?
It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of recruiting. Without a solid marketing strategy in place, you may lose momentum or might not be sharing in the right places to begin with. Before you build out content to support your brand, think of where you’ll share your story.
Some things to consider when building this out:
Where do your candidates hang out? Do they prefer certain job boards over others? Specific social media platforms? Are they anti-internet and get info about employers and jobs through events, industry publications, or word of mouth?
How often do you plan to share relevant content through these marketing channels?
Are you tying marketing activities to specific recruiting needs, such as seasonal hiring pushes, company goals like improving diversity and inclusion, or the growth of specific teams and roles?
What’s realistic for your bandwidth, budget, and skillset?
Of course, consistency is key when it comes to marketing, but if you’re trying to meet the expectations of all the marketing “best practices” advice out there at the sake of your content quality (or burning yourself out), then it’s best to start small and work your way up. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Making sure you’re serving up quality information that best supports your hiring needs is more important than just getting things out there to get it out there.
How Will You Tell Your Story? (Content Strategy)
Now we’re ready to tell your story. You know what your message is, how you want it to visually look, how you want to sound. You know where to share, how often, and what campaigns are tied to your hiring needs. This foundation will make it so much easier to build content that is relevant, thoughtful, consistent, and useful.
Rather than creating content ad hoc to see what sticks or developing content that doesn’t match your overall brand and employer value proposition, your content plan will have direction. You’ll know what your call-to-action is. You’ll ensure every word you write or speak will illustrate why you can claim XYZ thing stated in your employer brand. You’ll make your efforts that much more impactful.
Consider these things while building it out:
How do your candidates consume information? Do they prefer blogs over videos? Do they like soundbite testimonials from your employees or prefer more in-depth content that really digs in?
Which content buckets align with your brand?
Again, what’s realistic for your bandwidth, budget, and skillset? If you need something created for next week, then maybe a high-quality video isn’t in the cards and a blog will suffice. If you need to expand your reach via ads but don’t have the skill, then you may need to tap someone on your marketing team or hire an agency to help you get the most bang for your buck.
Are you considering splinter content to reduce the time it takes to think of other concepts or create brand spankin’ new content?
It might seem like a lot, but this overall strategy is doable no matter what size company you are or what budget you have. The great part about employer branding is that it can scale with your business.
It can be easy to feel like you’re falling short if you compare yourself to massive organizations with endless budgets and whole teams dedicated to this, but I’m here to tell you that you’re not. In my experience, I’ve worked at smaller and mid-sized organizations as a team of one with a limited budget. I can tell you that a little investment of time, money, and effort can go a long way.
Need help with employer branding, recruitment marketing, or content development? Let us help! Learn more about Harlow Creative Co. here.
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