Last week, in PART 1 of “How’s your reputation doing?”, we talked about the first 5 action steps you can take to improve your organization’s employer brand in 2022. Main topics covered:
- Get the pulse of your current employer brand & conduct an employee survey
- Build a unique EVP & use it to attract the right candidates
- Build a strong(er) company culture & gain leverage over your competitors
- Define your candidate persona & place your bet on targeted content
- Strengthen your social media presence & choose your social channels wisely
In PART II, the main focus will be on content. Why content matters, how to use it properly, and what you can do with it to make your employer brand stand out. Whether video, GIFs, text, or images, everything you post about your company has an impact on your candidate persona.
The key to snatching their attention is to be smart about what you write as you don’t want to come out as being boring, plain, or average. Remember, honest values and EVPs matter. In today’s competitive job market, content can make or break your employer brand. Let’s dive in!
#6 Build a Careers Page & make it stand out
A dedicated Careers Page is a company’s best tool for strengthening and cultivating their employer brand. Just think about it. No other platform can provide the same traffic growth potential and that’s because you’re free to play with the content you include as much as you’d like. It’s a valuable resource for your HR department, but also for the people actively/passively looking for a job.
For any Careers Page to have any value, give job seekers the type of content that can best help them decide whether or not they fit your company culture. Implemented correctly, this section of your company’s website can work are your best tool for hiring and retaining top talent. The question is, how do you build a good Careers Page?
As you may already know, every employer brand in 2022 develops over time. That being said, start by looking at your Careers Page as an adaptable resource. It needs to change and adapt constantly so that it can match your company’s brand messaging. Customize it to fit candidates and steer clear of making it sound too general. Yes, it is meant for filling open jobs and highlighting open positions, but too much recruitment-oriented content will make candidates look someplace else. Here’s how you can make your Careers Page stand out:
- Make it easy to spot from your main website. A tiny “Careers/Jobs” button in the footer of your website won’t cut it
- Build it from scratch & brainstorm a structure
- Make it easy to read & intuitive (design and user experience matter)
- Include content that appeals to your candidate persona (e.g. company story, values, reasons to join your company, employee testimonials)
- Use the right CTAs
#7 Make your job postings look less like a grocery list & boost candidate engagement
Today’s standard job posting is a copy/paste ensemble of content pieces taken from parts of your website. Some pieces are often taken from exterior sources because, in tech, everyone knows what a Java engineer does, right? For recruiters and HR departments, it’s the easy way out of a nerve-racking task.
But there’s more to a job posting than meets the eye. All you have to do is go the extra mile to build something fresh and interesting to read. Candidates want to be amazed by your content; they want you to give them an “aha” moment, otherwise, they’ll move on to the next job post. Rather than treat your job posting as a bullet-pointed grocery list, our recommendation is to spend some time on customization.
Why should you care about customization? First, because nobody else is doing it (yet), which can give you and your company leverage. Whether you like it or not, today’s job market is extremely competitive, and experienced candidates no longer read job postings, let alone apply.
Candidates expect to be contacted directly as 2022 is a candidate’s job market and The Great Resignation really made job seekers reevaluate their options. If you’d like to read more, we’ve written a detailed article about The Great Resignation HERE.
Second, customization makes you stand out. It can make your job posting look less like a grocery list and more like a poem targeted at the type of reader interested in that particular genre; in this case, your candidate persona. Here’s how you can make a job posting look interesting:
- Cut your current job posting in half, and keep it short & sweet
- Ditch the bullets points (or at the very least, use 5 max)
- Compel the few, and repel the many with an opening paragraph that draws attention (Honestly, why do you want candidates to apply? Give them something, a reason, an incentive.)
- Don’t ignore soft skills. They matter just as much as technical skills.
- Try out a different CTA than “Apply for this Job”
- Don’t brag too much. We know, your company is the best of the best, but modesty goes a long way these days.
We wrote a detailed article on the beauty of a customized job posting HERE. Check it out!
#8 Leverage paid social media wisely & go beyond standard ads
There’s no easy way to put it, so we’re just gonna say it: paid social media matters in employer branding. However, you know what they say – don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify where your marketing budget goes and customize your ads in terms of content (text & visual/video), CTAs, and headlines.
Before getting started with paid ads, we recommend that you draw a strategy. What do you wish to achieve if you were to spend $5000/month? Brand awareness, recruitment? Whatever your goal is, the key to employer branding success is to be patient; and realistic; and consistent. From our experience so far, it takes roughly 12 months for a new tech company to become known in the market.
For an established organization with a defined employer brand, things are not looking any brighter if they do what everyone else is doing. Candidates crave novelty and as much as it pains us to say it, they no longer care so much about amazing perks and benefits. What they want is a reason to join or change jobs. If you can give them that, you’ve got their full attention. How do you get the attention of potential candidates via paid social media ads?
- Get creative with an employer brand campaign (action step #9 below)
- Test with various forms of content (e.g. text, video)
- Test with various types of ads (e.g. single-image, carousel ads)
- Design matters, so make your visuals stand out
- Keep your content straightforward (Be honest!)
- Use headlines that create impact (don’t be desperate & give up the recruitment-oriented headline: “Jave engineer WANTED” is a huge no-no)
- Create balance between headline and CTA ( “Java engineer WANTED” and “Apply now” make you really desperate to hire, but “Own your career” and “Apply now” could work as it’s intriguing)
- Figure out what social channels work best for you (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, Reddit, StackOverflow, YouTube, TikTok – your candidate persona can’t on all)
#9 Create a targeted employer branding campaign & attract people that fit your culture
Building a targeted employer branding campaign is not for the faint-hearted. Before even considering one, ask yourself this: Do you have the time, the patience, and the budget to do it? If your answer is “yes”, the first step is to assess the current state of your employer brand in 2022 (e.g. EVP, website content, Career Page content, company values, mission statement).
To do that effectively, join hands with HR, recruiters, and copywriting experts (if you’re lucky enough to have them), to understand your company’s strengths and weaknesses in terms of employer branding. Since you’re building a targeted employer branding campaign, the goal is to figure out what makes you special.
- Conduct an anonymous employee survey
- Brainstorm goals (both short-term and long-term)
- Have a marketing budget in mind
- Coordinate with HR, recruiters, and leadership to help you strengthen your company’s values
- Develop a candidate persona
- Explore what your 5 main competitors are offering
- Target the right social media channels
- Build a social media calendar
- Leverage creative content as much as possible to keep potential candidates engaged
#10 Develop an employer branding framework & crush your competition
Now that you have some idea of what can be done to improve your organization’s employer brand, the final action step is to develop an employer branding framework. Unlike a targeted campaign, an A to Z framework can be better described as an end-to-end approach. It includes all of our 9 previously-mentioned action steps, and more.
Hiring and retaining top talent is the biggest challenge of the decade. While startups and fast-growing companies are facing issues recruiting, large organizations and enterprises are struggling with retention. Company culture is now more critical than ever, and according to LinkedIn’s recent report, 40% of global candidates make culture a priority before picking a job.
In 2022, it’s nearly impossible to compete with leading tech companies and corporations with solid employer brands. So the question is: How can I attract and retain the best people in today’s ultra-competitive market?
Finding top talent shouldn’t be your only priority. It’s equally important to retain the people already working for you. And the tricky part is that great people are being hunted; whether they’re active or passive candidates. The Great Resignation has given employees a huge confidence boost because it brought to light several painful truths. Company culture does matter and so does employer branding.
How companies recruit, retain, and re-skill their people will play a critical role in shaping an organizational culture that provides value. In terms of tactics and strategies you can use to restructure your employer brand, have you thought about:
- Solving the shortage from the inside out by re-skilling/up-skilling current employees?
- Paying more attention to genuinely inclusive hiring practices to widen the talent pool?
- Reconfiguring the candidate interview experience?
- Reframing your EVP?
- Refreshing your mission, vision, and values?
Most employer branding initiatives are fragmented. They focus on the company’s culture, the hiring process, the brand, or the promotional aspect. Of course, there are benefits to the mentioned activities. But then again, the benefits are short-term without an overview of the bigger picture. For any employer brand in 2022 to have an impact, it needs to look like a unified end-to-end framework.
Sadly, HR departments don’t have the expertise nor the time to put together such an elaborate strategy. To help streamline the process of hiring and retaining the best people, an end-to-end employer branding approach can help company stakeholders have a clearer view of what needs to be done to win the war for talent.
That’s why we have assembled a team of leading experts, consisting of employer branding expert Georgiana Ghiciuc, communications expert and bestselling author of “Unignorable” Oliver Aust, and “School of Hiring” thought leader Konstanty Sliwowski. Together, we provide an interactive approach to employer branding under the shape of a 1-month process.
Following our interactive approach, the implementation phase is up to you. But of course, we can help with that as well. It will take time, patience, and resources! However, the end result will be all worth it as you’ll have a better understanding of who you are as an organization, what type of candidates share your values, and how to become an employer of choice.