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Brand or Be Branded: Recruitment in 2017

A common theme shared by many recruitment industry experts is the value in developing a strong employer brand. It is a reflection of the organisation’s personality and the way in which it is perceived by current and potential employees.

Hiring the best talent in 2017 will present challenges for employers as job seekers have greater access to information about the job market and are spoilt for choice. Increased expenditure on recruitment campaigns may aid short-term attraction of new talent but employers will lose out on the best talent to firms with stronger brands. Employers need to do a lot more than just dangle higher salaries, more flexible hours and referral bonuses to differentiate themselves from the competition. In a LinkedIn survey of over 150 corporate talent acquisition leaders across Australia, 84% identify employer branding as the number one area where they wish they could invest more.

According to Kim Cassady, director of global talent at Cornerstone OnDemand, there are four core strategies for developing a strong employer brand.

1. Create a culture that is vibrant and attractive to job seekers. This may require a revision of the organisation’s on-boarding process, training, support networks, benefits and even how the employee makes an exit. For example, Google offers employers free rental cars to run errands and free access to gyms. The perks don’t have to be as costly as Google but remember even small gestures can add up in the eyes of current and future employees.

2. Tap the company’s best asset. A company’s most effective brand advocates are its current employees and they should be involved in the recruiting process. They can write blogs or introduce themselves on the company’s website and raise the company’s successes at networking events. Companies are ten times more likely to hire a referred candidate than other applicants.

3. Keep up appearances. As obvious as it may be, setting up a LinkedIn company profile and keeping the company website updated goes a long way in engaging with external stakeholders.

4. Differentiate yourself. Companies that appear similar to their competitors have a harder time recruiting top talent based on factors other than compensation. Organisations who use adjectives to define themselves as ‘innovative’ and ‘empowering’ are doing little other than to covet a common set of shared attributes as their own. These descriptions are tired and overused. Google does not use such adjectives in its tagline – ‘do cool things that matter’ - yet it retains its position firmly at the top of the most desirable companies to work for list.

Take home message:

Getting the employer brand right and promoting it to job seekers is the key to attracting top talent, reducing recruitment costs in the long run and retaining quality staff as positive advocates. However, Rome wasn’t built in a day and the same could be said about developing an employer brand. Applying the four core strategies listed above will set you on the right path.

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