Employer Branding for Long-Term HR Success

Employer Branding done right

Employers who want to attract great new employees to their company need to invest time in designing an attractive career site, in writing appealing job advertisements and in selecting the right channels by which to promote the company. Ideally, these steps are just part of a wider long-term Employer Branding strategy. For every company, sustaining an attractive employer image and making it clear to candidates why they should apply, is essential to long-term HR success.

Every company needs to ask itself: in terms of HR, how do we position this company to be visible and interesting to the right candidates?

These are our values

In recent years, the balance of power has shifted increasingly into the hands of candidates. Applicants from high-demand areas in particular – for example, software development or engineering – can take their pick from a wide range of job offers.

Candidates don’t make employment decisions based purely on job criteria, on the salary or the responsibilities involved. Candidates also ask themselves whether the company in question is the kind of organisation they would like to work for.

Therefore, one of the first – and most essential – steps in Employer Branding is to clearly define what the company stands for – i.e. to clearly and convincingly communicate the company mission, vision and corporate values. In a recent interview with Factory Berlin, our CTO Manuel described it thus:

“Don’t think of recruitment as a one-way street. As much as your candidates need to present themselves and convince you of their strengths, a big part of your task is to sell your vision, get applicants excited about your idea and the role they might play in it.”

This is what makes us stand out

From a candidate’s point of view, it’s important to know why exactly they should work for your organisation. Employers have to make it clear from the outset what exactly distinguishes them from every other company.

Employers need to define their exact target group in advance and to think about who the ideal candidate might be, what would motivate them, and how to best reach them. Depending on how that ideal candidate is then defined, companies should highlight different aspects of the company, and use different channels that are suitable for the desired audience.

In 2015, a study released by Indeed showed that salary, location, hours of work, activity and working environment are the main factors that make an employer attractive to candidates. The HR Trend Study by StepStone (in German) also shows however, that each of these aspects are weighted very differently depending on the profession.

It makes a lot of sense for employers to utilise a variety of different platforms to provide access to information about jobs with their company – whether through their own career site, on a Jobspotting company profile, or through AngelList or LinkedIn. Therefore, employers shouldn’t be shy about spending time on profile maintenance.

These days, candidates are making more informed career decisions than ever. Companies represented on the aforementioned channels provide not only a comprehensive picture of their own company, but actively shape how potential candidates first experience them.

This is who we are

Providing general information is of course, essential, but it’s only clever storytelling that can provide a true experience your employer brand. Here are some basic principles:

Stay Authentic

A study by Corporate Executive Boards revealed that more than 60% of applicants are sceptical about what companies say about themselves. In other words, people don’t particularly trust official corporate communication channels. For this reason, it’s incredibly important to be open and transparent and to convey a true picture of how the company, or a particular team runs day-to-day. This means that a company should not only identify internal strengths, but should be honest enough to stand by its own weaknesses.

Candidate First

More and more often, it’s a case of candidates choosing a company, and less and less the case of a company opting for their chosen candidate. This means that companies need to move their candidate communication away from the question, or ‘why should WE choose you?!’, and instead consider what candidates really need to know about the company in order to decide whether it’s the right choice for them.

Show, Don’t Tell

A picture is worth a thousand words, as they say. This applies in particular to employer branding, images and videos on the company’s career site, but also to channels like Youtube, Instagram, Facebook etc. which offer an opportunity to show off the real company culture.

Involve your employees

Who could be better brand ambassadors than your own employees? They already know the company well, are familiar with the culture and can provide authentic experiences of what it’s really like to work for your company. Take for example the Berlin-based startup, Move24 which, as part of a campaign to recruit sales staff, asked a young sales team lead to contribute to a post on Jobspotting. Involving employees in social media communication can be really useful!

Matthias Malessa, former Chief HR Officer at Adidas aptly expressed the core of modern employer branding:

“Today, employer branding is a perception index of people inside the company that projects to the outside and says, ‘Check this out. This is how it looks here. If you think it looks good, join us. If not, we’re not for you.’”

Employer Branding isn’t a short-term measure that you can implement quickly. A wise strategy requires careful planning, good coordination between HR, marketing and communication and continuous maintenance. However, it’s really worth putting in the groundwork now – it will all pay off in the long run.

Sandra Stein

Sandra Stein

Sandra Stein is content and editorial manager at Jobspotting. From France to Luxemburg via the Ruhr Valley till Berlin – she has lived in the German Capital since 2010 and has now found the perfect rhythm for kid’n’career after engagements in a communications agency and the incubator scene. She has supported Jobspotting since end of 2014.