How are you supposed to explain your company culture and employer brand to candidates who want to work for you or your company? What’s the big deal anyway? Don’t you just use a job description and a printout of the company website when you talk to candidates? Employers who don’t understand employer branding or use it as a key part of recruiting are missing out on the opportunities to impress applicants, brag about their company’s “sweet spots,” and accurately describe working conditions to build retention into the hiring process upfront.

Impress Candidates

Employer Branding is more than just the latest recruitment buzz among hiring managers and staffing partners. Handing out a job description and discussing benefits is a fast track to losing good candidates. Employer branding requires talking about the company’s concierge service for top performers, or the business casual work environment, or the monthly bring-your-dog-to-work day. Or whatever unique aspect of the organization impresses people and makes them want to work there. Whether you’re a one-person HR shop or part of a large recruiting department, incorporating employer branding and making sure your candidate is a culture fit is important.

Aspects of an employer’s culture that attract candidates include:

  • Description of the employer’s physical location. Are the offices sleek and ultra modern? Is the manufacturing plant clean and operating with the latest equipment? Is the employer located in a modern industrial complex with scenic walking paths or in an older factory area of the city?
  • Discussion of employee programs for recognition and training. Does the employer recognize top performers, or are programs targeted to motivate continuous improvements? Are there ongoing training opportunities?
  • Current employees’ input, in videos, blogs, company website, and social media. Do candidates have an opportunity to see directly that employees’ input is valued and made available? Can they see for themselves how employees feel about their work and their company?

Brag About the “Sweet Spots”

Employer branding doesn’t mean simply reciting company history, how the founder started a business in a dorm room or at the dining room table, or how big the company is. To get a candidate’s interest, employers should brag about the “sweet spots” that impact employee experience at work. Recruiters can talk up the brand-new state-of-the-art computer system, or the fleet of Mercedes S350s for top sales people, or the all-access training and advancement program. Recruiters must describe the healthy cafeteria menu, or the subsidized on-site child care center, or the brand new 24-hour company fitness center free to all employees and their families. Don’t be shy, and don’t be afraid to compare the company’s extras with similar companies in the area or in the industry. If your company doesn’t have rock-star amenities, don’t worry. Employer branding includes talking about management’s philosophy about meaningful work, or a generous paid time off policy, or how the company sponsors employee volunteer work. Effective employer branding is all about promoting the position and employer by describing what it is employees like about working there.

Build Retention into Hiring

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When recruiters use employer branding and culture fit as an integral part of the recruiting process, they are building retention into hiring by making sure candidates know what it looks and feels like to work there before they are hired. A creative type with a laid-back style who just got a programming degree probably won’t be comfortable or happy in a high-volume, high-stress IT environment. An experienced customer service representative used to a busy, high-call quota call center may not be challenged enough in a lower-volume customer service center for luxury goods.

What if you don’t have a well-defined employer brand? Don’t let that stop you from creating as accurate and descriptive a picture of the culture as possible.

What’s Your Employer Brand?

Employers and recruiters should be able to summarize their employer brand and culture in a few sentences, and talk about it in detail to bring it to life for candidates. How important is it that your candidates know about the company culture? It’s a big deal. Some companies are giving equal or more weight to culture fit as they do to skill sets. Use employer branding wisely as your secret weapon in the war for talent.


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