7 reasons your branding is hurting your hiring efforts–and what to do about it.
Hiring issues are a common problem even in the best of markets. Perhaps you’re not attracting quality employees. Maybe you’re having problems convincing the best and brightest to choose you over another employer. Wherever your hiring hiccups are found, you’ve probably thought: “Maybe we’re not paying enough” or “There’s not enough good talent out there.” Is the solution really found in bigger paychecks and better PTO? Not necessarily. The answer may lie in a place you hadn’t thought to look: Your branding.
Despite how commonplace the word “branding” has become, many companies don’t fully understand its role or the impact it can have. And not just on your bottom line, but in attracting and retaining employees.
Today we’re giving you 7 reasons your company’s current approach to branding may be hurting your efforts to attract top talent. We’ll also give you some guidance on what to do about it. Let’s dig in….
#1 You think your “brand” is your logo
Here’s a quick shorthand for understanding the incredibly important relationship between the a logo and a brand: Your logo is a crucial part of a whole. Your brand IS that whole.
Your logo is the visual signature that represents the essence of your company. When done right, it influences perceptions about your company, aids brand recognition and sets you apart from companies. But it’s just one visual element of a much broader picture.
Your brand shapes the entire experience a candidate has—and can expect to have— with your company. It’s a promise communicated through every interaction they have with you: your logo, website, business cards, print materials, social media, your environment …even a phone call or email.
When every element consistently communicates a strategic message, you help candidates understand who you are, how you are different and why they should trust you. But when elements of your brand are neglected—your website is outdated, your logo is poorly designed and doesn’t properly differentiate you, the content on your website or social media pages isn’t engaging, etc.— you’re sending the wrong message. A confusing message. It tells someone, “we’re not exactly sure who we are or why you should care about us.”
From an employer standpoint, take stock of every interaction candidates have as they research your brand. Ask yourself, “Is this helping or hurting our efforts? Would I want to work here based on what I’m experiencing?” Your answers will guide you to areas where you can shape a more consistent, engaging brand experience.
#2 You designed your website yourself (or it looks like you did)
79% of job seekers visit websites when considering a job. But merely having a website isn’t enough. As with the other elements of your brand, you ensure your website is sending the right impression and making a candidate’s experience a positive one by asking some important questions:
— Is your website screen-responsive and mobile-friendly? 45% of job seekers will view your website on a mobile device. Requiring people to manually zoom in to read text won’t cut today. Pages that get cut off as people resize their screens cause frustration and eye-rolls. Eliminate frustration and confusion by ensuring your website is screen-responsive and mobile-friendly.
— Does our site say “up to date” or “out of date?” When people see an outdated, old-school website, it creates the same perception of your company. Your site should reflect a current, best practices-based approach. Look for opportunities to increase engagement through interactive elements. And pare down your copy to suit today’s limited attention spans.
— Is the site professionally designed? Professional designers bring the training and experience to ensure your brand is represented professionally, your design has maximum impact, and your content is laid out effectively. Resist the urge to “DIY” it. Investing in how you present yourself shows you value your brand in the same way you are asking candidates to.
#3 You’re not using social media for employment
79% of people are likely to use social media as part of their job search. Being thoughtful about HOW you use these platforms is as important as being on them in the first place. Many companies actively use sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. But most use them solely for customer-related efforts. This ignores talented people considering a job with you company. They are seeking a glimpse into what makes you special as an employer.
As part of your social media strategy, plan and schedule content that specifically targets employees. Regularly posting cultural highlights, employee profiles, job openings, job fair announcements and more builds your employer brand and engage this crucial audience.
#4 You’re talking to potential employees like they’re customers
Learning what a company does is a crucial part of researching a job and a company. Most companies have plenty of content on their website and social media about what they do, who they serve, and what jobs are open. But if that’s as far as the story goes, and a candidate doesn’t understand what you can do for them, they will move on.
Recognize that potential employees are a key audience for your company. Create content speaking to their needs and answering their questions as you do for your customers. Ease up on the corporate boilerplate. Job descriptions should be as much about what you offer them as what you want them to do for you. Be engaging. Be persuasive. Remember: To attract true talent, you need to sell yourself to them, too!
#5 You can’t easily answer “why should I choose a job with you over X?”
Most jobs are not commodities. The best talent have choices of where they want to work. In fact, 76% of seekers want details on what makes your company an attractive place to work! Have you thought about how to convince them to choose you?
This is the heart of Employer Branding — defining the unique characteristics and value of your company that convince someone to choose a job with YOU over another company.
Answering that question in compelling way requires a strategic exploration of your goals, strengths and weaknesses, unique differentiators, competitor positioning, your target audiences and their perceptions and more. This gives you a blueprint for targeting and engaging the types of employees you want, rather than simply taking what comes in from a job board.
#6 Your careers page is just a list of jobs
Simply listing your open jobs on your careers page (if you even have a careers page)— or kicking someone out to an external portal or site, misses an important opportunity to sell your Employer Brand. Candidates visiting site are looking for proof. They want to be convinced you are worth trusting their career to. If they are merely met with a list of jobs and an application form, that leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Not to mention a higher chance they will be enticed by another company that does a better job of branding.
The staggering percentage of job seekers checking out your site provides a rare gift: a willingly captive audience! Take advantage of that by creating a careers page providing insight into your culture and the things that make you a special employer. The most effective pages go beyond a list of benefits. They include things like employee testimonials, job profiles, photos and videos, employment differentiators, core values and more.
#7 You lack consistency and connectivity
Nothing short-circuits someone’s perceptions of your company faster than mixed messages. Their understanding of what your brand stands for goes out the window if they get one impression from what they see/hear on your website…only to get a different set of messages from the HR team…which gets worse when an external recruiting partner delivers their interpretation of what your company is about.
Make a clear, authentic and effective impression on a candidate by presenting your brand in a consistent and interconnected manner. Just as your corporate brand elements should maintain a consistent look and feel—your website, logo, marketing collateral, etc.—you must maintain that same consistency between your corporate brand and your employer brand.
The writing style on your careers page, the tone of your social media content, the design of your recruiting and orientation materials, the communications from your recruiting partners—everything should be in lock-step if you want candidates to truly believe in who and what you are.
Grey Search + Strategy believes that the greatest fit between candidates and companies is found by going beyond resumes and references. We explore that grey area for a more strategic approach on what impacts your hiring and recruiting efforts. If you’re ready for an expert recruiting partner with a better approach to delivering stronger candidates and better results, drop us a line today!