In a highly competitive hiring environment, recruitment systems and strategies that you’ve once relied one may no longer be effective. Defense contractor DRS Global Enterprise Solutions (GES), Inc. realized this firsthand when seeking to fill open positions with optimal candidates. The usual job board postings were not cutting it and success—characterized by increased job views and faster placement—required more than a new recruitment platform: it meant improving the organization’s employer brand.
Just as the overall brand extends beyond your logo, visual design, and messaging style, an employer brand encompasses everything that influences how prospective employees view your organization. Your reputation as a company and as an employer, as well as how you are represented across platforms, plays a significant role in the success of your recruitment program. As a result, learning how to improve employer branding for your organization can cut down on recruitment time and better capture the interest of the best candidates. Follow the four easy steps below to get on the right track.
1. Assess Your Current Employer Brand
Evaluating your employer brand and strategy is an important first step in making the changes to better attract the right job seekers. Yet in order to get the most accurate picture of how your business is perceived, you’ll need to look beyond your assumptions and even your organization. The internet offers a window into conversations about your brand that you may not hear in the office. Naturally, you’ll want to take note of any recurring negative themes that should be addressed, but also pay attention to the qualities and values that show up most often—these are great focus points for refining your employer brand. Here are a few places to begin:
- Google Alerts: As the go-to source of online information, Google can help you stay instantly up-to-date with the people who are talking about your brand and what they are saying.
- Social media: Your brand is likely the subject of at least some conversations on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter; social listening tools identify those conversations and provide an opportunity to engage in the discussion. 11% of job candidates wouldn’t consider a position with an organization that has a poor reputation on social channels, so you need to know how you are portrayed on these platforms.
- Employer review sites: The anonymous nature of sites like Glassdoor encourages freedom to express honest opinions about your organization, whether positive or negative.
Each of these sources gives you different types of information, but together they provide an important overview of your external employer brand. The insights from all of these sources should inform the strategy for improving your employer brand.
2. Address the Entire Candidate Journey
Much like marketing has shifted its focus to the consumer experience, an effective recruiting strategy is optimized with the job applicant experience in mind. Every step of the application process forms your employer brand in the eyes of these candidates, from their initial view of the job posting through either the rejection or onboarding as a new employee. Taking these steps can ensure a better candidate experience:
- Evaluate your business needs: Before posting a job opening, make sure you have a clear understanding of your organization’s most critical current needs. This step will not only allow you to find the best-fit candidates but will also improve the experience for those you hire, as their expectations will match the reality of their new role.
- Analyze the application process: Take the time to do some user testing on the process your candidates face, from start to finish. By having current employees walk through the process, you can identify areas that are unnecessarily cumbersome for employees, as well as any technical issues or common questions that arise.
- Treat rejected candidates as potential future hires: In a recent study, 65% of job seekers reported that they never received a response, making them 3.5 times less likely to apply for future positions at the same company. On top of showing respect for the time candidates put into the application process, a considerate response and follow-up with second-place applicants will create a pool of engaged professionals for future openings.
- Refine your onboarding process: Your hiring strategy shouldn’t end as soon as the job offer is accepted. The onboarding experience sets the tone for the new hire’s career within your organization. It also contributes to their opinion of the company and whether or not they will promote your business to other potential employees.
3. Optimize Your Careers Page
While potential employees may discover your company from a variety of sources, most of them will end up visiting the careers page of your website at some point in the application process. It may be the first encounter prospective applicants have of your organization and is an important part of a winning candidate experience. Not only is it where applicants can learn details about open positions, their responsibilities, and qualifications, but it can also set the expectations for the application process as well as your corporate culture. Here are a few ways to optimize your careers page for job seekers:
- Engage with employee testimonials: A candidate’s future colleagues can be great ambassadors for your brand, especially in the engaging format of video. Encourage them to share in their own words the distinctions of your culture and the qualities that make your organization a great place to work.
- Optimize for Google and mobile devices: In order to get the best potential reach for your website job listings, make sure you’ve applied appropriate SEO practices to these pages and that the content is accessible and actionable on mobile devices. Attractive, user-friendly website design is part of an effective employer brand.
- Keep your branding consistent: Career pages and job postings often become nothing more than an impersonal list of positions with their own lists of expectations and qualifications. Instead, these pages are an opportunity to showcase your organization’s personality and culture through both images and language.
4. Extend Your Job Posting Visibility
Promoting your open positions in the right locations is essential to getting those openings in front of the right candidates. This visibility is also a reflection of your employer brand, based on where the job postings appear and their content. Here are some ways to ensure that those postings get the attention of the qualified, professional applicants that you need:
- Think like a job seeker: Put yourself in the mindset of your ideal candidates and identify the websites (including job boards) and communities they are most likely to frequent. You will reach talent you might have otherwise missed as well as learn more about the language and concerns of their specific professional groups.
- Seek out niche job boards: While general job posting sites shouldn’t be automatically removed from your recruiting strategy, job sites that are either location- or industry-focused can streamline the process on both ends. Candidates can more quickly identify open positions that fit their knowledge and experience and, as an employer, you can target your recruitment efforts for better qualified and more interested applicants.
- Take advantage of social media: 92% of employers already use social sites as part of their hiring strategy—it’s an effective way to locate and, more importantly, engage with potential employees for your organization. Sharing job openings, offering a behind-the-scenes look at your company, and communicating with candidates through LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook can further develop your visibility and your employer brand using effective social media strategies.
From establishing trust to creating a constant pool of top talent, effective employer branding offers a great deal of value to your recruitment program. The steps outlined above show how to improve employer branding while streamlining the recruitment process for all involved. Great employer branding can also put you ahead of the competition in terms of identifying, engaging, and recruiting the best talent for your organization.