The late Steve Jobs of Apple once said, “Go after the cream of the cream. A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players.” Despite the brilliance of this advice, McKinsey Senior Partners Scott Keller and Mary Meaney and authors of “Leading Organizations” reveal that 82% of companies don’t believe that they are recruiting and hiring top quality employees. Additionally, for those that do, only 7% believe that they can retain them. If your business wants to recruit top talent, you must convince these individuals that it’s in their best interest to join your company (and leave their current employers in the process). This is where having a strong employer brand can give you an edge over your competitors.
In short, your employer brand can make the difference between quality recruiting for top talent in a competitive marketplace and settling for second-tier candidates that are not the right fit for your business. While it may seem like a small difference, the cost is high. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh once said that bad hires have costed his own company “well over $100 million.” If this number is eye-popping to you, then it’s imperative to take a proactive approach. Below we detail how to hire quality employees through employer branding.
Keep an Ear to the Ground
Before rolling out an employer brand strategy, you should first take the temperature of your current company culture. Do this by sending out anonymous employee surveys and monitoring reviews on employer review sites like Glassdoor or Indeed. No one wants to work for a company that has a bad reputation, and you can be sure that any good candidate will conduct their fair share of research before even agreeing to an interview. The best way forward is to be transparent and respond to all feedback received (both positive and negative). This shows that you are listening to your current employees and are willing to make appropriate changes. Of course, you actually do have to work on implementing the changes as best as you can.
Define Your Values
While it’s important to be open to any and all feedback, realistically you can’t be everything to everyone. Once you have a general sense of the public’s opinion, you can then start building a brand that aligns with the values that are unique to your company. Ask yourself, what are the concrete elements that define you as an employer? This is where having a strong employee value proposition (EVP) is helpful. The EVP portrays the total value that your organization offers to an individual in return for their work including career development opportunities, office dynamics, work-life balance, compensation, benefits, social responsibility—the list goes on. There’s no way to spin your EVP so be sure that it’s a true reflection of what it’s like to work at your organization.
Create an Ideal Candidate Profile
Another thing to define for quality hiring is your target candidate. Create candidate personas, semi-fictional profiles of your ideal candidate, in order to attract people who are the right fit for your company. Candidate personas can include traits like work history, skills, goals, employment preferences—anything that you think factors into an employee’s success at your company. Defining your candidate persona also helps you better personalize your talent acquisition strategy which leads to higher engagement and a more positive candidate experience.
One way to create candidate personas is to interview current employees in the specific group you’re hiring to identify any skills and attributes that are common for success. Once you have gathered all the data on current successful employees, you can then accurately develop a “most likely to succeed” profile of candidates. Another way to specify your candidate is to take a page out of marketing’s book and create an empathy map. This marketing tool is a way to visualize your ideal candidate persona’s needs and wants to then better target your recruitment.
Know What Channels to Reach Them
With 79% of the U.S. population having a social media profile and 62% of job seekers using social media channels to evaluate a company’s employer brand, social media is fertile ground for sharing your company story. Building an online community on popular social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter will get your brand in front of both active and passive candidates. The latter is an especially valuable group as they make up 70% of the global workforce and are typically top performers. However, passive candidates want to know that they will love working at a new company before making the move, which is why building a connection with them through social media is so essential.
Promote Your Competitive Advantages
According to Glassdoor, 57% of candidates report benefits and perks among their top considerations before accepting a job, and nearly 80% say they would prefer new perks over a pay rise. While you first and foremost need to provide the bread-and-butter benefits to applicants such as medical insurance, a 401(k) plan, and PTO, the best candidates are often interested in other things like career development and leadership roles. If your business promotes internal growth opportunities, be sure to showcase that as it shows your investment in your employees’ professional aspirations. Laying out clearly defined advancement paths can help high-achieving employees envision their growth at your company and motivate them to set their own goals.
Of course, secondary benefits like flexible work hours, unlimited PTO, and free meals, can also attract top talent away from competitors.
Leverage Current Employees
The 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals that one in three people don’t trust their employer. In the same survey, results show that employees trust their peers more than CEOs when it comes to company information. This isn’t too surprising given the countless numbers of corporate scandals that have occurred over the years. Employees understandably are no longer placing their faith on the people running corporations, but instead giving their allegiance to fellow employees.
The employee voice has never been stronger, which is why you should involve your current employees in promoting your employer brand. There are many ways to do this. You can create a company hashtag for your employees to use when posting on social media, and encourage them to write reviews on Glassdoor. You can also set up an employee referral program for employees to refer qualified friends and family and earn rewards. As Ernst & Young Global Recruiting Leader Dan Black states, “Referral candidates perform better and stay longer.” With attracting quality candidates as the number one challenge for 76% of hiring decision makers, the need for employee referrals cannot be overlooked.
Provide a Positive Candidate Experience
Just because you’ve successfully attracted a candidate at one point doesn’t necessarily guarantee that it will stay that way. In fact, 83% of talent say a negative interview experience can make them change their mind about a role or company they once liked. On the flip side, 87% of talent say a positive interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once doubted. This “pre-candidate experience” is especially delicate for top candidates because they may have other options at their fingertips that are offering them a better experience. Give timely updates to candidates and go the extra mile even if you don’t end up hiring them. To ensure that you’re continually improving your process, consider asking candidates informally, or more formally via a survey, for their feedback.
To better recruit and hire quality employees, it’s important to build, maintain, and promote a quality employer brand. Our best practices will help you stand out and know how to find good employees in a competitive market.