How to Build Your Employer Branding 5 Steps
By Kylee McIntyre10-Jan-2018Views 2557

employer branding

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The best software engineer ever just happens to be out of a job (a common occurrence - for one reason or another, software engineers, particularly successful ones switch jobs more frequently than the average individual). She skims different outlets and then finds it - the perfect job. It's a great fit. The company is great. The whole thing is calling her name, so she applies - to your company.

We can talk about interviews, offers, or other steps that happen later in the game, but before any of that happens, a candidate has to be attracted to your company.

What makes a company attractive? Projects, culture, and value add, definitely. But the quickest way to get these across is through employer branding, which, let's be honest, is a term used so often that it starts to sound more like chatter than a word with actual meaning.

Let's break down branding for hires - which is a little different than branding for product, for example - so that you can set your company up to attract the best candidates.

1. Know thyself

employer branding

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Some of the basic rules for an employer branding are the same as branding your company or product - you need to know who you are, what your product is, who your users are, and what makes you different from your competitors. Therefore, if you've done your homework in founding your company, then you're already part of the way to your solution.

If you have enough money, this means that you probably have a marketing department or even an outside agency who can do this work for you - but beware of answers that are too general. A peer told me recently that he left his last job after the company spent a huge amount of money on an agency that was supposed to help them define and redefine what their end users are. The million-dollar conclusion: their ideal audience were people who used the internet.

If that really is the case, that's fine, but what you're looking for is something that distinguishes you from the numerous other companies hiring for similar talent. What makes your company different? Look at quantitative traits - success markers like funding, customer numbers, salary, and benefits - but also look at qualitative traits because there is more room there to set yourself apart: your values, key themes or messages, your overall personality as a company, company culture (and the way you convey it).

2. Know your employees

Another exercise you can do is to visualize your ideal candidate. Every company wants someone who is proficient at the skills required for their position, so look beyond those to personality. Is your ideal candidate more aggressive, a do-whatever-it-takes type of personality? Or, are you looking for someone more laidback and willing to go with the flow? What other qualities would you like in an employee, and what qualities would make this person fit in well with others in the office? Don't be afraid of asking your other employees what they think - past the hiring point, they're the ones who have to work with this person every day.

Put yourself in this candidate's shoes. Now, what would entice you to apply for a job and stick through the hiring process? Think in terms of experiences, and be creative. Go beyond “transparency, unlimited time off, flexible hours, and free snacks" (though these are all good things to mention). Maybe an employee's department head doubles as a mentor, or perhaps it's common for hirees to head up a project after performing well for a year.

If you're having trouble, think beyond work - what does your company do to take care of an employee, beyond professionally? Are there monthly wellness events? Do you not mind if someone takes off a little early one day for yoga class? Work these characteristics into a job description.

Just remember - don't make it all about fun and games. Make sure a job description is in the posting somewhere and that it comes through clearly. All the great culture in the world doesn't make a difference if a candidate isn't sure what he or she is applying for.

3. Think about the future

It's easy to say good things about a company while you're working there, and while hearing from current employees can be helpful in swaying a hiree over to your side, you may also want to look to your company alumni to sell the experience.

Keeping in mind, once again, that it's very common for software engineers to change jobs after one to three years, then past employees leaving probably wasn't personal. What benefits did they experience while working at the company? How did they grow? What did they learn? How did this position better prepare them for other jobs or projects in the same space? Consider having an exit survey or asking a handful of past employees to go on record and speak about these things for future hires, who are interested not just in filling a position but in growing as a professional and person.

4. Stay consistent

The employer branding boils down to selling an experience vs. selling a physical product, but there need to be common notes between the two. Your company voice and persona should look similar in your general marketing materials and your job postings. This shows that you are secure in your identity as a company and that the team runs cohesively.

What does that mean? Well, if you have a cheeky sales pitch and a clown as your logo, you're probably going to look to inject some humor into your job postings. If you're a cybersecurity firm that sells safety and piece of mind, your hiring materials are likely to look more sleek and streamlined.

At the end of the day, you want all materials coming from the company to sound like they were written with the same tone and themes in mind. Speak to your marketing department about it, or just share your materials with a set of eyes within the company.

5. Don't lie

Honesty is the best policy. This goes without saying, but selling something and actually offering another are two different things. You can talk up your business and brand all you want, but be ready to deliver at the end of the day. Your employees are not entitled to stay, and they'll talk after they leave. Make sure that they say good things.

Additionally, if you sell your culture correctly, the chances of you hiring someone who fits that go up, which wastes less time and resources if someone turns out not to fit in.

There are plenty of factors that go into candidate search, but streamlining your employer branding will help you get a handle on things you can control so that the potential employees knocking on your door are the kind of people you want to call colleagues.

Now that you've nailed down your hiring pitch, we'll help you find quality candidates. Talent on 100offer has been curated and interviewed beforehand so that you see tech talent with useful skills who are equipped to take your business to the next level. Check out our platform and interview star hirees today.

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Kylee McIntyre
American tech, science, health, and environmental writer. Lover of scifi, fantasy, travel, and coffee. Find her on Twitter @ejkyleem.
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