Like most stuff I write, I try to break down things in HR and TA that we make way more complicated than it really is. We’re just hiring people, and trying to get the most out of our employees that we can. We aren’t launching the space shuttle or performing brain surgery. This stuff really isn’t that complicated.
I asked some of the most brilliant minds in the space and they gave some great advice, tips, and tricks. Some started to get deep into the weeds, but most gave ideas that were simple in nature to execute. There was basically one theme for each function, employment branding, and recruitment marketing:
Employment Branding at its core is your organization just telling your stories to candidates.
Not made-up stories of what you want people to think about you, but your real employee stories. Simple, straightforward, this is who we are and why we love who we are. Some will love you, some will not. The best EB does just that, allows people to choose, so they don’t make a bad cultural fit choice.
Recruitment Marketing at its core is ensuring your stories get in front of candidates in a way and time they would like to consume those stories.
So, it’s less “We’re a great company to work for!”, because everyone says they’re a great company to work for. No one says, “Hey, we’re a better than average company to work for!” Even though, that’s probably the real truth.
There is a piece of this, though, that I think the true employment branding experts are missing.
As consumers, we are all mostly dumb. A company tells us they have the best most reliable cars and then they tell us this over and over a million times, and we believe that those cars are the best and most reliable. We actually don’t do any research to find out if these cars are actually the best and most reliable. We got ‘marketed’ to.
Recruitment marketing can work in the exact same way. Put enough content out saying you’re the employer of choice, and people will recognize you as an employer of choice. The reality is the difference between a ‘true’ employer of choice, and an organization that is not an employer of choice is pretty small. Small, like, most people wouldn’t see any differences.
Most employers are stuck in the middle of delivering a fairly stripped-down basic employee experience. We all offer basically the same thing for all candidates. Thus, there’s a great opportunity for marketing to tell people we ‘actually’ offer a ‘better’ experience. Say it enough times and people will believe it.
I know my EB expert friends will say this isn’t being transparent and once the candidates get hired they’ll realize it’s not an exceptional experience. But, this is also mostly bullshit. Most people don’t realize it. They’ll get hired. They’ll go to work. They’ll be super excited about the new job. They’ll post a pic on IG. Life continues. One day, three years from now, they’ll wake up and think nothing. They won’t think either way about your company from the last company.
There are like 3 actual companies that offer up this ‘unicorn’ level employee experience that can actually match your brand. The reality of employment branding is far less sexy and fun than we make it out to be. Our stories are uniquely our own, and yet, very similar to those stories of every other employer.
I love your stories, but don’t discount the power of marketing will have on candidate behavior.
Replying to Dan P.
I think one item you mentioned is key…everyone is in the loop, prepared and on the same page. That goes for all involved who work for the company and the candidates. Its successful when everyone is doing their part successfully. Great point made!
If I think back to the times that I’ve been on the market and interviewing at places and what was important to me it was pretty simple. A decent interview loops.
I know the branding is a lie. It’s cherry picked moments that are scripted and re-scripted and turned into that video, that ad, that email note to show off the best possible scene of your company.
Just like the references I give you that you ask for.
The appeal factor to me?
Everyone shows up to the interviews on time and prepared
Things get scheduled quickly
People are responsive on email
Everyone in the interview loop actually understands the job being filled and they are all on the same page.
You don’t ask me what my spirit animal is.
Seems like an overly basic list and you’d think I was being just a basic, simple dude.
But most companies can’t do them.