When it comes to attracting top talent, branding is about more than just the company’s colour scheme and the logo: it’s about reflecting the things that make a workplace special, proving to candidates that the business is reliable and straightforward, and making the candidate feel valued.
In a competitive, continually developing jobs landscape, this makes sense. Businesses are looking to differentiate themselves in any way they can – especially as demand for skilled candidates continues to outstrip supply. Bullhorn’s annual Global Recruitment Insights & Data (GRID) report found that improving employer branding and recruitment marketing is a top priority for 28% of recruitment professionals this year. In fact, the only priority to top branding was talent acquisition, which more than one in three UK recruitment firms are setting as their main goal. The important thing to realise is that these two priorities are deeply interconnected.
To capitalise on this new opportunity and gain a competitive edge, employers are increasingly looking to recruitment experts for guidance. With that in mind, here are three key ways that recruiters can help businesses to refine and communicate their brands.
Stay on message
Building a brand is all about consistency, but this can be a challenge as candidates often view an organisation’s content across several channels and devices. Although each platform injects its own aesthetic and content requirements, thoughtful brands can adapt to the conventions of each platform without compromising their identities.
One important element of branding that transcends platform is the company’s brand voice. The company’s brand voice reveals important truths about how it views itself, its employees (including prospective employees), and its industry.
The brand voice offers a chance for informal businesses to let loose, drop the formalities, and show candidates something about their style as well as telling them. Correspondingly, more formal workplaces have the chance to show that while they may be more buttoned-up, they are still clear, straightforward, and human, rather than jargon-y and cold.
Job adverts are often the first point of contact between a candidate and a business, so the copy here is particularly important. In addition to the “must-haves” like skill requirements, the advert should include details on the culture and perks, and the entire thing should be written in a voice that reflects the business and its brand. Increasingly, recruiters are working with businesses to help them create content that stands out.
Embrace our multi-channel world
The world of recruitment spans multiple channels, and businesses that embrace this will have an advantage when it comes to attracting top talent. According to Bullhorn’s data, candidate preferences vary significantly, with 38% preferring email for recruitment contacts, 19% liking LinkedIn, and 18% asking to be contacted by phone.
Maintaining a consistent experience for candidates across these channels is a key part of branding. An organisation that can provide a smooth, stress-free experience during the recruitment process shows candidates that the company is efficient and likely a good place to work. Conversely, those that fumble the process leave a bad impression.
This is also important as candidates have more options than ever. Our recent talent survey of more than 1,000 UK workers found that half of respondents abandoned a role because the process took too long. Keeping the process straightforward and efficient not only reflects well on the company, it also keeps candidates engaged.
In addition to their use for directly communicating with candidates, recruitment channels are useful promotional tools. The practice of promoting an employer brand simultaneously across channels is called “recruitment marketing,” and it’s developing into a major trend as businesses embrace digital. Two years ago, just a quarter of GRID participants said they were undergoing a digital transformation, but in the most recent report, that number has more than tripled to 84%.
Some of the responsibility for managing the business’s presence across these channels falls to the business, and some to the recruiter. For instance, employers may be responsible for social media and website content while recruiters manage emails and posts on job boards. Coordination is key here, as inconsistent content and communications paint the picture of a disorganised brand.
Additionally, since recruiters are often further along in their own digital transformations, they are often called on to act as strategic advisors on multi-channel outreach, automation, messaging, marketing and more.
Reflect the culture
Everyone wants to work in a positive, supportive environment, and businesses that have genuinely created one can use branding to turn an internal strength into a selling point. This usually takes the form of happy existing employees praising the company’s culture on social media, job review sites, and beyond.
This network of informal advocates will extend to others with insight into the company’s culture, such as former business associates and clients. Anyone who walks away with a feeling that a company provides an equitable, honest and generally happy workplace and is willing to mention it is contributing to strengthening the brand.
Satisfaction with the business – that people can honestly say it’s a great place to work – is difficult to fake. Forced smiles and mandatory social posts are transparent and present a red flag for candidates, but the opposite signals that the business is something special.
Creating a positive, memorable brand
Talent acquisition and employer branding are two top considerations for recruiters in 2022, and a business’s brand is likely to be the next front in the ever-escalating battle for skilled candidates. Ultimately, a great employer brand isn’t a static target; it’s something that the business – and the recruiters that work with it – must continually strive to convey through every interaction.
Author: Andy Ingham, senior vice president, EMEA & APAC, Bullhorn