It’s no secret that effective Employer Branding can support the quantity of quality candidate applications. Many heads of internal resourcing are looking at developing EB as part of their recruitment strategy. I spoke with five industry leaders to get their take on how to achieve the best results in the current candidate market.

 “Employer Brand is a revolution happening on a budget and the Employee Value Proposition seems to have taken root”, said Richard Mosley, co-author of ‘The Employer Brand’ and Global SVP at People in Business.

All the people I spoke with were quite clear – developing your EB can be a great support for candidate attraction, but as Andy Hill, VP Talent & Resourcing at Invensys put it, “It’s not just about pretty adverts!” The EB you portray must be the way everyone sees working in the business. Becky Gloyne, Global Marketing Talent Acquisition Manager at Nokia went on to say, “It’s about ensuring your Employer Brand Communications Strategy is aligned with your Corporate and Consumer Brand. To do this you need to bring HR and Marketing together.”

One person who has helped numerous businesses develop their EB is Katrina Fox, Employer Brand Consultant at Peters-Fox. Katrina said, “Before you start any EB project, you need to listen. What is it like to work in your company? Ask all employees and make them feel part of it. Employer Brand is beyond attraction.”

Social Media has undoubtedly become far more important in developing and maintaining EB. ” You can be more direct, more relevant and get to audiences which may not have been easily accessible before”, said Becky Gloyne.

Wherever you are putting your message across, be it through social media channels or your recruitment website, content is key and delivering the message from the viewpoint of the employee is now crucial. “You need to socialise your Employer Brand, make it more interactive, conversational”, says Richard Mosley.  As Andy Hill sees it, “Five years ago, people looked for jobs on job boards, now there is a trend towards using search engines. As an example, we used to be on page 20 of Google for some of our jobs, now we’re ranked 12th on page 1.” Richard Mosley added, “Job content is far more variable than the type of car you might buy and for once I can see recruitment being ahead of consumer marketing.”

Lisa Wallace, who at the time of writing was Interim Graduate Resourcing Manager at Boots noted, “3 to 4 years ago, few used Facebook for recruitment. Now it’s really big.” Richard Mosley added, “inAmerica, more people get jobs via Facebook than Linkedin.” Lisa had a similar view of Twitter, “Three years ago out of 300 applicants, only a handful used Twitter and even then it was for purely social reasons. Now there’s a huge jump in the number who use Twitter to follow companies.

Andy Hill has recently led Invensys through an extensive global Employer Branding process and Becky Gloyne is doing so with Nokia at the moment. They were both of the opinion that you need to show relevant content, given from the point of view of the employee. Becky also noted, “The main thing is to be completely transparent about everything that’s going on and to be honest about what is and isn’t working”. Andy added that whilst you can’t control what everyone is writing, “You want to get the people you want to hire talking about you and then give them a great experience.”

Everyone was clear that once you’ve got candidates to apply, a great candidate experience is essential. Andy Hill reminisced that when he was with Vodafone, if they had a million applicants and only hired 4,000, the odds were that 200,000 unsuccessful applicants would be Vodafone customers, easily able to switch providers, so candidates had to feel valued and respected even if they didn’t get the job. At Nokia, Becky Gloyne ensures all relevant candidates are encouraged to join candidate communities in the form of Nokia run Linkedin groups, enabling on-going communication. For Lisa Wallace, with the upsurge in graduate applications, she ensured not only the right content was on their website, but that it would take candidates to the limit of their interest, still making them feel valued, but also giving them the opportunity to deselect themselves if they realised the opportunity was not for them.

In practical terms, it is important to measure your return on investment in Social Media. Becky has found, “There are a number of tools you can use to report on everything from activity to engagement and growth and determine which social channels are driving traffic to your website.”

As Katrina Fox sees it, “Employer Brand will be with a person from candidate throughout the entire employee lifecycle to exit,” Richard Mosley says, “The future of recruitment is about how you manage people internally over how you communicate externally – your people will do the external communication.”

Becky’s final point was that, “Your Employer Brand and Employee Value Proposition must always be evolving, just as what it’s like to work in your company is continually changing.”

In a candidate market where opinion of your Employer Brand is increasingly led by the aggregated effect of individuals commenting through social media, you have to be transparent and also lead the conversation. I was reminded of a quote by the author and speaker, Don Tapscott on how the Internet makes businesses operate nakedly, saying, “If you’re going to be naked, you’d better be buff!”

Points to note would appear to be:

  • Employer Brand comes from within and in a Social Media world, you can’t fake it.
  • Social Media is significant and you need to embrace it and use it to maintain Employer Brand and quality candidate applications.
  • Employer Brand is part of the Company Brand so HR and corporate comms need to work together.
  • Focus on Return on Investment and make sure you have the tools to measure how well your Social channels drive quality applications.

You can follow the author on Twitter @JamesChapman