How to Create an Employer Brand That Attracts Top Talent

It takes a specific type of person to succeed — to thrive — inside your company, doesn’t it?

Beyond the basic qualifications to do the job, it’s those intangible personality traits that make the biggest difference. And when you meet the candidates who fit the mold, you just know it. You feel it. You know they will be the impact hire you’ve been looking for.

So how can we get more of those ideal candidates to apply for your open positions?

The secret lies in your employer brand. Every company has one, whether it was built intentionally or not. It’s the reputation your company has as an employer.

Developing your employer brand

When your employer brand is built strategically, it’s deeply attractive to the type of person who will thrive inside your culture and help propel your company forward. When they encounter your on-brand recruitment communication, they feel like they’ve finally found the perfect fit.

To reveal your unique and compelling employer brand, we should take a closer look at these four areas:

  • Your culture
  • Your ideal candidates
  • Your employment competitors
  • Your corporate brand

Your Culture: What it’s like to work at your company

Understanding your company’s culture is one of the first steps in uncovering your unique employer brand. What’s the overall mood or climate? How do people communicate and connect with one another? What are the common behaviors, habits and attitudes among employees?

This gives you a true and accurate picture of what it’s like to work at your company. Here are a few examples:

  • We look out for one another and go the extra mile to help each other.
  • We welcome different perspectives and new ideas.
  • We’re always looking for ways to improve.
  • We’re determined and we do whatever it takes to get the job done right.

Your ideal candidates: The people uniquely suited to help your company succeed

Next, you’ll need to know what makes your best employees tick. Think of the top performers who are currently working at your company — the people who love their work and fit into your culture perfectly. What do they enjoy about working there? Why did they decide to work for your company? What makes them stay?

This gives you a clear picture of what is most appealing to the type of people you need to recruit — your ideal candidates. Here are some examples:

  • Having opportunities to work in a variety of roles
  • Wowing our customers and seeing their reactions of joy and gratitude
  • Having a chance to work on their own “pet” projects
  • Being trusted with tackling the toughest challenges or solving the hardest problems

Now that you have a thorough understanding of your ideal candidates, you have a blueprint for attracting the people who fit that mold. What are they looking for in their next role? Beyond the tangible and functional benefits like pay, insurance coverage and time off, what gives them a sense of purpose and fulfillment?

This shows you the higher-level emotional benefits your ideal candidates are attracted to.

Here are some examples:

  • Working for a competitive company that is focused on being the top performer in their industry
  • An opportunity to be heard and the ability to share ideas to help the company improve or grow
  • Confidence that the company is stable, financially healthy and unlikely to lay off employees
  • Being part of a friendly culture and a close-knit “work family”

Your competitors: Identifying your competitive edge

After you have a thorough understanding of your ideal candidates, it’s time to study your competitors. Which companies do you compete with for employees? Based on your deep understanding of the ideal candidates, what are your competitors failing to deliver?

These answers expose your competitive advantage as an employer. Here are some examples:

  • Our company is focused on winning in the marketplace and beating competitors, but our employment competitors are comfortable with lagging behind.
  • We encourage front-line employees to share ideas with senior leaders, but the employees working for our competitors are afraid to speak up.
  • While we continue to add positions, our employment competitors have a history of financial trouble and layoffs.
  • Our company is known for being a place where employees are helpful and kind to each other, but our employment competitors have a reputation as being toxic places to work.

Your corporate brand: The value employees help to deliver

The final lens to look through for discovering your employer brand is your corporate brand. What’s your company’s brand promise — the commitment to the by doing business with you?

These answers reveal the skills and traits employees need to have to help your company meet its most important business goals. Here are some examples:

  • We engineer remarkable moments that become your most cherished memories.
  • Our passion for innovation powers our people to find better methods for treating patients.
  • As a family-owned business, we believe in treating all our customers like they’re our next-door neighbors.
  • We deliver packaging solutions that are safer, smarter and more convenient.

Now that you have a clear view through each of these four lenses — culture, ideal candidates, competitors and corporate brand — you have the complete picture of your unique employer brand.

Using your employer brand for recruiting

Once your employer brand is revealed, you can begin applying it to all aspects of recruitment.

It can be used to guide decisions for everything from what to list in a new job posting and the wording to use on your company’s careers webpage to crafting content on your Indeed profile and the script for your next recruiting video.

And, because it’s built to resonate specifically with ideal candidates, your employer brand also helps to reduce the number of unqualified candidates who apply for your open positions.

Instead, you’ll be recruiting more people who will thrive inside your culture, help your company grow and love the work they do.

Jessica Walter, M.S., APR, oversees the Internal Communication & Employee Engagement Strategy practice for JPL, one of the Mid-Atlantic’s largest integrated marketing firms. Reach her here:

[Photo credit: shutterstock]

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