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What Is Employer Branding and Why Is It Important?

We all know what branding means in terms of marketing: it’s your company’s identity and what distinguishes your business from others in the eyes of customers. You could even say your branding is the “promise” you make to your customers — it tells them exactly what they can expect from your company.

But branding isn’t just about marketing to customers. Your business should also be marketing to prospective employees as part of a successful recruitment strategy. So we’ve decided to answer some FAQs about employer branding. 

What is employer branding? 

Your employer brand is your business’ reputation as a place to work as seen from job seekers’ perspective. In other words, it doesn’t just matter if you think your business is a great place to work – does your target applicant pool think of your business as a great place to work?

Why is employer branding important?

A CareerPlug survey of recent job seekers found that: 

  • 24% of candidates left a negative review online after having a negative experience in the hiring process.
  • 44% of candidates left a positive review online after having a positive experience in the hiring process.

When you consider that more than half of job seekers abandon their pursuit of a company after reading negative reviews, it becomes clear why having a stellar reputation is crucial for your company’s recruitment success.

How do you create an employer branding strategy?

1. Create an exceptional candidate experience.

The number one factor that affects employer branding is the candidate experience – the experience a candidate has with a potential employer throughout the hiring process, from job posting to job offer. 

As we mentioned earlier, job seekers are not shy about posting both positive and negative reviews online about a company’s hiring process. Invest the time in creating a positive candidate experience from start-to-finish if you’d like to be in control of your employment brand.

We found that 50% of job seekers in our survey had declined a job offer due to poor candidate experience. From an employer’s perspective, that means if you’ve created a negative candidate experience, you have a 50% chance of losing your first choice of candidates. Don’t lose out on great hires for something that’s within your ability to control! 

Pro tip: It’s important to maintain a positive candidate experience for all applicants – whether you hire them or not. For example, don’t “ghost” candidates you’ve rejected. Instead, send a polite message informing them that they haven’t been selected to move forward in the hiring process.

Check out the video below from CareerPlug’s Director of HR, Natalie Morgan, to learn more about creating a great candidate experience.

2. Build a compelling careers page.

Your careers page is the hub of your employer brand. It’s your opportunity to educate potential candidates about your company’s culture and core values

A candidate who visits your careers page should get a clear sense of what it’s like to work at your business. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your job posting is the only thing a candidate needs to see before deciding to apply.

careers page example

An applicant who takes the time to research a role and apply directly through a company careers page is more likely to have spent time considering their own fit for the position and company. This means that higher quality candidates are applying through careers pages.

In fact, in a recent CareerPlug study on recruiting metrics, we found that an applicant who applied directly from a company careers page was 23 times more likely to be hired than an applicant who applied from a job board.

Learn more about what makes a compelling careers page in the video below.

3. Showcase employee testimonials.

Employee testimonials are examples of social proof because they can act as signals to job seekers that yours is a company they want to learn more about. 

Remember that the best candidates will always have the freedom to be picky about where they choose to work. Seeing that other professionals have positive things to say about working for you can help nudge them toward applying. 

Try to add employee testimonials to your existing recruitment marketing efforts. For example, you can show off employee testimonials on a careers page, or you could create graphics with employee testimonials and share them on your business’ social media pages.

If you have the ability, consider creating video employee testimonials to make the most compelling content for job seekers, like this video from CareerPlug client Hand & Stone.

4. Ask for employee reviews on company review sites.

Job seekers now commonly spend significant time researching a company’s reputation on employer review sites like Glassdoor and Indeed. 

Keep in mind that in addition to publishing reviews written by your current and former employees, these employer review sites also publish reviews from candidates who have been through your interview process – whether you hired them or not. Again, this is why it’s so important to put your best foot forward with all candidates and be courteous in all your interactions.

Still, the most meaningful reviews will come from your employees who love working for you. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of periodically reminding your employees that they have the option to write your company a review on Glassdoor if they’d like. Let them know that it’s a great recruitment marketing tool and that their positive reviews can help attract great new additions to your team.

5. Increase retention of existing employees. 

Your existing high-performing, happy employees are the best ambassadors for your employment brand, which is why the best recruiting strategy is to do everything you can to keep them! 

Low turnover and long-term employee retention can serve as proof to candidates that you’ve created an exceptional place to work. Of course, achieving this is easier said than done.

Some of the most effective retention strategies include:

  • Invest in enticing benefits. Think of benefits as an investment in your growth. Benefits signal to employees that they are valued and that your business is committed to caring about your people.
  • Be generous with recognition and appreciation. Benefits can be expensive, but being a thoughtful leader who expresses appreciation for your employees is free!
  • Develop growth paths or career tracks and talk about them as part of your interview process. Highly motivated candidates will often turn down a job that pays more if they see a clear long-term path to growth at your company. 
  • Develop an employee referral program. Studies show that employee referrals stay longer at a company than candidates hired from other sources.

Our advice

Hiring managers tell us that one common pain point is a lack of high-quality applicants in their hiring funnel. Knowing that the best candidates do their homework and research companies before applying, we recommend investing the time to improve your employer brand now to make sure you’re not losing out on a great potential hire. Speak with a hiring expert at CareerPlug today to see how we can help boost your recruitment efforts.

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