Worst practices for employer branding

Post by
Phil Strazzulla
February 18, 2016

We don’t want to call any specific companies out because that’s not how we roll. But, we did want to point out a few worst practices in employer branding that we believe are hurting companies and, in some cases, costing them millions of dollars.The goal here is not to rehash the fact that you need a mobile friendly careers page. If this is news to you…well I’m not quite sure what to say. The goal is to take rationalizations that many of us make and shed light on why this sort of thinking is hurting our ability to recruit top talent. Anonymity has been applied to protect the innocent and guilty alike.“We have a 2 min video that a company put together for us which shows off our company’s culture” Some of these videos are great, like the new GE careers commercials. But, 90% are terrible, as Fiverr points out (no offense). Ask your employees what they’d think of your culture video. Typically, these lack authenticity, details on what a job is like, and are full of quick cuts and stock background music. They’re probably also full of people who have left your company since there is no way to easily update these. Just remember, ten people repeating “this is a great company” is not a compelling pitch to a savvy candidate.“We only want candidates who understand that we are a great place to work from our current site”This quote came from someone who’s website is literally impossible to navigate. I’m not even sure there are links to their career page, I could only get to it from a Google search.If your current site is a maze that lacks any real information around your EVP, please don’t delude yourself into thinking it’s a fun challenge for talent to decipher. You are losing the best people who value UX (this is why mobile friendly pages are important), and their time. Would I buy a bicycle online if it took me 20 mins to figure out if I could go off road on it? No. I’d just go to the next website.“We sell candidates once we are in the room with them through the interview process”You may very well have a strong sales pitch once a candidate is in the room with you...so why not broadcast this online? Otherwise you’re going to lose half of your talent funnel because your careers page is devoid of information, your job postings are 5 years old, and your social media has no “life at our company” related content. Here’s the point, many people won’t make it to the face to face because they aren’t finding what gets them excited about working at your company! This is especially true in a world where the average candidate researches a company for 2 hours before applying.Let’s say you do get the person you want in the room. Now you’re giving the pitch, explaining your EVP, and sharing what it’s really like to work at your company. All of a sudden, the candidate has a very clear picture of life at your company. The problem is, this isn’t what they interpreted from your job description, and they aren’t interested anymore. You just spent a lot of time and money taking them through the process when they would have wanted to opt out at the get-go (and by the way, you want them to opt out if that’s the case!)“Branding is important, but we need to source candidates ASAP and are focused there” The reality is that almost everyone in talent acquisition is under resourced these days. And so, I ALMOST feel bad putting this in here. Almost…We know from LinkedIn that your cost per hire can fall 50% through a strong brand. This is because the money you spend on Indeed, LinkedIn, etc is AMPLIFIED by your branding. The person who sees your job post, or gets your Inmail is going to research your company. The right branding means they are now a candidate in your funnel instead of another person ignoring you...now you can fill that req!I know that branding is an overwhelming concept and it seems like the payback period is long. But, the reality is that the right content, even just an employee blog post about working in a given group, can have a massive impact on your ability to source talent. My advice - take 2 hours next week and mark them on your calendar to work on branding initiatives.“This is something we’re thinking about for 2018 and are developing a strategy over the next few quarters” We get it, telling your story is overwhelming and this is a new skill set. Marketing wouldn’t learn compliance and payroll any faster. However, you are now part of a special breed of company that will be a last adopter and suffer the consequences through increased time to fill and cost per hire.Imagine if Pepsi spent money on marketing but Coke didn’t. Coke would go bankrupt. The companies who figure out their talent brand and how to promote it will win while other struggle to adapt. Don’t be a last adopter.In the end…I really hope this wasn’t too depressing, and that only one of these (at most!) applies to you. I also hope this was a counterbalance to the way that you’re currently thinking through this challenge, if you need it.Actually, what I really hope is that you found this to be a hilarious article and are loving that so many people in HR are struggling to adapt to marketing tactics as you continue to lower your cost per hire and time to fill. If that’s the case, nice work!These worst practices originally appeared in our employer branding ebook.