Employer Branding describes the way that candidates and employees perceive a company as a potential or current employer. Employer Branding is created organically by your employers through the way they speak about your company, as well as through the way your company deliberately positions itself when it comes to their Employee Value Proposition. It reflects your company values, work environment, employee benefits, work-life balance, and every other aspect of the experience of working for an organization.
Employer Branding can also be nurtured as part of a deliberate Recruitment Marketing strategy in order to increase talent attraction, make yourself stand out as a potential employer, and increase your offer acceptance rate. Think of it as PR for your company, but targeting candidates and employees. But it doesn't only apply to potential or incoming candidates. It also reflects the experience of being an employee at a company, and has a large effect on retention rate and employee satisfaction. This means that it's a crucial part of both attracting and retaining high-quality talent to your organization.
Employer Branding is important because it is the first point of contact for potential candidates and future employees. A positive Employer Brand will affect the willingness of job seekers wanting to apply for a position at your company, while a negative Employer Brand will discourage potential applicants and even decrease your offer acceptance rate.
Research shows that 75% of potential applicants actively consider Employer Branding before applying, and 86% of them check Glassdoor reviews. Even more importantly, 55% of candidates will not apply to a company with poor Glassdoor reviews.
This makes perfect sense: consider the difference between someone applying to a company that routinely receives rave reviews about the way they treat their employees, compared to someone who applies for a company known for crunch, stress, and low employee morale. A positive Employer Brand is also a handy tool for crafting an excellent Candidate Experience, since candidates start the process with a positive attitude of their potential employer.
Employer Brand is equally important when it comes to maintaining the happiness of existing employees, as it will influence the way they view the employer as well as their productivity. A happy workforce is a productive workforce, with research showing that companies with high employee satisfaction are 21% more profitable than those with low employee satisfaction. It's not as simple as running a recruitment campaign or internal message showing off your cool perks - you have to convince both candidates and employees that your Employer Branding is actually a core part of the organization.
Since so much of your Employer Brand is communicated to candidates through the way your recruitment process functions, a high-quality recruitment process can serve as an excellent way of building up your Employer Brand. If done correctly, this effect will happen across all types of candidates, including rejected candidates. According to The Talent Board, 66% of candidates say that an excellent Candidate Experience increases their chance of referring other candidates for the position, even if they were rejected.
We'll break down all the different stages of the recruitment process, and outline how you can boost your Employer Brand in each one.
The pre-application stage covers all the interactions that a candidate has with your brand before ever applying. This includes what a company puts out as part of a recruitment marketing strategy, such as tailored recruitment marketing ads, employee advocacy, brand ambassador testimonials, and other external information about what it's like to work at your company. It also includes the way that the company portrays itself, seen through the career page, an “About Us” page, and every job listing they put out. In a nutshell, this stage is the most important when it comes to building up your public image as an employer.
However, this stage can be tricky. Since your company won't be in contact with candidates yet, you have to make sure your public-facing materials reflect the strengths of your Employer Brand.
The “About Us” page is often the first place job seekers will visit when deciding whether a company is worth applying for. It is also the perfect opportunity for you to show candidates what your business stands for and help them assess whether they align with your vision, all the while building and maintaining your Employer Brand.
In today’s world, job seekers value transparency, so the more you talk about your initiatives and business objectives on the “About Us” page, the more candidates can relate to you.
When building the “About Us” page, consider mentioning:
Touching upon the above will show the human aspect of your business. After all, companies are made up of people, and placing the organization in a more human setting will make it easier for existing and potential employees to envision themselves as part of the mission.
The purpose of the Career page is to show new and potential hires what it’s like to work for your company. This is where you can narrow down your communication and focus on things like:
While the “About Us” page should highlight the “business side of things” (with a sprinkle of CSR), the Career page zooms in on the company’s culture and work environment. It’s where you show off the people behind your success and get candidates itching to click that “apply” button.
Building a strong Employer Brand requires transparency and the Career page is the perfect place to share information about the day-to-day of an employee in an engaging way. This is where you should explore different types of content and use video formats to your advantage, since job postings with a video convert 34% better than those without.
For example, featuring a couple of employees from different departments talking about their favorite things about the company or embracing the “day in the life of” trend and showcasing their daily routine. In other words, demonstrate the Employer Brand you’re building in practice through photos, videos and employee testimonials.
In addition to uncovering a little bit about company culture, the Career page is where you should tell the candidates what to expect from the recruitment process. Give them a rough timeline, outline the stages and make sure they are prepared before committing to filling in the application. This way, they can assess whether they are qualified enough to ace all the stages and you can avoid increased drop-off rates later into the process.
Your job postings are critical in shaping the public's perception of your business and, thus, your Employer Brand. After visiting your “About Us” and Career pages, this will be one of the last checkpoints before they decide whether to apply for a role at your company or not.
A well-written and inclusive job description can also be the difference between attracting the world’s best talent and those who don’t quite fit the role.
That is why you should treat every job description like a two-way street: both an opportunity for candidates to decide whether they want to work for you, as well as a way for you and the rest of the hiring team to narrow down your search and attract the candidates that tick all the boxes.
It’s a win-win situation, enhancing your hiring efficiency and improving Candidate Experience from the get-go. And we all know that a happy candidate means your positive Employer Brand is maintained.
Rule #1 when approaching the task of writing any job description? Align on expectations for the role and design a Candidate Persona to set yourself up for success from the start.
Rule #2: use the language to your benefit.
On the one hand, a clear, succinct job description, can capture the attention of the best talent and give them the exact information that they require to affect their decision-making. Bear in mind that candidates usually decide whether to proceed with a job application after just 14 seconds of reading (or skimming through) the job ad, so you need to catch the attention of the right candidates from the very beginning.
On the other hand, the better you communicate the position in the job ad, the easier it will be for you and the recruitment team to go through the applications and identify the favorites. And it sends a positive message to job seekers about your Employer Brand: you know exactly what you’re looking for and can communicate it effectively. You just scored another point in their books.
Interestingly, almost 30% of job seekers have left a new job within the first 90 days of joining the company, indicating that there has been misalignment between the Employer Brand created through the job ad, the recruitment process and the candidate.
Here are some best practices our Candidate Experience Managers recommend to our customers when advising them on writing job ads that contribute to building a strong and positive Employer Brand:
The application stage begins once the candidate clicks the “start application” button. They’re looking forward to submitting their CV and other relevant materials to be officially considered for the role, but what will they eagerly await the application page to load?
Will you ask them to jump through hoops to get them to click “submit” at the end? Should they upload a CV, a cover letter, a portfolio and fill all the information in again manually? Or is this stage just a formality; an easy way to attach all the necessary documents they prepared in advance thanks to your clear and informative job ad?
Albeit a “given”, this stage is just as important as the previous one for your Employer Brand. And it’s easy for it to go downhill from here, so make sure that you examine it closely. Especially when 4 in 5 candidates believe that the application process itself is a direct reflection of the company’s values.
Read more about our 4 Ways to Improve Your Candidate Application Process (and download a free Application Best Practice Checklist) to make this stage your competitive edge.
Bad application practices have pushed candidates to treat applying for jobs like a game or a system they have to beat. They will often read the job description and think: “I have all they’re asking for!”, but often get rejected in the first stage.
Why? Because many qualified candidates will be unintentionally set up for failure due to outdated and irrelevant job descriptions, team misalignment and a lack of direction during the application process.
When the job ad isn’t specific enough and the application stage doesn’t provide enough guidance, candidates are more likely to omit relevant skills on their resume and fall through the cracks during the screening process.
Our recent study showed that 56% of candidates find the application stage to be the most challenging part of the hiring process. Specifically, how difficult it is to understand which skills to highlight in the application and how it’s going to be assessed:
Your Employer Brand will skyrocket when all candidates feel like you’re rooting for them and giving them a chance to succeed. You can easily do this by tailoring the application process to the needs of the role or your company. This will make the application process more relevant and make the candidates feel like it’s designed perfectly for them.
For example, if you’re advertising for a role in UX Design and you require all candidates to submit a portfolio, make sure your application form supports all file formats and sizes that will allow the candidate to show their skills off in the best way.
Some would even go as far as scrapping the cover letter and using more practical ways of assessing a candidate’s fit to make the application experience that little bit relevant. Read more about it here.
Convenience in the application process is key. Not only does it provide a better Candidate Experience from the start, it also boosts your Employer Brand by showing the candidate you’re respectful of their time and that you care about their experiences.
Both passive and active job seekers are exposed to hundreds of job ads every day. They might stumble upon their dream job while sitting at a cafe, meeting with a friend or sitting on a train. And with 86% of active job seekers searching and applying for jobs on their mobile, you have to ensure clicking the “apply” button is just as convenient on a small screen, as it is on a laptop.
Convenience is built in the little things. Here’s our list of key things to keep in mind when designing your application stage to avoid losing the perfect candidate before they get to the end:
In line with convenience and relevance, the last step to make candidates light up when they begin your application process is speed. Here, the numbers make the case for speed.
As our attention spans deteriorate, 76% of candidates want to know how long it will take to complete the application even before they start the application process. So companies who are good at communicating as early as the job ad (i.e. companies with a flourishing Employer Brand) will easily get those candidates to apply.
If they’re in for a surprise, 73% of candidates say they abandon a job application if it ends up taking longer than 15 minutes. A speedy application process is key to making candidates stay and press that “submit” button at the end.
Put yourself in the candidates’ shoes here and imagine that you are asked to write a personalized cover letter, submit a CV (that you have spent at least 30 minutes adjusting to the role), put together and upload a portfolio of your work and answer 20 long-form open questions about your motivation for the role (all on top of the cover letter!). You endure the process, click submit and are left with… a generic rejection letter 2 months later.
This is a recipe for terrible Candidate Experience that is bound to be shared with 72% of the candidates’ friends and family, hurting your Employer Brand in the process.
If you set yourself and your candidates up for success in a clear job description, a CV and/or LinkedIn profile and a couple of short-form qualifying questions should be enough for your recruitment team to qualify some great candidates in the screening stage.
And we can guarantee that your application completion rates will shoot right up.
This stage is one of the most crucial ones for your Employer Brand, because it's the one where Candidate Experience really comes into play and starts to directly affect your candidate's opinions of your company.
It's also good to keep in mind that investments in this stage into areas such as Candidate Experience, will strengthen your pre-application brand. 77% of happy candidates share their experiences with friends and family, and 25% of unhappy candidates will actively tell others not to apply, strongly damaging your Employer Brand.
Your Employer Branding is most impacted by different actions within the process, as well as the way the process is concluded. Let's dive deeper into both of these and see how we can protect and strengthen Employer Brand throughout the entire recruitment process.
Employer Branding is especially vulnerable during the recruitment process itself. As we just explained, if a candidate has a poor Candidate Experience, the results can be disastrous for your Employer Brand. This is truly the moment where the rubber meets the road, and where all the work you put into your Pre-Application Employer Brand can be verified in the candidates' eyes.
Some of the best tips to maintaining an excellent Candidate Experience and improve your Employer Brand are:
Being rejected is always difficult, and doing the rejecting in a way that doesn't compromise your Employer Branding can prove to be difficult. According to our Candidate Experience Benchmark Report, feedback for rejected candidates has the largest amount of impact on Candidate Experience and Employer Branding. Thankfully, our data shows that there's a few different ways to do it in a way that will guarantee that candidates have a positive Candidate Experience, safeguarding your Employer Branding:
On the other hand, being hired is almost universally a good experience for candidates. However, there is one main area that can seriously impact your Employer Branding: the onboarding process.
Onboarding is crucial to your Employer Brand because first impressions matter, and this is where candidates can see if everything they've been promised during the application and recruitment process is true to how the company actually operates on a practical, day-to-day basis.
In fact, research shows that 70% of candidates who rated their onboarding experience as "exceptional" agree that they have "the best possible job", and are 2.6x more likely to refer to themselves as "extremely satisfied", boosting retention and increasing employee retention.
Here are some good tips to stick to when onboarding new colleagues:
More employers are starting to realize that managing your company’s reputation (i.e. creating and living up to the Employer Brand) is in their best interest. In fact, a 2023 study by Universum has shown that Employer Branding is important for over 95% of employers and for over 60% of them, it is the top priority.
As shown throughout this article, a poor Employer Brand can affect your ability to attract enough qualified candidates to successfully fill your open roles, but this is not the only way neglecting this vital step of your recruitment strategy will impact your business.
We have identified the 5 biggest areas where poor Employer Branding can negatively affect your ability to reach your company goals, both in recruitment and in overall business performance.
When job seekers consider applying for any open position, the majority will research the company before hitting “apply”. And the case for prioritizing your Employer Brand is strong because as many as 50% of candidates say that they would choose not to work for a company with a bad reputation, even if they were offered a pay increase.
On the other hand, 92% say that they would seriously consider switching jobs if the new company had an excellent corporate reputation. We think we know which company we’d rather be in this scenario.
In 2023, where 4 in 5 face difficulty finding the talent they need, you simply cannot afford to lose out on candidates due to a negative Employer Brand.
One thing is being unable to attract talent externally, but it’s a whole nother problem when your existing employees don’t believe in your Employer Brand enough to recommend working for the company to their friends and family.
Referral programs often account for increased engagement, employee satisfaction and higher retention rates. It is also quicker and cheaper to hire and onboard employees who have been referred by one of your existing team members.
So when your Employer Brand is neglected and your employees are not boasting about working for your company, the referral scheme will not bring the same results (if any).
Additionally, with word of mouth often being the most effective talent attraction strategy, your reputation will linger around for candidates, existing employees and even those who have left the company a long time ago. And the last category shouldn’t be neglected, as happy and engaged ex-employees will always put in a good word for you when necessary, even when there is nothing in it for them any more.
Talent Acquisition professionals are faced with the challenge of doing more with less resources, as the recruitment market remains tight. As a result, candidates continue to have the upper hand that allows them to be more picky when choosing their future employer.
Companies can only afford so much wiggle room when it comes to enticing potential employees to choose them over competition with higher wages, more benefits or a funky office space. That is why being genuinely candidate and employee-centric in your approach can be the competitive edge that will let your hiring team win every battle against the competition, allowing you to secure the best talent on the market.
We highlighted above that a staggering 92% of people would switch jobs for a company with an excellent reputation – the same goes for candidates not only trying to decide which jobs to apply for, but also whose job offer to accept. A positive Employer Brand puts you ahead of the competition from the get-go.
People talk. So the more you live up to the Employer Brand you build, the more positively candidates, employees and ex-employees will talk about you online. While online reviews might not seem like something to worry about with regards to recruitment, they have a huge impact on your reputation and how job seekers will perceive your company as a potential employer.
In fact, 86% of job seekers are likely to research company reviews online when deciding whether to apply for a job. That is the vast majority of candidates that you can easily win over if your Employer Brand and Candidate Experience are flourishing.
Candidates and employees forming an opinion about your company does not only impact how you’re perceived as an employer. It is important to remember that how you treat candidates and employees will also affect what they think about your business and the products/services that you offer. To put this correlation into perspective, a study has found that 96% (!) companies believe that their Employer Brand and reputation can positively or negatively impact revenue.
In some cases, it might even push people to stop doing business with you all together. In fact, it has been shown that 64% of consumers have stopped purchasing from a brand upon hearing news that they treat their employees poorly, which is a direct reflection of their overall Employer Brand.
But the financial toll this will take on your business doesn’t end here. A poor Employer Brand has been seen to have a direct impact on employee engagement, increasing employee turnover and increasing overall talent acquisition costs.
Here are some numbers to think about when deciding whether to make improving your Employer Brand a priority:
In summary, Employer Branding is the perception that candidates and employees have of a company as an employer. It is shaped by how the company is spoken about, as well as deliberate positioning in terms of Employee Value Proposition.
Building a positive Employer Brand involves showcasing company values, work environment, employee benefits, and work-life balance. The recruitment process also plays a crucial role in shaping the Employer Brand, starting from the pre-application stage with tailored recruitment marketing and clear job descriptions. The application stage should be convenient, relevant, and quick to ensure a positive Candidate Experience.
A strong Employer Brand attracts talent, increases offer acceptance rates, and influences employee satisfaction and retention. It is important because it is the initial contact point for potential candidates and affects their willingness to apply.
Research shows that candidates actively consider Employer Branding before applying and often check platforms like Glassdoor for reviews. Overall, a strong Employer Brand is essential for attracting and retaining high-quality talent.