Recruiting employees is a lengthy, and often exhausting, process. It also tends to be quite costly. Even if you aren’t paying for listings or a software to help you qualify applicants, the hours and effort spent equate to real money.
Whether you’re looking to fill a position quickly or waiting to find a perfect fit for a new role, having a strong brand to attract top talent can ease some of the pain points of recruitment. A strong brand inspires motivation and loyalty within its existing employees, and when job prospects see a positive company culture, they are more likely to apply.
So how do you create a strong brand for recruitment? Start by asking yourself the following:
- Have you defined your mission, values, and vision statement, and are they used throughout your company?
- Are your current employees brand advocates?
- Is your brand honest, transparent, and consistent?
- Is your brand aligned with the types of applicants that you’re looking to attract?
If you aren’t able to quickly answer these questions with a simple “yes,” or there is too much grey area for everyone to agree, then chances are you could use a fresh look at your internal marketing and branding.
Hone your mission, vision, and values statements
If you don’t have a clear mission statement, a defined set of values, and an aspirational vision—or the three are outdated—it’s probably time to revisit these items. Your mission, vision, and values are three brand identity pieces that, when lined up with employees’ actual experiences within the company, can have a resounding impact on loyalty. What’s more, these pieces can help guide your business decisions at every level, from sales to HR.
Involve all of the employees in the process of creating or modifying these statements. When everyone has a say, the impact is that much more powerful. The statements should be transparent, display your unique value-add, and create a position that all employees can stand behind. When you have employees aligned with your mission, vision, and values, you’re able to create brand advocates who are outwardly proud of where they work. You’ve essentially set yourself up with some free advertising (more on that a little further down).
Strong brand positioning can be the deciding factor for job candidates. In the same way consumers are drawn to brands that align with their values, applicants consider the same attributes when looking for a place to work.
Recognize your employees are helpful brand advocates
Whether or not you realize it, your business’s most vocal proponents or detractors are your employees. For that reason, it’s important to ensure that your employees feel like they have a stake in the business and can stand behind its products or services. Whether by word of mouth or through platforms like Glassdoor and LinkedIn, applicants have many opportunities to learn about your company and its culture straight from the source.
Because your current employees act as brand ambassadors, their perspectives can greatly influence an applicant’s decision to apply or accept a position. You can create the strongest representatives of your brand by having a set of defined values that guide employees through the work they do, which, in turn, will align them with the goals of the company. Motivate your employees to believe in their work and amplify the purpose of the business.
Be consistent and transparent
Your internal tools will create the basis for everything that is external. Once you’ve laid the foundation on which your company presents itself, you can start to implement these principles into all facets of your external brand. When presenting your company, consistency is key. Having a seamless experience across all platforms is extremely important when it comes to recruitment.
Brand consistency gives you credibility as a professional establishment because, let’s face it, the most popular companies we know and love are consistent at every level. Successful companies like Starbucks have consistency through their branding from top to bottom. If you’re in a major city, you know you can find one of their locations where the decor is similar to all other Starbucks locations, the menu is the same, and the way you are greeted might even be very similar. This consistency not only creates repeat customers, but it also draws in employees. Every Starbucks location has an employee development program; the company also encourages their staff to post to social media on their behalf, which creates a unified internal company culture while creating external brand advocates. Secondly, consistency helps to create expectations for applicants.
When an applicant sees your advertisement, reads your job posting, explores your website, calls to gain more information, and has an interview and interacts with your team, a uniform brand is the best way to build a sense of consistency. When all those touch points are consistent, it helps to effectively convey the whole story of how your company operates and what it’s like to work there. You’re more likely to hire an employee who truly knows what they’re getting into — and is more likely to actually be a good fit.
Think of it this way: If you market your company as an open, collaborative, and fun environment and the applicant walks in for an interview to see all of your employees looking miserable with their heads down and doors shut, that’s an immediate red flag.
Your digital curb appeal matters.
Consistency and transparency will save you money in the long run. If you’re honest about the position and company culture, your and your new hire’s expectations will be in sync, and you’ll spare yourself the time, effort, and money that goes into training someone new only for them to realize it’s not a good fit a few weeks down the road.
Attract the right applicants
Finally, look to highlight the features of your company that will attract the candidates you’re looking for. What are some unique benefits that you offer as a company? Make sure your brand materials are conveying those messages properly. If you’re hard-pressed to find those highlights, it may be time to reevaluate what you’re offering to your employees. What do your competitors offer? What are some industry leaders offering to attract their candidates?
Strong brands are always evolving and looking to improve themselves in their values, work, and culture. If you are consistently examining your brand, the stronger it will become, and the easier it will be to attract top talent.