How to talk so right-fit hires will listen: Articulating your unique employer brand

Published: 03/24/23

Your company already has an employer brand, whether you realize it or not. Reviews (both positive and negative) from websites like Glassdoor and Google, as well as word of mouth from current and former employees, all shape the perception of your brand in the marketplace.

illustration of employees, computer screen and a megaphone

It’s up to you to take charge of this perception — your employer brand — and use it to your advantage to attract right-fit hires. Because how well you communicate your unique employer brand is directly tied to the quality of your candidate pool and, ultimately, your employees.

Below we’ll dig into why employer branding matters and how to jumpstart your own employer brand to support your talent acquisition initiatives.

The definition & benefits of effective employer branding

Your employer brand is your company’s reputation as a place to work. Just like a person’s individual reputation, your company has its own employer brand whether you manage it or not. If you do work to define and articulate your employer brand, there are tons of benefits from a talent acquisition standpoint.

A positive employer brand can draw in more qualified potential employees. The best candidates understandably want to work for companies that are known for their good character and will seek out employers with defined, respected brands.

That’s just one of a long list of reasons to focus on perfecting your employer brand. An effective employer brand can:

  • Allow your company to shine in the saturated hiring environment. We don’t need to tell you that attracting (let alone retaining) top talent is competitive. You’ll take every leg up you can get, right? A stand out employer brand can help you, well, stand out.
  • Reduce the length of the hiring process. Your brand is a decisive factor throughout a candidate’s hiring journey. If they vibe with your brand, they’re more likely to apply and accept swiftly.
  • Save you money. Prioritizing employer branding more efficiently attracts and activates quality candidates via your careers website, conserving funds you might have spent on pricey job boards.
  • Free up your time. Your employer brand can serve as the foundation for all of your recruiting campaigns, informing the language you use to discuss your company without starting from scratch. Your articulated employer brand also becomes a training resource and touchstone for recruiters you use.
  • Aid in employee retention. An employer brand keeps employees motivated and engaged, reassuring them they made the right career move coming to your company. This has a positive effect on retention, which lowers your turnover rate and costs.

Powerful stuff, right? Without further ado, let’s detail how to get started on your employer brand.

Employee value proposition & employee experience: the building blocks of employer branding

There’s a symbiosis between employer branding, employee experience, and employee value proposition (EVP). We’ll define each in turn.

We’ve already established what your employer brand is. Employer branding is simply the act of branding and marketing your employer brand. Next up is employee experience, which is just as it sounds: how your people experience working for your company. Finally, an EVP is an authentic and aspirational strategic statement that embodies a company’s values and culture. An EVP establishes clear reasons why future employees should choose a company and why current employees stay. It’s internal-facing and evergreen.

Here’s where the symbiosis comes in. The employee experience is dependent on your EVP.

When your employees understand and meet your company’s expectations and are rewarded accordingly — as outlined in your EVP — they’re likely to view the experience of working for your org as a positive one. And a positive employee experience translates to better performance for the employee and your company as a whole.

But it doesn’t stop there. Employer branding is dependent on your employee experience.

Your employee experience plays a huge role in shaping and solidifying your reputation as an employer. And when you link your employer brand to your employee experience, it strengthens a candidate’s impression of — and connection with — your company, its purpose and mission.

The kicker? Your EVP fuels both your employee experience and employer brand.

In an ideal world, what your EVP says is how employees experience your company. And how you talk about that experience is employer branding.

Seeding your company’s EVP

“How to develop an EVP” is an entirely different topic. But to get you going on the important task of crafting an EVP, talk to your team. Ask them what they love about working for your company. Pinpoint the unique details of your culture. This information will eventually be distilled into your EVP.

A word of warning: Avoid messaging like “casual and friendly atmosphere” or “we care about our employees.” These sentiments won’t get through to potential hires; they show up on every other job posting and are just too cliche to land impactfully.

Your candidate experience reflects your employer brand. Make it good.

You could have the best employer brand in the world piggybacking on an amazing employee experience derived from a next-level EVP. It’s all for naught if your candidate experience — the way potential hires experience your hiring materials and recruiting process — is lacking.

Imagine a potential applicant can see themselves working at a company after reading the emotive employer branding language on the careers website. But when they go to apply, they just can’t get the widget to properly upload their resume. After rage clicking a few times, they give up. The poor candidate experience nullified the profound employer brand. Examples like this are why we have to talk about the candidate experience in tandem with employer branding.

Bettering your candidate experience

Again, we could wax poetic about improving your candidate experience. But that’s a topic for another day. Instead, here are some pertinent candidate experience considerations:

  • Audit the UX of your website. Ensure your site is organized and easy to navigate. Applying online with their phones should be simple for your candidates. And the site on the whole should be accessible.
  • Give candidates the information they want. Research shows prospective employees want to know about details like salary, job security and work-life balance. Instead, many employers brag about details like company reputation and tech stacks, which potential hires don’t generally prioritize.
  • Customize the hiring experience. You’ll need to optimize the candidate experience for hourly employees differently than you do for salaried employees. And that’s just one example. Be sure you’re elevating the messaging relevant to each position you want to fill.
  • (Over) communicate with applicants. You should share what the application and hiring processes look like to properly set a candidate’s expectations. There’s nothing worse than putting your hat in the ring for a job you really want and never hearing back from that employer. There’s really no such thing as overcommunicating with job applicants.

A positive candidate experience builds applicant trust and confidence that your employer brand is an accurate representation of your company and its culture.

Employer branding is a team sport

The importance of a quality employer brand is evident. But it’s not on you to create and foster it in a vacuum. On the contrary, employer brand development should involve everyone at your company, not just talent acquisition. After all, your employer brand is a complex product that represents your company as a prospective employer — and even as a part of society.

We promise it’ll be worth the group effort to define your employer brand. Because a strong brand that’s consistent through onboarding, training, development and beyond leads to connected, satisfied employees that work harder for your company and stay put.

Let’s start talking to see if working together is a fit.