Employer Branding: Recruiters Help You Tell the Right Story

Right now, the biggest trend in recruiting is employer branding, crafting the promise your company makes to its employees. And the biggest trend in marketing is brand storytelling, using content, examples, and experiences to bring your brand to life in the mind of consumers.

Combining these trends can bring a powerful presence to your talent acquisition. But it’s not always straightforward.

Harnessing the best of employer branding and storytelling means sharing not only the story you want to tell but also integrating the story your best candidates want to hear.

For example, your company may have a customer-service focus — but that’s not necessarily part of a compelling employment offer. That sort of disconnection happens all the time: Many employers think that recent college graduates are concerned about the environment, but a recent NACE study showed that working for a “green” company was last on their list of desired employer qualities.

And don’t mistake storytelling for content. You may have a regular blog, Pinterest boards full of photos, and a YouTube channel with lots of videos, but if none of it emotionally connects to job-seekers, you won’t move the needle. As Momentum Worldwide’s Jon Hamm put it in Adweek, “Audiences have always asked for stories. They’ve never asked for content.”

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To most effectively integrate storytelling with employer branding, the HR department — and even the C-suite — should become best friends with recruiters, because they’re the ones “selling” your company and know what resonates with job-seekers. You’ll have to go beyond a few casual conversations, too. Conducting independent focus groups with your recruiters allows you to marry what your company offers with what people want. It also lets you create counterpoints to what people are saying about your company “behind your back.”

The result: You’ll build a compelling employer value proposition that resonates with desirable workers in the job market. They’ll be the right cultural fit, too, which means you’ll decrease hiring times, hiring costs, and turnover while increasing retention, referrals, and productivity.

The best branding involves storytelling, and employer branding is no different. Good employer branding is easy to spot — Southwest Airlines, Taco Bell, Deloitte. Bad employer branding … well, those companies never seem to become household names.

Jody Ordioni is the author of “The Talent Brand.” In her role as Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Brandemix, she leads the firm in creating brand-aligned talent communications that connect employees to cultures, companies, and business goals. She engages with HR professionals and corporate teams on how to build and promote talent brands, and implement best-practice talent acquisition and engagement strategies across all media and platforms. She has been named a "recruitment thought leader to follow" and her mission is to integrate marketing, human resources, internal communications, and social media to foster a seamless brand experience through the employee lifecycle.


4 Comments on “Employer Branding: Recruiters Help You Tell the Right Story

  1. Great points, recruiters are front line ambassadors on the employment brand and also are story tellers. The more educated recruiters are about the company as a whole, and even more educated about particular departments or business units – make “selling” the opportunity a whole lot easier.

    For me, when I worked with a hiring manager – I made them “sell” me the opportunity so I in turn can pain a nice picture and “sell” it to prospective candidates.


  2. I wonder if Jody can offer some suggestions on how we can become better ambassadors? What specific things can I do to help my client? In other words, I agree but where do we start?

  3. Great question Carolyn. 360 feedback would be a great start to forging a closer relationship with your clients and making your work a bit easier.

    The idea is to match what your client offers with what the audience wants. It would work like this:
    You tell them the competitive environment and how you sell their company to candidates. Spend some time on your client’s careers website and speak to how they might enhance it to refute confirm marketplace perceptions.

    Another relationship-building touchpoint is the candidate de-brief. You can ask them questions about how their experience matched their expectations. Then report back to your client.

    The information you provide is incredibly useful in promoting a truly authentic employer brand and employer value proposition. Let me know if you have any other questions and good luck.@jordioni

  4. Hi Jody, This is a hot topic. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    I agree candidates and audiences are attracted to stories. However, they also value content- in an era of information overload synthesize insight through analysis is becoming incredibly valuable. People are willing to pay for this. What this looks like for employment branding is yet to be determined.

    Also, great candidates are getting smarter about this branding concept. They know recruiters are going to try to sell them and some of the best do their own independent research before their sold.

    I am a believer in finding the right fit versus the fill and fascinated by how savvy consumers have become on brand education so wonder what this will look like for savvy candidates in the future.

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