Branding & Identity

Let’s face it, in today’s world we expect to get loads of information in an expedient manner about whatever decision we are currently facing.  Think back to the last time you tried a new restaurant.  Did you use Yelp?  Did you check out their menu and pricing?  I know I did.  When I bought my last pair of skis I spent 3 hours researching online reviews, the company’s website, Youtube videos, etc…

I demand information for basically any purchasing decision that I make, and I get it!  Marketers know this is essential to moving product and spend endless hours making sure they have the right content in the right places to convert interested parties into customers.

How the age of information affects recruiting

Ok, so the obvious parallel here is with information around working at our company.  The best employers (or at least who we think are the best employers) have all spent time and resources on this.  Goldman’s career page is chock full of in depth information.  Cisco has a Snapchat handle they post to daily. Generally, companies are using various tools to help build their employer brands and convert interested talent into applicants.

The influence of review sites, along with countless studies on trust and candidate behavior tells us that employees hold the most weight when communicating information to customers.  I apologize to marketers, agencies, etc.  We all know a commercial when we see one.

Here’s the problem though, employees are busy.  And, they don’t necessarily see why they have to help out in recruiting.  Isn’t that HR’s job?

Some advice:

  • Don’t explicitly ask employees to post reviews on review sites.  They don’t want to feel like they are being pressured.  This could backfire big time (we’ve all seen reviews with “my manager asked me to write this” in it – yikes!).
  • Do explain the business case around employer branding to your employees. “candidates research us, if we have a strong brand, we’ll get more awesome people like you!”  If people understand the impact they can have and the purpose, they are much more likely to take action.
  • Do look for people who are raising their hands to help out on culture building initiatives, happy hours where you invite local professionals, talks that your hiring managers can give at local meetups, and other ways to build your brand.
  • Do give your employees control over your social accounts.  This seems very scary, but if Cisco can do it, so can you.  This will create authentic content that’s closer to what your target audience is looking for than what you’ll put together (sorry, maybe you’re really creative and I’m being too judgmental).
  • Do reward people.  Don’t say “$10 gift card to whoever writes a review of us!”  But, for people running your social, or participating in your various branding activities, it’s ok to give them a shoutout internally/externally for doing a good job.  Or, go to a nice restaurant for lunch to plan your next meetup.
  • Do make it easy and enjoyable.  No one wants to fill out a 30 question survey.  No one wants to write a 500 word blog post (besides me, apparently).  Make content creation easy and mobile friendly.  Make it fast, and enjoyable (fun questions, not just “tell me about the last meeting you were in.”).
  • Do build your employees personal brands.  Ask a developer about the biggest challenge they overcame, or a sales person about the last negotiation they went through.  This is great content to have on the internet that will help them build their brands.

Look beyond review sites

I’ve mentioned social media a few times as great places for employee content.  Another is your careers site.  You get a lot of traffic there.  And, it’s trusted to have accurate information about your company.  If you do it in an authentic way, content here can be very powerful.  And, you’ve already got the audience!

One last tip

Don’t be afraid to go big.  The more in depth content out there, the better your chances of being seen and believed will be.  Three one liner testimonials from a perfectly diverse group doesn’t cut it.  You’re going to get a lot more leverage out of 10 employees each answering 5-7 very specific questions about their jobs.

Good luck!

Phil Strazzulla is the CEO of LifeGuides, a software platform which allows companies to build their employer brands through employee testimonials that live in career pages, social media, and relevant Google search results.  Phil is a graduate of Harvard Business School and was previously a venture investor at Bessemer Venture Partners.
Image: Shutterstock

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