This article was originally published by Will Reed and does not necessarily reflect the perspective of Insight Partners. Insight Partners is an investor in Will Reed.
The hiring process of today’s business landscape isn’t like the hiring process of years past. For example, it’s not enough to simply post a vacancy and wait for top-tier talent to flock to your front door. No, more and more, acquiring excellent talent is competitive and challenging. But one element that can help companies (particularly fast-growing startups) attract world-class talent and excel at the hiring process is employer branding. That’s because employer branding gives companies a competitive edge during their hiring process, due to the fact that prospective employees will be attracted to a company for its credentials and reputation.
Think of it like this: employer branding is a startup’s secret weapon, which can help it not only attract the best talent, but also ensure better employee onboarding and retention, all while lowering hiring costs.
Why Is Employer Branding Important?
What exactly is employer branding, and why does it play such a critical role in the hiring process? Employer branding is how a startup markets itself to prospective employees, similar to the way that the brand itself markets itself to prospective customers. Employer branding includes the reputation a company has as an employer and what a company’s unique employee value proposition (EVP) is to prospective employees.
Employer branding isn’t only nice to have and doesn’t just include “perks” for employees. Increasingly, employer branding is becoming a critical component of the hiring process, and something that prospective employees weigh heavily during their job search process. For example, 86% of employees say they research a company and look at reviews before deciding where to apply for a job.
Employer branding also gives companies incredible leverage in an increasingly competitive job market. There is a growing global talent shortage rattling the workforce, with 75% of employers saying they’re experiencing trouble hiring. Strong employer branding can be a huge asset to not only help draw in talented employees, but to also retain them for the long run.
What’s an Employer Branding Strategy?
Deploying and leveraging excellent employer branding requires an employer branding strategy. An employer branding strategy is a comprehensive, front-to-back plan which helps companies take control of their reputation as a place of employment. It includes not only fine tuning what is being offered to prospective employees, but also stepping into the shoes of these potential new hires to see how employment is being interpreted.
What’s Included in Employer Branding?
There are several elements of employer branding that companies can use to attract top talent:
- Public reviews: Public reviews can carry a lot of weight in the hiring process, with 50% of employees saying they wouldn’t work for a company with a bad reputation. With that in mind, an employer’s public reviews should ideally include positive feedback from current and former employees.
- A career site: While vacancies might be posted on job boards and other third-party sites, it’s important that all roads lead back to a company’s main careers website. This can help show the legitimacy of a company, as well as showcase the company culture, alongside other information, such as benefits and perks.
- Social Media: A majority of job seekers today use social media when conducting their job search, while 65% of employees would be open to hearing about new jobs through social media. With that in mind, companies can leverage social media to cultivate communities, drive interest in positions, and open lines of communication with potential employees.
- Hiring websites: Many prospective employees are searching high and low for the perfect position, meaning that they’re likely using job aggregation websites such as Indeed and Monster. Brands looking to master employer branding should have a presence on these sites, to increase awareness and recognition.
7 Ways Employer Branding Impacts Hiring
Higher Quality Job Applicants
When employer branding is all over the place, interested candidates are going to be all over the place. One of the biggest benefits of solid employer branding is that the culture of a company is made apparent, along with necessary hiring qualifications such as preferred work experience and individual values. For example, if a startup has a reputation for being an excellent place to work and excepting only a few excellent hires a year, this can create some very healthy competition around talented candidates, who are vying for a position at this company.
Employer branding doesn’t only make a company more attractive as a place of employment in general. It makes a company more attractive to the right employees, who align with that company. This means that more often, new hires are an accurate fit, who match not only the skills and talent needed for the job, but also match the culture of the organization as a whole. This reflects in higher employee retention and less turnover, with data revealing that companies with excellent employer branding see around 28% less turnover than companies that don’t.
Reduced Per-Hire Cost
Companies with excellent employer branding will end up spending less money on their hires, because their good reputation essentially works to bring in more applicants for vacant positions and to help fill empty seats more quickly. Data tells us that when top candidates want to work for an organization, the cost of recruiting plummets more than 40%. Plus, we know that vacant seats can cost companies thousands and thousands of dollars per month, and far more for executive positions and other leadership roles. When a company has stronger employer branding, more candidates will flock to open positions, meaning vacancies can be filled as efficiently as possible.
Better Onboarding Experience
Strong employer branding means that candidates will understand what a company is about, what they’re looking for in a candidate, and what they stand for. This means that candidates are far more likely to be aligned with the companies they’re applying for, and an all-around better fit. Once candidates are hired, this can translate into a far superior and smoother onboarding experience. For example, if a candidate is hired who is not aligned with a company due to unclear employer branding, the onboarding process is likely going to be a rocky affair. But if everyone is on the same page, onboarding will be smooth and seamless.
Better Hiring Experience For Everyone
Candidates want to go through hiring processes where they’re well-suited for the position and the company, because it’s a better use of their time, and more likely to result in a successful hire. Likewise, employers want to speak to highly qualified candidates who are an excellent match for the position and company as a whole, and who are going to stick with their company for the long run. Strong employer branding means that well-suited candidates will be part of the hiring process, which means an overall better hiring experience for everyone involved.
Stronger Hiring Capabilities
Employer branding is a very valuable asset in the hiring process because it can vastly increase a company’s hiring capabilities. For example, in one survey, more than 40% of passive candidates said they would take a new position without an increase in compensation, based on strong employer branding alone. This can be especially useful in the startup landscape, where businesses might offer an array of benefits and perks in addition to salaried compensation, in order to make up the entire employee value proposition.
Improved Employee Culture
Strong employer branding helps attract top-tier candidates who are not only a fit for the vacant position itself, but who are also culturally a great fit for the organization as a whole. With that in mind, excellent employer branding can help contribute to improved employee culture within an organization. That’s because employees who are brought on board are a cohesive fit across the board, and also likely contribute to the overall company culture.