Employer Branding For Dummies
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When you have a clear idea of the look, feel, and function of your employer brand and career website, you’re ready to turn your attention to the most important component of any website — content. As you gather and create content for your website, follow these guidelines:
  • Align your content with your employer value proposition.
  • Tailor your content to the different talent groups you’re recruiting.
  • Write job descriptions that attract the right people and make everyone else think twice about applying.
  • Streamline the application process, so exceptional candidates aren’t turned off by an onerous chore.

Tailoring content to target groups for your employer brand

Writing branded content about your company and what a wonderful place it is to work is relatively easy, but it may not resonate with specific talent groups. What makes a company a great place to work for marketing people isn’t what makes it a great place to work for programmers, product development specialists, or operations analysts. Target content to different talent groups. Here’s how:
  • When developing content, consult personnel in the talent areas you’re targeting. For example, if your company is in dire need of software developers, ask the software developers in your company to be involved in content development. Ask them to produce content, make suggestions, or at least review content before posting it to your career website. Nobody knows more about what appeals to a certain talent group than the people in your company who belong to that group.
  • Provide a balanced mix of content throughout your website to showcase various departments and personnel that have openings you need to fill, such as administration, business development, engineering, design, operations, and legal. You may want to include more content for talent that’s a higher priority or give such content more prominence on your career website, but provide at least some content that speaks to each talent group you recruit.
  • If your value proposition differs substantially for different employee populations, consider creating a separate page for each talent group and populate that page with content that speaks more directly to each group. You may even want to create a microsite that focuses on recruiting high-demand talent.

Trying to appeal to everyone often appeals to no one. Overly general messaging fails to resonate with any given target group. Identify key talent groups, and ensure your career website clearly conveys your EVP to your most coveted prospects.

Writing effective job descriptions

Job descriptions are one of the least evolved tools in the corporate recruiting tool belt. They tend to be written for the benefit of the employer, not the employee. When writing job descriptions, don’t simply list job features and qualifications (employer needs); focus more on how the position is likely to benefit the candidate (employee needs). Focus as much on the feel as the facts.

Here are a few suggestions on how to infuse your job description with both facts and feel:

  • Add links to additional content and messaging, such as press releases, awards, employee blogs, multimedia, company social channels, and so on. Linking to addition content makes the job description more dynamic and interactive.
  • Include a 30-second video of the hiring manger talking enthusiastically about the specific position in the company and the unique work environment and camaraderie the department fosters.
  • Share stories of employees in similar roles and their career growth.
  • Include LinkedIn profiles or other social profiles of team members, so the prospect can envision how cool it would be to work with these extraordinary individuals.
  • Embed photos or videos of the office that reveal the company culture.
  • Include infographics and other visual media to convey the opportunity being presented.

Prospects may not view job descriptions until after they investigate a potential new employer, but they’re just as likely to encounter a job description when they take the first step on their job search journey. A high percentage of active job seekers start their search on the Internet using job-related terms instead of the names of specific employers.

Here are three suggestions to increase the availability and impact of a job description:
  • Make it mobile. Assume your primary audience will be reading the job description on a mobile device.
  • Make it meaningful. Avoid boilerplate templates and laundry lists of expectations.
  • Make it dynamic. Add photos, videos, and links to bring the job to life.

Consider using tools such as Clinch to frame job descriptions with other relevant contextual content. Such content may include day-in-the-life video profiles, photographs of the working environment, and tailored brand messages that highlight aspects of the overall employer brand promise that are known to be most relevant and important to the type of people targeted for the role.

Making it easy to apply

Face it, applying for a job can be annoying and frustrating. You come across that amazing job, spend hours getting your résumé and application together, submit your application, jump through a series of hoops, and then wait … and wait … and wait. This is the unfortunate reality for most job seekers today. Here are a few suggestions to make your application process less painful:
  • Apply for a job listed on your career site. How long did it take? How pleasant was the experience? Did you ever hear back about the status of your application? If you received a reply, did it have a personal touch or was it obviously a stock template? Applying to your own jobs is a great way to understand the application experience. It can be eye opening, revealing why your drop-off rate is so high and applications are so few.
  • Optimize for mobile. Make it easier for mobile users to navigate the application. Use white space. Keep sentences short. Don’t overdo the word count. Be sure to keep this in mind when writing the copy for your career site.
  • Audit the application process. Using tools such as Google Analytics, find out where applicants are dropping out of the process and focus your efforts on those points. While you’re at it, eliminate any nonessential steps and nonessential fields on the application form.
  • Manage expectations. Let the applicant know upfront how much time the application generally requires to complete and how the process will unfold. Consider adding FAQs to your auto-response application receipt confirmations to help set expectations when candidates apply.
  • Provide feedback. Inform applicants of where they are in the application process and how much further they need to go. After an applicant submits an application, send a timely confirmation message with some indication of when the applicant can expect to hear back.

Approach the online application process as an opportunity to find out more about potential candidates instead of as a way to weed out unqualified applicants.

Personalizing your response letters

Most companies confirm receipt of the application by sending an impersonal, computer-generated email. Such letters typically say nothing more than “We received your résumé. Thank you for applying.” That’s what applicants have come to expect; yes, the bar is that low. The good news is that this standard, impersonal approach presents you with a golden opportunity to exceed applicants’ expectations.

Here are a few suggestions for adding a personal touch to your response letters and proactively addressing candidates’ questions and concerns:

  • Include graphics. Add a colorful, branded header image and one or two interesting or entertaining graphics in the body of the message.
  • Provide a hiring process overview. Remove the mystery of applicant volume, how applications are evaluated, the interview process, and the time frame.
  • Let candidates know when they can expect to hear back. You can relieve a lot of anxiety simply by managing expectations.
  • Lighten up. Use appropriate humor or some other approach to connect with the applicant on a more personal level and alleviate any tension.
  • Give applicants something to do. Include a link to check the application status and links to social channels where you post additional jobs content.

Keep your EVP in mind when composing response letters. The overall appearance and tone of your letters must align with your core positioning and brand pillars. To brand your company as the fun, creative place to work, for example, make sure your letter is both fun and creative.

When composing a rejection letter, show some compassion. Acknowledge the fact that rejection letters can disappoint and discourage job seekers. Let the applicant know how stiff the competition was and how difficult the choice was. Do your best to make the candidate feel good about herself and her qualifications and hopeful in her job search.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Richard Mosley, Universum's Global Head of Strategy, is widely recognized as a leading global authority on the subject of employer branding. He regularly chairs or delivers keynote presentations at many of the world's leading employer brand events.
Lars Schmidt, Founder of Amplify Talent and Cofounder of HR Open Source, is a leading strategy consultant, speaker, and writer in the fields of employer branding and recruiting.

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