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18 Building Blocks To Articulate Your Employer Brand

If an organization has a well-defined employer brand on social media —not just the occasional post and/or job ads—they have a heck of a lot of fuel for social media, blogging, search engine optimization, public relations, and word-of-mouth. A plain job ad, by itself, doesn’t go so far in these increasingly important and mission-critical channels that are all about messaging, targeting, content, and differentiation.

Job ads don’t get shared

Think about it: No matter how cool the job is, what do plain job ads really do for you in these social arenas? They’re merely an indication that your business is growing and that you are hiring. Unfortunately, such posts are just noise and will go unnoticed in this crowded social space. (Your company or brand name could be one exception, when it allows for a unique and meaningful user handle or URL, especially if you can claim it across social platforms.)

Start tapping into your deeper power.

The true power of employer brand articulation is that it gives you—actually your whole organization—the strategy, messaging and talking points (i.e. content) to guide your social media efforts and other outreach. It can define what you offer, who you serve, and how you’re best at what you do. And, it can even tell you who to target it to and what tone it should be expressed in, unifying your messaging and your voice across markets and media types.

Brand articulation is not just your mark, it’s your brand put into words, concepts, and experiences. Unfortunately, most businesses just jump into the visual part of branding, without determining the exact value proposition and story their visual is based on.

Here are some of the building blocks of brand definition and brand strategy. Scan through and see how these could feed your social media (and other) efforts. My guess is that if you had all of these clearly defined and knew this much about your brand, you’d likely have more content and messaging ideas than you have time in the day to blog or tweet.

Organizational elements

  1. Vision (Where are we going? What do we want to achieve?)
  2. Mission (What’s our purpose? Why do we exist?)
  3. Values (What are our core beliefs? Principles that drive us?)

External Messaging

  1. Target Market (Who specifically do we need to hire?)
  2. Key Audiences (Who else are we talking to? And why?)
  3. Key Products or Services (What are our primary offerings?)
  4. Competitors (How are we different from our competitors?)
  5. Positioning (How are we seen and valued in comparison to our competitors?)

Internal Messaging

  1. Value Proposition (What’s different about us? Why does it matter?)
  2. Elevator Pitch (How do we talk about this casually?)
  3. Brand Promise (What do we assure? Why choose us?)
  4. Key Messages (What are the three or four things that every communication should say?)
  5. Proof Points (What is the factual information that backs these claims up?)

Branding

  1. Brand Personality (What are our organization’s “human” traits and attributes? How do we behave?)
  2. Voice and Tone (How do we talk? What mood do we want to convey?)
  3. Beacon (What’s the one word or concept that best represents us?)
  4. Brand Story (How do we boil these things down into an emotionally compelling narrative?)
  5. Manifesto (Are we so passionate, or so revolutionary, about something that we want to make a “public declaration” of it?)

Build a solid brand platform to launch (and speak and share) from.

It’s ideal to start with the bulk of these strategic questions answered before building a visual brand identity. (The fact of the matter is that a job ad and brand identity should ideally be the outcome of a employer brand articulation process, not the other way around.) But even organizations with established social presence can significantly benefit from going back to build the communication and messaging foundation underneath.

Imagine how much more unique, meaningful, and effective your Tweets, pins, shares, videos, profiles, and posts (and yes, your job ads too) can be with the power of all this intention, thinking, and common understanding behind them. It’s actually simple physics. A solid platform, focus, and every bit of energy and every system working in alignment is additive, giving you both a trajectory and maximum momentum.

Another good metaphor is brand as an iceberg. The job ad, name, or tagline may be the obvious and highly visible tip above the waterline. But it identifies and stands for something much, much larger (and potentially more powerful) down below.

 

5 Tips for an Unparalleled Candidate Experience

Optimize Candidate Experience

Did you know that 88% of job seekers are more likely to become loyal customers of your company, and even refer their friends, if you give them a positive candidate experience irrespective of whether they got hired?

The benefits of providing a great experience to people applying for jobs have been demystified with many companies now reporting a strong impact on their bottom line. Unfortunately, it’s not as straightforward as we had hoped. Even though it can be hard to make the business case for investing in the enhancement of the candidate experience, there are several immediate benefits to be gained, with some of them that can be achieved fairly easily.

It used to be enough to present job candidates with a plain text description highlighting the job requirements and the desired qualifications. Unfortunately, those days are long gone. Nowadays, employers are challenging candidates with games and role-playing simulators to attract the best and brightest to their companies.

Gamification is gaining popularity in its ability to drive candidate participation in referral programs and responding to career content to help build brand awareness. It is effective in converting the people who see your job opportunity into active applicants in your pipeline. By disguising your application and assessment process as a game, you’re much more likely to not only convert the top talent who noticed your ad, but also engage candidates and make them want to come work with you.

As discussed in a previous post, while not every company has the budget to create their own version of the Marriot Hotel, other practical ways to leverage gamification are available. These will help bring in the right candidates for open positions and create strong talent pipelines for future hiring needs. Here are five tips for gamifying the candidate experience.

Tip #1: Give points to candidates for interacting with you.

Companies are in constant pursuit of the passive talent, who is currently employed somewhere else but would still be open to changing camps if the right opportunity presented itself. These types of candidates need more than a job description to get theme excited to work with you. Invite these passive candidates to connect and interact with your organization via virtual contests, hackathons, or quizzes and give them points for their participation. This will not only demonstrate how innovative and fun your organization is but will also give them a sneak peek on your company culture.

Tip #2: Show candidates how they stack up against the competition.

It is worthwhile to show how many candidates have already applied for the same job and how well the candidates rank in terms of points earned against those of others. This competitive intelligence drives candidates to act on the right opportunities and motivates them to interact with you more.

Tip #3: Encourage candidates to apply with their social media profiles.

Most people don’t have their resumes on their smartphone, but just about everyone is on social media. Allowing candidates to use their social profiles to apply is painless and effective. As some candidates tend to “over sell” themselves on the resume, information maintained on social profiles tends to be more accurate. And if you really require a resume, allow candidates to upload their resumes from a cloud service such as Google Drive or Dropbox.

Tip #4: Show candidates their social connections within your company.

Candidates often want to get an inside scoop (and maybe even a referral) about the job before applying to it. Allowing these candidates to visualize their social connections that are currently working with you and enabling them to message for guidance can help convert a passive candidate into an engaged one who is interested in joining your ranks.

Tip #5: Be Mobile

Mobile recruiting is taking over every aspect of the recruitment process. Candidates are 2-5 times more likely to access your career portal on their phone than they are on their PC. Beyond that, nearly one-quarter (23%) of all Google searches that contain the word “job” come from mobile devices. Enable candidates to engage with your employment brand anywhere, any time, and on any device. Ensure that every step of your application process is optimized for mobile devices.

If you are able to foster a positive candidate experience, talent will come to you. Candidates will talk about your organization and tell others about the positive experience they had during your recruitment process.