We’ve all heard the old saying ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression.’ In today’s tough recruitment market, this applies to employers just as much as candidates.

Recruitment is much more of a marketing activity than a human-resources one, which is why developing your employer brand and effectively selling the role, and your organisation, are key to recruiting success.

From your job ad, through the recruitment process and into the first days in the workplace, your new recruits are sizing you up. If they have hesitations, they may still take the job, but leave as soon as something better comes along. Delivering a great employment offer is critical to attracting and keeping great people. 

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Employer Brand

To attract the right candidates, you need to consider your employer brand. This simply means the way you are projecting yourself in the marketplace as an employer. Remember candidates are comparing you to the competition and making a choice about where they want to work.

How do you develop an employer brand? Using your goal culture, which I spoke about in episode seven of my Find Grow Keep podcast, is a great place to start.  Remember candidates are comparing you to the competition and making a choice about where they want to work.

1. Goal culture

Your goal culture is linked to the purpose and priorities of your business, for example your goal culture may be: 

  • performance-based you want to attract employees who are motivated by goals and achieving targets
  • purpose-based you want to attract people who wish to serve your community. 

Defining your goal culture is a great first step in determining your employer brand and how to market yourself.

2. Use the employee satisfaction survey

What’s great about your workplace? If you’ve conducted an employee satisfaction and engagement survey, you have some excellent insights into what people love about it, and therefore how to market yourself as an employer

Amplify HR recently worked with a company that aimed for a performance-based culture. When we conducted a staff survey, it was clear that employees loved the fast pace, but they also really cared about each other and their customers. So we took that information and put it into their employer brand.

3. The narrative

This sort of information about goals and employee engagement is the essence of your employer band. You should use it throughout the recruitment process, including:

  •  job ads
  • interview questions
  • onboarding. 

It helps a business to filter in and out the right kinds of candidates. But it also helps to give a realistic picture of the organisation and the culture to the candidates before day one. 

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Employee Value Proposition

The employee value proposition, or EVP, is essentially the package deal you are offering to potential employees. 

1. Benefits for a winning EVP

Research conducted in 2021 by Sidekicker in conjunction with Seek and also from Hays and Gartner, have all found that flexible work balance is still number one, but there are other benefits that employees value, including:

  • Flexible work arrangements
  • Extra superannuation
  • Professional development
  • Paid parental leave
  • Health and wellness programmes
  • Compensation
  • Training
  • Learning and development
  • Additional leave

2. What can you offer?

There are many different benefits that you could offer in a competitive recruitment market. If you’re not offering an awful lot, have a look at some of the research and see if you can offer some more perks in your workplace. 

A lot of things are actually not very expensive to introduce. Some may simply require introducing new processes, or perhaps formalising things are already happening informally, such as learning and development plans.

Marketing the role

So once you’ve decided on your employer brand, you know why people like working with you, and you’ve put together a great EVP, the next step is marketing yourself to candidates. And that means checking out the competition.

1. Focus on the candidate

In the recruitment business, the most widely used marketing strategy is job ads. Recently I had a look at a job advertised on a major employment job board for a software developer in Sydney, Australia. As you may know, right now it’s very, very difficult to find software developers in Sydney and candidates are being offered a lot of money in an extremely competitive job market. 

Now, this business decided to enter this competitive job market with an ad that did not mention the company name, it just said it was a “private advertiser”. It didn’t give the job location. In fact, it didn’t give any information about the company at all, other than one line that said it was an amazing opportunity at a growing company (which is something that, frankly, most companies say). 

Instead, the ad focused on what the candidate needed to give the business, including the:

  • responsibilities of the role
  • skills required
  • experience necessary
  • selection criteria.

I did a quick search for the same job title on the same job board on the same day. I came across 35 other software developer roles being offered in Sydney. I chose one at random. The second job ad was much more attractive. First up, it included a description of everything the business was offering to candidates, including the:

  • company’s purpose and awards it had won
  • location of its offices
  • position overview and the unique opportunities it offered
  • company benefits that candidates would enjoy.

It was only after giving this information, that the ad went on to describe the responsibilities of the job and the selection criteria. If I was a candidate, and we should think about marketing to candidates like marketing to customers, I know which of these job ads I would find more appealing. 

2. Avoid the formula

Often job ads follow a formula:

  • company name
  • role title
  • role responsibilities
  • skills and experience
  • previous applicants need not apply. 

This formula is all about the employer and what they’re looking for, and the fact that it says previous applicants need not apply gives you a hint that maybe they didn’t have much luck advertising the position in the past and they’re trying again. 

3. Be human

Rather than trotting out the formula, do what you can to make your offering human. Make job ads visual and informative and include the details of a contact person. If candidates have got someone that can contact by phone or email, they can find out a little bit more before they take the big step of actually putting in an application. 

4. Update your LinkedIn profile

Also, remember is to update your personal LinkedIn profile. Many candidates will take a look at the company’s profile, but also the profiles of the people who work in the company. So make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date, and that it accurately reflects your business purpose and your culture.

5. Choose the right agency

If you decide to use a recruitment agency, make sure you’re using the right one. Use an agency that specialises in the role you’re recruiting for, rather than using a generic agency that works across lots of roles. It can be more expensive, but they’re more likely to target the people you’re looking for. 

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