Employer branding can sound like a mythical creature that you’ve heard of but never seen. 🦄
On the other hand, there are some companies that seem to be very good at it, attracting all the top talent.
So what is employer branding? How is it done? And who in your company should be responsible for it?
Employer branding can sound like magic art – Image source
In reality, employer branding is not a magical hoax, it’s hard and continuous work. Because almost every quality candidate now has a job or multiple competitive offers. Recruiting has turned into selling, drifting away from the buying concept — and companies, that don’t adapt, aren’t able to attract and hire the best talent.
In reality, there are many people working on it daily as a full-time job.
We reached out to the HR, branding, and recruitment teams in some cool companies – Bolt, Veriff, Scoro, Supermetrics, and TransferWise– to hear how they do employer branding.
A big THANK YOU to the employer branding and talent sourcing experts who took the time to help us out! 🙌
- Anna Golubchenko, previously Lead Tech Recruiter in Bolt & now in Meta
- Elisabeth Seepa, previously Recruitment Specialist in Veriff & now at Inbank
- Marika Salkola, Senior People Operations Manager in Supermetrics
- Mai Kand, previously People Operations Specialist/Recruiter in Scoro & now Talent and People Lead in Alpha3D
- Jihan Ahmed, Employer Brand Global Lead in TransferWise & now Employer Brand and Culture freelance consultant
What Is Employer Branding?
Put simply, employer branding is making your company more attractive to job-seekers in order to hire top people. Why would someone want to work for you rather than a competitor?
Companies with a strong employer brand have a higher chance of getting top applicants to job offers and closing them after a round of interviews.
There’s no one activity that would make the employer brand. It’s a mix of various aspects.
Employer branding has many aspects – Image source
The employer branding strategy consists of:
- The story you want people to link to your company
- The channels for spreading the message
- The overall culture in your company
So what is it that people care about when selecting the place to work?
All the HR people and recruiters we talked to agreed unanimously that the most important aspects of a strong employer brand are:
🚀The company’s mission & challenges
🎡The company culture & colleagues
🌿Personal growth opportunities
Anna Golubchenko, Lead Tech Recruiter in Meta pointed out that people often value having a team of highly skilled people around them: “In Bolt, whether it’s engineering or marketing, you will meet colleagues from Google, Amazon, Facebook, Booking.com, TransferWise, Bloomberg and much more.”
Elisabeth Seepa, Recruitment Specialist at Inbank brought out that their company’s outlook to become one of the next tech unicorns is highly attractive for many job-seekers.
Marika Salkola, Senior People Operations Manager in Supermetrics added that having a good product plays an important role: people want to work on something meaningful and see thousands of others benefitting from their work.
Jihan Ahmed, previously Employer Brand Global Lead in TransferWise and now Employer Branding consultant, added that ownership and trust are among the things people value the most.
What are the main employer branding activities?
If there’s one sure thing we learned about employer branding channels, it’s that there is no one go-to channel or activity.
There’s no one answer – Image source
Employer Branding expert Jihan emphasised that their company prefers a very targeted approach with their employer brand and picks an individual mix of channels for each specific target audience.
On the bright side, there’s a wide selection of potential channels to use. 💁
Here’s a list of channels that the people we talked to mentioned:
- Company’s website
- Hiring events
- Social media ads
- Stackoverflow, Github
- Referral bonus
Let’s take a closer look at each.
How to use your website as an employer branding channel
Most people applying to a job in your company also check out your website.
So having a high-quality home page is already an indicator of your company and its product.
On top of this, all the companies mentioned in this article have a dedicated Careers landing page with information about the company and available job offers.
TransferWise Careers page
The Careers page is the best place for listing all the employer awards, reasons to work in your company, and for sharing positive reviews from your current and past team members.
Elisabeth from Inbank added: “The importance of a website for employer branding is very significant, which means that one key consideration should be how to optimize your career page. Often, the career page is a candidate’s first step to familiarizing themselves with an organization and its values. If a company brand is not portrayed correctly through its career site, it could lose potential top talent and not attract the right candidates.”
How to use social media for employer branding
You can use all the main social media channels – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn – for employer branding purposes.
If you have time to create beautiful images of cool company events and office life moments, you can set up a special Instagram account. Here are links to the team Instagram accounts of Scoro, Veriff and Transferwise.
Scoro team’s Instagram account
LinkedIn is a channel that most companies are already using for finding and recruiting top talent. You can also boost your brand awareness by sharing positive news about your company.
For example, Bolt recently shared a LinkedIn post about being the 3rd fastest-growing company in Europe. Pretty impressive, huh?
Bolt LinkedIn post
Want a less traditional approach? Here’s Jihan ex-Transferwiser:
“Rather than TransferWise saying it’s great to work here, we wanted to create authentic content that our candidates can relate to. That’s why we’re really proud of our employee vlogs.”
PS. And remember to live up the promise. Difference between promoted messages and the reality will quickly spread with Word-of-Mouth.
Does your company need a Glassdoor account?
If you plan to grow your company across multiple markets and have a team of 1,000+ people one day, you should create a Glassdoor account sooner rather than later.
According to Elisabeth (ex-Veriff), 50% of the current employees checked Veriff’s Glassdoor before they made their decision to start to work at the company.
Veriff’s Glassdoor page
Tip: If you’re just getting started on Glassdoor, ask your existing team members to write reviews, so that your account has a strong kick-off.
What to do with negative reviews? – Embrace them, learn from them, and make sure to keep them away in the future by hiring the right people and taking good care of them.
Should you organise employer branding events?
Employer branding events can be highly efficient if you know whom exactly you want to attract.
For example, Anna from Meta shared a hiring event they did in Moscow to attract software engineers (way back for Bolt). It was a coding contest and Bolt received 2000+ first challenge submissions – a huge number! To reach so many people, they used Facebook ads, articles and interviews with Bolt’s Engineering team members, Telegram channels and direct email marketing, and collaborated with Work in Estonia.
Bolt hiring event even had a custom website
TransferWise also organises regular hackathons to attract IT talent. See the Facebook event here.
It’s an event where students, hackathon enthusiasts, and TransferWise employees come together for two intense days of collaboration to turn big ideas into a working product. TransferWise mentors and talented participants will share their ideas and knowledge with one another to build something groundbreaking in FinTech.
TransferWise organises hackathons
In addition to helping the Estonian tech ecosystem grow, TransferWise will also attract early attention from talented young people.
Should you start organising hiring events?
It depends. If you’re looking to hire a large number of talented people working in highly competitive fields, having an in-person meeting ground might be a good idea.
However, if your company’s only looking to hire 10-20 people this year, organising a huge hiring event might be too big of an effort.
What are Stack Overflow and GitHub?
Stack Overflow is the largest online community for developers to learn, share their programming knowledge, and build their careers.
It is also a great channel for attracting top technical talent.
By having your team members actively contributing to the forums or by advertising your job offers through these platforms, you can build brand awareness inside the developer community.
We took a sneak peek to job offers in Stack Overflow and guess whose job openings first popped up? – TransferWise and Bolt!
Stack Overflow job offers are a good way to attract developers
Should you set up a referral bonus?
There’s also one critical channel that can only be built up over time and with considerable effort: word of mouth.
As Marika from SuperMetrics put it:
“For us, the power of word of mouth has increased a lot over time. This means that marketing is no longer the guardian of the brand. Rather, the employer brand is in the hands of your employees and candidates. Research shows that 92% of candidates trust the recommendations from people they know.“
Having a job referred by a friend you trust is a strong seal of approval.
And referral bonus is a great way to boost the word of mouth among your employees. Both Bolt, Veriff and SuperMetrics have a referral bonus system.
Should you pay referral bonuses? – Image source
Usually, the referred candidates have to work for the company for more than a couple of months before referrers receive their fee. According to a survey, 71% of companies paid their employee referral bonus in full after an employment period between 45 days and six months.
So once again, what are the best employer branding channels?
There are no universal employer branding channels, each type of role needs its own approach.
We recommend that you start by defining your employer branding strategy and goals, and only then select the best channels.
❗Also, here’s a very important note from Anna from Meta:
“None of the channels above will work unless you take care of your candidate experience during the interviews, thus make sure that even if you are not proceeding with an offer they will still be recommending your company to their friends.”
Make sure your employer branding is in the DNA of your company, not just a facade you show to the outside world.
How to get started with employer branding in your company?
Ok, this thing called “employer branding” sounds pretty amazing: people considering your company a cool place to work at, more talented job applicants coming in…
So how to get started?
Here’s the advice from our favorite employer branding experts! 👇
Let’s get the employer branding started! – Image source
Jihan Ahmed, Employer Branding expert
Start by taking a laser-focused look at a specific target audience you want to attract.
List all the possible reasons they aren’t applying to your jobs and why you’re struggling to hire the right people e.g. they just don’t know about your brand, they don’t want to relocate, people are applying, but they don’t have the skill set you need.
Then think about how you can change perceptions through your employer brand.
If someone hasn’t heard of your brand, you need to be out there, telling people what you do. If people don’t want to relocate, your messaging needs to talk about the positive impact of relocating. If you’re attracting the wrong skill set, be explicit in your messaging about what you’re looking for.
Marika Salkola, Senior People Operations Manager in Supermetrics
Start with the strategy. Who is the target audience that you want to reach?
Who are the potential candidates you want to hire, what’s their skill set, where are they located? Which channels can be used to reach them? What kind of content are they interested in?
What is your brand’s unique story that makes you stand out? Interview your employees about why they love working at your company and what made them in the first place. Always be authentic in your employer branding!
Mai Kand, Talent and People Lead in Alpha3D
The first and the most important thing is to understand why you are special – what makes working in your company better than elsewhere? Once you know that, start spreading the word.
Elisabeth Seepa, Recruitment Specialist at Inbank
First, define the message: It is important to first define your employer branding messages and goals.
Create an authentic message and tone of voice for your brand, so the employees and also candidates know exactly what to expect from working in the company. Make a plan and define the channels to promote your employer brand.
Don’t forget to nurture your culture: Employer brand is a reflection of your culture, and so building a positive culture is the root of a strong employer brand.
Don’t copy other brands, but still look around and check what other companies are doing.
Anna Golubchenko, Lead Tech Recruiter in Meta
Start with the basics: Glassdoor, LinkedIn and Wikipedia (sounds weird I know).
There is no need in buying a special offer from LinkedIn for a company page from the very beginning, just keep it simple with basic information and posting updates, articles or photos of your achievements, good news or daily life.
Do not forget to invite your employees to join the company on LinkedIn and let them share and like the content from the company page.
The same with Glassdoor: fill the initial information, connect to your ATS for automated job posts, and invite your team to leave reviews, feedback about interviews and compensation. There will be not only positive reviews, listen to those carefully, take into consideration common points and remember that all companies on different stages of growth have received bad staff. It’s inevitable, and a good way to improve interviews and internal processes.
If your applicants and future candidates start to research your company, what is the first thing that comes up in Google search? – Think about the first potential touchpoints.