The ongoing importance of employer brand

by | Sep 19, 2022 | EX & EVP

Because candidates aren’t going to risk getting burnt.

Think about the bigger purchases you made recently, how much information did you need before you were willing to part with your hard-earned money? What if that information hadn’t been available to you, would you still have made that purchase?

Increasingly, we’re seeing job seeking behaviour mirror consumer behaviour and, as a result, brands need to approach candidate attraction in much the same way as they do customer attraction – and with as much importance. This is especially true in the current climate when vacancy levels are at such a high and candidates have more choice than they’ve had in some time. The shift from the candidates being many and the vacancies few in lockdown to what we’re seeing now has been dramatic.

Competing for the top talent isn’t necessarily something new for employers, however there is no doubting that the nature of the competition has changed and those that don’t change with it risk getting left behind. Much in the same way that consumers are becoming accustomed to a higher level of customer service, the same goes for candidates. When shopping for jobs, if a candidate can’t find the information they’re looking for, or apply easily, or receive the level of service they’re used for then they will go elsewhere.

In the same way that your competition will be looking to steal your customers – whether it be through a higher quality, lower price, faster delivery etc – they’ll be doing the same when it comes to prospective candidates. The competition is fierce and once you start to fall behind, it can be incredibly tough to claw your way back.

Much the same way that you use your main brand to build a relationship with customers, your employer brand is one of the most powerful weapons you have in doing the same with job seekers. Strong employer branding is about providing key information to prospective candidates in a way that is both engaging and easy to find. You need to show candidates that not only do you have the type of jobs they’re looking for but also that your workplace, your ambitions, your people and your culture align with what they want.

Unlike many of the purchases we make online, a job application is not a flippant decision. It is one that is carefully thought on, often agonised over and yet some employers seem to think that they can get candidates to make this decision by providing a lesser service than most do for the most trivial or low-cost purchase. 

Here’s an example. I moved into a new flat with a garden and I’m sure you can imagine my anguish of being surrounded by those amazing BBQ smells and not being able to get in on the act. Now I could have nipped down to my local homeware shop and picked up any old BBQ that would allow me to sufficiently heat some food in the sun for that weekend at least – however, for me the decision buy was going to require more thought, research and, crucially, more information than a single trip to Homebase was going to provide. I wasn’t sure whether to go for a charcoal BBQ, especially amidst all the other new home costs, or was it time to splash out that bit more for the convenience of gas? After deciding on charcoal, I dove into the sea of options and many, many (many) hours later, I chose my new grill.

It didn’t end there. As part of that I decided I needed a charcoal chimney starter – more research, lots of information, decision made. It was suggested that in order to safely navigate my new chimney starter that a certain jungle-themed online sales site was already packaging for me, I might want to consider some heat-proof gloves. Aggghhhh – this was supposed to be quick and easy!

Now, despite this being the cheapest element of my new BBQ ensemble that I was in the process of buying and the what felt like years of online research I’d already done for the two previous purchases, I still found the energy to view five different product pages on said jungle site, three company websites and an endless reel of customer reviews before deciding which pair of gloves I was willing to spend my precious £15 on. I inevitably went with the gloves whose product page had the most information, whose company website looked most professional and reassuring and had the highest star rating and most consistently glowing reviews.

I did all of this. To buy some BBQ gloves. The point I’ve very obviously laboured (if you are still with me)  is that if I needed that much information to reassure me that my £15 was going to feel like money well spent come BBQ day, how much will it take for a candidate to feel that their career is in good (preferably heatproof gloved) hands?

So next time you’re making the kind of purchase that has taken some research, a bit of thought and a decent amount of reassurance, think to yourself “do I give my candidates this kind of information? Is my company the one that has provided everything they need or are we one of the forgotten product pages that never stood a chance?”.

And I didn’t burn the sausages…or my hands.

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