Finding the most skilled and talented individuals with the right attitude to help grow our businesses has never been easy. At a time of high employment and high candidate expectations – whether recruiting permanent or temporary staff; it has never been more important to focus on your reputation as an employer.

Just as a company has a ‘brand’ designed to reflect what customers can expect of its products or services; a company has an employer brand that reflects what employees can expect of its employment practices. The best and most profitable customers are attracted by a brand that can be trusted to deliver on its marketing promises and the best talent is attracted by an employer that can be trusted to fulfill the promises made in a recruitment campaign or at interview.

In any economy there are people ‘desperate’ for a job who might accept any role that comes their way. But these candidates are too often not the ideal people to fill the roles that businesses have available. The best candidates at all levels have choices, they are discerning, not desperate.

Put simply, the businesses with the best employer brands attract more applications from the best candidates. Companies that appear in The Times Top 100 Best Companies for instance, enter the competition because they know that being recognized as a good employer has a direct effect on recruitment and ultimately bottom line results.

Instant reputations

It used to be that an employer’s reputation was disseminated just by word of mouth. Today, with the availability of multiple social media channels, experiences and reputation, good or bad can be shared instantly with many thousands of connections. One of those connections could be just the person you are looking for.

The first place a candidate checks out when you run a recruitment campaign will be your company web site, where your ‘brand’ is exhibited for all to see. That web site has probably been carefully crafted by marketers to tell the story of your business as well as its products and services. It may have a recruitment section that potential candidates will view to get a feel for your attitudes as an employer.

The next place candidates go to are their social media contacts (evidence shows that people trust what their social networks say more than they trust what a business says) to find out if anyone has experience of working for you or even being interviewed by you. Just like people might use Trip Advisor – they will also check out on line sites such as ‘Glass Doors’ to see if you have been mentioned by past and present employees.

There is a new breed of candidates who are part of Generation C (Generation Connected) and it is generation that has no age limits. They know how to access information and there is plenty of information out there for them to find – whether you have an employer brand strategy or not.

Of course people also still use word of mouth ‘off line’ as well. In the Students Union if they have been on a graduate placement or in the pub after a day’s work, people with experience of working for you (or just being interviewed by you) will share their experiences. And have you ever wondered what reputation as an employer you have with recruitment consultancies?

The great news is that you can decide whether the experiences shared are positive or negative. Businesses often invest heavily in branding their business in order to attract customers. Today, the most successful businesses, invest in their employee brand to ensure they attract the best candidates.

David Tovey
International Speaker, Consultant and Coach
Non Exec Director – First Base Employment