Nobody wants to leap blindly into a new role just to find they’ve boarded a sinking ship. If you’ve ever applied to a startup or a company you’d never heard of, you likely felt some hesitation before accepting an interview. Maybe you dug deep into Google to learn as much as you could about the company, or you researched the leadership and their past successes.

Lack of notoriety makes it difficult for unknown businesses to secure talent. Candidates are 40 percent more likely to apply for jobs at a company whose brand they recognize, according to recent research from career site Glassdoor.

“Employment branding forms the foundation of an effective recruiting strategy and can make a significant difference in winning the race for top talent,” says Julie Coucoules, global head of talent acquisition for Glassdoor. “Companies of all sizes can benefit by understanding their reputation as an employer by exploring their company’s current online presence and then deciding a course of action and areas to improve based on research and external/internal feedback.”

What Is This Brand You Speak Of?

While most business leaders understand the importance of branding in attracting and retaining customers, they may not consider how brand reputation – or lack thereof – can impact talent recruitment.

“A successful employer brand provides an accurate and attractive idea of what it is really like to work for your company and helps candidates be more informed,” Coucoules says. “Lesser-known companies can benefit from homing in on what makes them special, their employer value proposition. Your employer value proposition should communicate why a candidate would want to work at your company and demonstrate what your company uniquely offers to potential employees that potentially more popular competitors don’t.”

Once you’ve clearly defined your organization’s strengths and differentiators for yourself, the next step is to “bring them to life in all communications with candidates, from job descriptions to online profiles,” Coucoules says.

Don’t underestimate the value of including lots of pictures and videos in your employer branding communications. These media give job seekers a more authentic look at what it’s really like to work for your organization.

By hosting and sharing employer branding content on popular sites such as Glassdoor and LinkedIn, companies can provide candidates with the information they are looking for. The less time a candidate must search to find answers to their questions, the more likely they are to confidently click “Apply” on your job post.

Consumer Brand vs. Employer Brand

A company’s consumer and employer brands each have their own targets. As the names suggest, one targets consumers while the other targets potential employees.

That said, there is some overlap between these brands, and Coucoules recommends companies maintain “consistency in the culture and values” presented by their employer and consumer brands.

While companies with popular consumer brands may seem to have an advantage in the employer branding arena simply because they are already well known, Coucoules notes that smaller companies can still establish very strong employer brands that rival those of their more famous competitors.

“This can be accomplished by highlighting the unique qualities, culture, and values they offer as an employer; communicating this to the right audience; and giving job seekers an inside look through their career resources, website, job descriptions, online job sites, and social media,” Coucoules says.

The Evolution of the Talent Pipeline

Glassdoor’s report also explores the effectiveness of various recruiting methods. One important conclusion to draw from the report is that recruiters must now, more than ever, leverage the right data to build more strategically valuable pipelines.

“As recruiters move to becoming true talent partners, we must come armed with data,” Coucoules says. “Historically, we’ve looked at simple measures like numbers of interviews and hires, or time to fill and cost per hire metrics. As we evolve, we must be able to present our pipelines [and] funnel measures and start building our quality of hire measures for our teams. Our data tells a story, and it’s only by evaluating that data can we continuously iterate and improve our processes.”

Also of note: With unemployment rates at historic lows, methods of passive recruiting have begun showing less success, according to the Glassdoor report. Instead of dividing candidates into “active” and “passive” camps, recruiters may be more well served by a distinction between “informed” and “uninformed” candidates.

“Since recruiting passive candidates is now less effective than in the past, hiring decision-makers can be more efficient by prioritizing informed candidates,” Coucoules says. “By focusing on clearly and accurately communicating your employer brand and values and referring candidates to [relevant] resources throughout the interview process, recruiters can more effectively spend their time investing in candidates who understand and are interested in the company and its mission, rather than spending time nurturing a candidate who later decides there may not be a good fit.”

Coucoules also stresses that recruiters should be continuously building their pipelines and continuously feeding rich information about their companies to candidates. That way, when the time is right, candidates will more easily become active, informed, and engaged.

Candidates want to know what they’re getting into before applying, and recruiters must make sure that information is easily accessible if they want to build pipelinex of steady talent. Informed candidates can be converted more easily because they already know what to expect from your business. Data, information, and transparency are key to building successful and consistent talent pipelines.

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