Top 10: Companies That Win in Employer Branding

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Welcome toTop 10,’s weekly rundown of the best of the best in recruiting! Every Friday, we release a list of some of our favorite people, things, and ideas dominating the industry. From awesome tech tools and cool companies to great books and powerful trends, no stone in the recruiting space will be left unturned.

This Week: Top 10 Companies That Win in Employer Branding

Perhaps now more than ever, every organization should dedicate significant resources to its employer branding. We are in the middle of a war for talent, and today’s workers have a lot more choices than they did just a few years ago, with respect to employment opportunities. These workers are more likely to accept jobs – and stay in those jobs – at companies where they are valued and where the culture aligns with their own beliefs and personalities. A strong employer brand gives employers the chance to communicate in the labor market their cultures and values and win over highly skilled candidates in these trying times.

Because employer branding is so critically important to recruiting today, we thought it would be a good idea to survey the landscape and make a list of 10 companies that can serve as examples of employer branding done right. We tried to stay away from the bigger names in the space – e.g., Apple, Google, etc. – because we figured our readers would already be aware of their employer branding efforts, given all the press attention they receive.

And I also want to note that determining which organizations have the “best” employer brands is tricky, because what constitutes a great employer brand depends, in large part, on the kinds of workers you’re trying to attract. Sure, Google does some great branding, but would Google’s branding strategy work for a retail chain? Probably not.

That being said, we believe the companies on this list can teach everybody a thing or two about successful employer branding. So let’s take a look (as always, the list is presented in no particular order):

1. Veterans United Home Loans

Veterans United

I’m willing to bet you didn’t expect us to kick off our list with a company that specializes in home loans, of all things. I don’t blame you, but you should know that Veterans United is a great place to work. Don’t believe me? Check out its long history of accolades, including the No. 4 spot on Fortune’s list of the “50 Best Workplaces for Camaraderie ” and recognition from Achievers as one of the most engaged workplaces in North America.

Veterans United leverages this positive, powerful workplace culture to its advantage in employer branding efforts. Veterans United’s careers page focuses heavily on culture and values, and the company’s employees are its biggest advocates. Just check out the #vurocks hashtag on Twitter, where you’ll find employees at Veterans United positively gushing about their workplace.

Learn more. 

2. Tasytt


Tasytt has swag – by which we mean the company really knows how to use branded promo merchandise. James Tally, CEO of Tally Inc. and a big fan of Tasytt – nominated the company for our list because “they seem to have a bit of a problem with the swag,” he jokes. “They have custom branded gift cards for their clients – I got one! – and their employees, magnets, stickers, shirts, hoodies, and even branded socks! They just sent me a pair! I think they’ve definitely put a lot of thought into their branding and its importance.”

A quick perusal of Tasytt’s Instagram account proves Tally is right. Aside from the aforementioned socks, stickers, etc., Tasytt also shows off branded guitar picks (I kind of want one…) and the adorable stuffed beaver who serves as their mascot, Obie.

We often think of branded merchandise as a way to capture the minds of potential customers and clients, but what better way to catch the attention of curious job seekers at networking events than by handing them a pair of really dope socks? No one else is going to do that.

Recruiters, take note: Leave the business cards at home. Opt for something much cooler instead.

Learn more. 

3. Pebble {Code}


In a recent post, contributor and Recruitee writer Hagi Trinh gave Pebble {Code} some love for its creative use of media in its employer branding efforts, and we have to agree. Pebble {Code}’s careers page is more artfully arranged than most companies’ homepages are, particularly in the striking way it utilizes a combination of still photos and gifs to create a sort of photo-essay representation of the company’s culture. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and Pebble {Code} clearly understands how to turn that aphorism into the foundation of an engaging employer brand. We highly recommend that any organization looking to bring more media into its employer branding efforts spend a little time with Pebble {Code}.

Learn more. 

4. Lithium Technologies


Glassdoor once used Lithium Technologies as a case study in employer branding, and with good reason. As Glassdoor notes in its case study, Lithium has built an “authentic” careers page by foregrounding the voices of its employees. Rather than trying to sell a clearly corporate message, Lithium allows employees to do all the talking. As soon as an interested job seeker lands on Lithium’s careers page, Lithium encourages them to read employee-written reviews and get to know the company through the workers’ eyes.

This is a particularly shrewd choice in today’s climate, where most people eye company messaging with suspicion. Lithium fosters trust in potential candidates by ceding the conversation to its employees, and job seekers are far more likely to see Lithium in a positive light as a result.

Learn more. 

5. PwC


We really did try to avoid including the big names on this list, but a survey of innovative and exciting employer branding techniques doesn’t seem complete without mentioning PwC. The coolest things about PwC’s careers page are the employee stories, where PwC highlights individual employees through photos, bios, Q&A sessions, and career timelines. Not only do these stories give job seekers a good idea of the kinds of people they’d work with at PwC, but they also show job seekers how PwC might meet their long-term career needs.

“At PwC every career is different. That’s why we help you design your own. At PwC you will have personal ownership of your career path,” reads PwC’s careers site. Just saying this wouldn’t mean much to the average worker, but PwC backs it up with real people and real stories. Now, even I kind of want to apply there.

Learn more. 

6. Salesforce


Last year, ProtoHack’s Blake McCammon named Salesforce one of the “Top 10 Companies Using Instagram for Employer Branding.” Salesforce shows up on our list for the same reason: That organization really has Instagram-based employer branding on lock.

Using the #dreamjob hashtag, Salesforce leverages Instagram to showcase the exciting lives of its employees. From cute cat pics to group shots at Star Wars-themed holiday parties, the Salesforce Instagram account highlights all the best aspects of being a Salesforce employee.

Most importantly, Salesforce’s Instagram profile links job seekers directly to the company’s careers page, where the #dreamjob theme continues. By maintaining a cohesive message across platforms and making it easier for job seekers to jump straight from Instagram to applying for a job, Salesforce has built itself a powerful employer brand.

Learn more. 

7. Universum


As employer branding experts, you’d think that Universum would nail it – and you’d be right. What brings Universum to our list is not the company’s extensive studies on and resources for employer branding, but its actual employer branding strategy, which is totally candidate-focused.

When you head over to Universum’s careers page, everything is about you: your challenges, your opportunities, your region, your career, etc., etc. This has the effect of immediately letting interested job seekers know that Universum takes them seriously and strives to meet their needs. You get the feeling that, if you become an employee at Universum, it will by no means be a one-sided relationship.

Universum’s careers page also features a section for “open applications,” where job seekers who are unsure of how they might fit into Universum or what role they might like at the company can send in applications anyway. This is a great way to ensure that top talent doesn’t slip through the cracks just because they can’t find any open jobs that exactly match their skills and experience, and it’s a tactic that I think more companies should utilize.

Learn more. 

8. Shopify


Over at HireRabbit, Jet Luga praises Shopify for “keep[ing] it fresh and natural” in its employer branding efforts. It’s true that Shopify excels in this manner – it has some of the most authentic and believable employee-focused branding videos I’ve ever seen – but what we really like about Shopify is its focus on the company’s mission and values.

When a job seeker lands on the careers page at Shopify, they are immediately met by Shopify’s mission statement (“We’re changing the face of retail”) and a brief explanation of what that mission means in action. This is a simple choice, but a powerful one. For millennial talent especially, a company’s mission is incredibly important. By placing its mission right up front, Shopify does a little hands-off screening: Job seekers who aren’t all that interested in the company’s mission are likely to get bored just reading the intro paragraph, and they’ll quickly wander somewhere else. Meanwhile, job seekers who are interested will be hooked immediately and compelled to read more, learn more, and apply to the company.

Learn more. 

9. CKR Interactive


CKR earned a spot on this list for a lot of reasons, but the one we really want to stress is the “People” section of the site. The people page is separate from CKR’s careers page (though the two are linked), and that – oddly enough – is what makes it such an excellent employer branding move.

See, by giving its people their own separate – but related – space on the site, CKR shows the skeptics that it really cares about its employees. It seems less like CKR is engaging in a cynical employer branding ploy, and more like the company just really wants to show off something it’s proud of – i.e., the team. Another nice touch is that CKR’s people are not just listed according to their job titles – they’re also listed according to their personalities, which further solidifies the feeling one gets that, to CKR, its employees are people to be valued, not tools to be used.

Learn more. 

10. L’Oreal


Where to even start with L’Oreal, which does so much right and has been consistently honored as one of the world’s best places to work by multiple groups?

Indeed, there is much to learn from L’Oreal, but we’d like to focus on the company’s employee value proposition (EVP). As Jorgen Sundberg, CEO of Link Humans, explains, L’Oreal took the time to develop a new EVP back in 2012, and it did so by soliciting input from its employees. This in and of itself is an employer branding triumph – where else do employees have so much say in something so critical? – but we shouldn’t stop there. The actual EVP L’Oreal ended up with is great, too, offering prospective employees “a thrilling experience,” “an environment that will inspire you,” and “a school of excellence.”

This issue of L’Oreal’s shareholder magazine offers a more in-depth look at how L’Oreal revamped its employer branding in 2012, and it’s definitely worth a read.

Learn more. 

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By Matthew Kosinski