Every company puts careful thought into how they appear to customers, but few give the same consideration to prospective employees. How you communicate with the talent pool is known as your company’s hiring brand, and with the marketplace becoming more competitive than ever, thinking about it is no longer optional.
We’ve discussed the importance of employer branding extensively here at MRI. In this article, I am going to share my thoughts on the role a third-party recruiter can play in building, boosting, and disseminating this brand. Since they are representing your company in the talent marketplace, recruiters have significant power to attract top talent and promote your company as an outstanding employer.
Here’s how to choose a recruiter that will maximize the impact of your hiring brand and move your business forward.
Why Does Employer Branding Matter?
In the past, searching for talent was usually a one-way street. Companies focused only on what they required from candidates, without articulating what they offered employees in return. Even today, most job descriptions and hiring ads are poorly written, full of industry jargon and vague or confusing skill requirements.
Instead, there will be a greater return on your efforts if you focus on helping potential candidates envision who they could become as part of your team. Job descriptions built around the Four Pillars of Employer Branding — Market, Product or Service, Team, and Mission — paint a well-rounded picture of your company so that you can attract workers who truly resonate with your culture.
However, effectively employer branding does not end with improved JDs. This messaging needs to be shared with your market on an ongoing basis, not just when you have an urgent need for new talent. That’s where a great recruiter comes in.
Who Builds a Hiring Brand?
Establishing a hiring brand is the responsibility of both the recruiter and the employer. A recruiter with deep knowledge of a given market understands the power of a well-developed brand to attract and retain talent. Plus, since they speak with top candidates in the space every day, they have insight into exactly what the talent pool is looking for. This perspective is critical. In my experience, an average company with well-executed branding can outperform a better company that hasn’t actively marketed themselves to the talent pool.
While a third-party recruiter may not create a company’s employer branding assets from scratch, they can support them in developing a compelling brand that will resonate with top talent. Usually, in-house talent access teams are not working with the latest search tools, techniques, and knowledge. This provides an opportunity for their talent access partner to step in and ensure their messaging engages the widest audience possible.
One example of a tactic recruiters could use to heighten an employer’s brand would be to create a landing site for prospective employees. This site should bring to life the Four Pillars discussed above, creating a comprehensive destination that as the first interaction many candidates have with their potential new employer.
While many top-tier performers are not actively looking for a new role, they still tend to be forward-looking individuals who are attuned to developments in their sector. By compiling information about your company in an engaging, meaningful way, you play into their natural curiosity.
Finding a Recruiter Who Will Boost Your Brand
Your choice of recruiter will help define your brand’s reach, traction, and staying power. Try asking yourself these questions as you look for a search partner who will amplify your hiring brand.
What Is Their Domain Experience?
Recruiters with deep, niche expertise understand not only where their market is today, but where it’s headed in the future. With markets evolving at an unprecedented rate, that knowledge is critical to coach both companies and candidates on what skills will be valuable in the emerging marketplace, and how that should shape their employer brand.
What Are Their Recent Searches?
What job orders has the recruiter filled over the last six months? Look carefully at the titles, locations, products, and services of the roles they recruited for. This can help you identify how current their knowledge of their market is, and whether they have the access to top performers and force multipliers in their domain.
How Will They Deliver Your Message?
When and how a recruiter delivers your message has immense influence over how your company is perceived. Pay close to attention to how prospective partners communicate. For example, a recruiter who has a healthy LinkedIn network and knows how to leverage its power is going to reach a much wider pool of higher-quality candidates than one who isn’t social media savvy. Their communication style is also important — are they speaking about your company in a way that feels on-brand, authentic, and professional?
Recruiters who are using the right language and most up-to-date methods, published on the best platforms, gave access to the top tier of potential candidates — whether or not they’re actively looking for new employment.
An Ongoing Process
The World of Work is evolving faster than ever. That’s why your employer brand will need to evolve, too. Ensure that both your company and the recruiter you choose to work with are keeping pace with current knowledge, tactics, and tools and testing new ways to connect with top players in your niche. You want to work with someone who is innovative and ambitious, not complacent.
It’s also critical to assess whether search partners are helping your employer brand, or holding it back. The solution is simple — talk to your candidates! During the interview process, ask the candidates your recruiter connected you with how they found out about the role, what their experience was like with your recruiter, and how they represented you, the role, and your hiring brand.
Remember, the goal of employer branding is to make hiring easier, faster, and more effective. If your company hasn’t yet focused on your employer brand, it might feel overwhelming to start. But you can build and strengthen a powerful hiring brand. Partnering with a knowledgeable talent access professional will make doing so even more attainable.