An essential part of the candidate attraction process is ensuring a positive brand experience when potential new employees check you out online. As much as you’re using various social media sites to screen candidates pre-interview, so they are consulting their networks and resources to vet you as a future employer.
We’ve compiled some simple steps to help ensure that potential employees are enthusiastic, not alarmed, at the prospect of joining your organisation.
1. Commit to an online presence
Visibility and interaction online is essential to attract top talent to your organisation. People want to work for an organisation they’ve heard of and a name they trust. When information is so readily available about your industry and competitors, promoting your brand online is essential to engage future and existing employees.
2. Be an employer of choice
Before you begin to strategise around your online employer branding, it’s key to determine if you’re considered an employer of choice by your workforce. Current and previous employees are your greatest brand ambassadors, and if they’re not saying good things about you online, it’s important to find out why not. Employee satisfaction surveys and monitoring reviews of your organisation online are useful ways to get a feel for the perception of the company amongst your staff.
3. Define your culture and direction
What it is that keeps your employees engaged and differentiates you from your competitors? The answers should provide the reasons why people should want to work for you. It may be your environment of continual improvement with enviable training opportunities, or simply that employees get their birthday off. Only once you’ve understood who you are and what you’re trying to communicate in your branding will you be able to move onto the nuts and bolts of your approach.
4. Examine the tools available
There are hundreds of different social media routes to market, and it isn’t practical to utilise all of them. Examine the tools available in conjunction with your message and audience, and decide on a joined-up strategy that plays to the strength of your brand. If you’re keen to highlight your cutting-edge office environment, record a video clip and encourage your staff to comment on the day-to-day experience. Other resources that potential employees turn to when checking you out include:
Blogs (both corporate and individually authored)
Your careers website
If you’re looking to appeal to a niche group of candidates, there are several geographic, industry and skills-specific social networks to consider getting involved with. Investigate the online tools of choice for the specific groups of people you want to speak to; your existing employees should give you a good steer.
5. Allocate ownership
Although the social media output will usually be a result of the collaboration between several different departments (digital marketing, HR, communications, line management), ultimate ownership should rest with an individual/department to ensure consistency.
6. Ensure consistent messaging
The experience of your brand you impart to graduates will differ to that at director level so choose which channel and message would suit each audience best. Segment your audience and speak to them as groups, rather than a whole, as specific information may be irrelevant to the majority. Crucially, make sure you understand the social media channel you’ve chosen on a practical basis. But, as the aim is employer branding for the organisation as a whole, ensure that the tone and messages are consistent and up-to-date.
7. Demonstrate selling points
While successful branding through social media tools can create a great ‘shop window’ for what life is like at your organisation, they can also be used to elaborate on your employee engagement practices. For example, don’t just say that you’re an employer of choice because you have a great training scheme, show your audience with videos, case studies, interviews with staff and give them the chance to interact with the training team.
8. Deal with negativity
By encouraging interaction and comment, the feedback received online won’t all be positive. Acknowledge negative opinions in the forum in which they were received and stay positive, outlining the steps you will take to rectify the issue. The only negative feedback it’s advisable to delete is out-and-out spam or deliberate, untrue attacks (often known as trolling).
9. Measure your success
The benefits of a consistent approach to branding on social media won't be seen overnight, but implement a tracking process from the outset so that you can measure the success of your strategy. Google Analytics is a useful tool for online tracking, and qualitative feedback can be taken at interview stage.
Although crucial for candidate attraction, ensuring positive employer branding also plays a big part in the engagement and ongoing retention of your top talent. Candidates who turn into employees have done so, in part, because of their positive experience of your brand.
Employer branding through social media isn’t just delivering a message, it’s a conversation between you, your employees and the wider market. Encourage interaction and participation – the results will reflect your true culture far more than the official line you take in the ‘about us’ section of your website.