Recruitment branding Featured

8:00pm EDT September 21, 2006
Nike, Starbucks, Disney. Mention a brand and one can instantly conjure up a product, a reputation and an experience. If your firm is like many others, you may spend all your marketing focus and budget on promoting your qualities to potential clients. But are your potential employees impressed with your brand?

“Winning the talent battle is directly related to a company’s recruitment brand,” says Sunita Iyengar, vice president of the Clinical Division of Devon Consulting, a professional staffing firm serving the IT and clinical trial industries. “A company’s capability to successfully attract, engage and retain its targeted employees hinges greatly on its recruitment brand”.

Smart Business spoke with Iyengar about being an “employer of choice” and how companies could develop a recruitment brand.

Could you define ‘recruitment brand’?
A recruitment brand communicates to employees and prospective employees what your company stands for and why they should work for you. Word-of-mouth reputation, though important, may not be complete or accurate. Recruitment branding is a more sophisticated and integrated effort to create and deliver a credible and honest message about the employment experience in your company. Recruitment branding is not just a vision or a promise; it has to stem from and be consistent with your company’s reality. Honesty is key.

Why is it important to invest in a recruitment brand?
Competition for talent today is fierce, and it will get more challenging. Local talent is scarce. Hence, it is imperative to get a consistent message to talent, regardless of their location. Intangibles, like the culture of the company, have as much influence as tangibles. This means creating and communicating a compelling and unique perception of your company in the minds of target candidates and employees. A good place to begin this would be to ask, ‘Why would people want to work here, and what would keep them here?’

How does recruitment branding differ from a company’s product (or services) branding?
Ideally, a company’s recruitment brand should be integrated and aligned with the company’s corporate brand. People trust brands and consistency grows trust. Much of recruitment branding is a positive reflection of the company’s strengths and culture back into the marketplace of potential candidates.

What are the benefits of a recruitment brand?

  • Motivation for employees to choose you as an employer over competition.

 

  • Assistance for applicants to screen themselves in or out of consideration by helping candidates to evaluate the opportunity better.

 

  • Improved awareness and clarity of expectations lead to better alignment with and commitment to organization goals, causing higher employee retention.

 

  • Increased employee empowerment and motivation, which in turn results in better word of mouth reputation.

 

  • More referrals, shorter time to fill open positions.

 

  • Reduced recruitment costs, including cost of time spent in screening and hiring.

What are the steps to building a recruitment brand?
Assess and articulate your company’s strengths: Identify the top 5 to 10 things you would like target employees to know about your company. These should include any special advantages that employees may gain by working for your organization, such as room for advancement, opportunities to work on cutting-edge technology, opportunities to contribute towards a cause, and special perks like telecommuting and flex hours. Another way to garner this information would be to survey employees. Some questions to ask are: Who are we as a company? What do we stand for? What is our culture? Why do you enjoy working here? You can also elicit valuable information through exit interviews.

Identify the needs of the target employees: Your best employees are a good sample to study, understand and answer questions such as: What about work is important to you? What attracted you to our company? What do you like most about working here? Was the reality of the job consistent with your expectations? What makes our company a great place to work?

Exclusive message: Communicate how your benefits match employees’ needs. And if those are not offered by anyone else, you have created an exclusive and targeted message. You will also have to ensure that the message is consistently used across multiple forums — advertisements, direct mail, company Web site, recruitment videos, print material and other media.

Develop your branding message for a target group, not everyone at large. And the message has to be a way for your target audience to positively differentiate you from others. Successful recruitment branding is not static. It is important to frequently reappraise the brand and its effectiveness in the minds of employees and prospects.

SUNITA IYENGAR is vice president of the Clinical Division at Devon Consulting (www.devonconsulting.com), a professional staffing firm serving the IT and clinical trial industries. Reach Iyengar at (610) 964-5749 or siyengar@devonconsulting.com.