Fast-growing and established companies know the importance of a positive brand image. It's the first impression customers get of your business, and it helps you create a consistent, professional presence in your industry. You may have mastered your customer-facing brand, but if you're looking to expand and want to attract top talent to your organization, you also need to build a similar but separate brand image: your employer brand.
Potential customers and potential employees both use your brand message to help form an opinion about your company. Miranda Nash, president of recruiting engagement software Jobscience, said that online behavior among consumers is now geared toward the "zero moment of truth," which is the process of educating oneself about a product before buying.
Like consumers, today's candidates really do their research to make sure a company is the right fit before applying to or accepting a job. But unlike a customer, a job seeker has a lot more at stake when deciding to get involved with your business. And if your employer brand doesn't match job seekers' expectations, they have no problem moving on.
"Job seekers are educating themselves about opportunities, salary levels, companies and benefits," Nash told Business News Daily. "They'll talk to a friend, search Google and [look at] job boards, company websites, competitors' websites, social sites, etc. The challenge for companies is to be relevant and be there in that zero moment of truth."
Establishing a strong employer brand starts with showing up in job seekers' search results, and that means thinking about your employer brand as part of your SEO and marketing strategies. [Hiring? Market Your Job Opening to Attract the Best Candidates]
"Waiting for people to come [to your website] isn't good enough in sales, and it's not good enough for recruiting," Nash said. "Be proactive, not in an aggressive way, but a helpful way. Begin to establish a positive connection with your company [among job seekers]."
Using the right keywords and making relevant content available for candidates across a variety of outlets will increase the chance that candidates will find you, Nash said. This can include maintaining an active "careers" page on your website with current job openings and company perks, posting to various job boards and sharing information about your opportunities on social media.
"Companies can use social media to bring awareness to new job listings," said Stacia Pierce, CEO of Ultimate Lifestyle Enterprises and a mentor for female entrepreneurs. "Take the information right to the job seeker by posting about openings on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Google searches often show your social media postings as well as content from your website."
Pierce also advised posting up-to-date photos representing your company culture on your website and on social profiles to further convey your employer brand.
"Display images of enthusiastic workers and action photos of employees interacting and working together," Pierce said. "Show visuals of employee perks, or add images that [send a] message of a positive outlook on the company."
When you're thinking about your employer branding strategy, always remember to establish your presence in the spots where your ideal talent pool can be found. That means both the devices they use and the websites they visit to find jobs.
"Yes, you need to be findable on Google and publish your job through [major job listing] sites, but you also need to be more niche," said Nash, who recommended posting your employment opportunities to industry-specific job boards, as well as ensuring your career page is fully mobile optimized. "You need to go where the high-quality candidates are."
Originally published on Business News Daily