Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Creating an employer brand

How can you attract the talent you need to build the company you want?

Effective recruitment plays an essential part in the success of any business, but perhaps especially so for SMEs. Attracting talent costs both time and money, so it is vital that these are used efficiently to invite the candidates you want to join your team. But to do this, it must be clear to potential employees exactly what that team stands for and can offer to them. Ask yourself - are your job adverts really communicating to employees the values of your brand? Are you delivering the right messaging in the most targeted way possible?

Creating an employer brand helps you to do both of these things.

An employer brand is the personality and value proposition of an organisation; it’s what makes your company stand out, it’s what lies at the heart of your business, and is what ultimately makes you an attractive option to candidates. Virgin, Apple, Sky, Nike – all of these companies are not only well-known brands to consumers, but they have cultivated a reputation for being fantastic places to work. These are examples of employer branding done right – they are organisations that have taken the time to market their brand to the global labour market.

Attracting top talent in a competitive environment is just one of many things that make a great case for employer branding. Honing your communications and fine-tuning the way your organisation is perceived can also help you expedite the hiring process, as candidates are far more in tune with what your company really stands for, resulting in a higher quality of applications. Furthermore, having a discernable employer brand can revitalise your current workforce and improve rates of employee engagement. Some executives even estimate that implementing an employee value proposition, or EVP, can increase the number of potential employees by 20 per cent and quadruple rates of employee commitment.

Ultimately, employer branding is about sending the right message across every touch point of your internal and external communications so that your brand is visible, identifiable, and understood.

Identifying your brand

Before you begin to communicate your brand externally (and internally, for that matter), you first need to discern what it is.

Knowing the message you want to convey is the first step to being able to align your marketing with your employee branding and overall company communications, but sometimes this can be easier said than done. For small and medium enterprises especially, developing a brand may not have been a priority so much as getting the business of the ground. However, branding is important not just for employees, but for your custom – the Harvard Business review notes that in a 2015 survey, 64 per cent of people cited “shared values” as the main reason they had a relationship with a brand.

What better reason to shout about your company values?

How to identify your company brand

To help you gain some insight into your brand, consider the following:

  • What makes your company unique?
  • What are some of the top things you pride yourself on being able to offer employees that they won’t find anywhere else?
  • Picture your company as a person – what sort of “personality” do they have? What are some of the key traits?
  • What values are at the heart of your organisation, and why?

Obtaining the answers to these questions will help you to clearly identify your brand.

Take action

How you go about getting this information can vary depending on your budget and preferences, but there are a number of strategies you could utilise.

You may wish to have a think-tank session among directors, or enlist the help of a third-party to answer these questions. You could conduct a survey among current employees to get some feedback about how they view the brand currently, or even carry out surveys externally to gauge the public perception of your brand (this will depend on the visibility and size of your venture). If you don’t have an in-house marketing team, you could consider instructing an agency or consultant to help you develop a strategy, so that you can improve the visibility of your brand values and ultimately entice a better quality of candidate towards your roles. 

Attracting the right employees

Of the hiring practice, Richard Branson once said, "Stop looking to hire people just because they have extraordinary resumes or impressive academic records. Look for people who share your passion."

This - advice from a figure who has created one of the world’s largest and most identifiable brands - carries weight, but it also means many companies will have to re-evaluate the way in which they communicate with their talent pool, so that respondents are those who do indeed share the company’s passion. Talent acquisition is a fine art as is candidate retention, so to find individuals who are likely to share your passion and who want to stay around long enough to realize it, offering your basic “competitive salary and paid holiday” isn’t likely to be enough.

How to attract the talent you want

If you’re looking to attract your dream candidates, consider what more you can offer to make coming to work a valuable experience.

In a recent U.S. survey among recent graduates, more respondents cited career growth and opportunities to learn as reasons to accept a job, beating out salary. There are things you can do in your workplace and include in your offers that can therefore make you more attractive candidates:

  • Development events  – these can be away days, lunchtime seminars, or other events that give your workforce an opportunity to move up the ladder in your organisation.
  • Partnerships – perhaps you sponsor a local team, or have access to game-day box seats? These can be used to motivate your sales team for example, or as a great way to bond at the end of a successful quarter and drive up rates of employee engagement.
  • Flexible working arrangements – thanks to factors like rising childcare costs, this is becoming an increasing priority for today’s workforce. A report recently found that flexi-working would be the norm for 70 per cent of organisations in the UK by 2020, so including this in your offerings can put you ahead of the game.
  • Childcare vouchers and topped-up parental leave – similarly, making it easier for candidates to balance work and life outside the office will endear you to a large number of workers.
  • Gym memberships – these are a great way of attracting younger, millennial employees especially, but benefit all workers who value their mental and physical health.

It’s important to note that your job postings should be written in a manner that is in keeping with your brand, too. This tone of voice coupled with the extras and perks you can provide will be key in capturing attention and drawing in the right sort of applications you want.

Communicating your brand

Once you have outlined your brand and have identified the type of candidate you want to attract, now you need to implement some steps for effective communication during the hiring process.

How you go about doing this will depend on your budget and goals, but there are some easy ways in which you can get started:

  • Job postings – make sure these are phrased in ways that are in line with your company, and that spark a conversation with your candidate. Try altering little phrases, such as replacing “employee” with “brand ambassador”, and “join the company” with “be part of our team”.
  • Social media – be active across social media, and use each platform in the most effective way to target that audience. Instagram pictures of your dress-down Friday, tweet about a new or exciting project, and post more in-depth, exciting company news on Facebook.
  • Create relevant content – make sure that what you’re sharing has been focused towards your specific demographic. This should be not only content that is related to your specific industry, but also wider content that engages your target audience in terms of age group, interests, and more.

If you need help crafting the right words and imagery and communicating these to your target candidate audience, enlisting the help of a recruitment specialist could be the answer.  

How CVWOW can help

As experts in the field, we can help you optimise your communications so that your job postings are always targeted at the right people.

We know the right industry-specific job boards on which to post your ads, depending on the role and industry. We also give you the opportunity to fully brand your adverts, so that your brand is visible to the candidate, and the post looks as though it’s come directly from you and not an agency.

We’re also on hand for advice throughout the process, using our expertise in recruiting to help you brand and target your job postings.

How to measure impact

Once you have implemented your strategy, you should make sure you have policies in place to gauge the success of your employer branding, and isolate areas for improvement.

To do this, you may wish to have a specific task force to work on generating and analyzing results, be it in-house or through an external recruitment specialist. When it comes to measuring the success of the job postings themselves, consider the following:

  • Look at where your responses are coming from. When applicants respond to your job post, make sure that when they do, they indicate where they found the post (this could be via a drop-down bar in a mandatory field of the application). This will enable you to see where your money is being spent, and which avenue of advertising is providing the best return on investment.
  • Monitor your web traffic. If you are using your own website or social media channels, you can use reporting software that will show you how many impressions, clicks, and conversions your ad is receiving and from where.
  • Include the question, “Why do you want to work for us?” This is normally a line of enquiry reserved for candidates in the interview process, but having it answered in the initial response will help you see how much the applicant has been able to gain about your brand through the posting or otherwise. 

Ultimately, the responses to these postings are just the beginning of the hiring process. To find out if your employee branding is not only attracting talent, but is keeping them engaged and with your organisation, you need to look at a number of factors, such as: 

  • Feedback from employees after the probation period
  • Feedback from HR and managers
  • The number of applications versus cost of advertising
  • Internal referral rates
  • Rates of employee engagement and absenteeism
  • Average employee retention rate

If you are unsure about how best to measure the ROI of your employee branding and recruitment efforts, partnering with the right recruitment solution provider can save thousands from your hiring budget. At CVWOW, we save our customers an average of £2,000 per hire against standard recruitment agency fees.


Employee branding is set to play a pivotal role in the overall recruiting process in the coming years.

As new generations continue to enter the global talent pool, employers will need to keep reassessing what they can offer to attract and retain the talent that’s best fit for their business. For example, Generation Z is soon to enter the workforce, and a recent survey conducted by Monster revealed they want tangible perks, meaningful work, and the opportunity to progress from a job. This is perhaps one of best examples of why identifying your brand is so important – it will give you the chance to stand out as an employer of choice, rather than necessity.

CVWOW are leading experts in the field of effective recruitment, and we can help you develop your EVP strategy to achieve your hiring goals. We can help you identify what you’re looking for in a candidate, and how best to reach and attract these candidates to become a valuable asset in your workforce.

To find out more about how we can assist you with employee branding and hiring best practices, contact us today - 08006344477.