Starting from the inside – Why you need to maintain your employer brand to attract the best
We have been in the recruitment business for many years now, and we have helped just about every different kind of IT and related industry business. We have seen one-person start-ups, family-run businesses, multi-nationals, and just about everything in between, and at no point have we sat down in front of a prospective client to discuss their employment needs and heard them say:
“Actually, we are a pretty boring company, and honestly I wouldn’t work here if I had a choice.”
It would be a pretty worrying comment if we did. In fact, I am not sure we would even be able to help a company that believed that to be the case. Every business is unique, every business has a persona, every business has commitments, and every business deserves to attract the very best candidates to make sure it thrives.
How do you stand out from the pack?
The issue here though is that if all businesses have this unique story to tell, how do they stand out from the pack?
The bottom line for most industry sectors is that unemployment is low and that means the days of being able to just advertise a job and people would come queuing up are pretty much gone – no matter what the role you need to be filled. In IT and technology markets where key people make all the difference, and the industry is moving so fast that you need agile employment policies just to keep up, the chances of getting the right person falling through the door are clearly remote, to say the least.
While an IT specialist recruiter like ourselves can do the initial work, find the right people, ensure they meet your needs and then bring them to your attention, the candidate will only take the job if they are sure it is right for them. Of course, there is the occasional exception where a potential employee is being offered an unmissable huge leap in status or salary, but they are the exceptions that prove the rule. In a tough employment market, every business must be offering a competitive package just to attract the initial interest of the right people.
The real attraction is the business itself and the benefits of working there.
- Benefits do mean a lot. As well as the usual benefits, try to offer something that is unique or unusual. It doesn’t need to be a huge offering, just something that makes your offer stand out.
- Demonstrate who you are as a company. An employee is taking a big step by joining you, and you want them to share your values. Demonstrate how the business runs and who makes the wheels turn. A walk around is good; an opportunity to meet prospective co-workers informally is great.
- Sell your business as a proposition rather than a company. When we sell a product or service, we tend to start with recognising a gap in the market and looking to fill it by producing something that fills the hole. Your business has a gap in the team, so it is the business that the employee is buying not the products or services. Tell your story as powerfully as you demonstrate your portfolio.
- Do you have a brand for your employees? We all work hard on our public brand, but when you are trying to attract the very best potential employees, it may be worth considering if you have an internal brand that could be developed and used to demonstrate the real reason people should consider working with you.
In fact, the key to ensuring that the best people want to work with you is probably already in your hands. The inside of your business, the part the public doesn’t see, is often exactly the part that the potential employee does want to see. Every company they look at is going to change the world according to their marketing, what the potential employee is interested in is likely to be not so much how you will change the world, but why you want to change it and who will be doing it.
A strong employment brand is always built from the inside because that is what the employee needs to see to be confident you are the right environment for them.