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What is employer branding?

Reading Time: 7 minutes

The way to attract talent has changed, and the key lies in understanding what is employer branding.

As candidates act more like consumers, you must adapt your talent attraction and engagement strategies. 

Communicating the employee experience to candidates, served up at the right time to the right person, is necessary to stay competitive. 

And so, employer branding and recruitment marketing were born. 

What is an employer brand?

Employer brand is the company’s identity as an employer. 

Several factors go into your employer brand: 

  1. The official brand your company creates. This represents the employee experience promised to current and future employees. These aspects of brand include an EVP statement, brand colors and logo, mission and values, slogans, etc.

  2. Employee perception. Employee feedback via word of mouth, surveys, and review sites play a defining role in shaping the overall employer brand. 

  3. General public perception. Company news and its response to current events impact public perception of your company. Larger industry trends can affect your employer brand, too. 


What is the ROI of an employer brand?

A positive employer brand is essential to attracting top talent to your organization. 

From Medium, 2017:

  • 75% of candidates research a company’s reputation/employer brand before applying

  • 69% of candidates would NOT accept a job in a firm with a bad reputation, even if that would mean not having a job

  • 83% of employers say that employer brand plays a significant role in their ability to hire talent

What is employer branding?

With all the moving parts that go into an employer brand, actively maintaining and improving upon that identity is paramount. That’s where employer branding comes in. 

One employer branding duty would be creating those official employer brand guidelines. A brand promise should reflect to candidates and employees the real state of the workplace. This means regularly checking in with employees post-launch to ensure that the brand is staying current.  

Employee perception is a reflection of employee experience. To improve employee brand perception, improve the employee experience: Introducing new benefits, conducting diversity and inclusion training, and launching career development programs are just a few examples. All three will positively affect the employee experience, and therefore their perception of working there. 

And finally, employer branding includes managing the public perception of your employer brand. This includes publishing statements on current events, applying for and communicating workplace awards, thoughtfully responding to responses on review sites, and more. 

What is recruitment marketing?

Recruitment marketing is the tactics and strategies that promote the employer brand to candidates. 

Recruitment marketing is highly strategic, results-driven, and at its best when aligned with talent attraction goals. 

A successful recruitment marketing campaign could impact: 

  • Application metrics: faster time to fill; lower cost per hire; cost per application; cost per click; increase in applications; decrease in applications (effective marketing drives some people away, and that’s OK!)

  • Engagement/awareness metrics:  ad impressions, increase in clicks, likes, shares, comments, etc. on social posts; increase in blog and newsletter subscribers; organic career site visits; candidates referencing recruitment marketing and employer branding content during interviews

  • Post hire metrics: hires converted; improved quality of candidates and hires; higher retention; increased employee engagement; source of influence

How do you create a recruitment marketing strategy?

The ultimate goal is to deliver the right content to the right candidate at the right time to drive action (Rally Recruitment Marketing).

A recruitment marketing strategy is based on traditional marketing principles: candidate personas, building high-value content, and targeted distribution. If the goal is to communicate your employer brand, think of these three principles as the who (candidate personas), the what (high-value content) and the how (targeted distribution). 

Let’s break them down: 

Candidate personas

A candidate persona is a fictional person who represents your ideal job candidate for a given position. These profiles are created by interviewing current team members in that role to better understand their backgrounds, interests, pain points, and motivators. 

This research will help you understand your ideal candidate and better equip you to create targeted recruitment marketing content that resonates with this audience. 

High value content

Now that you know who you want to reach, you need something to give to them. That is why we create recruitment marketing content. Now that you understand candidate needs, create content that answers their questions and inspires action. 

Employee stories are your recruitment marketing secret weapon. They provide insight, can support those employer brand messages, and can be repurposed for maximum impact. Once you have the stories, the content itself can come in many forms: video, photos, text, graphics, job descriptions, and more.  See how leading companies have used 5 different story mediums to communicate with candidates effectively. 

Targeted distribution

You have your target audience and your content. Next comes distribution: getting the content in front of the right person, at the right time. 

Your persona research helped reveal what channels your target candidates prefer, and when they’re most likely to be on them. Time to start testing! Be prepared to try different channels, messaging, and time of day until you find a pattern that works. 

Also true: candidates needs change as they progress through the candidate experience. A candidate going into their first interview will have questions different from  a candidate who has just received an offer. Right content, right candidate, right time.

What is the difference between employer branding and recruitment marketing?

Employer branding creates the message that recruitment marketing shares with the world…

… that attracts new hires to the organization that add to the culture…that impacts the employer brand…that shapes the message that recruitment marketing shares with the world. Phew! The short answer is, they are different, but they work together. It’s a never ending cycle, but it means everything to your talent attraction efforts. 

Want to learn more about employer branding best practices? Download our ebook!