Sunday, March 04, 2007

Wanted: Companies With Strong Employer Brands

Personal branding has become a hot topic among savvy job seekers over the past few years. Organizations with forward-thinking recruiting strategies are now applying the concepts of personal branding to attract top talent and many marketing experts including Seth Godin have blogged on how to market a job opportunity.

Ultimately, employers want to create an employer value proposition (EVP) that is so strong that the employer becomes a magnet employer. Rob O'Keefe of TMP Worldwide, a leading recruitment advertising agency,
blogs about how to become an employer of choice; one where everyone knows their employment brand and many want to work for the organization.

O'Keefe suggests that creating a compelling employer brand proposition is critical to attracting top talent and appealing to both active and passive job seekers. And it seems quite likely that employers who create a strong employment brand will have a captive audience.
According to a 2005 Conference Board Study, over 50% of the workforce is unhappy in their current job. This presents an enormous opportunity for companies to position themselves as the employer of choice and garner exceptional new talent in the process.

In their book Talent Force, authors Rusty Rueff and Hank Stringer refer to a company's website as their virtual lobby. The virtual lobby is a good indicator of the company's employer brand.

When a prospective candidate comes to a company’s website and submits a resume online, what type of response do they receive? Is the message welcoming, does it say we will call you if something comes up, or is there no reply at all? According to the authors, many corporate websites ask for a great deal of personal information as part of the job application process. Companies with this type of interface lose 98% of their visitors before capturing any information about them and most never return. Instead of making the process cumbersome and invasive by asking for a resume, the authors recommend that employers simply invite candidates in, allow them to remain anonymous, and ask for minimal information. If they acquire just a first name, email address, and area of interest, they can begin to establish a relationship with the candidate and they can engage with them on their terms.

So what does all this mean to the job seeker? By targeting companies that present a strong employer brand, you are more likely to find the culture that speaks to your values and future career aspirations. By studying company websites and career portals, you can determine if an employer has a strong employer brand and one that matches your employment expectations.

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  • Barbara, this is an interesting topic. As an IB headhunter in Asia, I don't see many employers in this part of the world had this 'magnet employer' concept in mind. But as a general trend, employers from the US and Europe are asking fewer and fewer personal information about candidates.

    By Blogger Anna Maria D'Souza, at 9:47 PM  

  • Anna,

    Thanks for posting! You're right. In the US market asking personal questions is inappropriate at best and illegal in the worst case scenario. Personal branding is something's a statement about a candidate that communicates their value add and differentiates them from their competitors. The concept of branding is borrowed from the corporate world. Consider these products with strong brands...iPod, Kleenex, Duracel...the brand is so strong that people don't call the products what they really are...MP3 players, tissues, or batteries. Instead they identify the product by the brand. Candidates that build strong personal brands garner more name recognition than their "generic" counterparts.

    By Blogger Barbara Safani, at 8:31 PM  

  • Barbara, if your truly interested in Personal Branding, I blog about the subject nonstop at my Personal Branding Blog. I use video's articles and guest authors as posts as well.

    By Blogger Dan Schawbel, at 3:53 PM  

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