Hi there. I'm Heather Hamilton, founder of Whiz Bang Employer Branding. Like many people working in this space, I never planned on a career in staffing. But my entry-level position many years ago led to others, and I found that I was intensely interested in the candidate experience and motivated by the opportunity to help job-seekers navigate one of the most important decisions in their lives. This has been a consistent focus - you might even call it an obsession - throughout my professional history. As far as obsessions go, candidate obsession isn’t a bad one to have, especially when you work in employer branding.
Even in my early career, I approached recruiting like a marketer, with the understanding that different audiences value different things and that no one employer will appeal universally. A significant portion of my work has been focused on understanding the audiences that align with employer hiring profiles; what those audiences care about, what makes them consider a career change, and what keeps them happy at work. This focus led me to take my first steps into the employer branding field back in 2004.
I see employer branding as a tool for companies to not only attract the candidates who will be happy working there, but also to help other candidates self-select out of the recruiting process. Unlike other types of brand marketing, there is significant value in keeping the wrong people – those whose values and career desires don’t match your company’s offerings – out of your candidate pool. This is done by authentically communicating who your company is.
I believe the following things:
Doing the right thing for candidates is usually the right thing for the company too.
Employers who are thoughtful about how they engage their target talent, and care enough to ask for my help, are my favorite people to work with. As it turns out, doing the right thing for the candidate often has massive benefits for employers' reputations. Candidate obsession is a quality we bring to the table in every engagement.
Understanding your audience is step one in any effective employer branding initiative.
Part of our deep focus on candidates is discovery; understanding them not just on paper but also their career desires, what keeps them engaged and happy at work, how they behave online and opportunities to reach them in ways that are both compelling and authentic. These insights - this audience understanding - is the foundation of great employment brand outcomes. Yet many employment brand practitioners rush to execution, basing strategies on what has worked for other companies. Your company, hiring needs, target talent audience and stories are unique. The road to understanding and defining them is paved with data.
It’s beneficial to be skeptical of "best practices".
No two companies are the same, yet many companies try to adopt employment brand "best practices" espoused by industry leaders. It's not a horrible practice, if the alternative is doing nothing, and it’s typically the approach taken by companies who have not invested resources in effective employer branding. Chances are, the best practices approach will do little to differentiate your company in the competitive employment marketplace. Our focus on understanding clients' hiring needs, target talent, and unique brand challenges and opportunities allows us to develop solutions that fit with their culture, appeal to their talent audience and help them reach their short and long-term hiring goals.
Part of what makes companies stand out in a crowded employment marketplace is the stories its employees tell about the role the company plays in their lives, and their experience working there. Let's face it, people don't love the feeling of being marketed to. Somehow, storytelling as a marketing approach feels different than other approaches. It helps people connect with companies on a personal level and envision themselves working there. And stories are inherently memorable. We work with clients to identify the right opportunities to get compelling stories of their employer brand out into the world in an authentic and personal way.
Employee stories are effective in creating personal connections with your future talent
If this approach to employer branding resonates with you, or if you’d like to understand more, I’d love to hear from you.