When I landed in San Diego for the Employer Branding Strategies Conference, I wasn’t sure what I was going to walk into. Don’t get me wrong, I knew I’d be in for a whirlwind of networking, breakout sessions, snacks, and vendor giveaways – I have been to plenty of corporate events before. However, walking into the conference center on the first morning, I could tell this conference would be different.
Regardless of your industry or the size of your team, allocating budget to attend conferences can be sparse. So, whether you’re considering attending #EBrandCon 2019 or researching employer branding conferences in general, I hope you find my perspective on the event beneficial and insightful.
COMMUNITY OVER COMPETITION
Employer branding is a new industry, and yet it’s not. Human resources, recruitment marketing, and advertising have been around for longer than we can even remember. We just didn’t always call it employer branding. As a result, this industry has a broad and deep network of professionals who identify with employer branding. The relationships are strong and the experience vast, with clients crossing over to the vendor side and vice versa. There is a strong sense of community over competition. Whether it’s #EBchat or #GlobalTADay coming up on September 5, 2018, this is a community with an eagerness to connect and learn from each other.
KNOWING THE LINGO
Despite this industry being around for so long, there is still a lot of confusion about employer branding, company culture, recruitment marketing, and employment value proposition (EVP). At the conference, Kevin Richeson from IMPRINT Hospitality presented on the importance of understanding your culture and the impact it can have on employees. Princeton, on the other hand, shared insight into their process of creating an employer brand and the recruitment marketing materials that were created as a result. These two examples had very different processes, outcomes, and measurements of success. But it’s easy to see how it can all be very confusing, especially when at times these words are used interchangeably as if they were the same thing. To be clear, they are not. Here at exaqueo, we’ve tried to help clear up some of the confusion with a storybook that helps explain employer brand, culture, and EVP in an easy, digestible way.
TREATING CANDIDATES AS CONSUMERS
A constant topic of conversation both in networking with attendees and listening to the speaker sessions was the candidate experience. Many expressed concerns about how to attract and retain the right talent for their organization. Whether it’s millennials or women in technology, organizations across all industries are struggling to attract the talent they need to be successful and relevant. As Tracey Parsons, SmashFly Technologies, VP of the Recruitment Marketing Center of Excellence said, “we are losing the war on talent” and it’s time we stop thinking of it as a war. What we need to do is start thinking of our candidates like we do our consumers. We need to learn their behaviors, understand their needs, and know our candidate personas as deeply as we do our marketing personas.
Did you know that the average B2B buyer gets through 57% of the purchase decision before engaging a supplier sales rep? (<-- Click to tweet!) Candidates aren’t so different. Today, candidates interface with so much technology when going through the hiring process – social media, careers site, ATS, talent networks, chatbots – they might not even get a chance to speak with a real person until they interview or receive an offer. If your organization wants to differentiate itself and attract talent that’s not only going to accept that offer, but thrive in your organization, you need to do more than just post job descriptions and pass on resumes to hiring managers. And, you have to do more than just satisfy candidates. Instead, you must engage and captivate them in ways that deliver an authentic experience of what it’s like to work at your organization.
Doing all of this is no easy feat. As Tisha Leslie, T-Mobile Director of Employer Brand, shared in her closing session of #EBrandCon, a change in our perspective can occur from simply opening ourselves up in new ways and looking at things from a different lens. We, as leaders in employer branding, need to look back as much as we are looking forward. We need to change our perspective in order to understand what it’s like to be a candidate in today’s job marketplace. Something as easy as applying to your own jobs can give you a better understanding of what your candidates are going through and why some are dropping off or giving up before making it through. If drop offs aren’t your problem, audit your employment lifecycle (from awareness to alumni) and see things from a candidate and employee’s perspective. What you will learn will not only surprise you, but also arm you with new ways to improve the candidate and employee experience, plus better attract the right talent for your organization.
If you enjoyed this post, check out this one: Captivate Candidates Before They Even Apply
Emily Fritz (@social_em) is an Employer Brand Strategist at exaqueo, an employer brand experience firm building employer brands and the talent strategies that drive them through research, consulting and creative and digital execution. Contact exaqueo to learn more about our employer brand innovation, workforce research and recruiting strategy offerings.