As we scroll through Instagram …
As we drive past billboards …
As we see signs posted in front of buildings….
We cannot help but notice a lot of organizations are hiring. Which is great! Yet, many of these advertisements clearly and only state: “We’re Hiring. Join Our Team.”
In 2018, my colleague and exaqueo senior employer brand strategist, Emily Fritz, stated, “The reality is this: one hiring sign and the same calls to action as everyone else won’t cut it anymore.” Despite the changes the world has experienced since 2020, and the fact there are more employer brand professionals today than ever before, here we are in 2022 and organizations are still going to market with the same message.
“We’re hiring. Join our team.”
A tale as old as time. It’s the same vanilla message we’ve seen before.
The very same message candidates have seen for years.
On February 4, 2022, The Washington Post reported, “Over the past 12 months, the United States has added nearly 7 million jobs as workers have found ample openings in an economy still recovering from the pandemic’s first days.” Ample opportunities indeed. And, across many positions and geographies, the supply of local talent is lower than the overall demand needed by employers.
Branding in a Candidate-driven Market
From RF engineers to retail sales, organizations need people with the right skills to fill open roles. With so many organizations hiring, it’s important to remember this is a candidate-driven job market. At the most basic level, a candidate-driven market means organizations must compete, now more than ever, for the talent needed to meet business and hiring goals.
To put this into perspective, let’s say you are currently searching for a new employer brand job.
As of March 14, 2022, on CareerBuilder, there are currently more than 350 “employer branding” jobs posted. There are countless “employer brand” jobs listed on LinkedIn. On Indeed.com, there are more than 11,000 “employer brand” jobs available in the United States. From companies such as Tinder to Snapchat and from Amazon to JPMorgan Chase, there is a spectrum of organizations looking for employer brand talent. So how do you know which organization is right for you? If they just say, “We’re hiring. Join our team,” will that be enough for you to make a decision?
Most likely, no.
As job seekers, we need to know what makes Company A different from Company B. As employer brand professionals, we know that every company is unique. What enables success in one organization may not in another. What one company values, another may overlook. The culture from one place to the next varies.
We need to know more.
Understanding Points of Difference
Employer brand professionals have never been so vital to organizations’ ability to attract and retain talent. To this end, one of the most important questions an employer brand professional must be able to answer is this:
What makes my organization different from all the others hiring right now?
Do you know what makes your organization different? If not, it’s time to find out. Employer brand professionals need to know what makes your organization different in order to market and stand out to attract candidates.
In a sea of hiring advertisements and careers sites, there is much sameness. Differentiation is key when it comes to employer branding. In marketing, a point of parity is where your organization (as an employer) is the same as your competitors when it comes to consideration by customers (i.e. candidates). Points of difference are the factors of the products, services, or experiences that establish differentiation. Too often it seems, the points of parity are more common than the points of difference.
To understand what makes your organization different from all other competitors, both inside and outside of your industry, start by talking to your people. Have meaningful conversations with employees at all levels. A good place to start is interviewing new hires about what is important to them in a job and employer, why they decided to apply to the organization, and why they ultimately accepted their job offers. Chances are they were also interviewing with other organizations, so ask what made your organization different or better from others.
Other approaches for understanding what makes your organization, as a place to work, different from other employers include:
- Investigating what motivates your employees and what they appreciate about working specifically for your company. This can be done through surveys or one-on-one interviews with current employees.
- Looking at the unique culture that has been created within your organization and how it attracts and retains employees. What values do you stand for? How do your employees feel when they come to work?
- Understanding your current brand reputation. How do candidates perceive your organization? Do they see it as a great place to work? What are people saying about your organization externally on social media, review sites, and in forums such as Reddit, Quora, or Fishbowl? Now, how does that compare to your competitors?
- Reading what your competitors are saying about themselves. What do you want to say about your organization as an employer? What are the key themes or messages that you plan to amplify across brand channels? Now, look to see if your competitors are already dialing up similar messages. Find out what they are saying to identify the blank space and messages your organization can own.
Once you can answer what makes your organization different from others, you can begin to craft employer brand and recruitment marketing content that will attract the right candidates for your company. And help your organization stand out amidst the noise.
This may seem like a daunting task, but by taking some time to consider what makes your organization special, you can make your company more attractive to top talent — the type of talent that will thrive inside your unique organization.