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How do strong brands affect talent recruitment?: Top brands attract top candidates


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How do strong brands affect talent recruitment?: Top brands attract top candidates by Maryann Stump

A recent spate of books touts the importance of having a “personal brand” when jobhunting. That’s only one side of the equation. Even in a tough economy companies are competing for the best job candidates and that competition starts well before a job opening is posted. Can brands give employers an edge in helping to attract top talent? The job market has changed from the days when the Help Wanted ads were the primary way for employers and potential employees to find each other. Today, most companies have websites that allow candidates to search open positions and enter their credentials into a database for future openings. Candidates also expect to know more about a company before they apply. They’re studying the company’s website and reading reviews on sites like Vault and Glass Door. That’s because they know their own worth and they’re looking for more than a job; they want a job with a company that offers room to grow, that shares their values and is respected by their peers. Regardless of industry or offering, brand can play an important role in attracting top talent. That’s because brands convey stature,

values and purpose – the very things that matter to the best job candidates. “I liked the brand so much, I went to work for the company.” Entrepreneur Victor Kiam carved out a space in consumer minds in the 1980s with his slogan – “I liked it so much, I bought the company” – that declared his love of the Remington shaver. The slogan worked because it spoke of a simple commitment anyone could understand. “I believe in this product enough to invest my own money in it.” The recruitment equivalent would be having employees feel such an affinity with a brand to invest one’s own career in it. Consider the global employment market. In India and China, employees may move hundreds of miles away from family and friends for a job. The potential employer’s brand offers more than a career; it offers a community built around the brand. In Japan, employees literally wear their employer’s brand on their lapels to show others that they work for a respected company. “That’s not in my job description.” Consider this opening to a job posting for a Senior Finance Manager on Monster.com:

There’s the typical job. Punch in, push paper, punch out, repeat. Then there’s a career at (blank). Where you’re encouraged to defy routine. To explore the far reaches of the possible. To travel uncharted paths. And to be a part of something far bigger than yourself. Because around here, changing the world just comes with the job description. Compare this to the opening for a similar position at a competing firm: From your very first day at (blank), you’ll notice it – we do things differently around here. You’ll be challenged to lead from day one, and rewarded when you do. Because we’re in over 170 countries around the world, your work will have a real impact on the lives of people everywhere. So bring your passion to (blank); together there’s no telling what we can achieve. The offers are clear – take a ho-hum job or sign up to change the world. It’s not difficult to imagine a highly qualified job candidate being inspired to read more after an introduction like this, even without knowing the name of the company. A top candidate would likely also ask how believable the promises are to impact the


How do strong brands affect talent recruitment: Top brands attract top talent

lives of people everywhere or change the world. When the names of the companies are revealed – Apple and HP, respectively – the promises become credible.

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brand on your career site; tell them what you stand for and what you strive to deliver to your customers. Let them know how they’ll be changing the world. ■

In fact, even without the stirring introductions, top job candidates are already seeking out both companies because their brands already convey a compelling promise that is as compelling to internal audiences as it is relevant to customers. How can brand help? 1. Align your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) with your brand: Don’t speak to potential employees differently than you would to a customer. Maintain your brand tone of voice on your career site and other career communications. Use brand as the lens for explaining what the company offers and what it expects in return. 2. Remember that your brand IS your employer brand: Don’t add confusion by creating a separate, disconnected employer brand. If your brand is about creating a magical travel experience for every customer, that doesn’t mean you have to offer a magical work experience. You need to convey that candidates can be part of creating those experiences. 3. Depict the desired future through your brand: You want top talent to build their career with you so tell them where the company is going. Is your brand all about inventing the future? Then talk about how you’re doing that and how employees contribute to that future. 4. Finally, brag a little: If you’re the 55th most valuable global brand, let potential candidates know. Tell them about your

Finally, brag a little: If you’re the 55th most valuable global brand, let potential candidates know.


Maryann Stump Maryann Stump is Senior Director of Strategy at Interbrand. She specializes in Internal Brand Engagement and B2B brands. Maryann believes that a thorough understanding of the business goals and realities combined with an understanding of customers’ needs is essential to creating powerful and focused brands.

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