Strong employer brand but too few applications. Why?

Imagine if we had a strong and attractive employer brand. How good things would be.”

Well, yes and no. Throughout my 10+ years of employer branding strategy work, I often come to this very discussion – the disadvantages of having a strong employer brand. The reaction is always the same surprised looks and glances as one states that a strong and attractive employer brand might sometimes mean only more trouble than it’s worth. The vision that a strong brand is all that matters is often shown best in thoughts that companies such as Google, Apple and IKEA never having to invest in their employer brand. You could not be more wrong. In fact, attractive employers are often the heaviest spenders in employer branding.

Why? Because attractive employer brands attract a lot of people. And I mean a lot of people. And 9 out of 10 of those people are often the wrong candidates. Google once stated they acquired 1.5 million applications per year but at the same time they face the same challenge as everyone else to attract those they -really- want to hire; The most talented IT developers of our age.

So, what good is it to top a Image ranking and claim to be the most attractive employer out of everyone, if your recruitment challenges remain?

Being attractive will always be important. It is what will cause flows of people come your way one way or another. The trick however, is to not be attractive for everyone. Or should I say, to be really attractive for a certain few people. I normally try to keep these things separated; Being attractive or being positioned. Preferably you are both. If you are only one of these, then you need to do something about that.

The more attractive you are, the bigger the flows of the applications coming your way will be, the downside is also that you risk getting a bigger amount of irrelevant applications. The more positioned you are, the bigger amount of your received applications will be from the right people.

How do I grow in attraction for the right candidates only?”

Here we need to understand the target groups we are after. Key to success is to have clearly defined “personas” which is part of your workforce planning before you start advertising your business. The most important to know is what your target group seeks and what would make them interested in your offer. At LinkedIn we believe in looking at historical data; What has proven to be a strong impact on this target group before. Ask your LinkedIn strategist, they will advice you on how your target group thinks and of how your communications should look like in order to reach out with great impact.

…..And then the matter of Hiring awareness

This is also a part that many usually tend to forget. Even if you are Google and have the most attractive brand name in the world and tons of talented IT-developers want to work for you. Even when that is the situation ……… not more than 20% of the talent market are actively looking for jobs. That means they are not scanning job adverts and therefore missing out on your splendid opportunity even if you believe they should be drooling all over it and throwing themselves on the phone, to reach out to you. Even if some of them actually would, they might not be aware of your hiring need in line with their profile. According to studies, this is a very common reason why the amount of the right candidates are low and why it is not enough to have a strong and attractive employer brand. You need to create the hiring awareness to your preferred talents through communications – where they are present and engage them. Only when being aware of your hiring need, your brand and positioning will matter as these otherwise passive job seekers, suddenly turn more interested and start to actively look at your job advert.

Best of luck.

Daniel.