“Raise in employer image ranks but not in recruit hit-rate, how come?”

“I am concerned and surprised of that while we climb in employer image rankings, I am still not experiencing a raise in hit-rate of my recruits. What am I doing wrong?”


I am certain the question above is recognized by many even as I notice a raise in employer branding know-how among top companies of the world the last years. We all know awareness is important. We all know that unless you are present at the right channel, at the right time with the right message, you won’t be heard above your noisy competitors. But what message are you sending out? A message which correlates with a generic talent groups beliefs and preferences? A message correlating with your employees beliefs and preferences? A message which correlates with a specific strategic chosen targets groups beliefs and preferences or none of the above?

While the importance of directed messaging in line with your target groups belief, is since long known, it is clear that many companies fail to understand gaining awareness, interest and desire are three very different things. You climb in employer image rankings because you are doing a better job than before to exist in the right channel for a population of some magnitude. This means you have succeeded in making yourself become important with some or many people of that population. However, it does not at all mean you have a communication which is attractive for all your respective target groups.

Increasing your hit-rate means saying what is true, differentiating and attractive – for all your respective target groups and employees. You can climb in image rankings even if you don’t.


“So a raise in employer image rankings is not important?”


It is important to be attractive and a good employer image rank is a way to measure that you are. Being attractive is the foundation for you to lure ideal talents to your organization. It is however not important to be attractive for everyone. Therefore, one should never be alarmed if you do not rank strongly in a generic index. What is more important is how you rank for a specific target audience which is strategically important. And such a target group is NOT looking at a University employer rank index. Many employers still fail to understand that looking upon a university employer ranking index is just choosing a smaller and more narrowed population of the same generic employer image ranking previously mentioned. There is nothing that states common or shared beliefs and preferences among students at a certain university more than in a normal generic employer ranking index. Naturally, many could have a University as a main recruitment pool for strategic reasons out of internal competence demands – such as McKinsey only recruiting from top schools etc. – that does not mean that the amount of ideal talents are more within that university in accordance with your beliefs, values, corporate culture and employer value proposition, than in any other university.

Being attractive for everyone will just result in one single thing – you getting loads of applications from talents not ideal for your organization. That is something you should avoid. And that is why a generic employer image rank is not something which you should judge your employer branding success on.


“So, how do I raise my hit-rate?”


It is imperative to do the homework. Instead of looking at your generic employer brand image rank, look at preferences and sought beliefs of relevant target groups for your organization:

  1. Map your internal competence need in accordance with your corporate business plan and talent management plan – Everything starts with you knowing the desired skillsets of your future organization. This means knowing how you will do business and what roles your organization must cover. Map it and make a list of priority order of competence and skills.
  2. Ideal talent profile(s) – As the future competence need is done, sort the competences and skills in various “communicational boxes” connected to various roles in the company. Every box represents the base fundament for a strategic RTG (Recruitment Target Group) of choice.
  3. Internal talent match vs ideal talent profile – Map your internal skillsets and competencies in the same “Communicational box” – thinking and match those towards the desired ideal talent profile(s).
  4. Understand internal motivations, beliefs and preferences – Now it is time to gather data internally and to understand the relevant profiles you need to recruit. All those who match the the specific RTG’s should be asked of their beliefs, preferences and motivations, their cultural preference and the reason for why they chose their current employer and of their channel of choice to gather employer specific information
  5. Understand external motivations, beliefs and preferences – Now it is time to gather the external data. Identify a relevant target population matching the same profile as your defined RTG’s. Compare the findings from the data and identify the areas where your internal RTG’s match the external ones.
  6. Employee network mapping – Ask your employees to map other individuals in their network who they believe match the same RTG’s and leverage on the messaging made from the identified areas of internal and external RTG-match.
  7. Communicate – Every identified RTG should be communicated to in the channels noted as relevant with the messaging that correlates between the internal and external profile!
How hard can it be? Sounds simple and logical enough, right? So, get started! 
There are many ways but in short: “Increasing hit-rate is all about knowing what you should say, to whom, where and when.” Being attractive is a mean for getting applications, but is not equal to getting good applications.



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