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Posted on 31/03/2022 by Matt Fox
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HOW BRAND STORYTELLING CAN HELP YOUR RECRUITMENT

Most people have one or two dream workplaces. These are the companies you’d give almost anything to simply interview with, let alone work for. Whether you’re reading this post as a candidate, or you’re on the employer side looking to attract talent, you probably have your own dream job or company.

Take a minute to think about that company. If you’re lucky, it might be the one you’re already at.  Either way, ask yourself what it is that first attracted you to it.

The chances are it had a great brand story – and found a compelling way to tell it.

How does employer branding help recruitment?

Employer branding and recruitment are inherently linked in a way you may not consider when you’re inside an organisation, thinking from an employee’s perspective.

Depending on the size and structure of your business, those involved in hiring are not always involved in decision making at brand level.  Choices made about messaging, logos, advertising and the like can all happen elsewhere in the business meaning you often don’t get a say in aspects of the company that can (and inevitably will) affect candidate perception.

From a candidate’s perspective, however, it’s all one company. They don’t see the politics, processes and cross-departmental challenges. All they see is a coherent company brand that lives or dies on its public-facing image. That image is created by the quality of the company’s products and services, and the values it upholds in providing them. In other words, what the candidate sees is the brand story.

Your hiring process has the power to uphold or shatter that perception. Uphold it, and you keep the brand consistent with the brand storytelling which attracted that candidate in the first place.

The links – and differences – between employer branding and recruitment marketing

If you work in any part of the recruitment process – whether you are a Hiring Manager, an HR Professional, a Director or the Recruitment Consultant who attracts and shortlists talent – then you also play a part in the company’s marketing. After all, how you communicate job opportunities has a heavy influence on the brand’s public perception. For companies who work with employment agencies, it’s imperative that you select one that will tirelessly uphold your brand and represent it in the best possible light through every action and touchpoint with your potential employees.

However, it’s important to note that while many recruiters often use the terms ‘employer branding’ and ‘recruitment marketing’ interchangeably, they aren’t the same thing.

Take the example of a someone launching their own Fairtrade clothing brand from scratch:

  • Their ‘brand’ might be that of a talented young designer with ethical values who wants to use their skills and vision to help change the world for the better in their own unique way
  • Their personal brand story is the literal rags-to-riches tale of what inspired them in the first place and how they went from initial idea to launching the brand and seeing sales soar
  • Their marketing is how they communicate that personal brand story, be it through social media posts, written blogs, videos, or even being featured in stories by outside media.

While that example isn’t recruitment-specific, it’s still about recruiting followers to buy in to a set of values they can identify with, and a brand story they can get behind. The same idea powers many big businesses’ most powerful recruitment campaigns.

The link between employer branding and recruitment marketing therefore is that the former is especially powerful when conveyed by the latter, but the latter can feel hollow without the former.

However, to truly understand employer branding and recruitment, it’s helpful to look at one of the planet’s biggest recruitment branding success stories.

Case study: Apple Retail


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Image credit: The Express

In the eyes of many people, Apple certainly qualifies as a dream company to work for. It also operates in two spaces that we here at Dynamite are very experienced in: technology, and prestige retail. In fact, such is the success of the company’s brand storytelling that most people don’t realise those two disciplines are actually independent companies, Apple Inc. and Apple Retail, operating in synergy as one public face.

Much of Apple’s brand success lies in how it uses each avenue to uplift the other.

The buzz created by Apple Inc’s aspirational, product-led marketing and advertising helps to push customers to Apple Retail stores, where they’re met with a hotel-inspired customer experience that encourages product use and in-person interaction with helpful, smiling staff.

In turn, this love for the brand’s products and a similarly slick customer-facing retail experience, drives Apple fans to work in those stores; selling those products, fixing them behind Genius Bars the world over, and even working with them to deliver inspiring creative experiences like talks and customer workshops.

Throughout this all, Apple talks to its customers and its employees (or would-be employees) in a similar fashion. Much like the brand’s seminal ‘Think Different’ campaign used brand storytelling by asking would-be customers to adopt a challenger mindset, the company’s retail branch has a brand story encouraging employees not to sell, but to ‘enrich lives’ through their interactions and the retail experience they help create. Apple Retail also supports this with public-facing content, written in Apple’s famous clean, elegant, yet intimate tone of voice that promotes its people much like Apple Inc. promotes its products. It even talks to its retail staff worldwide in townhall-style company meetings that echo one of the brand’s most potent marketing weapons, its much-hyped public-facing ‘Apple Event’ keynote presentations.

Much like the two companies that make up the brand, every facet of Apple’s employer branding and recruitment marketing work together to create a compelling proposition that continues to attract talent, retain great people, and ultimately grow the brand. The result is a technology icon that’s beloved the world over, and a tech retail experience that could surpass 600 physical stores and 80,000 employees worldwide by 2023.

Owning your employer branding and recruitment marketing

Apple may be in a unique position, but its focus on telling a compelling and personal brand story and can be adopted by many different facets of your own recruitment drive.

Not many HR teams or hiring managers are in the fortunate position of being able to work on brand-level recruitment campaigns. However, if you are, making sure they echo the brand story customers know and identify with is key to attracting talent who know and recognise your brand for the services it delivers.

Assuming you aren’t able to work at that level, it’s crucial to use recruitment branding in all the channels you do have at your disposal. From writing job specs or official social media posts that sell the in-company experience, to that first candidate phone call, all the way through to interview and offer stages, you really are conveying the company’s values and telling your brand story with each piece of content and every interaction.

Admittedly, that’s easier said than done. So here are some specific areas you can focus on as an employer with a personal brand story to uphold:

  • Pacing your recruitment process appropriately: In the current climate a slow recruitment process is likely to lose great candidates to faster-moving competitors. Too fast, however, and you may not do the due diligence you need to get the right fit. There is no one-size-fits-all answer here, but taking time to consider your process and hit a sweet spot is only going to be beneficial for your employer branding and recruitment marketing
  • Conveying your values: Much of what makes a candidate compatible with your company is the values they hold and how much they see them reflected in your culture. Don’t be afraid to give examples of what day-to-day life will be like if they join your team; from future opportunities  and training you can offer, to team events and charitable initiatives you organise
  • Giving quality feedback to everyone: It’s easy to think “job done” once an offer has been accepted and focus on the successful candidate’s start date. Yet the candidates who just missed the cut this time might well come back again in future and end up as your next exciting new hire. In fact, when your interview process reflects your personal brand story, we’d go as far as to say it can make unsuccessful candidates even keener to work for you. Treat them well with detailed, and kind-but-candid feedback, and you may benefit from it down the line
  • Choosing an agency that sells your company: Considering working with an agency? Make sure you pick one that will convey what as a great place your company is to build a career. Interview them to gauge the experience they will create for candidates, and the support they provide to people who may be considering a role with your business

In a changing recruitment market, attracting candidates really is a two-way process. Of course, as an employer, you will expect potential recruits to sell themselves and talk coherently about what they can offer your business. That said, where talent is so rare it’s also important to articulate all the aspects that place your vacancy at the top of the list.

Understanding this, and how to achieve it successfully, is pivotal to any recruitment campaign. One example can be seen in our employer brand consultancy work for Churches Fire, which you can see in the video below.

What if you’re a candidate?

Think about how you can tell your brand story on your personal website, in job applications, and especially at interview. Turn your experience into a narrative – your own personal brand story, just like we mentioned in our blog post on CV tips. Then pull parts of that tale into every answer you give.

Need help telling your brand story to prospective talent?

At Dynamite Recruitment, we have years of experience finding quality candidates across a range of sectors – from commercial to financial services, prestige retail, accountancy and technical. You can even outsource your entire recruitment function to us, while keeping a seamless candidate experience that respects and enhances your existing recruitment branding. We also offer bespoke training on recruitment techniques to hiring managers within our client businesses so we really are more than just an agency.

To learn more about how we can help you tell your brand story and attract the top talent that’s the lifeblood of your business, get in touch today.

Looking for your next dream role instead? See our latest vacancies here.


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