Branding & Content: The Twin Engines of Candidate Engagement

September 23, 2019 | Tom Brickley | HCI
Share This
Photo: Getty Images

Salt and pepper. Batman and Robin. Branding and Content. It’s a fact that some things just naturally go together; and oftentimes, the combination improves upon what either might achieve alone.

The employer brand is invaluable in defining what an organization stands for, what it can offer employees, its current and future state and how it’s different from its competitors. A strong brand is crucial for deepening loyalty and engagement, as well as burnishing an organization’s reputation both as a good business and a desirable employer.

Content takes this foundation and activates it across every channel where candidates are likely to visit, playing a critical role in their experience. Whether that's front-of-mind recognition, or even a push to apply, content that's forged through the employer brand helps candidates find out more about what the organization offers them specifically – and whether their aspirations, skills and interests might be a good fit.

Are your employer brand and content in synch?

That’s the key question every organization needs to explore. Communicating your employer brand powerfully means thinking beyond simply defining missions and aspirations to looking closely at how it’s being brought to life across multiple recruitment touchpoints.

Let’s consider some major content pillars:

The career website. As the centralized hub for delivering the candidate experience, your career website handles much of the heavy lifting and should include features such as “day in the life” videos and opportunities to join talent networks. Take an objective look at how well your content reflects your employer brand. Does the branding support and empower candidates while the messaging is cold, formal and corporate? You might have an alignment issue.

The job description. Are you paying close attention to how your job descriptions communicate your employer brand’s promise?

Is the bold vision captured in your branding let down by a cold list of responsibilities and minimum requirements?

Today’s candidates expect to be marketed to at the job description level, not only through well-written and inspiring messaging, but also a personalized approach that offers insights into the work environment, the unique aspects of the positions as well as other career options they might also consider.  

Email and texts. Though both are important, research shows that texting and chatbots are clearly overtaking email as the preferred choice for on-on-one communication between candidates and recruiters. Again, whatever your strategy, make sure your brand message shines through. Tailor emails and texts to nurture candidates through the recruiting funnel. Make sure every interaction expresses the values and promise inherent in your brand.

If this sounds complicated, you may not be using the right tools. Digital transformation has reshaped many aspects of traditional recruiting and many best-in-class companies are using AI-enabled technologies to customize what’s being communicated, leveraging the power of personalization at every touchpoint. Remember, it’s all about driving interest and engagement through relevant, information-rich and on-brand content. 

What else?

There are so many other channels - social media in particular - where content and branding need to come together to engage people on their terms. However, just to simplify things, we’ll close with three questions that should help you determine whether you’re doing all you can to foster the type of candidate experience your talent pool needs and expects.

Have you...

Identified the most effective content opportunities across your active channels? Between your existing ATS and CRM you’ve captured a lot of relevant data. Make sure you’re able to interpret it and use the information strategically.

Developed key content pillars from your employer brand? This involves an investment of time and degree of objectivity about the message you’re currently sending out. Make sure what you’re saying is cohesive, unambiguous and above all, differentiating.

Introduced new forms of content and internal engagement?
The media landscape is always changing - and what may have been a “go-to” solution even a couple of years ago might be out of synch with the realities of your audience today. Also keep in mind that once candidates become employees the same powerful content and branding is a valuable retention tool. Remember, your branding and content strategy shouldn’t end with the hire!