20 Marketing Experts on Their #1 Tip to Attract Top Talent | Employer Branding

20 Marketing Experts on Their #1 Tip to Attract Top Talent | Employer Branding

Marketing Expert Tips on Employer Branding in 2020

Attracting top-notch talent can be a difficult task for orgnaizations. These 20 marketing leaders provide their advice on how marketing can help to position brands to help attract top talent.

Everything from creating content, branding career pages, being authentic and involving your current employees are ways marketers are providing value to their organizations. Marketing executives should have a seat at the leadership table and are expected to play a significant role in maximizing the ability to attract top talent. We set out to gather information on how marketers can help leverage their skills and experience to help their organizations and Human Resource departments in 2020.

We asked 20 marketing leaders

“What is the #1 employer branding tip you would give to a company to help attract top talent?”

to get their perspective on the future of talent acquisition in their organizations. You will definitely notice some trends and themes throughout their answers!

If you are currently involved in or are planning an executive search for a marketing leader, consider these comments to help you create a profile of what you may need from an employer branding front for your organization.

Sylvia Beirnes, Co-Founder – Canadianity Content Studios

Look in the mirror and be honest about what you see. No company is perfect, but top talent can and will sniff out a wolf in sheep’s clothing. By truly listening to employee surveys and reading online review sites like Glassdoor, you can build a clear picture about the perception of your business. Dismissing negative feedback may lead to bigger problems down the road. Addressing concerns in a real way will show current employees you hear and value them and will show incoming talent that you aren’t afraid to shy away from the tough stuff. Potential candidates will reach out to current employees when making big career moves. Hearing that steps are being taken to make things better is a lot more attractive than hearing deflated employees frustrated with their corporate culture. Make your corporate values clear and perform regular audits to make sure you’re tracking in the right direction.

Josh Turk, Chief Marketing Officer – Low6

We discovered, job listings accompanied by a recruiter video received 38% more high-talent follow-through applications, than those without. A refreshing take on this approach is to not only explain what your business does, but to illustrate; “What’s in it for you, the recruit?” Highlight the benefits of working for your company in 2D flat-animated videos (🔥hot in 2020!) with a compelling story and colourful storyline.

Scott D. Clary, SVP, Sales & Marketing – ExciteM

Transparency. It is a well known strategy to include client and employee testimonials as part of your outbound marketing and branding campaign. This acts as an incredibly strong marketing tool to attract both potential new customers and top talent. To take this a step further when trying to attract top talent, open up new hires to interview employees as well as customers to make sure they have a full 360° of the company. By prompting new hires to reach out to one customer and one employee (at minimum), as an employer you will not only allow them to better understand your organization and ask questions they may not feel comfortable asking the hiring manager or HR individual, but it will also allow you to gauge their enthusiasm for the job. By promoting openness and transparency from the initial interview process, you are pomading a positive organizational culture that lives and breathes their values, and doesn’t just list them on their website or hang them on their wall.

Tracy King, Vice President of Marketing – Martello

Be authentic. Be thoughtful about consistently promoting a brand that truly reflects who you are as a company at every touchpoint, and avoid gimmicks. You want the brand you project to align with the reality that an employee will experience once they start working for you. Be who you are – whether on your website or at community events, and you’ll attract the right people for your business.

Shelley True, President – TRUEdotDESIGN

Ensure your brand and marketing accurately reflect your business. If done well, a strong brand and marketing strategy can play a key role in attracting talent. It shows confidence and demonstrates that you know your unique value. I often work with clients who struggle to appreciate the unique depth and identity of their brand and corporate culture. When they discover what makes them special and how to capitalize on their difference, it’s a light bulb moment. If you are unsure how your brand reads from the “outside”, then reach out to a marketing expert who can dive deep and develop an authentic brand for your business– #nofilter.

Donna Reid, Director of Marketing & Communications – Colliers Project Leaders

Involve your employees in your content development. You’ll get some awesome content ideas, they will be proud to be representing the company, and the company gets to show a real human personality. Literally, make your employees the stars of the show and feature them in videos and blogs! Cover topics relating to your business, of course, and also build some fun pieces of content just for the sake of showing employee spirit. Not only will this drive employee pride and engagement, but potential recruits will have an opportunity to see 1) what the company is about through your content, 2) that you value your employees’ knowledge and participation, and 3) a glimpse of personality that shows what it would be like to work at your company.

Jacob Varghese, Vice President of Marketing – Fusebill

Align your employer brand positioning around your company’s values, its mission, and how these resonate with existing employees. Basically, what this means is, ‘know who you are’, ‘what you stand for’, and how that translates into ‘what you do as a company’: your company culture. Once you zero-in on this, all branding activity focused on external and internal stake holders should consistently reflect the alignment as authentically as possible. For example, leverage your existing staff for employee-driven brand advocacy—be it by amplifying and contributing to your social media efforts or referring new candidates to the organization. An inside-out branding effort will successfully attract top talent that is aligned with your values and your mission.

Darryl Praill, Chief Marketing Officer – VanillaSoft

Attracting talent is rarely painful. Convincing candidates to accept the job offer is the real issue. Today’s job seekers will often have multiple prospective employers courting them. Usually, the decision to take that job offer has nothing to do with salary or ping pong tables or free snacks. It typically comes down to company culture and employee satisfaction. Where do these candidates get their answers on these critical issues? The answer is review sites, such as Glassdoor. The number one branding tip to attract top-notch talent is to control the conversation on these sites. Encourage happy employees to post reviews. Send reminders out every quarter, or three months after starting their job. Ensure your branding on the review site is polished. When possible, post videos or pictures of actual happy employees on your company page. Respond quickly and appropriately to negative reviews. The difference between a winning recruitment strategy and an ineffective recruitment strategy often comes down to social proof, and that’s something you can successfully brand and influence.

Jordan Danger Kent, Creative Director – DANGER Communications

Know your audience. Be honest about the kind of worker you’re looking to hire. Everyone thinks they want to be the new crazy extrovert workspace, but does that actually jive with your ideal candidate? If you’re looking for accountants or QA engineers, maybe not. Create an audience persona, looking at every aspect of their lives: what do they like/dislike, eat/do for recreation, even what brands they likely buy. The more clearly you paint the picture of your ideal candidate, the more targeted your recruitment materials can be, because you can identify clearly what about your company will appeal to your candidates. You may then realize that nothing about your workplace is appealing for that audience; that’s still great news, because now you know you’re going to have to make some changes to your workplace or culture to make room for this type of employee.

Kenny Leon, Director of Communications – Canadian Construction Association

In today’s ‘google everything age’, it’s instinctive for potential candidates to look up reviews of what others say about a company even before applying for a position. That means maintaining positive ratings on sites such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor, by ensuring current and past employees as well as job applicants have positive experiences with the company. Despite best efforts, it is true you cannot please everyone, and in those instances that you have negative reviews, put systems in place to monitor and respond to concerns online immediately to ensure you are perceived as responsive by anyone reading the online reviews.

Jessica Bertrand, Marketing Manager – Modern Niagara Ottawa

Top talent have a variety of options when searching for a new job and a highly-skilled professionals will consider more than just compensation, benefits, and hours. While corporate culture used to be a perk for job candidates – now it’s an essential factor.  Invest in your employees and community, live day-to-day supporting your vision and core values, and build your teams with people that are not only the most talented but are also a cultural fit. While marketing is an integral part of your employer brand strategy, your brand is held in the hands of your employees. The story they tell people who ask “what’s it like to work for ABC Corporation?” has more value than any other form of advertising.

Denis Sabourin, President & CEO – Xactly Design & Advertising Inc.

Treat your employer brand as seriously as your go-to market brand, because the recruitment market is as tight as your business operation and market share. Find what you do well and communicate it to the market. Invest in looking good and being good. Have a genuinely attractive offer to employees, such as workplace, training, career path, and of salary.

Robert Chitty, Founder & President – gordongroup

Many people today want to align their personal values with an organization’s corporate culture and the values they express. What does your brand express? What are the core constructs that define both internally and externally the branding of your company? How has your organization made a positive difference in the community? How does your internal culture align with the company’s outreach and brand positioning? Recognizing existing employees and promoting their success and superior contributions will ultimately attract top-notch candidates to your front door. Leading organizations established goodwill champions amongst their team who attract the brightest and best individuals. Attracting new talented employees begins with mobilizing your outreach in different forms celebrating the power of your existing team.

Glenn Schmelzle, Founder & VP Lead Generation – Marketing What’s New

The best marketers for your company are your grassroots staff. Make it easy for them to talk about you, on the platforms they frequent. Instead of having hip messages sent out under your corporate name that try to pierce through people’s brand filters, use people instead. Their messages won’t be filtered, and if they are authentic, they will make an impact with your potential hires.

Alecia O’Brien, Marketing Director – Crank Software

Investing in employer branding is equivalent to your building your company’s reputation. Having a positive reputation equates to so many HR and sales benefits including: talented people will want to work for you, and your high performers will want to remain with you, helps with pipeline, prospects (who will do their diligence online looking for proof of your commitment to customers, employees, and that you’re an expert in your space) will be more inclined to trust and work with you, and customers will feel increasingly confident that they made the right decision to select you, and they’ll hang around longer and become increasingly valuable. If I have one tip, it would be to start early and to look for employer branding opportunities in everything you do. Build up your story on your HR web pages, encourage your staff to share their positive work moments on social media and sponsor initiatives that are aligned with your values or attract potential employees.

Stef Reid, Senior Marketing Manager – L-Spark

The reality today is that the lines between marketing and recruitment are becoming blurred. Employer branding is something organizations must always keep top of mind, and not only during recruitment periods. At L-SPARK, we make it a priority to show our community what it’s really like to work here by sharing personal anecdotes and a behind the scenes look into our work life day to day. Never underestimate the power of focusing on the human elements of business. After all, job seekers are simply assessing whether they see themselves in your organization’s work, culture, and team… which is a very human thing!

Ryan Paul Gibson, Principal – RPG Marketing

On your website, don’t neglect your careers page. A careers page usually has a high volume of traffic but is often the most neglected. Here is a scenario I see time and time again; just a list of jobs. That’s it. Where are the photos, quotes, success stories, features and perks, your corporate culture and beliefs? Where is the story of WHY I should consider you? In today’s knowledge economy there are more jobs than people. Prospective employees have all the leverage. If you want to attract high-quality talent, you need to market & sell your company. Otherwise you are just employing hope as a strategy.

Stayci Keetch, Director of Communications – CHEO Research Institute

Convey the tone of what it’s really like to work at your company. Language is key so if you want unique talent stay away from corporate buzzwords found on every other talent page. Give it a little of the flavour and humour that is unique to your company alone, and don’t try to copy something you think worked elsewhere.

Alexander Wolf, CEO – New Rey Media

I believe that the most important building block for an organization is its leadership. When someone is thinking of joining your organization, they want your goals, values, and beliefs to be clear. I’m not saying that you make a list of your values or mission statement and post it on your website. Doing that removes the personality from your business. I’m rather suggesting that creating content with your President/CEO can go a long way. They wouldn’t have gotten to where they are in their career without charisma, intelligence or even creativity and people want to see this personal aspect of an organization shine. So a quick video from leadership detailing why they started or joined this company as well as answering questions about their values or where they see the future of the business going will allow people to see the leaders who are at the core of the organization. The culture of a business starts at the top, so it’s valuable to give people a sneak peak.

Erin Fenn, Executive Vice President – Intouch Insights

To attract top talent, you need to truly understand what “top” means for your company. For example, when recruiting sales talent, you naturally want a candidate that generates new revenue but how they do so is equally important. Do you need a candidate adept at building strong relationships to support a long sales cycle or one that can scour a database of contacts for quick closes? By digging deeper into your unique requirements, you can ensure the talent you are bringing in aligns with your organization’s identity and goals.

Here’s the kicker; your brand extends past a career page. Top talent will want to ensure your values permeate throughout the organization. Work with your leadership team to craft interview questions that demonstrate your brand values. Not only will this ensure that the talent you’re meeting with are top tier for you but also that they value what makes your brand successful.