Talent Branding: How to Get Label ‘In Demand’

Google, Apple and Facebook are the top 3 in-demand employers in North America, according to LinkedIn’s Talent Brand Index 2014/2015 ranking, based on an analysis of member activity and interaction data. More specifically: the index is a ratio of the number of company followers, views of job ads and a career or company page plus job applications divided by the number of employees, employee connections and employee profile views. Joseph Roualdes, Corporate Communications Senior Manager II at LinkedIn, has observed a pattern: “the most of InDemand companies have the strongest ‘talent brand’”. Let’s take a look at what it takes to fit that pattern.

LinkedIn Talent Solutions claims that talent branding is one of the top priorities for 56% of global talent leaders. In its opinion, it is much easier to develop a strong talent brand if talent acquisition and marketing actions are well coordinated. It suggests conducting a talent brand SWOT analysis, and gives a recommendation in each area: (1) Use your strengths to position yourself against your competitors. (2) Try to balance your weaknesses by highlighting your strengths. (3) Think of new opportunities to attract new talent. (4) Take proactive measures to prevent any employment problems (threats), and be ready to make changes if needed.     

Bob Duffy, Owner of Insight Consulting, states that a sense of community is the essence of each brand: many people get attached to their favourite brands and identify themselves as members of communities built around them. Some of them also become brand advocates: they voluntarily promote a product or service they like within their social circles. Duffy proposes taking the same branding approach to the workplace: “If an organization’s brand can attract a marketplace community that embraces and shapes the values that the brand represents, why shouldn’t we view an organization’s workforce as a parallel brand community in its own right?” In his opinion, if employees are committed to the culture and values of their workplace, they can become as good brand advocates as regular customers. The more positive words about their work environment they spread around, the more likely the company name will attract the attention of the best applicants. Duffy also stresses that a talent brand “starts at the opposite end of the supply/demand curve”. This means that brand appeal is based on unique company attributes not on presumed expectations of potential candidates.

Last October, Monster held a panel discussion on talent branding at its Recruitment Summit in Boston. The participants were asked to share their best practices and give some advice. Claire Prager, Vice President of Talent Selection at The Cheesecake Factory, encouraged companies to sum up their culture in a single hashtag. For her company, the hashtag #imsocheesecake has worked much better than regular words like passion, enthusiasm or hospitality: it has attracted more attention on social media and helped distinguish its culture from its competitors’.

Zach Lahey, Research Analyst at Aberdeen Group, observed that “people want to access information on the go”. This means that all content a company shares should be easily accessible and up-to-date on all its channels. Lahey also stressed the importance of message simplicity. He argued that anecdotal videos are a much better alternative to long-page company reports when trying to attract talent interest: they give a positive experience, and show a more personal side of a company.

Steve Kimball, Senior Director of Global Talent Operations at EMC, stressed the importance of personalizing a career site. His company has decided to optimize job search on its Careers site with Google Site Search. In his opinion, this investment has paid off: site visitors get only the information which fits their professional profiles. Kimball also recommended having a clear definition of core candidates to simplify talent search. To explain its practical value, he referred to his own experience: His team has created profiles of 12 employees EMC needs. The recruiters have ready-made content which they can easily share to target a specific audience at a time. Focused recruiting should help fill the vacancies faster.

References:  [1] Susan Adams, Forbes / [2] Josh Bersin, Forbes / [3] LinkedIn Talent Solutions / [4] Bob Duffy, Intervista Institute / [5] Margaret Magnarelli and Bret Silverberg, monster.com