Employer advice

Is it the role or the brand that attracts candidates?

In a tricky economic climate, many good candidates are cautious about changing jobs, while those without employment may be less fussy about the roles on offer. What’s the biggest pull for candidates? Is it the brand reputation and company culture or the specifics of the role itself?

The role of the employer brand

In recent years, organisations have started paying more attention to their ‘employer brand’ in their efforts to attract, engage and ultimately secure top talent. Companies have become increasingly focused on establishing a deep-rooted employer proposition and communicating it effectively to both existing and potential employees. A clear, concise and truthful employer brand is now a core component of a robust HR strategy and it’s vital to continually audit how your business is perceived internally and externally. Remember, a truthful foundation is essential – if a working experience fails to deliver on the promises of the brand, you may fail to retain talent. Even with a steadfast, blue-chip brand reputation, companies still need to differentiate themselves from competitors in the same sector. Where relevant, they must sell their company culture, market position, passion for innovation and working benefits as well as appease any concerns associated with their particular industry, especially in the current climate.
Discerning candidates will no doubt carry out their own research when it comes to investigating work culture, lifestyle and opportunities within a particular organisation. That’s why an employer’s brand messaging should work hard for them and show them in the best possible light.

Role vs. brand

Of course, in an ideal world, a candidate would like to land the ideal job with the perfect brand – but every box isn’t always ticked. Also, this is obviously a subjective debate and will be different for each individual. However, it’s true to say that the type of work you do and where you are in your career may have some impact on your view.
Employees at the start of their career may be less concerned with the specifics of a role as they don’t yet have the experience to place emphasis on the intricacies of a position. In addition, some sections of the audience may be more swayed by brand recognition and feel a sense of affinity with certain lifestyle brands. Equally, at the beginning of a career, many candidates feel that a big name on their CV will be of more benefit to them than finding an exact job match. With more experience under your belt, the finer details of a specific role may become a higher priority – along with the potential for increased responsibility.
Some brands don’t enjoy as appealing an image as others and therefore will understand that their magnetism will probably stem from interesting remits, good prospects and development opportunities for their employees. Location and global presence could also play a part in a candidate’s decision – so organisations really need to push any international scope when honing their employer brand.

Employer brands and inclusivity

An employer brand isn’t always a one size fits all proposition. For example, a fresh, contemporary media or fashion brand may not need to work very hard in order to have top-level marketing professionals knocking on their door. However, this same employer brand may not appeal in the same way to experienced software developers. For technology jobs, candidates may be more concerned about the type of work they’ll be doing, what niche knowledge they’ll be applying and exactly how they’ll be managed. It’s likely that an employer brand will need to flex in order to promote different facets of its personality to different candidate groups.