All organizations know there are certain mistakes that can torpedo a branding campaign when it comes to attracting customers to products and services. However, companies may not think too much about the mistakes they’re making when trying to attract talent through employer branding. Employer branding missteps are just as detrimental as general branding faux pas, so these are the five employer branding mistakes to avoid.
The 5 Biggest Employer Branding Mistakes You Should Avoid
A lot of employer branding mistakes can be boiled down to lack of something and the following are examples of how this lack manifests itself:
1. Not Thinking Long-Term
Employer branding is not a one-and-done affair. Making a single bold statement about your employer brand and then moving on to other things will not serve your company well. To avoid this mistake, create a long-term plan and be prepared to regularly use all of your platforms to promote your employer brand. From sharing DEI successes on your recruiting page to giving employees a voice on social media platforms, let the community know that your company provides a great employee experience.
2. Lack Of Input From Current Employees
The purpose of employer branding is not just to attract new talent, but to retain the talent you already have. Remember the people working at your organization now are your biggest employer brand ambassadors, and if you're not making them happy, they can make it difficult for you to find new talent later. Both good and bad news travels fast, so whether or not your employees are happy, you can be sure they’re spreading the word. To find out exactly where you stand before workers tell it to the grapevine, conduct regular anonymous surveys and act on the suggestions they make. From job descriptions to benefits to diversity, the opinions of workers can go a long way toward shaping and communicating your employer brand.
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3. Ignoring Constructive Criticism
Although you may discount the reviews your company receives on third-party sites as just cases of sour grapes from former employees, potential candidates—not to mention customers—will read these reviews and form impressions based on them. So be sure to also read your reviews, take stock of what they say in an honest way, and address the problems the reviews mention. And if you choose to respond, be sure to handle comments with grace because being defensive or hostile will not do your employer brand any favors.
4. Having An Unsatisfactory Candidate Experience
Candidates remember if your application process is cumbersome. Or if they sent their resume and got radio silence in return. In fact, in a survey we conducted with candidates, “100% of candidates say they’d rather be rejected than ghosted.” If you think the candidate experience has nothing to do with employer branding, think again. Just as past and current employees can tell stories about negative experiences with your organization, candidates also talk. As a result, it's important to get feedback from candidates to ensure that you're giving them the experience they expect. Look at your hiring process and make changes that are more reflective of the type of employer brand you want to have.
5. Authenticity Is Lacking
Telling the public what you think it wants to hear may sound like a good way to attract talent, but people can spot a fake from a mile away. If you're saying one thing and doing another, candidates will quickly figure it out and when the jig is up, your company will become persona non grata among the very people you were trying to impress in the first place.
Instead of telling pretty little lies in a misguided attempt to boost your employer brand, tell the truth—even when it seems inconvenient. For example, if your organization has just implemented a diversity recruitment plan to improve representation, acknowledge it. Make it clear that although your company is currently not as diverse as you’d like, you're actively working on hiring talent from underrepresented backgrounds. This level of honesty is much more impressive to candidates than telling them what you think they want to hear.
Just as a product branding misstep can hurt your bottom line when it turns off consumers, an employer branding mistake can hurt your ability to attract and retain good talent. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can create the type of employer brand you want, which will make recruiting that much easier.
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