As an employer, it’s important to have a solid process in place to hire the best people for your organization. After all, your staff is the lifeblood of the entire operating system. But are you aware that how you present open positions, approach the interview process, and follow up with candidates can have a significant effect on getting the best talent to choose you? In essence, this is your employer branding at work. 

According to a LinkedIn survey on employer brand statistics, organizations that are invested in employer branding may see major benefits to their bottom line, including a 28% decrease in turnover rate, 50% cost-per-hire reduction, and 50% more qualified applicants. In addition to saving your business money on the recruitment process and bringing on the most qualified individuals, nailing your employer branding can also help you build a sense of trust with candidates early on.

Numerous studies make clear that employer branding is increasingly important to candidates seeking their next career move online. But how do you get started with employer branding as a long-term practice, particularly if you’re a small team with limited time and funds to invest in your employer reputation? Here, we break down the steps to make your employer branding footprint stand out amongst the rest.

  1. Ensure your recruiter(s) are in total alignment with leadership.

First and foremost, it’s crucial that the recruiter and the hiring manager are in alignment on what the ideal candidate looks like. In addition to having a role description and list of the essential skills necessary for this open position, the recruiter should have a good understanding of how the team functions on a daily basis – with both internal and external parties, long- and short-term goals, and any deal breakers (e.g., lacking knowledge of certain programs).

The recruiter and hiring manager should also be in agreement on what a realistic salary range for the open position is, and whether they’re willing to consider those slightly above that range.

  1. Have a timely handoff process in place.
    There’s nothing worse for a job candidate to deal with than a painfully long or awkward interview timeline. Further, not having a timely handoff process in place to pass a qualified candidate onto the second or third set of decision-makers may cause you to miss out on a potentially great hire, while hurting your business reputation simultaneously.

    To prevent this common hiring pitfall, dedicate two to three weekly timeblocks on the stakeholders’ calendars that the lead recruiter can use to schedule interview time, and pass along the notes from the screening interview in that calendar meeting.
  1. Show off your work culture online.
    LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and your business’s “About” page are just a few places where potential hires are going to see what your company is all about. Take these as an opportunity to post photos of your team in the office and out having fun (keep it professional, of course), describe your benefits and what makes your organization a great place to work, and take the time to respond professionally to reviews from past or present employees – whether their feedback was positive or negative. Maintaining an active, respectable employer presence online will speak volumes to those considering applying or joining your workforce.

Even if you’ve had a troubled culture that’s come to light in the form of employee reviews, listening, thanking the reviewer, and responding with professionalism about how you’ll address their concerns can go a long way to those assessing your company today.

  1. Don’t ghost your candidates.
    This should be obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many candidates don’t hear back after an interview. Remember, these are people who have likely invested precious time and energy into learning about your business. If that candidate isn’t a good fit or you’ve simply decided to move forward with someone who’s more qualified, make sure that either the recruiter or hiring manager responds to that individual with an email or phone call. Though it can be uncomfortable, giving a candidate clear next steps can leave them with a better impression of your company than simply ghosting them.
  1. Empower your employees to be active on LinkedIn.
    LinkedIn can be a great place for you to show off your company’s content and big news, but don’t forget about your current employees. Encourage your staff to share milestones and work they’re proud of, or even to repost open positions with a little bit about why they like working at the organization. There is strength in numbers, and in brand positivity straight from those that know your company best.

    If you’re able to dedicate a little more time to your LinkedIn presence, consider recruiting thought leaders within the organization who are willing to write about topics of interest on a regular basis (e.g., biweekly or monthly)  that you can share to your company’s LinkedIn page.
  1. Regularly assess interview questions and assignments.
    As we’ve covered previously, implicit bias is real and it could not only damage your employer brand reputation but also get you into legal trouble. Make sure that in assessing company culture fit, you’re doing so mindfully and without prejudice.

    Interview presentations and assignments have also become the norm in today’s competitive job market. While there is nothing wrong with the concept, be sure that your candidates aren’t being asked to spend an unreasonable amount of time on their assignment, and consider giving a mock problem rather than a real one. Suggesting that the candidate solve an actual business problem or asking them to address a complicated, unique on the spot can not only come across as jarring, but the candidate may interpret this as getting “free work” out of them before they’re even offered a job.

    Check out the full list of what not to ask here.

And there you have it: a full guide to employer branding, no matter what the budget. As you build out your own employer branding plan, make record of your current timeline and cost per hire. As we noted from the LinkedIn employer brand statistics survey, putting time and energy into your hiring process may have a significant impact on your bottom line that you just may want to invest in more strategically as your business grows.