Why Genuine Employer Brands Resonate Louder | Phenom

Maggie Blehar

October 1, 2022

Nobody wants to waste time on an interview that won’t go past the first round — or money replacing an employee who’s not a good fit. So why promote an employer brand that doesn’t ring true? 
 

Last week on Talent Experience Live, Jordan Scheltgen, Founder and CEO of Cave, shared how to showcase your authentic brand to bring in the right candidates — saving you both time and money.
 

He gave advice on job descriptions, video, and more — all right here. Check out the full episode below or continue reading for the highlights. 
 


What does recruitment marketing mean to you?
 

Cave works with clients to design social media marketing campaigns focused on expanding brand growth and reach. 
 

“We help companies take their message offline and put it online, primarily through social media,” Scheltgen said. “We take that message and make it platform-specific, and align it with the overall business goals.”
 

In Scheltgen’s view, people actually tend to overcomplicate things when it comes to recruitment marketing. “It’s really just marketing. People will click on jobs for companies they know and recognize that have a good reputation,” he said simply.
 

So how can recruitment marketers ensure their companies achieve that recognition? Scheltgen found that the following four tips are what resonate most today:
 

  • Keep messaging simple 
  • Focus on the most unique aspects of your company’s products or services 
  • Talk about your company’s purpose
  • Show people what the day-to-day is like
      

Related reading: How Regions Bank Evolved Their Candidate Journey with Recruitment Automation



How can you create authentic content?
 

There are two overarching principles to creating authentic recruiter marketing content, Scheltgen said.
 

  1. Tailor messaging according to the job position, leaning into department specifics and details on the day-to-day work experience.
     
  2. “Video, video, video!” The most effective video takes candidates behind the scenes, showing them what it’s really like at your organization through day-in-the-life vignettes or employee testimonials, for example. 


Why is this so important? “You are showing more, you’re being authentic. It’s not an overproduced, pre-made graphic that’s just the company highlight reel,” he said. “That, to me, is what’s really going to ring through and differentiate you.”
 

And — don’t let perceived equipment limitations hold you back when it comes to capturing authentic video. “Whatever you got, you’ve gotta work with. You can get a totally adequate set-up for a hundred bucks, and use your iPhone.” 
 


Related reading: Show, Don't Tell: How Innovative Video Best Conveys Your Company's Stories



What do today’s candidates value most?
 

Recruitment marketing should also reflect how your company aligns with what’s most important to job candidates and employees. 
 

It’s more than snack walls, nap rooms, and ping pong tables — things Scheltgen called “2012 recruitment marketing tactics.” Employees today are clear on what they prioritize, including:
 

  • Appropriate compensation
  • Quality healthcare
  • The people they work with
  • The ability to do meaningful work
     

“I’ve been in a million offices with ping pong tables, and there’s nobody playing. I think we care at a deeper level about the work we’re doing and the people we’re impacting.”
 


And when it comes to salary, Scheltgen said that hiding that information puts candidates and employers at a disadvantage. Being straightforward is always better. 
 

At minimum, he recommended including a salary range in job descriptions. This can save both candidates and employers a copious amount of time: with up-front salary transparency, candidates can pass on jobs that don't fit their salary expectations and employers in turn won’t have to sit through an interview that isn’t going to lead anywhere due to salary differences.
 

With transparency, candidates “know what they’re getting into and they know what they’re applying for before they ever submit a resume.”
 

How can recruiters genuinely showcase company culture?
 

The first step, Scheltgen said, is to understand what your culture is not. It can be tempting to throw buzzwords like “work-life balance” into a job ad, for example. But if that isn’t the reality for the position, it can backfire.  
 

It’s much better for a company to say something like, “We work hard, but there are a lot of cash incentives involved,” and be upfront about culture and expectations. In this way, you’ll attract the right people who are motivated by the same values as you and your organization.
 

It’s also important to keep in mind that many candidates won’t take job descriptions at face value. If your portrayal of company culture doesn’t line up with other information out there (e.g., Glassdoor reviews), candidates will not hesitate to move on. 
 


Related reading: Creating a Company Culture Where Employees Learn and Thrive



How can you attract the right talent to evolve company culture?
 

What if you want to evolve company culture from point A to point B? How can you attract the right talent while remaining genuine?
 

First, Scheltgen said, the effort needs to start with leadership. If it’s just an initiative to hit numbers or try to make the company seem more enticing for candidates, that change won’t last.  
 

When it comes to attracting talent to help these changes take root, it’s important to be honest about where the company is today — then help candidates understand that their voices will be heard to evolve it for the future and that they’ll be a meaningful part of this change for better.
 


Referrals often make the best job candidates. When employees feel that they’re treated well, they’ll spread the word. Current staff who feel adequately challenged, like they’re part of a team and supported by their leaders, will be your best brand promoters.
 

At the same time, employers can feel more confident that referred candidates will be a good fit for company culture since they have a personal connection with a current employee. 
 

“If [employees are] proud of their position and proud of their company, when that job opens up, they’re going to put that on channels and servers that you as a senior leader [may not be] in touch with,” Scheltgen said. “That can yield amazing candidates.”
 


Related reading: The Sky’s the Limit: Inside Southwest’s Employee Referral Program



How can you create business-specific content?
 

In order to attract the right candidate for a specific job, you have to show that candidate what it’s all about. 
 

So how can you create authentic business-specific content? 

  • Feature relevant people in job ads. 
  • Showcase the department leader and employees willing to represent the team.
  • Get input from hiring team members on how to best motivate candidates in each specific discipline (e.g., commission incentives for sales or building exciting solutions in IT).


At the end of the day, you “want to have ‘informed consent’ for the candidate.” You want them to feel confident about all job details, know the salary range, feel like it’s a good fit, have met their leader or manager, and can get a sense for company culture.
 


What’s one piece of advice you have for recruiters?
 

Scheltgen’s last word on recruitment marketing? Put time and effort into writing job descriptions. “Don’t just copy and paste your company description from post to post,” he said, re-emphasizing the importance of providing tailored information. “Write the job description from scratch.” 
 

Curated job descriptions, authentically branded videos, and tailored messaging all lead to an employer brand that candidates can feel confident about.
 

Looking for more best practices? Download our Definitive Guide to Recruitment Marketing.

Maggie Blehar

Maggie is a writer at Phenom, bringing you information on all things talent experience. In addition to writing, she enjoys traveling, painting, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends.