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Employer Brand vs Job Brand

I had to create some content to stop me making Christmas all about recruitment so here goes.

Employer brand – the way candidates perceive your business, crucially as a potential employer, not as a consumer. Job brand – the way candidates view a job advert they’ve seen from your business and whether or not they want to apply.

These days

See, I reckon that these days, most candidates are finding a role that suits their skill set, and applying if they’re interested, simple as that. They’re not heavily researching your business, they’re not signing up to glassdoor to see what your bitter ex-employees have to say about you and they couldn’t care less about the fake grass and ping-pong table that everyone is too scared to play on. They find a job title, might read the ad if it’s decent, and then they apply or they don’t. They may withdraw at a later stage if they don’t like what they hear about the employer, but at ad stage, I reckon I’m spot on.

So, I had a look on reed.co.uk, searched ‘Business Development’ and ‘Newcastle upon Tyne’ to get a feel for the route most ads follow and I BET you can guess which words were repeated the most in the opening 3 or 4 sentences of each of the ads on the first page…

A complete focus on the client/employer.

Look, I’ll show you… ‘I have an EXCITING OPPORTUNITY to join MY CLIENT, an INDUSTRY-LEADING organisation with an EXCELLENT attitude to GROWTH. It’s all about the client, the opportunity is exciting because it’s to join your client. You get the picture.

Now I’m not saying that candidates don’t care about their potential employer, I’m just saying that at advert/application stage, I reckon the role itself is most important to them. It’s what they’ll be doing, day in and day out, so of course it is. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself, would you rather work for a great company in a job you don’t like or do a job you love for a company you don’t like? Think about that, it’s your role, it’s what YOU do, so surely that’s more important to you?

Recruiters have to appeal to that. Ads using the words above don’t appeal to candidates for one reason, and one reason only. Because. Every. Single. Job. Ad. Uses. Them. And. As. A. Result. They’re. Completely. Devoid. Of. Meaning.

So, what do we need to do?

If I’m right, and at application stage job brand is more important than employer brand, then we need to appeal to the candidate’s self-interest and nothing more at ad stage. Sell the problems or frustrations they likely face with their current employer or sell the way things are done with their potential new employer. Sell the route to promotion IF it’s clearly mapped. Sell the salary IF it’s outstanding. Sell agile working IF it’s rare in that market. ‘Potential’ and ‘Chances’ are ambiguous, non-committal statements when it comes to jobs and applicants will see straight through that kind of language.

To our clients, when we’re writing a job ad, the aim is to attract interest and then applications, once we have those, we can screen effectively against a more comprehensive job spec so don’t worry, you’ll still receive only the best CVs.

To our candidates, we’re trying to appeal to you, IF the role and employer are right for you, never to pull the proverbial wool over your eyes. If you don’t like what you read, that’s fine too.

To our competitors, ignore everything you just read and keep writing the same ads as everyone else.


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