September 18, 2018

Employer Brand Is About the Business (Not Just Recruiting)

Think about a great hire.  

Think about the employee who referred them. Think about the HRBP who approved the req. Think about the Compensation Specialist who approved the leveling and salary band. Think about the recruiter who wrote the job description, screened the candidate, and enticed them into becoming very interested in the role. Think about the people in the interview loop, each of whom was engaging and didn’t look at their phone throughout the interview. Think about the marketer who wrote great copy for the career site. Think about the hiring manager who spent a little time explaining their vision of the team and how it was impacting the business. Think about the recruiting coordinator, whose tour of the office was neither stodgy or dull but highlighted where that person might be sitting in a few weeks’ time and how close they were to the coffee machine. Think about the department head, who made a special effort to place a five-minute call with the candidate to hammer home how much that candidate was valued.

Not only did each of these people play a vital role in the hiring process, they were all aligned towards a common understanding of the employer brand, either by what they said, or how they impacted the candidate experience. No one person seemed misaligned with the company’s expectation. Everyone just played their role within a team and made the hire happen.

No one looks at this process and says that all of it is the recruiter’s doing. Too many of those steps fall outside the recruiter’s purview and sphere of influence. The recruiter has too much to do in sourcing, screening, assessing and interviewing to spend much time with HRBPs and Compensation to ensure they are all playing their part in timely manners. It can take months or years to build the relationship with business leaders that allow them to push back on an assumption or objection.

Recruiters are super, but they aren’t super-human. 

In smart successful businesses, the expectation of hiring doesn’t fall solely on the shoulders of recruiters. In these organizations, hiring is something owned by everyone, from the CEO to the person sitting at reception. If one part of the machine is satisfied to just phone it in, or has one of “those days” and blurts out something too blunt, the hire will bolt for the door and everyone starts back at square one. Everyone needs to do their part.

But if your company leans on the recruiting and talent acquisition teams as the sole owners of the hiring process, you might be undercutting your opportunity to hire better. If your business sees recruiting as a transactional process in which people are shepherded into the candidate funnel to be processed and handed to a hiring manager, you can’t expect those people to have the time to see a bigger picture. To a person with a hammer, every problem is a nail. To a recruiter, every hiring problem is a recruiting problem and demands a recruiting solution, whether that is optimal or not.

That is, they need more help from the business.

Think back to that great hire. Did the recruiter tell the marketer what to write on the career site? No, that’s a role marketing excels at and owns. Did the recruiter sit in on every interview stage and remind the people in the loops to stay off their phone? No. At best, the recruiter might remind everyone that it’s in their best interests to remain engaged with the candidate, even if this wasn’t a great fit. Did the recruiter tell the department head what to say on the follow-up phone call? Of course not. 

Those things happen because a company knows how to leverage its employer brand. It aligns every person to brand, weaving the brand into every element, encouraging people to understand and live out that brand. That doesn’t come solely from recruiters.

This is in no way a slight against recruiters. Every recruiter I know longs for better collaboration with the business, to find a way that their recruiting skills are augmented and supported by the business. 

That is, the business plays a crucial role in a company’s employer brand.

In a world where anyone talented has their pick of where to work, the trigger for application isn’t a sudden need for a job (what is it, 2008?), it’s because they are ready for a change and they reach out to the handful of companies they’ve already developed an affinity for to start the conversation. The people you are desperate to hire to grow your business aren’t trolling job boards and they’re not going to jump through your ATS hoops. They aren’t going to come to you, hat in hand, hoping to be picked. They are looking for the right fit and common goal, a model your recruiting team might not be built around.

Hiring is undergoing a similar transformation – valuing relationship over transactional thinking. Companies now see the value of positioning recruiters, not just as hunter-gatherers, but as farmers, putting in the time to develop and foster relationships with talented people before there’s even a job open for them. Companies are starting to see the value in being proactive about hiring and how attracting the right talent is an absolute business imperative. So why do so few companies have a strategy or budget around employer branding?

In an employer brand-driven company, hiring is everyone’s business, from the top to the bottom of the hierarchy, and recruiters are part of a larger talent ecosystem. Recruiters support relationships that are bolstered by content, shepherding candidates through a process, working hand-in-hand with HR, marketing, and hiring managers to provide a focused message as to why someone would choose to work for you.

This is why recruiting alone can’t be counted on to do and fund this work. Recruiters are at their best when they are building relationships, and don’t have the time, resources or perspective to establish a company’s north star.

If the business wants to support recruiting in order to meet its own hiring goals, it might be time to focus on your employer brand. It won’t just help your recruiters, it will tap into resources throughout your company to make a meaningful impact on who and how well you can hire.

Need Help?

If you’re ready to experience the value that having the business truly collaborate with recruiting to hire better and faster, perhaps it’s time to talk to the consultants at Proactive Talent. With Proactive Talent, you will leverage years of experience navigating these waters, ensuring that you can get more out of your recruiting resources.

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