One of the tools companies use to attract the right talent, is employer branding. It can be used as a way to stand out as a workplace in the competitive hiring environment and to become recognizable for candidates. But on the flip side, employer branding can be valuable for candidates too. Read on if you like to hear why I like employer branding so much.
Stories more memorable than facts
While people in business (including recruiters) love to share stats and data, research shows you only tend to remember about 5% of facts after just 10 minutes. Let this one work on you, because you might soon have forgotten this.
On the flip side, people remember 65% of stories —that means narratives are 22x more memorable than facts. Therefore, stories can be far more effective than impressive facts and figures. That’s because stories make us feel things. Just try to watch the first 10 minutes of UP without crying like a baby. Those emotions resonate in a way that facts can’t match.
Similarly, recruiters shouldn’t sell jobs as a dry collection of responsibilities and perks—you should strive to bring the role alive through stories that evoke strong feelings. “Don’t ever say your mission statement to someone,” Matthew says. “Tell them all the great things about your company—the ups and downs, the things you’ve learned—and let them feel the mission statement.”
Pixar or Disney movies never flatly tell you the theme of the story—they make you experience them. Facts, figures, missions, and visions by themselves aren’t memorable, impactful, or personal. Instead of reciting your mission statement, it’s way more effective to tell stories that illustrate it.
Look for example at this video of Netflix.
As part of their content marketing strategy, they asked some of their employees what it is like to work at a company like Netflix. In a series of three videos, they let their employees explain a part of Netflix’ culture.
They have been very thoughtful about where to place those videos, namely, on their job board. Obviously, those job boards are viewed by people who might be interested in a job at Netflix. A vacancy is a great opportunity for the candidate to get a glimpse of the organization you are probabily going to work for. Letting employees speak is also a great way to show your diversity, for example.
Involving colleagues can bring some recognition and attract the right people. More and more often we see photos, quotes or vacancy videos with which the candidate can get acquainted with his or her potential future colleagues. Those videos can help the job seeker to get an idea of whether he or she would fit into this Netflix culture. By catching candidates’ attention with a succinct hook, painting how their life will change, and coloring it in with personal stories, the business can make candidates feel excited about a new opportunity.
Whether it’s a story of your own experience at the company or a moment of success from someone in the role you’re filling, using lots of little stories helps to make your pitch more memorable. If you tell a story about the software team running up against a massive roadblock, finding a way around it, and celebrating that success, your candidate will intuitively imagine themselves in that same position.
Another great example of a brand that uses employer branding is Pixar. In this section, Life at Pixar, they portray their employees in a way that’s characteristic for their culture. Namely, through the photographs they let people see that their workplace is the standard-bearer that breathes creativity, technology and business.
Although a company’s big-picture mission might be inspiring, most of the time it’s not necessarily personal. Like Pixar, you can make it more personal by peppering your pitches with personal anecdotes about ways that you’ve changed. “When you share a personal, professional moment where you’ve changed in a positive way, you inspire people,” Matthew says. “That the best way to get people to change.” Recruiting is all about convincing someone to change their life.
Companies tell stories, even if they’re not as concrete as a Pixar narrative arc. Tiffany’s tells a story of beauty and sophistication. Tesla tells a story of optimism and the triumph of technology. They stir up feelings, and that’s what makes these brands memorable.
For example, the pictures published on their website communicate a personal story. You see people sketching animation personas, you see people having fun, their workplaces are dressed up like libraries and jungle. It communicates the story of people working at a company that they like through inventiveness, sophistication and animated filmmaking.
84% of job seekers say the reputation of a company as an employer is important to them. It’s because people associate brands with their employees. It will make the difference for them if they see themselves in the people that are working there.
On the other hand, employees can have an important role in promoting the organisation they are going to work for as well. Personal branding is beneficial from their perspective, because people associate brands not only with their employees but also with themselves.
Again, telling stories in business is as important as it is in the broadcasting industry. A good brand tells stories that are compelling to their audience. Starting from a stuccinct hook helps them attract the right customers, and when used for employer branding, the right candidates too.
Since companies only have 8 seconds to attract the attention of a candidate, it’s important for companies to communicate a story that makes it clear how they will change the life of the candidate when they start to work for them.
Tell stories to candidates because they stick, stir emotions, and drive decisions—that’s why they can be a companies’ most effective recruiting tool. So employer branding is basically a two-way street. Companies should encourage employees to build strong personal brands because it’s good business for them.
When employees are allowed to represent their company at conferences or events, they are not only developing themselves but also providing the organization more exposure. Employees can help acquire new customers and retain existing ones when they are viewed as trustworthy thought leaders.
And in that hiring process there is also place for the freelancer or the flexworker to stand out from the crowd by creating a personal brand. The importance of doing that is bigger than ever since everything happens in the online world.
Something we all look at if we are going to work somewhere, right?
Check more of my blogs about business and personal branding: