Tis’ the season to make a list and check it twice. With this post, you’ll figure out if your employment brand has been naughty or nice.
In all seriousness, your company’s employment brand can attract or repel the talent you’re recruiting. Most HR professionals want their organization to be an employer of choice, but where do you start?
The answer is conducting an employment brand audit. The word “audit” usually makes people cringe, so let’s just call this exercise an “end of the year employment brand checklist.” Deal?
Here’s a checklist to gauge how candidates view your employment brand.
Step 1: Google Your Company Name + Jobs
Picture yourself as a candidate. You just learned about this great new company from a friend and you want to learn more. You go to Google, you type in the company name plus the keyword “jobs” – what pops up in the search results?
Is it your careers page? An Indeed feed? Glassdoor reviews? CareerBuilder job postings? A Twitter account pushing out your jobs every few hours? Google ads from your competitors?
There’s a variety of things that can pop up in the search results, and you should pay attention to every result in the first couple of pages. Why? Because each result holds the potential to either convince or turn off a candidate to employment at your company.
Each result is your employment brand.
The question you should ask yourself is, “How do I influence the information listed at each one of these sources?”
Step 2: Build Your List
Your Google search should open your eyes to the candidate view of your employment brand. The next step is to open up a good ol’ Excel spreadsheet and build a list of the search results currently appearing for your Google Search.
Here’s a sample spreadsheet you can follow: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1wayN-JhzMSx7uKiBhaZ-rVHxadVeOi76T32wNbYOojo/edit?usp=sharing
Or, if you want to build you own spreadsheet, list 10-20 search results that appear when you Google search your company name and the word “jobs.”
Then, in the next column, list your notes, action plan and next steps to take to help that search result improve your employment brand.
What you’ll end up with is a long list of important to do items that are prioritized based on the order they appear in a Google search.
Step 3: Review Your Job Postings Everywhere
Indeed, LinkedIn, The Ladders, CareerBuilder, Glassdoor, Twitter… your job postings appear in a multitude of places, and it’s important that you spend time verifying your postings for accuracy, brand consistency and functionality. One job board might have out of date jobs or inaccurate descriptions they’re pulling from a specific source. Another job board may be collecting applications you never see.
Here’s what to do:
1. Verify the job listing counts on each source. If a source has too many jobs listed when compared to your company career page, or has too little, then you know the job board is pulling from an inaccurate source. Get in touch with the job board and supply them with a XML feed of your jobs so that everything remains consistent.
2. Read a sample of the job descriptions posted. Are these descriptions consistent with the employment brand message you want to convey? Again, having a central source that your jobs can be pulled from (like your careers page) makes it easier to control the descriptions being listed on these various job boards.
3. Apply for a few jobs to review the application process. When applicants apply, do you actually receive their applications? Or do they go into a black hole? Make sure that each application is accounted for, and work with the job board to close the loop.
Step 4: Be Proactive
The first three steps we’ve taken in doing our employment brand audit have been reactive to what’s already out there. Now, it’s time to be more proactive and imagine what could appear in the future when a candidate Google searches careers at your company.
It’s very easy to start imagining “Best Place To Work” awards dominating the search results, but there are also some very practical (and easy) ways to create additional results for candidate searches.
Google AdWords. I love using Google AdWords to grow employment brands because it allows you to say what you want, point people directly to where you want them to go, and to prevent your competition from appearing on your candidate searches. You can also run ads very cheap ($0.15 / click) because chances are, there’s not a ton of advertisers bidding on your employment brand.
Great example of this strategy in action:
News Articles. Indeed, Glassdoor, Job Boards – these are all websites with a high domain authority and have clout when it comes to ranking high for search terms. The only other websites that outweigh sites like Indeed when it comes to domain authority and search rank are media websites.
So, to outrank Indeed, you’ll need to create something newsworthy to begin to diversify your search results and control the conversation. A news result can look something like this from Southwest, where you discuss hiring numbers:
You could invite a media outlet into your corporate headquarters and put your office on display through photos:
You could even create success stories from recent placements:
Another practical way to increase your media exposure for your employment brand is by signing up for and responding to inquiries from a service called HARO (Help a Reporter Out). Each day reporters from media outlets are looking for sources for stories. Inquiries can include topics you can weigh in on – “how do you create culture at your company” – “tell me about how you recruit engineers and stand out from the rest” – etc. Sign up at helpareporterout.com as a source and see if you can get additional exposure there.
Microsites. Do you have a particular role that you always need to fill, that’s tough to fill, that’s very different from the typical jobs you’d recruit for out of a corporate office?
Amazon does. They need seasonal fulfillment associates to help with the holiday season (because if you’re like me, all of your holiday shopping is done through Amazon). So, they’ve launched a website separate from their careers website specifically catering to their fulfillment positions:
I love this microsite. It’s functional. It separates these jobs from other Amazon jobs, which strengthens the brand of Amazon employment while creating a separate employment brand. And, this website creates 4 first page search results on a Google search of “jobs at Amazon.”
What a great way to push all the Glassdoor, Indeed, and other third party websites off of the first page of search results. Not to mention, this site also buries the stories about Amazon’s mistreatment of workers out of sight, out of mind.
Social Media. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Slideshare, Quora, Medium, Reddit – social media sites are heavily factored into search results as well. Creating employment related content for these platforms and engaging in conversation are great ways to communicate what’s important and address the weak points of your employment brand.
Is your CEO getting hammered on Glassdoor rankings? Consider doing a AMA on Reddit, or a podcast on iTunes, or a thoughtful post on Medium, or answering questions on Quora.
Do you have a cool culture that doesn’t quite come through on a career website? Create a PowerPoint for SlideShare, a photo album on Facebook / Flickr / Pinterest, a video for YouTube.
Are your employees amazing? Highlight them on Instagram, promote their personal brands on LinkedIn, do a feature story on them on the company blog.
Social media puts HR in the driver’s seat. If you’re not getting the support you need from marketing, it’s never been easier to take matters into your own hands and create content to drive the conversation.
Step 5: Identify the key players and execute
It’s easy to do an employment brand audit, brainstorm strategies, and then do nothing about it. The important piece to actually building an employment brand is to assign ownership on specific tasks so the stuff you’ve discovered and discussed gets done.
Who will do the employment brand audit?
Who will manage the social media platforms? The PR outreach?
Who will manage relationships with the job boards and agencies?
Who will update the job descriptions and ensure their accuracy across all platforms?
Who will manage paid advertising? Who will create a website?
Identify the key people you want managing your employment brand. Assign ownership of the duties. Get ‘er done.