Who would you rather work for:
My bet is that you’ve heard of at least one of these employers—and that you have an opinion on which organization would be best suited for your skills, interests, and company culture preferences. Heck, you might even accept an offer from the right fictional enterprise should the opportunity arise on the spot.
Or employer branding officer. Whatever works.
Now let me ask you this: did Glassdoor cross your mind?
What about salary?
Or what would be in your job description?
If not, it’s likely because you probably think you know enough about the company to determine whether or not you would want to work there. You know the company story—or at least some stories about its employees—to the point of having an idea of how it’d behave as an employer.
That is to say: you know its employer brand.
Every company has an employer brand. Some are curated and intentional (we think Deloitte sets the bar for high-quality management consulting recruitment marketing) while others are… Amazon. Most companies exist in the middle: they don’t have any active employer branding projects, but nonetheless have reviews on Indeed and Glassdoor and employees active on social media. Maybe the existence of those sites are why interest in employer branding has skyrocketed over the past few years.
Regardless of if you’re just curious about branding or a seasoned recruitment marketer, employer branding is in. To get you started (or help you along), I selected the ten best employer branding articles that are so good you’ll reference again and again. These are the ones I read as often as I fantasize about owning a tricorder.
This selection of articles was entirely qualitative—based on actionability, depth, and writing style—and they are listed from beginner tips to niche, expert content.
Why we recommend it: Building a brand on graphics and guidelines alone is as hopeless as convincing a toddler that turnips are a great replacement for ice cream. Humans need storytelling—and UC Berkeley’s researchers have the data to prove it. Use this article to learn why narratives matter when building a brand, and how to center your emphasis to inspire as much oxytocin from your passive candidates as possible.
Top quote: “Think of this as the ‘car accident effect.’ You don’t really want to see injured people, but you just have to sneak a peek as you drive by. Brain mechanisms engage saying there might be something valuable for you to learn, since car accidents are rarely seen by most of us but involve an activity we do daily. That is why you feel compelled to rubberneck.”
If you like this, also read: 9 Companies That Are Killing It With Brand-Driven Storytelling | Sujan Patel
Why we recommend it: Hubspot is the reigning king of inbound; they even coined the term “inbound marketing,” which is a bougie way of saying “content marketing.” It should come as no surprise that they applied their digital marketing prowess to their employer brand with great success—even with the release of Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble. Author Matt Charney explains how Hubspot survived the book-length negative Glassdoor-like review—and what you can learn from how they did it.
Top quote: “‘If you think about “employer branding,’ all it really is, from the outside looking in, is a game of arbitrage of Adwords and an arms race for top performing pages on the most commonly used search terms. No candidate can see the incremental or internal changes that are actually making your company and employer of choice worth choosing. Nope. All they know is what they see when they type those keywords into Google—the place fully 85% of candidates start their job search. SEO and SEM are the most efficient, effective employer brand plays out there—Adwords beat unlimited snacks, competitive salaries and career site collateral every day of the week.”
If you like this, also read: The Role of Content Marketing in Building an Effective Employer Brand | Skyword
Why we recommend it: You know that storytelling is the most effective way of building a brand, and you know that content marketing is the secret sauce behind it. Great, so how do you get started? Bailey Reiners at Built In created the ultimate list-like guide for employer brand aficionados, which you can sequentially go through, from planning to executing to analyzing your results. This employer branding article is better than any downloadable checklist—and you don’t even need to exchange your email for it.
Top quote: "An effective strategy will be shaped by the business’s short- and long-term needs, taking into account everything the organization wants to accomplish and the skillset it will require to do so. Fortunately, aligning your employer branding strategy with organizational needs is fairly straightforward. Start by answering a few basic questions:
If you like this, also read: Five Tips To Create A Winning Employer Brand | Forbes
Why we recommend it: For all the work you might put into your employer brand, your job descriptions are ultimately what convinces the right candidate to apply. How do you write those winning sales pitches to future employees? Erin Engstrom at Recruiterbox details how long each post should be, what to include and what to cut, and how to optimize it for digital search. The actionable article has nuggets for job posting veterans and novices alike, and at just a five-ish minute read, it’s worth a close look.
Top quote: “Of course candidates need to know how they’re going to serve your company–that’s what’s going to enable them to discover your opening in the first place. What’s going to make them take the next leap and apply, though, is emphasizing how you can serve them. Do you offer equity? Stock options? Flexible hours? Telecommuting ? Child care assistance? Paid parental leave? Don’t keep that stuff under wraps–shout it from the rooftops! Candidates need to know how a new job will benefit their lives, not just their work.”
If you like this, also read: How to Write a Job Description | Glassdoor
Why we recommend it: Here at GoodSeeker, we obviously believe that employee-generated content holds the trifecta of success for employer branding: it’s the easiest, cheapest, and fastest way to start attracting candidates and establishing a strong employer brand. Todd Kunsman’s article explains why, from the pros and cons of using an employee-generated content strategy to the top tips to help employers get started with the process. The article is a lengthy, worthwhile read for any seasoned recruitment marketer.
Top quote: “Content and social media go hand-in-hand, no longer can brands ignore it or even block their workforce from being involved. And employees are already active online, creating and sharing content on your behalf without you even realizing it. Younger generations have essentially grown up into the workforce highly involved in social media and creating content already. Even some of the older generations are too, at a steady growth pace, getting more active. Certainly, a digital shift has been occurring and without adjusting your concerns, your company may get left behind.”
If you like this, also read: 13 Exciting Employer Brand Statistics for Ambitious HR Marketers | GoodSeeker
Why we recommend it: You don’t need to be in the industry to get a lot from this article—the technology industry just happens to be one of the most competitive when it comes to talent, so sourcing professionals have had to get creative when recruiting for it. DevriX explains what makes a career page stand out, how to get started with recruitment videos and social media, and how to extend your employer brand with referrals and community building. Don’t let the title of this article deter you: regardless of your industry, you’ll learn some new best practices with this roundup.
Top quote: “Talent pools are lists of candidates that are not currently being considered for a role. Your campaigns, recruiters and job postings reach many people. However, you’ve already paid the price for engaging with candidates, no matter if you hired them or not. So it’s a good practice to engage with people who were not selected, or haven’t applied yet but might be interested. This approach will not only help you significantly reduce the costs of future talent acquisition campaigns, but it’ll also help you save valuable time. Even if a candidate didn’t make it to the final selection at one point, people are constantly developing and acquiring new skills and expertise.”
If you like this, also read: 4 Talent Acquisition Strategies to Find the Best Employees | Hubspot
Why we recommend it: Just like the previous article, don’t let the niche of “student recruitment” deter you if you’re not looking to hire recent college grads. I believe this article is the best primer on local recruiting using digital recruiting, period. It covers how to optimize your Google My Business account for local searches, location tagging on social media, and how to get started with local paid ad campaigns. If your employer brand strategy is focused on a general instead of local audience, you’re missing out on a bunch of candidates and opportunities. Use this guide to help you get started.
Top quote: "Social media can also be an excellent place to reach local students. As the social world continues to evolve, many people are beginning to use social networks as a way to find local businesses and services. A good place to start is to ensure your school is recognized on Facebook Places, which is the site’s location-based search system. Doing this will also mean that the location shows up on Instagram. From there, try to incorporate your location into your posting strategy. You can use location-based and locally popular hashtags in order to show up in searches by local students, and you should also tag your location in your posts where appropriate. Studies have shown that posts with tagged locations on Instagram receive up to 79% more engagement than those that don’t."
If you like this, also read: Local SEO: A Simple (But Complete) Guide | Ahrefs
Why we recommend it: If your company has a blog about employee life, be sure to check out this article. Emily Smykal details the statistics behind what kinds of articles potential employees care about the most—along with the research to prove it. As you plan your content calendar, refer to this employer brand article to make sure that your content adheres to what candidates want to read about. (Unsurprisingly, 41.8% of survey respondents said they care the most about a company’s values and mission!)
Top quote: “FAQ’s are a must on most websites, including your career site. They can provide most of the basic info candidates would otherwise have to search for, and can even help weed out unsuitable candidates. Think about the questions candidates might ask before they apply, and see how many of those can be answered in on an FAQ page. Plus, a well-written FAQ section can also boost your career site’s SEO, attracting even more candidates.”
If you like this, also read: These Companies Show You Can Still Do Employer Branding Through Blogging | ERE
Why we recommend it: If you’re like most recruiting departments, you have a massive database of candidates who you’re “keeping on file” in case a relevant job posting arises. The problem is that if you do have that perfect fit, you send them a message and they don’t engage. What gives? The problem is that you haven’t kept in touch—to the point where you’re contacting a cold candidate when you email them about a great fit. Jason Heilman makes the case for using email marketing for your candidates list and walks you through how to engage them with regular touch points. Get started with your candidate newsletter with this inspirational and actionable top employer branding article ASAP.
Top quote: “The key to a successful email marketing program is all about being interesting to your reader. What does that mean? It means it needs to be valuable, relevant, timely and personal. It also needs to be sustainable, if you get emails from a company trying to sell you widgets every day, every week or even every month, you are going to tune out and quickly unsubscribe.”
If you like this, also read: Think Like a Marketer When Sending Recruiting Emails | Recruiterflow
Why we recommend it: If you think employer branding only applies to attracting top full-time staff, you’re basically living in 2005. Freelancers make up more than 10% of America’s full-time workforce, which means you have to think about engaging and attracting them too. This unconventional employer brand article highlights the importance of thinking about your freelancers, and offers a guide to keeping them engaged and retained as a part of your workforce.
Top quote: “Just like with full-time staff, a positive culture can set your company apart from the competitors. At Kalo, I have seen first-hand how businesses have increased, by an amazing 65 percent in some cases, the level of their net promoter score -- which indicates how likely a freelancer is likely to work for one company over another.”
If you like this, also read: Ultimate Guide to Gig Economy Data: A Summary of Every Freelance Survey We Can Find | Nation1099
There were far too many employer brand articles to cover in our roundup—we want to know what we missed. Let us know in the comments what should have made the list but didn’t, and we’ll consider it during next year’s update!