A compelling employer brand is critical in a tight labour market

Canada saw some of the most robust job creation in over a decade in 2019, and the national unemployment rate is currently hovering at a historically low level. That is great news for the overall economy, but it is creating challenges for many organizations looking to hire staff.

Roughly half of the businesses in Atlantic Canada, for example, have been reporting labour shortage conditions for over a year now. This lack of qualified workers is particularly acute in the red-hot tech sector.

In a highly-competitive labour market like this, where in-demand candidates have many opportunities to choose from, employers need to adopt cutting edge strategies in order to attract the talent needed to fill their open positions.

One of the keys to recruiting in a job seekers’ market is having a compelling employer brand. Communicating a consistent employer brand message throughout your online presence and recruitment communications can go a long way towards reaching candidates and enticing them to apply for your jobs.

Your employer brand is what candidates think of when they consider joining your team – it’s the reason they would prefer to work for your company over a competing business. It is your employer value proposition. What makes your organization stand out? Why are you a great workplace, and what do you offer new hires?

Create the winning environment

A great employer brand starts with authenticity. You actually have to have a positive working environment with an engaged workforce in order to be an attractive place to work. Communicate with your staff, consider their needs and ambitions. Your company has a brand on the employment market – whether you actively cultivate one or not. Through word-of-mouth, social media platforms, and employer review sites, your current and former employees will be sharing their experiences.

Use these voices as brand ambassadors. The genuine impressions of people who work for you can be among the most powerful – and credible – brand messages about your company.

Communicate consistently

Key elements of an employer brand include work/life balance, opportunities for advancement, working conditions, management style, growth potential, as well as your corporate mission and values.

Bake those core messages into your website, About Us page, your social media profiles and posts and all of your communications with potential candidates. Your job ads shouldn’t be just a list of duties and requirements. In a tight labour market, you need to entice job seekers to apply. Communicate what is in it for them. Sell candidates on the primary attributes that make your organization an enviable place to work.

Tailor your messaging

Not all candidates are looking for the same things. When crafting your recruitment messaging, you have to know who it is that you are trying to reach. For example, people just beginning their careers are more often looking for opportunities for advancement and on the job learning. Research shows that more mid-career professionals tend to value flexible work scheduling and work/life balance. Seasoned, leadership candidates want the opportunity to make their mark, to have an impact and drive measurable results.

The candidate experience

Another vital area of employer branding is the candidate experience. This is how the applicant, even those who are not ultimately hired – feels about their interactions with your company. This experience begins with the earliest communications, the content of your website and job postings, and continues through every email and phone call, potential in-person interviews and follow-up.

Candidates who are left with a positive impression of your organization, who feel they have been treated fairly and professionally throughout the process, can remain fans of your company as an employer – and of your products and services – even if they are not hired.

However, if a candidate is left with a negative impression of your organization, they will spread that message through word of mouth. With social media and online review sites, this can have a serious impact on your employer brand.

As we noted at the outset, it starts with authenticity. The most genuine promotion you can do is word-of-mouth marketing. You’ve already created a positive working environment to increase retention of your existing staff and promote referrals, now leverage that powerful message across your communication channels with job seekers.

Make sure that everyone who interacts with your company is treated with respect and courtesy and that your hiring representatives know your brand messaging and how to sell it to candidates.

Provide this consistent message in all of your corporate communications as well, as these are often the foundations of how the public really perceives you as a workplace. A company with positive word-of-mouth and consistent employer branding messages will have a competitive advantage in attracting, recruiting, and retaining sought-after talent.

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