Brandon, an engineering student graduating from All American University, is choosing between two job offers: one from a little-known automotive supplier; the other, a popular carmaker.
While the supplier job pays more and is a better fit for Brandon, he just can’t shake the allure of the OEM’s “cool” brand.
While branding is often considered a sales and marketing discipline, brands have a significant influence on attracting top talent. Companies searching for new recruits can help themselves by first polishing their brands.
The Quell Group’s Mike Niederquell counsels clients on the importance of brand image as it pertains to drawing in talent. The CEO knows firsthand just how hard it is to catch the eye of a prospective candidate without the aid of a recognized brand.
“Well-established brands like Google, Mercedes-Benz USA, Intel and Quicken Loans have job seekers lined up with pedigreed resumes in hand,” says Niederquell. “These companies have little need for headhunters. Their logo is all they need.”
But not all companies are household names. For firms flying under the radar, filling jobs can be an expensive battle. Niederquell explains even these companies can get their pick of the litter, if they practice a few techniques to promote brand awareness.
The millennial generation is looking for more than just salary, Niederquell says. Today’s job seeker wants the whole package: a company that is socially responsible, environmentally kind and offers a culture that is inclusive, flexible and nurturing. While a small business can never compete with the resources of a Fortune 100 company, it can target a desired audience with specific brand initiatives.
“It’s the story of David and Goliath,” says Niederquell. “But doing battle against the big guys doesn’t have to end in defeat. We’ve helped small companies land the best recruits just by leveraging the power of their brand.”
Niederquell offers four tips to companies searching for the market’s best and brightest:
1. Get your CEO involved. The CEO must champion the cause, and drive brand awareness and promotion across the company.
2. Define your brand. Does your company know what it really stands for? If not, no one will. Neiderquell says market research and branding exercises are helpful in defining the brand’s position, value proposition and what makes it special.
3. Marry marketing and HR. Cross-functional teams are best suited to crack the code for winning new recruits. Use market outreach together with HR initiatives to find the best candidates.
4. Curb appeal wins. It’s just like real estate; candidates are attracted to the external package. In branding terms, that means a perception of being smart, strong, unique and passionate. Recruits are looking for the “IT” factor. Share yours via websites, social media, community outreach and corporate activism.
A candidate’s employment decision will be based on a number of elements, Niederquell says. With a powerful brand, any company can increase its odds of attracting the best recruits regardless of its competition.
“It’s a business of people,” he says. “If your brand appeals to a person on an emotional level, your company will receive the consideration it deserves.”