An Employer Branding lesson from Mad Men!

If you are like me, you are excited for Season 5 of Mad Men to start in 2012.  While I can’t wait for the 1960′s chic, Don Draper’s next life escapades and what happens to Sterling, Cooper & Draper, I’m most excited to see the creative process and new advertising campaigns they create.  (Yes, I’m a marketing nerd!…)


After re-watching the past few seasons, I once again came across one of my favorite themes from Mad Men.  Whether it is determining the direction of a new ad campaign or creating a different future for Stanley, Cooper or Draper, this theme / quote is always consistent:


“If you don’t like what people are saying, change the conversation!”


This is a great philosophy and one that can be of great value when looking to shape your brand messaging.   But the fact is your brand is formed by two opposing forces: 1) what others are saying about you, 2) what you are highlighting and framing in your messaging.  The second of these forces you have full control over.  The first, however, you can only try to influence by being part of the conversation and engaging with your audience.


As you are trying to shape and improve your Employer Brand, you need to focus first on what you control.  That means improving your messaging on your recruiting content such job distribution ads & your Career Site.


But how do you improve this employment messaging.  Here’s a few things to do:


Spell out what you do well: If you provide great opportunities for engineers, say that and provide some details.  Most of all, focus on what you provide that makes you unique in the marketplace.  Whether that’s benefits, opportunities, work-life balance, resources or something else, focus your messaging on what means the most to the candidate that you are trying to recruit.

Continuously update your messaging and capture recruitment metrics on what messaging is working and what doesn’t in terms of reaching the right candidates.

Focus on a few benefits:  While you want to share what you do well, make sure to focus on only 3-4 things you really want to promote in your messaging.  By doing this, you can make sure candidates understand the key value proposition you offer with your employment opportunities.

Share good things that others say:  Have you won awards for your work?  Have you gotten good reviews on Glassdoor?  Do you have employee video content of why they love working at your company?  The more validation that your organization is a good place to work, the more candidates will want to apply for your open positions.

Once you improve your messaging in your job ads and on your Career Site, it’s time to become part of the conversation. Candidates may not be saying good things about your organization.  This is where you can begin trying to turn that around through engagement and really trying to understand the reasons why they view your brand negatively.


Here are a few things you can do to engage and improve the view of your candidates:


Apply Process: While messaging can go a long way, making sure the your apply process and the feedback loop to candidates is good, is one of the best ways to get candidates to see your brand positively.  Make your apply process shorter, get back to candidates about each round of the interview process or offering help to denied candidates, there are a number of ways to make your apply process better.

Customer Service:  As candidates are applying for positions, make sure that they have a way to get in touch with your recruiting team.  This can be done by email, through chat or through social recruiting.  The most important thing is that you respond quickly to these questions.  This will help provide a positive experience to candidates and should make them more apt to speak favorably of your organization.

Social Recruiting: While this can be a great way to do customer service for your recruiting, it is also a great way to share positive recruiting content and engage with candidates.  Also important is having social sharing options on all your recruiting content.  When candidates are reading your blog articles, viewing your recruiting videos and visiting your Career Site, you should make it easy for them to share with their network.

The key to making sure your employer branding is helping your recruiting results is to make sure you are starting the right conversations with your recruitment marketing messaging and that you are a part of the conversations that follow.  As long as you continuously evaluate your messaging and engage with candidates, your employer brand should start to become an asset to your recruiting strategy.

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