What Jon Snow doesn't understand about employer brand

In this week's instalment of Game of Thrones, we saw Jon Snow and Sansa Stark start off on a recruitment drive to gain colleagues to join them in waging war. It was a week of highs and lows for the pair.

The recruitment drive starts with a plea to the wildling's to join the army, and this is undoubtedly the highlight of their recruitment drive. 

 Jon begins his appeal to the wildlings by making it in their best interest to join his forces. But the biggest impact is that Jon has a champion who can influence the wildlings. Tormund Giantsbane stands up, shows his support for Jon and this leads to the rest following suit.

The next two recruitment sessions dont go so well for Jon and Sansa.

Firstly Jon asks Lyanna Mormont for support. His fist mistake is undermining Lyanna and attempting to gain rapport through small talk. He is quickly shut down and asked to get to the point. Again he has to rely on a champion, this time Davos Seaworth, to step in to convince Lynana to support. 

Next up is Robert Glover

This is where the recruitment drive hits rock bottom. Jon relies upon his ancestor's reputation and allegiances to recruit Robert. Unfortunately, Robert Glover has moved on from those loyalties long ago. To make things worse, Robert confirms that Jon's arm is made up of wildlings. Jon is sent packing with no support.

Why is this relevant to modern employer brands

A lot of lessons can be taken from Jon and Sansa's recruitment drive so far:

Know your audience

The modern workforce has a very diverse demographic and many businesses operate over multiple regions and countries. This makes it more important than ever to understand your audience (potential future employees).

To understand your audience you will want to:

  • Know how they like to be engaged
  • Know which platforms they use and can be engaged on
  • Know what is important to them in their career decisions

The last thing you want to do is engage people with small talk when all they want to the get down to business as Davos Seaworth will not be there to save you.

Engage your audience

Talent pool engagement is the future of recruitment. Engaging your audience with the relevant material will help them stay connected with your brand. By engaging your talent pools, you will maintain their support meaning that they will be open to an approach and potentially employment in the future. If you forget about your audience when you have no need for them...then they will forget about you just as Robert Glover has forgotten his allegiances to the Stark family.

Win over champions

When you have someone like Tormund Giantsbane championing your cause you immediately have integrity. Your employees, customers and service providers will all have their opinions of you and will tell the stories of how your company behaves. By ensuring you have a group of champions telling your stories, you will gain integrity, attract many more people and attract the best applicants. Help your champions tell their story and you will be on to a winner.

Your reputation is only safe until tomorrow

The way your company behaves and treats people will have an immediate impact on your employer brand. Rightly or not, Jon's employer brand was immediately impacted by working with the wildlings. Your reputation can be impacted by the actions your business takes for example:

  • How you treat people during redundancy
  • How realistic your promises are when recruiting people
  • A political stance your company takes
  • How responsibly your business acts financially
  • and many many more...

Many organisations spend a long time building their brand and engagement campaigns, but all this can be lost quickly by not staying true to your promises and losing integrity.

How to avoid the pitfalls

Developing a recruitment strategy and engagement campaign which honestly represents the positives of working with your company will give you a game plan for success. Training your recruitment teams and engaging your followers will ensure your employer brand is represented consistently and with honesty. Understanding that developing and maintaining your employer brand is a marathon and not a sprint will set you up for success in the future.


Iain Hamilton 

I have had the privilege of gaining a diverse array of experience in both in-house FTSE100 and recruitment agency style positions. More recently I launched People Traction. Check out our services here.

Throughout my career, I have been passionate about providing a seamless and enjoyable application process and have lead projects to design company websites, careers sites and job boards.

I have been instrumental in creating and delivering global proactive recruitment strategies and training recruitment teams in how to pro-actively resource passive and active talent. The results of delivering a pro-active recruitment strategy have shown a significant reduction in time to fill, improved candidate quality and significant cost savings.



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