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There is no single agreed-upon definition of Employment Branding. Like many of the most useful components of Human Resources, Employment Branding (EB) is a broad umbrella of ideas with a decidedly local implementation character. In this Guide, you will learn about the big picture and pick up enough advice to start your own unique EB implementation.
You’ll also find a number of insights and ideas from the leading practitioners and thinkers on the subject. While they do not always agree with each other (or the author), their experience is broad and expansive. Their tips and insights are scattered throughout the Guide.
EB encompasses everything about the company related to what it is like to work there. A well-managed brand helps the ‘right’ people find their way to the organization as a place to work. A solid EB initiative can reduce costs, improve workforce quality, decrease recruiting workloads and increase recruiting productivity.
By John Sumser, HRExaminer
THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO
DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 2
IS MADE OF
AN INTRODUCTION TO
WHY FOCUS ON YOUR
THE EMPLOYMENT BRAND
A WORD ABOUT
Values are the
soul of the EB
Experiences are the
Currency of the EB
the Heart of
DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 3
There is no single agreed-upon definition of Employment Branding. Like many of
the most useful components of Human Resources, Employment Branding (EB) is
a broad umbrella of ideas with a decidedly local implementation character. In this
Guide, you will learn about the big picture and pick up enough advice to start your
own unique EB implementation.
You’ll also find a number of insights and ideas from the leading practitioners and thinkers on
the subject. While they do not always agree with each other (or the author), their experience
is broad and expansive. Their tips and insights are scattered throughout the Guide.
EB encompasses everything about the company related to what it is like to work there. A
well-managed brand helps the ‘right’ people find their way to the organization as a place to
work. A solid EB initiative can reduce costs, improve workforce quality, decrease recruiting
workloads and increase recruiting productivity.
AN INTRODUCTION TO
ABOUT THE AUTHOR John Sumser is the founder, principal author
and editor-in-chief of the HRExaminer Online Magazine. John explores
the people, technology, ideas and careers of senior leaders in Human
Resources and Human Capital.
John is the also principal of Two Color Hat where he routinely advises
Human Resources, Recruiting Departments and Talent Management
teams with product analysis, market segmentation, positioning, strategy
and branding guidance.
DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 4
It’s fair to say that a company has an EB
whether or not it chooses to manage it.
In its unvarnished form, EB is simply the
organization’s reputation as a place to
work. Deciding to manage your EB turns it
from a public reflection into a conversation.
Investing in your EB is a project that
doesn’t end. As business circumstances,
expectations and needs evolve, your EB
has to be maintained to respond to those
changes. Knowing what your target labor
markets understand and believe about
your organization is critical. Responding
effectively in ways that continue to build
your reputation is the name of the game.
EB is a ‘scalable’ concept. It can be
applied to problems of all sizes, from a
specific job to a department to a division
to the company as a whole. Each step of
the scale involves an increase in the size of
the resources involved. This means that the
EB idea can be applied to varying degrees
around the organization.
For instance, your strategy might be to
focus only on mission-critical roles. You
might want to emphasize jobs that are
hard to fill. You might try to focus on the
company as a whole with no reference to
specific jobs. You could help employees
and potential employees understand the
cultural differences between departments.
Since EB involves the way that current
and past employees experience their
relationship with the company, the team
involved with EB will always have a
deep sense of the negative parts of the
company’s reputation. A significant part of
the work of the EB team involves making
sense of this feedback. It is challenging
information that can be a critical part of the
The importance of getting your Employment Branding work “right”
can’t be overstated. The message that you’ll be marketing to the
world is one that needs to be genuine, transparent and resonates
with the type of candidates who will thrive within your organization.
That’s why it’s important to start internally when building your
employer value proposition and marketing plans.
Connecting with your teams at every level, tenure and location beforehand is
key to capturing what really keeps your company alive. When you’ve discovered
why your employees are excited to come in to work, what gets their hearts
pumping about their job, what your culture enables them to do or to be (both
inside and outside of the office!) then you’ve found something that can’t be
replicated by an agency or fancy application or upgraded system online. You’ve
found pillars on which to build a powerful and honest Employment Brand.
ASK THE EXPERTS
– Chris Hoyt, Chief Innovation Evangelist, CareerXroads
DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 5
for something like “What’s it like to work at
Compare the primary brand and the
Employment Brand. How are they the same
and how are they different? You’ll also
notice that the relationship between brand
and EB is different for different companies.
What you will most likely see is that the
company spends a lot of energy managing
its primary brand. It will respond to and
engage the public who address it in public
forums such as Twitter. But you will also
see that a similar level of engagement isn’t
usually taking place on the EB front.
The most interesting thing about a brand
is that it is a perception. The company’s
primary and Employment Brands exist in
the minds and hearts of individuals. While
they can be measured and influenced in the
aggregate, the primary objective of both is
to understand and influence the perception
of a group of individuals. A central piece of
any EB initiative is a constant testing and
retesting of assumptions and expectations.
The difference between
regular advertising and
brand advertising is simple. Regular
advertising is focused on generating a
transaction: “Buy this thing now at this
special price.” Brand advertising is about
differentiation; it tells the story of how your
offering is different.
The same is true of the difference between
job advertising and Employment Branding.
EB is the sum total of a company’s
reputation as a place to work.
That reputation is composed of
things such as:
Online reviews (on Glassdoor,
Indeed, Yelp and other business-
Word of mouth in local and
Stories the company tells
about itself on its website and
in other media
Stories told in job ads posted
around the Internet (and offline)
Stories that employees tell
Experiences of job hunters and
An organization’s EB is related to (but not
the same) as its primary brand. You can
get a sense of this by considering the
corporate reputations of two or three very
Consumer-oriented companies work
hard to make sure that they are seen in a
positive and compelling light. You can see
a company’s primary brand by searching
Twitter for the company’s handle. This will
give you a flow of information, partly what
the company thinks of itself and partly what
the public thinks about the company. This
is the raw, real-time essence of the brand.
Once you have a clear picture of that
operation’s reputation, look up their
employment reputation. There are a
number of good online sources of reviews
of the company as an employer. Search
DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 6
Listening. Your recruiting process should
have ‘listening stations’ at every step of the way.
These mechanisms “hear” what is really going
on when candidates:
Research your opportunities
Learn about what it’s like to work there
Apply to openings
Consider selecting you (even why you are
Manage disappointment when you don’t
Onboard as a new employee
The more employers ask candidates about their
experience at every step of the hiring process, the
higher they end up rated by the candidates they
Setting Expectations. Your recruiting
process has been fine-tuned to set expectations
about the work. But, for those who don’t get that
far, the expectations you set about the recruiting
process from the start are crucial. The more
employers describe in advance what to expect
at every twist and turn in their recruiting process
(and deliver), the higher they are rated by the
candidates they didn’t hire.
Being Accountable. It’s not rocket science:
what you measure as performance, and link
to rewards, impacts behavior. The more employers
measure candidate attitudes, provide usable
feedback to recruiters and link results to recruiter
performance and rewards, the higher they are
rated by the candidates they didn’t hire.
Being Fair. The largest variance in candidate
ratings about their experience can be attributed
to the answer to this question: “Were you able to
share to your satisfaction with [company name] and
all the reasons why you think you were competitive
for this position?” From the moment a candidate is
exposed to your process, they receive messages
about whether they have a fair shot at competing
for the job or whether the fix is in. Everything from
unanswered questions, unexplained delays and
poorly-trained hiring managers can impact this
perception; root those out.The more employers are
perceived as having a fair process, the higher they
are rated by the candidates they don’t hire.
There are many claims about how to improve
the candidate experience. If a potential solution
doesn’t impact one of the four categories above, it
won’t account for much. Your Employment Brand
doesn’t just ride on how you treat the candidates
you hire; the candidates you don’t hire must be
treated with respect, listened to, have expectations
set, believe they were treated fairly, and know that
the employer holds itself accountable.
– Gerry Crispin, Founder and Principled Navigator, Career Xroads
ASK THE EXPERTS
Four Things You Know (or Should Know) That Will Change Candidates’ Attitude and Behavior
DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 7
In addition, EB helps past, current and
future employees understand the value of
working with (and for) your organization.
Imagine developing a supply of talented
people who are excited and eager to come
to work for you. By starting with a higher-
quality, engaged workforce, you may
expect to grow the engagement levels of
your overall team.
In settings where the competition for talent
is fierce, EB helps you differentiate your
organization. A reputation as a great and
challenging place to work can make you a
destination employer, a place that people
want to head towards.
The discipline required to effectively execute
an EB initiative will put you in the position of
being able to quantify, measure and report
the realities of your employment marketplace.
Since all companies and labor markets have
different supply-and-demand dynamics,
results will vary, but you may rest assured that
a company with a strong Employment Brand
will outperform its competition.
Why Focus on
Where’s the payoff? What’s
the ROI? If you are going to have any
real success in your EB project, you are
going to need buy-in from the people who
control resources. Regardless of their
level and yours, they are going to want to
understand why they should invest their
scarce resources in this area.
You are going to want to be prepared with
compelling and persuasive answers well
before you ask for resources. Over time, a
solid EB initiative will reduce the costs and
increase the effectiveness of your recruiting
A great EB project will reduce the number
of unqualified candidates who must be
removed from the recruiting process
while increasing the relative quality of
the candidate flow. EB can reduce your
reliance on more expensive sources of data
about prospective employees. – Maren Hogan, CEO, Red Branch Media
Q: How important is content to Employment Branding?
A: Employer Branding cannot exist without content. Much of today’s
debate is about which kind. Branding and storytelling go together like
peas and carrots. What employee story are you trying to tell, and to who?
Content is the only way to tell that story to more than one person at a time, whether it’s
via a video or webinar, a podcast, a website or a laundry list of items that simply appear
in a job ad. While none of these are right for every company, all are examples of using
content to tell a (true) story about your company and what it’s like to work there.
ASK THE EXPERTS
DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 8
Brand is Made of
Another way of thinking
about EB is that it is composed of four
types of media. Information about the
company as an employer, whether provided
by the company, its employees or other
parties, is always communicated through
some sort of media.
The media types are:
Paid: Job ads, billboards,
programmatic advertising, other
advertising, traffic acquisition
Earned: Word of mouth, press
releases, viral stories, search
engine optimization (SEO)
Shared: User-generated content,
online reviews, internal social
media initiatives. (Shared implies
that the company can be proactive
Owned: The company website,
employment website, newsletters,
job alerts, talent communities,
email campaigns, content
The company can’t control all media. The
experience of an individual employee or
prospective employee boils down to which
media they consume and how completely
they digest it.
A world-class EB initiative blends the
company’s narrative about what it’s like
to work at the company with creative
and proactive responses to the flow of
uncontrollable information from the public.
It takes experience and sensitivity to do this
seamlessly. In the early stages of an EB
project, the results will always leave room
are the Soul
The development of an
EB must include a review of company
values and some level of assessment.
Most companies have some sort of values
statement floating around. Company values
are often communicated in placards and on
It’s rare that anyone inside the company ever
formally checks to see if the company lives
up to those values. Sometimes, employees
report moments of extreme irony when high-
ranking executives do the opposite of the
published values while standing underneath
a poster proclaiming them.
To get EB right, you have to understand
how well the company embodies its
DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 9
– Elaine Orler, Chairman and Co-Founder, The Talent Board
values and whether you want to continue
to promote them. There is always a set
of values that the company embodies,
whether or not a formal process identifies
said values. The closer the EB comes to
communicating the values that are actually
practiced, the better.
Stories are the
Heart of EB
A list of truisms
accompanying a long list of
cherished ideas is not going to differentiate
your company from another. The EB project
is, from one perspective, a search for great
stories. Imagine that you are building a
library of anecdotes about what it feels like
to work for the company.
Storytelling is one of the ways that EB
differs from more transactional recruiting
and recruitment advertising. The idea
is to conjure a picture in the mind of
the candidate. EB stories are related to
the contemporary idea of delivering an
improved “candidate experience.”
Q: How does the Candidate Experience drive Employment Branding?
A: Candidate Experience is not only an outcome but an input to Employment Branding. As
organizations, we create content (branding) to position our companies to the candidates we hope
to attract. Branding content is often the first deep content a candidate has exposure to, to best
understand the organizations goals, values and opportunities. That content and positioning create
response from candidates by joining our communities, or directly applying to our positions.
From the 2015 NAM candidate experience award, 48% of candidates (total of 90,000 respondents),
stated they need more time to learn about the company and sought that information before applying.
That time spent researching an organization (averaging 1–2 hours) is exactly why organizations need
to manage their Employment Brand.
The Employment Branding content found to be the most valuable to candidates, based on feedback
in the same survey, were: company values, products/services, employee testimonials, answers to
‘why’ people want to work here, and answers to ‘why’ people stay here.
ASK THE EXPERTS
DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 10
you need to reach. The bigger the group
you need to reach, the higher the volume
of responses. The higher the volume of
responses, the more time involved in
processing them. More time always means
The ideal recruiting operation only takes in
as much data as necessary. Additional data
always involves some level of expense for
acquisition, processing and storage. That
means that the front end of the recruiting
Experiences are the
Currency of EB
The current thinking about
‘candidate experience’ is oriented towards
the administrative processes faced by a job
hunter. It is critical that the hiring process
minimize the inconvenience and anxiety it
naturally causes. Much of the thinking in
this area centers on hassle reduction.
EB opens the possibility that a candidate
could have a delightful experience,
influenced by the company’s desire to be
great, and marked with examples of the
warmth, nurturing, grace and development
A Word About
The cost of recruiting is
directly related to the size of the audience
Q: What are the best uses of video in Employment Branding?
A: For effective Employment Branding, there is no better medium than video to distinguish yourself from your competition and to
demonstrate what is meaningful and attractive about working for your company.
Video dominates our media landscape for good reason, delivering higher entertainment value than text and static pictures. You can
leverage video to provide an immersive view of your employee experience. Candidates can envision themselves coming through your doors, sitting
(or standing) at a desk in your office, and engaging with your projects and employees. Their family and friends likely won’t have a chance to visit
your firm; video can help these unseen decision-makers understand and appreciate working with you versus your more well-known competition.
Popular products can be their own advertisement for careers at your company. But if you’re a young firm, or you’re in a crowded career
marketplace, investing in a quality video can attract the candidates you seek and drive them to choose you.
ASK THE EXPERTS
– Justin Hall, Producer, Transformative Communication Services
DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 11
Q: How do you find the right
Employment Branding statistics
A: The easy answer is to look
Traffic increases (number of
eyeballs your efforts drive to your
sites through either traffic visits or
number of times shared links have
been clicked on by your audience).
Reach extension (the ability
to capture new eyeballs and
However, the “easy answer” isn’t
always the right answer. EB also has a
big impact on your existing employee
population; so many of the metrics
you should monitor will actually relate
to your internal population. Here
are the top 10 metrics for employer
Goals: Are you meeting your program
goals? What percentage of goals
are you meeting? For the goals you
aren’t meeting, track what’s lacking
and monitor progress throughout the
year so you can make appropriate
Sentiment: Tools such Iris
(Universum’s SaaS program for
Brand Monitoring) and Mention are
great options to help you track online
For employee population sentiment,
referral traffic is a great indicator
of positive sentiment and employer
Head-To-Head Conversion Rate:
When Candidates are getting more
than one offer (which you have to
assume is a strong possibility), what
percentage of those candidates
accept your offer over the “head to
Shareholder Satisfaction: Internal
satisfaction, with the results of your
Intern Conversion Rate: What
percentage of college interns
ultimately come back to work for your
organization after graduation? Track
% offered vs. total intern number, and
track interns offered permanent role
vs. % accepted.
Top Schools Percentage: Of the
schools your program has identified
as their “top schools” for finding
graduate talent, what % of your hires
do each yield?
Quality of Applicant (QoA): This
look into applicant quality focuses on
the % of your recruitment programs’
applicants (not hires) who meet
minimum expectation criteria.
Performance Data: What percentage
of your hires are performing to 1) plan,
2) in the top 50%, and 3) identified for
Training Failure Rate: Track the
number of hires who “wash out” or
don’t make it successfully through
the training program / probationary
period. This includes those moved
to other positions in the company to
avoid termination, not just straight
attrition rate. A high TFR shows you
may be attracting the wrong types
of talent to your organization, or that
your EB and recruitment marketing
messages may be off-point.
Attrition & Retention Rates:
We’ve heard about the importance
of attrition and retention, but it’s not
straight attrition that needs to be
the concern: it’s regrettable turnover
that matters. Some employees we
want to leave; but when we can’t
keep the employees we want and/or
need, that’s an indicator that there is
an EB impact and there is potential
messaging that needs to be either
tweaked or addressed within the
program to improve retention. So
track the percentage of regrettable
turnover (hires you wouldn’t have
wanted to lose) to best monitor
employer brand health.
– Crystal Miller, CEO,
ASK THE EXPERTS
DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 12
process is an ongoing endeavor to get the
flow of candidates “just right.”
Since the labor market is in constant flux, with
supply requirements and demand capacities
varying significantly over time, the effort
requires a continuous investment in time
and energy. An EB should be big enough
to address the audience that the company
needs. Any larger or smaller and the costs
associated with recruiting will grow.
Determining the required audience size
and structure is simple in theory and
more elusive in practice. All planning for
Recruiting and Employment Branding
begins with a solid estimate of the hiring
requirements for the next several years. You
need a spreadsheet that lists the types and
numbers of required hires by year.
The spreadsheet should cover no more than
five or six years, and no more than 8 to 12
categories of employee. That’s roughly 50
spreadsheet cells of hiring forecast.
If there is no workforce-planning process in
your company, you can get a solid handle
Q: What’s the first thing to do
when beginning an Employment
A: This first step in building your Employer
Brand is asking yourself one question: why?
This may sound obvious, but many companies
rush to build an Employer Brand for employer
brand’s sake without foundational direction.
Establishing a clear ‘Why?’ is fundamental in
determining how you will go about building,
executing, measuring, and iterating your
Employer Brand efforts.
The field of Employer Branding is complex,
and goes much deeper than social media and
EVPs. Without a clear understanding of the
problems you’re trying to solve and your ideal
outcomes, you can easily spin your wheels
and head off in directions that aren’t leading
to the outcomes and results you seek.
Starting with a clear answer to the “Why?” will
help you prioritize and allocate your resources
and time properly. Most importantly, it will
allow you to measure and track the success
of your employer branding efforts.
ASK THE EXPERTS
– Lars Schmidt, Founder,
on these numbers by tallying the current
number of employees in each category.
Then multiply that number by the attrition
rate and the forecast growth rate to build a
defensible forecast of your own.
With those numbers in hand, it is easy to
estimate the audience size. Roughly, for
every open job requisition (assuming one
requisition per job) you’ll need around 10
names on the shortlist. You might start by
estimating that you will need 100 sets of
candidate data to produce those 10.
For a company of 1,000 employees with an
attrition rate of 15% and a forecast annual
growth rate of 10%, the number of hires
would be about 250. In the worst case, you
would need 25,000 prospective candidates
to populate 250 short lists with 10 names
Since there is significant overlap between
jobs, you might be able to get by with an
audience of half that. Frankly speaking,
the size of the audience required to fuel
a company’s growth is often enough to
DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 13
steer the EB initiative towards a variety
of commercial services. Employee data
aggregators and other bulk sources of
candidate information fill the gap here.
After the basic targeting is
underway, it’s time to take a
good internal look: what you
want to understand is exactly how the world
sees your organization as an employer.
This is not a good time for sugar coating or
hiding from the truth.
Make an inventory of the data from search
engines, social media and review sites.
What are people saying about you as an
employer? Look for detailed info from:
ASK THE EXPERTS
– Mark Hornung, Sr. Talent Manager, Talent Marketing, Informatica
Q: What are the three biggest mistakes in
A: The simplest definition of “brand” is a “relationship.” So the employer brand is the relationship
the employer has with employees (current, past and potential). It is a two-way connection – the
actions of one influence the other.
Employer Branding is the act of communicating the brand, i.e., explaining the value proposition
inherent in it (the answer to “What’s in it for me?”).
The three biggest mistakes employers make with Employer Branding are:
Not being clear about the Employer Brand. If you cannot explain it in a simple sentence,
it’s not clear. Distill it to its essence.
An Employer Value Proposition (EVP) that misses the mark. If your EVP is about creating
value for shareholders, that won’t resonate with employees; there’s not much in that
for them (other than more work). Your EB and its messaging must be meaningful to
employees, current and prospective.
Not communicating the brand. Even if you have a great relationship with your employees,
if you don’t tell anyone it remains an abstraction. Think PESO here: Paid, Earned, Social,
and Owned media. Have a good mix of each, appropriate for your industry and markets, in
order to make sure people know what your brand is and if it’s right for them.
DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 14
One way of evaluating all of this data is to
quantify it by source. For example, what
percentage of reviews in each category are
fundamentally negative? Often the most
negative information involves the practices of
a few managers or a specific location.
Keep an ongoing assessment of the public
perception of the company as an employer.
You can show progress with EB by showing
a change, by category, in the volume of
negativity. (Better spun, it’s the growth in
The goal of an EB project
is to communicate the
following to the appropriate audience:
What it is like to work for
Why someone would want to
Why the reviews are wrong
To repeat our earlier assertions, EB is
the combination of both 1.) company
generated and 2.) non-company-generated
information about the company that a past
present or future employee consumes.
EB projects are the way that companies
tell their side of the story. Careful definition
of the audience is required to ensure an
Some organizations begin their EB
process by formally defining an Employee
Value Proposition (EVP). The EVP is a
series of statements or a short story that
– Rob McIntosh, Chief Analyst, ERE Media, Inc.
Q: How do you capture the essence of an Employment Brand
(i.e. how do you capture culture)?
A: Based on my experience running large global talent acquisition
functions that have looked to define Employment Brand and value, it
always comes down to a few simple-to-follow principles.
First, look through the lens of the customer (the candidate or employee) and answer the question
of, “What is so special about the company, its mission/vision, and, most importantly, what is it like
to work there?”
I have seen way too many people confuse Employment Brand and culture with some marketing
fluff and glossy brochures with stock pictures of happy diverse people. It ain’t that. It’s as simple as
being transparent and telling people what it is like to work at your company, and just as important,
telling them what you aspire to be.
People want to work with other people who share a similar mission/vision value proposition, but
also do it in a work environment that motivates them to leap out of bed every morning. It’s not
rocket science, but too many people over-engineer the question-and-answer in my humble opinion.
ASK THE EXPERTS
DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 15
ASK THE EXPERTS
describes the benefits employees receive
for the work they do. It is the underlying
‘offer’ on which EB is based.
The alternative approach is to assume that
the basic value proposition is hardwired in
the organization, and get started with the
rest of the process. There are advocates for
both points of view.
The next step is to begin to accumulate
a library of stories about the company.
These stories can range from a video of a
‘day in the life’ of an employee, to a heroic
tale of the adventures of an employee, to
a region-wide marketing campaign. Like
everything EB, the specifics are dependent
on the circumstances and resources of the
The fundamental principle is that, in
addition to product differentiation, each
company now has the opportunity to
differentiate as an employer.
– Bill Boorman, Managing Director, Recruiting Daily, LLC
Q: What’s the best way to innovate in Employment Branding?
A: Employer Branding and employee value proposition (EVP) have become mainstream. Most
companies provide more than job ads as part of their talent attraction strategy. They identify and
frame an EVP, summed up in 5 or 6 “cool” statements.
As with other strategies, the principles become dated as the general market catches up. Where
we are now is a period of “employer blanding,” where one career site or communication looks
much the same as the other. For example, the first few hundred companies who launched a “day
in the life” video, an Instagram account or content on a hashtag were seen as different.
As recruiters increasingly moved to try to be marketers, their content focused on attraction by
making companies look increasingly attractive rather than projecting an honest story, which has a
real value in enabling candidates to make a real choice.
EB and EVP approaches are getting tired. To have real value, organizations need to move from an
approach of unified single messages to individual messaging that is person-to-person between
employees and their peers in the wider industry. This is less about content and more about
enablement without dictating the message to the messenger. A good example of this is by sharing
what folks are really interested in. How is this company going to make me more employable by
another in the future?
It takes some bravery to allow and enable people to connect and talk honestly, but it is the only
way individual communication and attraction becomes valuable, with the right people in the right
jobs in the right companies.
DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 16
EB is woven throughout the recruiting
process. A world-class EB project has
stories, examples and experiences
integrated into each phase of the
process. As the recruiting process moves
towards the hiring moment, the role of EB
is to persuade the candidate that joining
the company is the right decision.
Here is the recruiting process in a nutshell.
Each of the 9 steps of the recruiting workflow
are defined by a series of keywords. (Not all
companies use all of the processes outlined
in the individual steps or even all of the steps.)
Supply, Demand, Demographics, Design of
Work, Job Description, Context, Marketing
Plan, Employment Brand Design, Price the
Job, Compensation Philosophy, Interface w/
Workforce Planning, Interface with Business
Development Proposals, Revise if Fail
EB Initiatives: This is where you accumulate
the research, layout the EVP and design
compensation. In Targeting, it is important to
learn about the demographics of each group
you must reach; that way, you can design
messages that are relevant.
Job Ad, Landing Pages, Employment Site,
Employment Brand Execution, Distribute
Jobs, Referrals, Social Media, Data
Aggregation/Collection, Talent Communities,
Talent Databases, Mailing Lists, Email Tools,
Drip Campaigns, Fill the Top of the Funnel,
DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 17
Online Events, Physical Events, Physical
Media, Mobile Branding, Landing Page,
Revise if Fail
EB Initiatives: The attraction process is just
like an advertising campaign in traditional
marketing. You are trying to reach specific
kinds of prospects with specific offers that
you want them to accept. This involves a
mix of all four PESO media types. The things
that work best here are ideas, images,
stories, documents and files that can be
shared across delivery mechanisms.
First Match, Early/Aggressive Filtration,
ShortListing, First DeRisking, Skills Testing,
Personality Assessment, Reduce to 10
Candidates, Administrative Coordination,
Revise If Fail
EB Initiatives: Any communications
with candidates who don’t make the cut
should be flavored with EB and executed
in consonance with Candidate Experience
guidelines. Eliminating a candidate from the
shortlist is a good moment to see if they fit
somewhere else within the organization.
THE RECRUITING FUNNEL
System Analytics &
Larger System Feedback
DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 18
ASK THE EXPERTS
– Will Staney, Founder, Proactive Talent Strategies
Q: Are there companies that shouldn’t or don’t need to focus on Employment Branding?
A: Having worked on and led Employer Branding at companies ranging from less than 200 to over 75,000 employees in startup and large enterprise
environments, I can confidently say there are no organizations I feel shouldn’t focus on Employment Branding. Large or small, well-known consumer
brands or unknown startups, every employer should have at least some focus on Employer Branding because every employer has an Employment Brand
whether they focus on it or not. By not making an effort to join the conversation and tell their employee experience story, they risk letting others control
the perceptions of who they are as an employer. They also risk not attracting the right culture-fit talent by not giving candidates the ability to adequately
research their culture before applying.
Now, the focus of their Employer Branding efforts may be different depending on who the company is and what their goals are, of course. For example,
a small startup or B2B company who doesn’t have a well-known consumer brand may need to focus on Employer Brand awareness more than, say
a Google or Facebook. However, even a Google needs to use Employer Branding to differentiate their culture from
their competitors or raise awareness of a particular effort like diversity and inclusion.
So, no. I do not believe there is a company on the planet that shouldn’t use Employment Branding to help them hire, just
like I don’t think there is an organization on the planet that shouldn’t use marketing to help sell their product or service.
a clear picture of the process and insert
communications at strategic spots.
Courting, Deep Interviewing, Interviewers as
Brand Advocates, Risk Assessments, The
Hard Sell, Data Review, Feedback If Fail
EB Initiatives: The conversion process is
a series of communications opportunities.
Each candidate interaction, in person or with
a machine, should be flavored with strains
of EB. From the waiting period before the
interview to the hotel room the night before
the interview, the EB team should make
Final Filtering, Produce 2 to 3 viable
candidates, Interviewing, Interview
Logistics, Schedule Coordination, Travel
Arrangements, Video Interviewing,
Interviewing Process, Data Review,
Revise If Fail
DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 19
EB Initiatives: The reason that Employment
Branding is critical throughout the Hiring
process is that you are setting expectations
about life at the company. Well managed,
these can be self-fulfilling and rearrange
the organization’s culture. Continuing
to reference brands and stories in the
persuasion and selection processes means
making sure that each person who interacts
with the candidate is suitably prepared.
Negotiate, Settle, Offer, More Negotiating,
Legal Vetting, Revise If Fail
EB Initiatives: This is the moment. The
candidate is able to take in very simple
messages that really stick.
7 De-Risk / Final Verification
Background, Résumé Verification,
References, Offer Letter, Close Out /
Update Files, Rerouting for Non-selected
Candidates, Feedback If Fail
EB Initiatives: This part of the process
can be the most anxiety-inducing for the
candidate. As the final kinks are worked
out of the background investigation,
demonstrating care for the candidate in
limbo serves as a visceral demonstration
of company values.
Paperwork-Immigration, Tax, System
Passwords, Benefits Enrollment, New Hire
Logistics. Acculturation, Feedback If Fail
EB Initiatives: The transition from outsider
to insider is fraught with complexity and
uncertainty. This is exactly where an EB
program shines. By focusing on the benefits
of joining, the EB team can reduce any
issues generated by waiting.
9 System Analytics and
Larger System Feedback
Funnel Close Rates, Quality of Hire,
Hiring Manager Satisfaction, Candidate
Satisfaction, Cross Phase Analysis, Business
Consequence, Detailed Performance,
Benchmarking, Comparative Analytics
EB Initiatives: Most hiring managers don’t
care about the candidate’s experience or the
Employment Brand. Use analytics to continue
to persuade them about the value of EB.
DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 20
As you can imagine, there is a
massive range of things you can do in
Employment Branding. By this point,
either your imagination is in overdrive or
you are drowning in possibilities. There
are so many directions you could take
that simply beginning can easily become
Here are a few things to get you started:
1 Adopt a philosophy of defining the
problem before you solve it
At each step of the way, in every decision,
it will be easy to get distracted by the
opportunity to be creative. There are so
many ways to express your company’s
culture. Focus on the “Why?”
2 Develop a workforce planning model
It can be as simple as a spreadsheet with 10
types of employees and an estimate of how
many you’ll hire; it can also be dramatically
more complicated. This is the problem you
are trying to solve.
3 Do a demand analysis of each
category of worker
How many are available in your city (or the
cities in which you have offices)? How many
job openings are there? This is the current
demand. Many job boards can tell you this
with a simple search result.
4 Do a supply analysis of each
category of worker
There are generally two or three sources
of data about the supply of different
categories of worker (Department of Labor,
Local Chamber of Commerce, Economic
Development Initiatives). Match your
demand data with research in this area.
5 Identify the most critical positions
you are trying to fill
It’s likely that there are several unrelated
categories of worker who are your hardest
to fill. Compare these categories with the
supply and demand data you collected.
The most critical positions are those that
are hardest to fill and have the weakest
DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 21
supply/demand position. (In some cities,
there are two positions available for each
6 Start Here
Solve your biggest problems first. Use things
you already have. Gather your resources.
You’ll need engagement survey data,
company newsletters, promotional videos,
statements of mission, lists of values, blog
postings and other collateral material. One
way of thinking about your first efforts is that
it’s like scrapbooking: plan on taking found
materials and repurposing them.
7 Develop a profile of the kind of
worker you want to hire
Demographics, education level, outside
interests, level of expertise, favorite
hangouts (online and off). You are trying to
create a picture of a target audience. This
is the group to whom you are addressing
the various materials (emails, videos, web
pages, events) you will develop.
8 Begin experimenting with messages
to your audience
In job ads, email and web pages, begin
making the case that your company is a
great place for people in this profession
9 Build a values display
Start with a story that you tell in a document
and then move it to the employment section
of your employment page. Give examples of
the values being used on the job.
10 Each week, add a new element
Have a weekly meeting during which you
evaluate your progress to date and then pick
the next projects. Make them bite-sized.
This has been a romp through the issues involved in Employment
Branding. If you have read this closely, you should have more
questions than you began with. That’s a good thing.
Building an effective Employment Brand involves figuring out
how to stay curious about some very repetitive processes and
how they are progressing.
DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 22
solves a very tough
problem every day.
As the Director of
at CenturyLink, she
recruits for over
400 locations from an office in Northeast
Louisiana, near the Arkansas border. Her
messages about working for the company
have to be tailored and disseminated
differently in each place.
For each category of worker in each
location, she prepares nuanced individual
materials that describe the company in ways
that matter in that locale for that profession.
She specializes in “working closely with
business leaders to translate business
strategies into human capital needs and
then delivering programs and services to
meet those needs.”
Or as she says: “We tailor (segment
marketing) from skill sets to geography to
demographics. Messaging is tailored and
it gets more so if the position is hard to fill.
You change messaging and tactics based
on the position.”
For some, the challenge would be daunting.
Since Williams cut her teeth on trench-level
marketing for the same firm, she almost
intuitively understands the 400 markets and
their nuances. “We look for every kind of
talent everywhere,” she says.
She worked in marketing at her company
for 16 years before being promoted to run
the Talent Acquisition Department. “We
have a separate organization that focuses
on employment marketing and branding.
We hire from entry level to multiple degree
technical skill set,” she says. “Because we
hire so many who are so different and the
name is new, we knew we had to introduce
or reintroduce ourselves as an employer
CENTURY LINKTINA WILLIAMS, DIRECTOR OF TALENT ACQUISITION
DICE THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT BRANDING 23
That recruiting problem required a branding
solution. When the company decided to
build a recruiting team, step one was to
develop a staffing operation (all tactics, no
strategy). Step two was the establishment
of a separate employment marketing and
Last year, she hired an Employment
Branding agency to help with continuous
improvement. The EB firm had a proven
track record. She recruited someone from
the company’s marketing department to
manage the contract.
When asked if EB reduced her recruiting
costs, she says: “You can’t always look
at this from a pure cost perspective. Our
goal is to hire the highest quality people. I
am sure that our approach gets us there.
We can show it with evidence from our
process. But, no, I can’t point to a direct
One really important key is internal support.
“Brett Blair, our VP of Talent Acquisition made
it possible by removing roadblocks and
making sure I had the resources I needed,”
she adds. “He coached and supported our
team at every step.”
About the most important things to do, she
immediately began raving about the quality
of her team. Then she outlined a basic
First, you must identify and
understand your audience.
Second, you must tailor your
messages for each audience.
Third, you must use different
tactics for each market, tailored
to your goals.
Fourth, use your leverage. My
employees work in a regulated
industry. That makes knowing
where to find them easier.
Fifth, take the material through
the same process that any other
marketing message gets.
Tina Williams used focus and attention
to build a national Employment Brand
in 400 distinct markets. It sounds easy
when she talks about it. She is always
relentlessly moving on to the next big project,
accomplishing it and moving to the next one.
“We tailor (segment marketing) from skill sets
to geography to demographics. Messaging is
tailored and it gets more so if the position is hard
to fill. You change messaging and tactics based
on the position.”
– Tina Williams, Director of Talent Acquisition, Century Link