Candidates are researching your company…
These days, the average candidate spends two hours researching your company before applying. For many companies, this means they’ll find our nonspecific job descriptions, social media that lacks “Life at Company” content, Glassdoor reviews, and perhaps a 90 second culture video that hopefully isn’t too generic (but probably is).
This year I bought skis. Before I did, I Googled the product, checked out the videos on the company website, went on social, and of course looked at review sites. This same behavior now dominates how the new era of job shoppers research your company BEFORE applying (of course, the resume spammers are always going to apply).
What are candidates looking for? What will convert them into applicants? According to LinkedIn, the number one obstacle to applying is to learn what it’s like to work at your company. Specifically, we know that candidates want to know skills they’ll get, how to prepare for interviews, their day to day, and where this job will take them in the future.
People sell people. It’s not marketing. It’s not slick slogans. The same LinkedIn study referenced above showed that candidates trust employees three times more than the company itself. Let that sink in for a second.
The best employer brands in the world have already figured this out. Check out Goldman’s careers page. There is a TON of employee authored content here. And no, the bankers aren’t putting money into low ROI projects for the fun of it. They are proactively telling their brand story because this is what is needed to sell talent in competitive markets. And, when more people are leaving their jobs voluntarily than ever, you can bet that most markets are competitive!
Employees are trustworthy, and they also have the actual information candidates care about. As someone in talent, I simply don’t know the details of how my engineering team is using Go in new ways, the most interesting deals my finance team is working on, or how technical marketing is becoming the new norm… and that’s understandable. But, my employees know! Let’s get them talking.
Starting an employee authored blog is really hard. I’ve heard from so many people how this doesn’t work. It’s like pulling teeth to ask (most) people to write 500 words on something unstructured. This comes after setting up the technical infrastructure, a content calendar, etc.
Do not think that you’re going to solve your problem by having a film crew in the office to record interviews with 5 employees. This content will get stale in 6 months, and people will eventually leave (are you going to project manage a film crew every 6 months?). You’ll also lose authenticity with having a small number of employees highlighted, with cut clips that probably don’t tell the whole story. Don’t be afraid of authenticity, even if it includes a few “ums” and “ahs.”
Don’t use this content in one place. You have social, you should worry about SEO, and clearly your owned media is important too. Have a strategy that utilizes this content across the various touch points with candidates to get the most leverage out of your work.
On the flip side of pitfalls, in person events are one of the best ways to showcase employee “content.” Happy hours, meetups, and other events are great ways to show off life at your company through your employees in a casual setting.
Regardless of the strategy you pick, it’s very important to focus on the content candidates care about, and have a process that is scalable, adaptable, and built around authentically sharing your company’s story.
Phil Strazzulla is the CEO of LifeGuides, an employer branding software solution which automates the creation, distribution and analysis of employee authored employer branding content. Phil founded LifeGuides at Harvard Business School where he got his MBA. He was formerly a venture investor at Bessemer Venture Partners, and is a self taught programmer.