In a tight labor market, companies must increasingly focus on optimizing their employer brands as a way to attract top talent. Yet confusion remains about which variables comprise the strongest employer brands—and what companies can do to leverage them. Ahead of Indeed Interactive 2019, Senior Vice President of Marketing Paul D’Arcy shares a sneak peek at his keynote and offers his perspective on what it takes to stand out to in-demand job seekers in today’s crowded marketplace.
Q. Over the years, we’ve seen a rise in the term “employer of choice.” How do you define this?
A. Employers of choice are companies that stand out and are preferred by job seekers for one reason or another. That reason may be pragmatic (based on what someone knows about the employee experience from friends who work there), nebulous (an impression that comes from someone’s experience with that company's product or service), or a mix of both.
Q. How does a company become an employer of choice? Is it related to the benefits and perks it offers, like free food and ping-pong tables? Or something else?
A. Perks are one of the things that help job seekers form a favorable perception of an employer, but they certainly are not the most important. I think there are a couple of things that really do help a company stand out:
The reputation a company has for what it’s doing in the world is probably the most important thing. What is their purpose? What are they trying to achieve as an organization? If they offer products or services, what are their reputations? Are they things that people love and want to recommend?
Then, there's a set of perceptions around the culture of an organization. Is it fast-paced? Is it relaxed or high stress? What is its reputation for treating employees well and providing opportunities for growth?
It's that mix of things that drive talent to decide whether or not a company is a great place to work. Perks may be reflective of the investment an organization is willing to make to take care of its employees, but if the company does not offer opportunities for growth or foster a positive environment to work in, free food or gym access is probably not going to change that.
Q. Is a company’s employer brand tied to its consumer brand?
A. There are three things we really wanted to look at and understand through research: What an employer brand is, how it influences a job seeker’s decisions and behavior and whether it's distinct from the consumer brand.
When someone thinks of a company like Apple, are they thinking about what it's really like to work there? Or are they just thinking about how much they like their iPhone and AirPods? What factors are really shaping their opinion?
What we found is that there really is a mix of forces at play. Job seekers clearly look at a company’s consumer brand. The more well-respected its products and services are, the more applies the company will get.
Once job seekers are deep in the application process—for example, before accepting an offer—they very clearly look at reviews and social channels to get a better sense of what it's really like, day to day, to work for that employer.
Job seekers also take into account how working for a company reflects on them, as they often consider employers an extension of their own identity. In deciding whether or not they want to apply to or accept an offer from a company, job seekers think about whether they would be proud or embarrassed to work there.
So, an employer brand clearly encompasses many more variables than its existing, rather narrow, definition implies. There are a lot of opportunities for organizations to link their broader company, consumer and employer brands to tell comprehensive and resonant stories that inspire workplace pride among current employees and appeal to prospective employees who seek such connection.
Q. What else can Indeed Interactive 2019 attendees expect from the event?
A. Indeed Interactive is special. The content and research are impactful. There are incredible speakers. The experience of Interactive end to end—from the main stage, to the breakouts, to the evening parties and entertainment—is phenomenal. But I think one of the most powerful things, which we hear again and again, is the sense of community that forms around it. People have so many opportunities to meet other amazing people. To talk, to get to know each other, to solve common problems. When they leave, they are closer and more connected to their peers than when they arrived.
To learn more about Indeed Interactive and The Talent Equation, click here.
Senior Vice President of Marketing Paul D’Arcy is an experienced technology industry leader and digital marketing entrepreneur. His areas of expertise include workforce trends, demand generation, digital marketing and leveraging data to drive revenue.