Change your region

Employer branding pitfalls

Navigating the Employer Branding Landscape: Avoid Pitfalls, Build Success

Employer branding is the work we do to attract, recruit, and retain talented employees. It is a topic we discuss a lot, and most of us focus on and actively work with it. Here, we provide useful advice to help you avoid the most common mistakes.

Constant Discussion on Employer Branding

We, along with many others, continually write about employer branding, or employer attractiveness if you will, and the importance of this work. Last fall, we shared four facts about what it takes to succeed with your long-term employer branding efforts. We emphasized the need to balance long-term strategic and short-term tactical communication, understand the needs and motivations of your target audience, break away from the category, and recognize how a strong brand attracts candidates.

Key Points on Employer Branding Efforts

We know that employer branding work:

  • Is essential for attracting and retaining the best candidates

  • Is a long-term effort

  • Must be prioritized to achieve our goals

On paper, this work seems simple, but in practice, it is not. There is a lot that needs to be in place, constant dilemmas, and priorities that must be addressed along with the lack of involvement and attention from decision-makers in the organization. To ease the work and give you some friendly advice, we have summarized the most common pitfalls here for inspiration and encouragement:

Pitfall 1: Lacking Credibility and Differentiation

The most important thing is to tell stories and create content your employees can relate to. Your employees are your most important ambassadors. Hopefully, you have developed the strategic direction for your employer brand. This ensures a consistent and authentic message over time, across all platforms.

We know a lot about the drivers and characteristics that are important for different candidate groups. When all companies use the same pitches, you don’t stand out and get noticed. Therefore, dig deeper, say the same thing, but with different words and perspectives that are relevant and interesting to those you want to attract.

The employer branding strategy must reflect and support the company’s overall goals and strategies. This way, you bring out the company’s authentic core and differentiators, ensuring that your employer brand supports the business strategy.

Pitfall 2: Ignoring Negative Feedback and Not Involving Employees

Employees must be an active part of your employer brand. Your employees serve as brand ambassadors and are an important channel to consider for strengthening employer attractiveness. Through employee surveys, you get feedback on what works well and less well in the organization. Use this feedback constructively to improve your employer attractiveness.

Also, use employees from various parts of the organization to provide feedback on messages, design, and the impression left by the communication you develop for your employer brand. Balance the effort between attracting new talents and nurturing the existing culture and employee satisfaction.

Pitfall 3: Trying to Be Attractive to Everyone

Let’s make it clear once and for all: You cannot be attractive to everyone! Yes, it is painful to exclude, but it is necessary.

What talents do you want to attract? Who are they, and what characterizes these people? Usually, this involves a combination of professional competence, experience, and personality. Perhaps you should create three to five archetypes or personas that clearly describe the characteristics and traits of those you want to attract. This way, it is easier to create tailored content and buy media exposure that is much more segmented and effective.

Also, avoid incentives as the main message: high salary, an extra week of vacation, or access to a holiday apartment in Spain. These are unlikely the messages that attract the candidates you are looking for. You want candidates who are motivated by your core values and the attributes that set you apart positively. What do you offer that is attractive to the candidate?

Pitfall 4: Believing One Campaign Is Enough

Employer branding is a long-term, strategic, and operational effort with clear long-term and short-term goals and KPIs. The work is a continuous process that requires regular attention and updates. It involves a fine balance between internal and external focus in harmony with long-term and more short-term activities.

Summary to Avoid Common Pitfalls in Employer Branding

  • Create content that your employees can relate to, that sets you apart from competitors, and is attractive to the target audience you are speaking to.

  • Consider negative feedback and input from your employees when creating content aimed at strengthening employer attractiveness.

  • You cannot be attractive to everyone; choose your target audience carefully.

  • One campaign is not enough; employer branding is a long-term effort.