The power of brands cannot be underestimated but put lipstick on a pig and its still a pig. 

My co-founder Beverly, was European V-P Marketing at Expedia.com, she launched it across Europe and managed a massive marketing budget, the size of which you will never persuade the financial powers that be, to invest in, to build their employer brand.

The stronger your brand, the more people you will attract organically (We generated over 80% of ad responses for free for those with great brands – which is most of them!), the better the calibre of people who will apply, and the better the return on investment of your ad spend as more people will convert from seeing an ad to applying.

The lure of the branding argument is hard to ignore.

But don’t fall for the hype of running recruitment branding ad campaigns (code for very low Return on Investment). You will fail, be smarter.

An employers brand reputation is largely reflected in how the business and its leadership treats its employees. It is the sum of its people, and every team is slightly different, so one message will not cover all of them anyway.

Dissolve recently did a brilliant video just to prove it, with the result that they all look the same with a few rare exceptions:

Generic Brand Video screengrab

My favourite being working at dropbox:

Working at Dropbox screengrab

Heineken and Adidas have also produced great ones too.

Yes, you need an Employer Value Proposition (EVP) to tell people what you uniquely stand for.

I am not a fan of the Cult of culture – actually we want diversity and inclusion, but we do have a mission, which is why as a business we have come together, our shared goals. Tell the story.

Yes, monitor and respond to reviews on sites such as Glassdoor and Indeed and the new LinkedIn company pages – apparently job seekers read at least 7 reviews before forming an opinion about a company.

And yes, you need a great careers site and to develop rich media collateral to show people what it’s really like to work at your company. (Not just lots of smiling happy people)

But here’s the thing…

70% of people who visit careers sites have already applied.

Applying is easy, it is done in a click. Getting a job is less so. Interviews take time, money and commitment.

Bill Boorman (who also told me the 70% statistic above), famously says work is sh*t, and given the choice people would rather spend time with family and on holiday than working. So they want to work for the least sh*t place their CV and experience can get them.

If you have to pay the mortgage (and who doesn’t), you will take the best job you can find at that moment in time, but getting paid is your priority.

The point is, make applying easy in order to attract the best people. Start with that.

Use filtering technology to get rid of those who are unsuitable – think killer questions, chatbots etc.

Then use matching technology to quickly find the best ones.

Finally tell the employer branding story, once people have applied. To persuade people to join your company, which they will invariably read once you invite them to interview, where your brand ambassadors (hiring managers/recruiters) will close the deal.