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Let us be blunt: the metrics we often use (time to fill, funnel conversion rates, quality of hire, cost per hire, etc) are... imprecise. And to be even more blunt, they aren't the kind of metrics that anyone outside of TA cares about. But what if there was one metric that every leader in every part of the business would immediately understand? Something they could all align to? There may be such a metric, even if it may not be possible to use. Show notes: Yes, the books are starting to roll out!!! The Employer Brand Handbook Vol 1: Working with Recruiters is now live on Amazon Talent Chooses You: Hire Better with Employer Branding is available for pre-order on Amazon with a June 15, 2020 delivery The Employer Brand Handbook Vol 2: Metrics and KPIs is available for pre-order will go live Sept 7, 2020. All books are being discounted at launch, so order your copies today! Sign up for my free newsletter on employer brand headlines Want to ask me anything? I have open office hours. Grab your free spot.         Learn more at
I hope you enjoyed the podcast-as-audiobook update of Talent Chooses You. As a special bonus to celebrate/announce the launch of EmployerBrandLabs, I challenged myself to "retell" the book in just 15 minutes. And I think I succeeded. Enjoy!
I started this book as a way to champion the idea of employer branding. But along the way, I wanted to temper it with reality, the honest challenges and frustrations and employer brand professional faces. Building an employer brand, in whatever capacity you choose to do it, is intensely hard work. What we do is ART. Embrace it.
The broadest vision is that employer brand is how we will fix a broken recruiting system. It is the lever we use to reinvent how we see, connect with and engage the people who will make our businesses grow. It provides the WHY to candidates, which attracts the right people to jobs where they will be more satisfied and productive. This shift in perspective leads to better collaboration with all parts of the business to build better systems that give prospective candidates more than they expected, ultimately helping us find the right talent faster. We Grow Businesses. We Approach Talent Differently. We Collaborate. We Focus. We Revolutionize.
Facing the Unknown

Facing the Unknown


Employer brand professionals are a strange lot, in that we are often people without a country. If we’re based inside the recruiting team, we aren’t recruiters. If we live in marketing, we’re a very different breed of marketer. The market itself is still emerging to define what it is we do. So this is our rallying cry, a flag all employer brand professionals can point to and say, “yeah, this is why we’re amazing (and different by design)” that can be understood by recruiters, HR, business leaders, and marketers/comms (our big four partners internally). This is the manifesto that declares, “we’re not your swag mavens, your job post writers or tool buyers. We are the orchestra conductors seeing the big picture, understanding and communicating the brand to the world so that the business grows."
Good Ideas

Good Ideas


“Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.”  -Chuck Close, Artist Most starting writers fear the blank page. Most beginning artists stare blankly at the empty canvas. The only way to move forward is to move. So when the going gets rough (or more likely, when the going gets strange), here are some good ideas to just help you get moving, even when you don’t know what to do.
Turning Pro

Turning Pro


It would be a mistake to pretend that following along with all this instruction leads to automatic growth in your recruiting and business, and I’m not going to say that. There are about a half a million ways this all falls apart in big ways and small. If you do part of this wrong, you could become a laughing stock within the branding community, or maybe the whole project slowly loses momentum to the point where people quietly point to it as a failure behind your back and never let you on any other projects because this one went nowhere.  Change is hard. If it was easy, you would have done it already.
Making Decisions

Making Decisions


When it comes to employer branding, you can pretty much say and show anything at all. Any piece of content will highlight your brand somehow, so how do you choose what to build?
Content Frameworks

Content Frameworks


The power of a story has been written about many times before, but there is a core and undeniable truth: people believe stories. More than that, stories have a depth and complexity that claims simply cannot. You can read and project so many things into a story creating new depths, connecting you to the characters and developing emotional bonds like nothing else. So when you are looking to learn about a company, do you want claims, or do you want to hear the stories.  That’s why content, in any form you choose, is so crucial to building your brand.
Content Mapping

Content Mapping


Think of this as a manifesto to stop building empty content, to stop praising things that don’t matter because they are easy to praise. What if you started telling stories of people who had bounced from job to job who were smart and talented to just never felt at home. They never really fit. They were too curious about the wrong things, too focused on results in cultures that were process driven? You aren’t saying “Here is proof that you will be happy here” You are instead saying, “this is the kind of person who found happiness and success here when other places didn’t work. Your mileage may vary, but what would professional satisfaction look and feel like to you?”
The funnel makes it really clear that there is amazing talent to be found in places far beyond the job board and the hiring event. Prospects are all around you. The trouble is that trying to communicate with them via a job postings will only work on the limited few who are looking for a job, know your brand and willing to listen to what you have to say (gosh, when I write it all out like that, it’s a wonder anyone ever applied from a job board). You’re going to have a lot better response, both in terms of rate and level of
If you understand what motivates some people, you can look within your company and see which of these motivations you are rewarding. Are you rewarding people who innovate and drive change, or treat them like rabble rousers and try to silence them? Are you promoting the people who cultivate your “together” culture, or focus on the ones who do the best individual work? When you say you are trying to save the world, are you recognizing the people who work towards that goal or the people focused on developing their own career ladder?
What’s the difference between an EVP and an employer brand?  It’s not a riddle, but for something so fundamental to our understanding of helping attract and retain talent, it seems like EVP, employer brand, brand position, and brand promise are almost never well-defined. I’ve been guilty of using them interchangeably, or just mirroring the terminology used by my customer in order to get to the work of crafting and communicating the brand.   Every experienced and smart employer brand practitioners don’t (or can’t) properly explain the difference. They just use phrases like “the way I like to think about it is…” and go off on some flowery bit of poetry.  So let’s nail things down right here once and for all. What is the difference between an employer brand and an EVP?
That's Motivation!

That's Motivation!


Let me start here: is there a job you would consider taking even if it meant a 5% salary cut? Is there a great-paying job you’d reject because the company mission didn’t align to your worldview? I’m willing to bet you said yes to both those questions, destroying the idea that the only thing people weigh when considering a new company or offer is salary. The fact that you would take a job that doesn’t pay the most means that there are other underlying reasons that are not as directly connected to salary (for most people, anyway). You might choose a job because it gives your better work/life balance. You might choose it because it has a substantially better commute. You might choose it because it rewards your intrinsic desire to build something new. You might choose it because it will give you less interference as you pave a path forward. You might choose it because the brand’s status in the industry feeds your ego.  We are all motivated by different things.
We’ve spent a lot of talking about what makes up the brand, but when it’s time to make choices that will influence and change the brand, where do you start? The process of building the materials to attract and validate someone to your hiring process requires answering questions like these dozens of times a day, the answers to which will determine the success of your recruiting initiatives. So, you know, no pressure or anything. The answer to the question of “what video do I make” begins by understanding the complete architecture of your employer brand. Once you see that, the answers become far more obvious. And come quickly. Invest in this process and you’ll be equipped to make decisions easier for years.
If you looked at all those sources of employer brand touch points and thought to yourself: How can anyone actually manage the employer brand when nothing is in their control? All these touch points that feed the perception come from every level and department of the company. But these touch points, regardless of what channel delivers them, come from a single core source. Every product decision, every customer support interaction, every news story, every recruiter interaction stems from or is a reflection of your company culture.
You may not think you have an employer brand, but you absolutely do. The fact that you haven’t invested in clarifying or amplifying it doesn’t mean it isn’t there and making a deep impact one way or the other on how hard you have to recruit people.
When you do it right, employer branding shows the right prospects how they will be more satisfied working for you. They might see one of those other "obvious" companies and assume that’s the best company. But as there’s a good chance it’s not the best for them, this is your chance to compete. And win.
What's the narrative?

What's the narrative?


Stories rule the world and our imaginations, but more importantly, they are the driver of our choices. When you look at a nice watch and think about buying it, somewhere your brain wonders, “am I the kind of person who spends that much money on a watch?” This isn’t crazy. This is the power Apple leverages when it launches a new product, to know that people who love Apple products are the kind of people who would buy the new thing. They don’t want to be seen as missing out, or falling behind. They are willing to pay the premium (money, standing in line, etc) to tell themselves the story about how they are on the cutting edge, that they are the kinds of people who “think different” [sic]. Read the book (free and open source): Sign up for Employer Brand Headlines (also free!):
The kind of evolution that comes from embracing employer brand thinking is a shift that starts as a transactional-driven recruiting model (putting butts in seats) and becomes a relationship-driven model. And while “relationship-driven” seems like a pleasant enough term, we need to see what it would mean for recruiters in how they approach their work and how it will impact hiring managers and the rest of the business. Read the book (it's open source and free): Sign up for Employer Brand headlines (also free!):
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