By Jeremy Eskenazi
There was a time when Apple was known only as a fruit, the word Nike had no meaning, and Walgreen was simply a family name. All brands started unknown and had to build a reputation, a pattern of success in their industry, and a positive experience for users. All companies no matter their size go through a version of this with hopes of winning more customers and earning more loyalty for their brand than the competition. To be successful, they must show how they are different and deliver what the customer is looking for.
When companies start hiring, the same principles apply. They need to attract candidates, offer something candidates want and need, and do something better than their competitors. Companies with a smaller footprint and brands that do not produce consumer products and services often find it daunting to compete with large household names that attract thousands of candidates eager to get a big brand on their resume. It can be a challenge at times – competition is steep, and top talent has lots of choices in the market.
But it is not hopeless! Intentional planning and setting expectations for what you can offer candidates is commonly part of what’s called your “employer brand.” How you approach your strategic recruiting and talent management are important. Here are four ways that lesser-known brands can be more attractive to candidates than any other employer.
As you compete, remember that Goliath didn’t win against David even though he was the heavy favorite. Consumer brands may be valuable and attract a lot of attention, but it is not the same as an employer brand, which can tell a story that is the polar opposite. There is often a halo effect in this regard – if you love the products a company makes, you assume that company is an amazing place to work. Candidates who use employer ratings and review websites to research a company’s culture may quickly come to see that some of their favorite brands have well-documented toxic work cultures. And these websites are populated by current employees, so there is no consumer brand that can counter a pattern of bad workplace experiences. It is not your place to reveal that to candidates, but it is your opportunity to capitalize on selling your lesser-known brand that will create a great place to work.
It’s okay to hire for short term and become a company that launches careers into bigger or more-known companies. It’s okay to spend more time on teaching skills and allowing employees to become mentors quickly. It’s okay to not be the biggest fish in the pond but still seek great talent. You can attract candidates with the skills you need without having to double salaries or pay more than you can budget for. You may need to follow a new path or fish with new bait, but there are great candidates out there for every company. Your best recruiting tool is differentiating what do better and selling it!
Jeremy Eskenazi is the founder of Riviera Advisors, a boutique talent-acquisition optimization consulting firm. Riviera Advisors specializes in recruitment training and strategy consulting, helping global HR leaders transform how they attract top talent. For more information, visit www.RivieraAdvisors.com.