One organization is located in a vibrant city with good weather year-round. You might consider it idyllic. The other organization is set in a remote northern location. You might considerate it idyllic if you were a large furry animal prone to hibernation. Both are dependent on recruiting talent from hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away.
So, at the strategic level, where does location sit in their respective employer brand attribute hierarchies? On a more tactical level, to what degree should each organization seek to promote its location at the expense of its employment experience? (On a metaphysical level, isn’t location really just a state of mind?)
Based on current research, location is becoming more and more critical to candidates when considering employers, and is exceeded in importance only be compensation and benefits. Much of that is due to a shift in an employment marketplace that now uses a highly pragmatic filter to drive decision-making. The aforementioned attributes, plus stability and work/life balance constitute the primary market drivers.
Let’s start with the easy strategic question first. Yes, your employer brand should be built primarily on employment experience attributes, but you really can’t ignore location. Aside from the local application of how far is the commute, location also impacts quality of life on several levels, one of which is prevailing salaries. Asking someone to change jobs is stressful enough, asking someone to move just compounds the issue (ask anyone who has a recent college graduate still living with them at home). So when building your strategy, location certainly must be in the mix for your national market segment.
In this case, the more critical question is the tactical one. You really need to cover three separate promotional areas: the location, the organization, and the job itself. This is not the time to be light on content – the more information you can deliver, the greater the likelihood that you’re going to get response. In addition, your demographic targeting strategy needs to be precise. Consider the life-stage of your target audience. But also consider the geography you are targeting. Are migration trends between the two locales in your favor? How do salaries between the two locales compare? Once you have this information you can move from an imprecise national strategy to a more precise multi-location approach that works in your favor.