Who’s Telling Your Stories?

When candidates investigate an employer, they are interested in the company’s reputation, culture, the people who work there and whether the salary and benefits are competitive.

But they’re not necessarily looking to employers to share this information. With conversations happening across social networks and platforms, candidates are increasingly getting information about an organization from current employees or other third-party sources.

While official communication still has its role, manufactured messages are often met with skepticism. Candidates are often cynical about employer-generated brand messaging, which is why current employees or a trusted third-party can be a powerful competitive differentiator for recruiting. For example, Amazon is a pioneer of the third-party endorsement strategy, having built its business by sharing customer reviews and purchases of products, books and movies.

While third-party endorsements are powerful, their value is extended when they come from someone a job-seeker knows. Activating your company’s internal workforce as part of your recruitment strategy can create a powerful set of brand ambassadors, each of whom can deliver high-impact messages about why your organization is a great place to work. With first-hand knowledge of what it takes to fit in and succeed at your company, brand ambassadors can identify candidates with the right skills and experience, in addition to promoting openings.

So, how do you get your internal workforce to tell your brand’s stories?

Give your blessing. Some employers still block social sites, but this can be shortsighted. Like it, or not, employment conversations are happening on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. By not enabling your employees to participate on the company’s behalf and during business hours, employers are missing a major opportunity to influence potential candidates and connect with top talent.

If you don’t want to empower employees to actively post on the company’s behalf, at least give them the thumbs up to “like” the corporate Facebook page and share job openings with their networks. Create and share policies for social communications and guidelines for how to share employment brand messages.

Know your brand champions. You don’t need an army to amplify your messages; a few influential individuals can help carry your recruitment communications forward. Finding, training, and empowering these people may seem daunting, but it is well worthwhile. Look for people who are already recognized by their colleagues for their passion, energy, and leadership. Train them on the proper use of social media platforms, the key brand pillars you want to emphasize, and on the use of photo and video tools readily available on their smart phones.  Provide employees with conduits through which they can share their insights and experiences and ensure they understand that you encourage them to do so. Show them you trust them.

Successful social media campaigns are about storytelling. Allowing candidates to experience the organization through the eyes and experiences of current employees is a powerful, and authentic, way to deliver the brand and the culture. When employees share real stories about their work, their colleagues, and their experiences, candidates can visualize the experience and have an emotional connection to why the company is a great place to work.

Tap your employees’ connections. Looking for a Ruby on Rails programmer or a community manager with experience in the U.K.? Chances are, if someone in your company possesses those qualifications, they know others who do, too. Leverage employee relationships in alumni or special-interest groups. Employees who already have established networks and relationships will be perceived as credible within those communities when they tell others your organization is a great place to work. Employee referral programs are a great source of candidates.

Rack up reviews. Reviews written by current or alumni employees provide insider knowledge of an organization’s career development opportunities, culture, management style, and rewards. Trail-blazing employers are encouraging employees to endorse their companies on review sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn. These reviews provide candidates with real insight and help promote these organizations as great places to work.

Offer incentives to influence participation. Want to get people to plug your company into conversations on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks? Give them an incentive! Reward internal ambassadors for sharing your employment brand messages, referring people from their networks and participating in your recruitment successes.

Getting other people to tell the story of why your company is a great place to work can be an effective recruiting strategy. For passive and active candidates who want to learn more, what better way than to get information from people who live the experience every day?

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Steven Ehrlich
Written by Steven Ehrlich

Fueled by an addiction (and brand loyalty) to Diet Coke, Steven has spent the past 18 years as a complete "tech geek." As an early adopter of everything from the Apple Newton and the Compact Disc to Satellite Radio and the iPhone, Steven has focused on the use of emerging tools and technologies to enhance both brand articulation and recruitment for a multitude of organizations including Yale University, Exelon, Walmart, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Steven is constantly on the move, both in the office and out, working with TMPers and clients alike to explore, develop, and implement strategic initiatives leveraging social media, new technology, and innovative employer brand delivery channels. He is one of the agency's thought leaders and is often found in front of a crowd - large or small - yakking away about some new thing-a-ma-jig or a socially-enabled whos-a-what-sis. At TMP Worldwide, Steven has met some of the brightest, hardest working, and talented people with whom he has ever had the pleasure to work. He is an advocate and brand evangelist for the agency and loves coming to work every day.

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