Why Employer Branding Isn't Marketing Fluff

I began my career as a Java developer many moons ago. If you’d mentioned the words employer branding to me then, I would have probably said “that’s marketing bollocks”. It’s therefore somewhat ironic that I a.) now work in marketing and b.) am writing a blog post on employer branding.

Businesses need to grow to be successful, and to grow they need people – and lots of them. The problem is that every business wants to grow and there isn’t enough top talent to go around. The first place people go these days when they want to make any decision is online; so if you’re a job seeker looking for a job, you’re going to research jobs and companies online to find which one is best for you. It’s no different from researching cars, TV’s, hotels, restaurants, bars, houses or even golf courses. This is why it’s so important to build out your employer brand online, because that’s where the eyes are.

Our world is ratings-centered

To put this into perspective, when you’re looking for a place to eat, you don’t call up a restaurant and ask questions like “Is your food good?” or “Is your food reasonably priced?”, you base your decision on what other people have experienced and shared online. As Jeff Bezos (the founder of Amazon.com) said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”. If you’re an employer and your employer brand awareness isn’t great, hiring is going to be a real struggle for you. What’s scary about this is that most employers are blind to the thousands of job seekers who are researching their company every year – they simply never hear from job seekers who are turned off by their employer brand.

CEOs are taking the time to respond

Employer branding is so critical these days that even CEOs are paying attention. Why? Because a company can’t grow without people, and if you’re competing for top talent against hundreds or thousands of other companies just like you, then your employer brand is a core differentiator. Take, for example, Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow who tweeted the following:


A CEO taking time out of his busy day to respond to employee reviews on Glassdoor says a lot about the CEO and company culture in question. Responding to reviews also provides a unique insight about transparency to job seekers who are considering working at the company. If I was still a developer (and could code) and I read the below response, I’d be pretty excited about working at Zillow where engineers and testers have the power to make a big impact.


Most employers invest in their social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to showcase their employer brand. These typically aren’t common places where job seekers go to research jobs and companies. In fact, beyond your website career page, only LinkedIn and Glassdoor provide employer branding solutions that can influence job seekers daily. LinkedIn offers career pages in silver, gold and platinum variations with pricing ranging from $10,000 to $70,000. Glassdoor offers both free and paid employer profiles so you can get started right now without spending a dime! Responding to reviews on Glassdoor is free and lets you join the conversation with employees so you can influence every job seeker that researches your company.

An employer brand cannot be faked – it’s not something that can be manufactured or created overnight. It is defined by your employees and reflects the culture of your company. This is why job seekers are influenced by an employer brand more than anything, because they demand authenticity when making big decisions.

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