The recruitment industry is full of buzzwords, and employer brand might be among the most common. What exactly that means can be vague and easy to misunderstand. Employer brand is not just another name for recruitment marketing. And yet, the two concepts are indisputably related.

The difference between employer brand and recruitment marketing is analogous to the difference between the broader brand and marketing. Understanding where they are, how the two terms interact, and what you can do to improve each is a crucial part of successfully attracting high-level talent. Let’s dive in.

What Is an Employer Brand?

Put simply, your employer brand describes the perceptions of professionals who are potential or current applicants. That perception has a major impact on your hiring practices.

Half of all job candidates say they wouldn’t work for a company with a bad reputation. However, 92% would consider changing jobs if offered a role with a company that has an excellent corporate reputation. A strong employer brand can reduce the cost per hire by as much as 50%. A negative reputation can cost a company as much as 10% more per hire.

The reason is simple: as the Society of Human Resources Management puts it,

A positive employer brand communicates that the organization is a good employer and a great place to work.

Two traditional examples often brought up in employer branding are Amazon and Google. Amazon has a negative employer brand largely because of the rumors of how its low-level employees are treated. Google, meanwhile, has successfully built a strong employer brand because of continuous reports about its free and open work environment.

There’s a key learning in both of these examples: your employer brand is, to a large degree, passive. While you can seek to influence it, you never quite gain control over it. The true brand lies in the perceptions and beliefs of your audience. These are shaped not just by your messaging but the larger environment around them and the external sources they trust.

There is, of course, an opportunity to influence that brand. Turning around negative perceptions is difficult. Luckily, most employers have a largely neutral brand that they can seek to skew positively over time. For example, we’ve written in the past about how virtual tours and immersive media can build your employer brand:

Imagine you could show potential employees you’re looking to recruit exactly what it’s like to work for your organization, before they ever walk into your offices… Take the tour, and it’s difficult to come away with anything but a clear understanding of the company’s ethos and work culture.

That combination of a passive brand that you can still influence has been one of the biggest challenges HR and recruitment offices face today. Enter recruitment marketing.

The Basics of Recruitment Marketing

While your employer brand is passive, recruitment marketing is an active process. At its most basic, it’s

the practice of using marketing strategies to promote the value of working for an employer in order to attract, engage, recruit and retain talent. Recruitment Marketing is both a strategy used by talent acquisition, human resources and marketing professionals, and an exciting career for a growing number of specialists.

In other words, it’s the concept of building and executing a strategy designed to attract high-quality candidates to your organization.

A company like Amazon might have a bad employer brand. But, they still boast a strong recruitment marketing strategy thanks to their messaging emphasis on great pay, flexible work hours, and holiday bonuses. Beyond messaging, recruitment marketing also depends on the choice of channels, optimized to fit the type of talent you are looking to recruit.

This is where companies and organizations of any type can take full control. As with any marketing strategy, recruitment marketing is a combination of measurable goals and audience definitions that lead to a desired action.

That action tends to be hiring as many qualified professionals as possible. At the same time, it doesn’t need to be. Given the benefits of a strong employer brand, an increasing number of recruitment efforts also include improving brand perceptions as at least a secondary goal for their efforts.

Almost 90% of recruiters now agree that recruiting job candidates is increasingly similar to traditional marketing efforts. Beyond clarity and choosing the right channels, that means identifying pain points and framing your messaging specifically to address and solve these pain points for your unique audience.

How to Build Your Recruitment Marketing – and Boost Your Employer Brand in the Process

Employer brand and recruitment marketing are two clearly distinct concepts. But, to make things more complicated, they’re also indisputably connected. A strong employer brand can boost your recruitment efforts, while a well-thought-out recruitment marketing message can positively impact your employer brand.

So, let’s focus the rest of this article on efforts that can accomplish both, maximizing the ROI on your overall recruitment and reputational efforts in the process.

Step 1: Understand Your Employer Brand

Before seeking to influence perceptions, it’s crucial to understand them. Depending on your resources and timing requirements, this might be a formal or informal process. Comprehensive branding surveys provide the most comprehensive picture, but even the occasional review of employee reviews on sites like Glassdoor can help you understand how candidates learn about what it’s like to work for you.

Those insights, in turn, can provide vital ammunition for both improving your employer branding and enhancing your recruitment marketing efforts. It provides the baseline for any strategy building, allowing you to create a plan specifically designed around insights rather than hunches.

Step 2: Build Your Messaging Strategy

Based on your employer brand insights, you can also build a comprehensive messaging strategy. One that would specifically be aimed to speak to your audience’s questions, insights, and potential misconceptions.

For example, talking about your organization’s workplace culture is a core part of modern recruitment marketing. At the same time, culture happens to be one of the core influencing factors of your employer brand. With the right messaging strategy, you can address both.

That, in turn, can take a number of shapes. Your job description obviously requires a different approach than “softer” channels like social media. A comprehensive messaging strategy stays consistent at its core but allows for tweaks based on channel and primary goal to maximize effectiveness.

Step 3: Prioritize Your Employees

In both building an employer brand and optimizing your recruitment marketing, your employees can and should play a central role. Depending on their satisfaction, they become either your biggest advocates or your most impactful detractors.

One simple step you can take is including employee testimonials in your employer marketing strategy. But that doesn’t need to be the end of it. Find your most satisfied employees, and encourage referrals through reasonable incentives. It also helps to take an active reputation management approach in your recruitment strategy, addressing concerns on public workplace review sites seriously and genuinely.

It’s simple: prioritize your employees in your recruitment marketing efforts, and your employer brand will improve almost by default.

Step 4: Choose the Right Channels

In 2021, it’s far from enough to post a job description on your website and hope for the best. Instead, successful recruitment marketers diversify, spreading their messaging over a variety of channels that maximize their chances of getting awareness, engagement, and applications from their target audience.

Take social media as an example. Done right, it’s a core piece of building and managing your employer brand. But at the same time, it can also play an active role in driving more applicants, as long as you attach the right content to the process.

That’s how we get to the final piece in the puzzle for modern recruitment marketing and employer branding: job previews. Done right, they hit the sweet spot between the more active and passive component of attracting new applicants, acting as a great recruitment tool that also happens to skew your employer brand in the right direction.

Think of them as virtual tours with a twist specifically designed for applicants. Candidates can view and review your physical environment, with supplemental media allowing them to dive deep into anything from your culture to individual job descriptions. Job previews also happen to provide a plethora of content that you can use in other channels, like your website or social media, to make your recruitment marketing a more active part of your overall communications strategy.

Of course, you have to build them the right way. That’s where Concept3D comes in. Our extensive experience in interactive maps and virtual tours has allowed us to build job previews that are specifically designed to engage and attract potential applicants. You can integrate these experiences into your larger strategy, accounting for and embracing modern audience preferences. Ready to learn more? Contact us today.