A Beginners Guide To Employer Branding

This was originally posted on the Zealify blog for employers here.

These are some basic foundations for starting to build your employer brand. Your employer brand should show the personality and culture of your organisation. It allows candidates to engage further with your organisation and really find their fit. The companies on Zealify are enhancing their employer brand with an in depth view into their culture, but if you are looking to start small and understand what employer branding is then this is where to look.

1. Take a photo - it'll last longer!

Take photo's of your team day to day, at the office, at events and on away days. Give candidates an idea of the type of environment they will be working in and how you interact as a team both in and outside of work. Photos bring your company to life and can bring personality, as well as showcase the potential excitement of working with you. So grab your phone and start shooting!

2. Culture is key!

We've talked before about the value of culture handbooks. Not only can it be a great team exercise by encouraging your team to contribute - it can also be very cathartic. Helping you to understand the company you are now and who you want to become as you grow. Understanding your company is key when hiring; without understanding yourself how can you truly understand who will fit into your team. It doesn't need to be a mammoth document as you will add/change this over time, just the bare bones will do for now. This is something that should stay with you and grow as the company grows. At Zealify we curated a blog of the Best Culture Handbooks check it out to get some inspiration!

3. Brand Advocates

Encourage your employees to post, retweet and engage about your company. Referrals are a huge driver of applications and you can enhance that by generating interesting content that your team want to share. Having photos of them doing a fun activity, great project or working with the team might remind them how proud they are and share with friends who might just end up being your great next hire!

4. Be nice

When you’re hiring you are selling the business to your candidates. Even if your candidates are not what you are looking for, treat them like you would any prospective client. They’ll remember the experience and are more likely to recommend you on, even if they were unsuccessful. Paul Graham recently wrote about why Mean People Fail it's a great read and puts into context why you should treat prospective employees well.

5. Use social to engage with candidates

Engage with candidates and build a talent pipeline, this is a great way to build engagement around your company and is a brilliant place to post those photos we were talking about earlier! It allows you to reach out to candidates who have potential but don't currently fit in roles you are hiring for. Engagement is key to building a talent pool that you can then grow, and maintain, over time.

6. Know your values

You need to know your own values before you can know whether someone is a good fit. By defining your values and communicating your culture you will see the rewards. Not only that, but it will help candidates make a more informed decision about whether they are a suitable fit for the team. Statistically a strong employer brand reduces hiring costs by up to 50%* and with 89% of hiring failures due to a mismatch in culture** this is something you really want to pay attention to!

7. Don't use a template job description..... ever!

Whilst it might be tempting to find a template and copy and paste, that is not the best use of your time and certainly won't garner the attention of any great candidates let alone help your employer brand. The job description should tell a story and win the candidate's attention. It should be full of personality and communicate why someone should join your company over the other options available to them.

8. Pay attention to your about us page

One of the first pages candidates visit on your site will be your about us page NOT your careers page. This should tell your story, background of the founders and give some insight into the team they could prospectively be working with. It is so important for them to get a feel for the environment and the people they will be working with to achieve the company’s shared vision.

10. Blog about team & company news

No matter how small, every achievement counts and documenting this is a great way for prospective candidates to track your journey. They can see how you’ve grown and feel a part of all of those exciting moments you’re celebrating along the way. Showing how the team, and company, has grown can inspire candidates to want to join alongside and help you to achieve the next moments in your journey.


Most of this advice is to do with communication and marketing - it's communicating through the site, communicating your mission, showing your culture and being human - in essence giving people a reason to join you. When creating a marketing strategy you should have one for customers/clients/stakeholders and one for hiring. You never want your hiring to be reactive - the only way you can combat that is by creating an engagement strategy that will build you a talent pipeline.