Tag Archives: jobs

How to Avoid the 3 Biggest Employer Branding Pitfalls

I travel around the country giving presentations on employer branding and building and promoting an employer value proposition. I usually highlight employer brand success stories. But as major brands like Goldman Sachs and Zynga stumble into PR crises, I thought it might be useful to help your company avoid the most common employer branding mistakes.

Don’t be inauthentic
Your employer brand embodies your employees, your culture, your vision, and your values; these are impossible to fake. So if you’re a fast-paced company with an entrepreneurial culture, don’t market yourself as a laid-back environment with unlimited vacation days.

I remember looking at the careers site for BP several months after the 2010 oil spill and being shocked to see that it looked the same as before the spill. Surely the eco-minded Generation Y or Gulf Coast residents affected by the disaster might hesitate joining the company afterwards? But there was only one acknowledgement of the situation – a tiny text link on the sidebar that asked “Why is it a good time to join BP?” Why indeed?

BP Careers, November 2010
Don’t get lost in the crowd
The are dozens of salty snacks on the market, so how does Doritos stand out? By having an attitude: Coming in crazy flavors with cool names and bright packaging. In the same way, your employer brand has to be distinctive. Avoid bland themes like “Grow your career with us” or “We offer work-life balance.” Almost any job can become a career and almost every job lets its employees go home at night.


Don’t get stuck in the facts
So many careers websites begin with, “Company X was founded in 1950 and now operates out of 75 offices in 12 countries.” Does that year mean the company is old-fashioned? Do those 12 countries mean employees get to see the world? Do the 75 offices mean employees can be transferred against their will?

Stand-alone facts like those can be both boring and confusing, a deadly combination for anyone looking to top motivate talent. Remember, you’re trying to create an emotional connection, so facts and numbers can only get you so far. Instead, talk about how your company helps people’s lives. Let employees share their stories. Show your workplace. Highlight employee events, rewards, volunteer work. Never be boring.

Be authentic and differentiated, and add an interesting and emotional component to your recruitment messaging.  If you can’t always leave them laughing, at least leave them hungry to learn more.

Let me know If you’d like to learn more  on LinkedIn, on Twitter, or right here in the comments.

Facebook vs. LinkedIn: A Look Back

About a year ago, I wrote about Facebook overtaking and eventually replacing LinkedIn. Since both social networks have been in the news recently, I thought now would be a good time to look back on that prediction — and how the social media recruiting landscape has changed since then.

In the past few weeks, LinkedIn has announced a doubling of revenueacquired SlideShare, and crossed the 100-million-user mark. Facebook, meanwhile, had its much-anticipated IPO, which fell far short of optimistic expectations.

image from pammarketingnut.com

When I wrote the famous blog post back in August, Google+ wasn’t a factor, and no one had heard of Pinterest. But now both sites are being used by big names, from Michael Kors to BWM to Fresh and Easy, for recruiting and employer branding. This means that LinkedIn is facing competition — but not necessarily from Facebook.

In my original article, I pointed to LinkedIn’s lack of innovation, calling their clean layout “bordering on empty.” But now the site offers dozens of premium packages for recruiters, agencies, and organizations, and has launched a special initiative to reach out to nonprofits. The acquisition of SlideShare, which businesses (including mine) use all the time to share presentations, has shown that LinkedIn is indeed innovating. At the same time, BranchOut and BeKnown, the two Facebook apps competing with LinkedIn, have grown more slowly than predicted.

image from Global Knowledge Blog

So will Facebook still destroy LinkedIn? Examine the evidence and decide for yourself:

The blog that started it all: Why Facebook Will Destroy LinkedIn.

I revisited the topic a week later, aggregating all the responses from other blogs.

The Recruiting Animal put Jason Ginsburg, our Director of Interactive Branding, through his usual interrogation.

And before I forget — thanks to Joe Light for writing the original Wall Street Journal article that showed some companies were finding more success recruiting on Facebook than on LinkedIn. Will other companies follow? Stay tuned…

Learn how to socialize your talent strategy

In a recent Jobvite survey, 80% of recruiters said they use social media as part of their strategy — and 40% used three or more social media channels. If you’re not using social media for recruiting, you may be missing out on top talent.

The incoming generation of workers has been raised on social networks and aren’t looking for jobs only on LinkedIn. They’re on Facebook, where new applications like BranchOut allow them to network while they chat with friends; they’re on Twitter, where @pepsicojobs and @UPSjobs each has more than 12,000 followers; and they’re on YouTube, the world’s second-largest search engine. And now they’re even on Google Plus and Pinterest.

How can you reach those job-seekers?  What brands are using social media in innovative ways? If you’re a novice, how do you even set up accounts on all these sites?

I’m here to answer all these questions and more. Join me for Socialize Your Talent Strategy, a free webinar on Thursday, April 26. 

We’ll seek out the most inventive brands for each of the six major social channels to engage applicants. We’ll talk about the unique content that differentiates your recruitment strategy from your marketing campaign. And we’ll look at the emerging trends for 2012 and beyond.

Three different webinar sessions make it easy for anyone to attend:

10 am EDT / 7 am PDT

2 pm EDT / 11 am PDT

5 pm EDT / 2 pm PDT

I hope to see you on Thursday. If you have questions, write to me for more information.

The Hidden Information Inside Fortune’s 2012 Best Companies To Work For

Fortune magazine just released its list of 100 Best Companies to Work For. But while many news outlets and job boards are covering the main list, the magazine’s researchers compiled some very detailed and segmented data. And I found some patterns emerging on why certain companies have created authentic employer brands as great places to work.

Keeping Employees Healthy Keeps Them Happy
Fourteen companies on the Fortune list pay 100% of their employees’ health care costs. Sure, that’s easy for giants like Microsoft, but a number of small firms do it, too, including Boston Consulting Group, NuStar Energy, the Everett Clinic, and Perkins Cole, which all have around 2,000 workers. As health insurance costs climb and the Affordable Care Act’s future becomes cloudy, health care should be part of every organization’s employer value proposition. How do you handle your employees’ health benefits?

Diversity Counts
Forty-four of the 100 companies have a workforce of at least 50% women. Twenty-three of the companies have a workforce of at least 40% minorities. Eighty-nine of the companies offer domestic partner benefits. We’ve long known that diversity brings fresh, new perspectives to an organization. Now we have the hard numbers to back it up. And don’t forget that “diversity” includes people with disabilities and older workers.

It’s Not Just About Money
Amazingly, 27 of the companies give hourly workers an average annual pay of under $40,000. That includes Men’s Wearhouse, CarMax, Aflac, and Starbucks. Five of the companies, including Nordstrom and General Mills, pay annual salaries of less than $50,000. And yet they beat out hundreds of other, better-paying firms to make Fortune’s list. Obviously these companies have great employer branding and are attracting and engaging employees in other ways. Which brings us to…

Uniting Employees in Unique Ways
One of the lists on the Fortune site is called Unusual Perks, naming some clever benefits that improve employee satisfaction. Among them is NetApp, which offers a basketball court, volleyball court, and massage rooms. Alston & Bird provides free Spanish classes. The Southern Ohio Medical Center features an employee-run vegetable garden. FactSet Research brings local food trucks to its offices, along with free lunches and weekly summer barbecues. And Pricewaterhouse Coopers offers a Mentor Moms program, pairing up expectant mothers with other moms at the company.

What do these top-10 perks have in common? For one, they all bring employees together. Whether they’re eating, learning, planting, or playing, all these perks have a communal aspect that helps build teamwork and camaraderie. Compare that to #4 Wegmans’ free holiday coupon books, which employees use to buy products on their own. Nice, but how does that improve the workplace?

More Perks That Employees Love
Not every company can put a basketball court in their office. Some of the more conventional benefits that the top companies offer include: an on-site child care center (31 companies), an on-site gym (69 companies) or off-site gym discounts (61 companies), telecommuting (85 companies), and the option for a year-round compressed workweek (80 companies).

The Secrets of the Top 100
My takeaway? These successful companies have brought in a broad array of workers with different backgrounds. They pay their employees well or offer substantial benefits, or both. They offer unique perks that allow workers to interact across departmental lines and to socialize before and after business hours. They also provide options for the busy 21st-century employees, such as telecommuting, child care, and a compressed workweek.

It doesn’t matter how large these companies are, how old they are, or what field they’re in. All these elements add to their employer brand as a destination of choice, building success at attracting, engaging, and retaining top talent.

But what if your organization has already received honors as a great workplace or offers unique benefits, but your employees don’t know about them? Our corporate communications experts can help.

Extending Your Brand Through Your Careers Site

After years spent years studying how brands communicate their mission, vision, and values through messaging and design, here’s the Golden Rule:  Whether speaking to shareholders, management, employees, new hires, or job applicants, a brand must be consistent and compelling to be effective.

You’ve seen how I’ve highlighted companies that make great use of branding. In contrast, here are two brands that might be missing great opportunities to extend their brand within their Career’s Site:

NBC Universal

 NBCU is a media powerhouse with a century of history. Universal produced the classic 1930s horror films and has created some of most beloved film franchises of all time: JawsBack to the FutureJurassic Park, and the Bourne movies. NBC’s contribution to television includes Friends, The Cosby Show, Cheers, Seinfeld, ER, and Law & Order – not counting the shows from its cable channels USA, SyFy, and Bravo. The combined company also includes five theme parks that feature attractions based on Harry Potter and Shrek.

With all that entertainment history, what might they show on their careers site? Are you thinking movie stars, rides, aliens, dinosaurs, or monsters?  Nope.
Just plain text.

Compare that to CBS, which provides five images of its entertainment properties.


Condé Nast
This publishing house brings you a wide array of magazines: Vogue, Glamour, GQ, Architectural Digest, Wired, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker, to name a few. In all, Condé Nast publishes two dozen magazines that feature amazing photography, beautiful locations, and cutting-edge fashion. The titles cover architecture, food, and travel. The company must have millions of visual assets from almost 30 years of publishing.

So what images does Condé Nast show prospective employees on its careers site?

A single window of ten rotating images, which are supposed to evoke passion. I’ll let you decide. 

What about your brand? Are you showcasing your brand’s assets on your careers site? Are you displaying your products, exhibiting your office space, presenting your history, or showing off your employees? What do applicants see when they first encounter your brand?

If not, we’d be happy to help. At Brandemix, we love branding.

Why Facebook Will Destroy LinkedIn

This week, the Wall Street Journal published a story by Joe Light that highlighted certain employers, such as Waste Management, finding more recruitment success on Facebook than on LinkedIn.

“Facebook hires account for less than 1% of the total hires companies are making,” Light noted, quoting Jobs2Web’s recent analysis. “But if current growth trends continue, Facebook could rival traditional job boards in 2012.”

But it isn’t just the job boards that should be worried; Facebook will destroy LinkedIn, too. Here’s why:

  • LinkedIn has 120 million members; Facebook has 750 million. Employers understand the concept of fishing where the fish are.
  • The perception that Facebook is made up of flaky teenagers while LinkedIn includes only business professionals is wrong; the two sites’ average ages are just two years apart (38 for Facebook, 40 for LinkedIn). So there are plenty of 30-somethings on Facebook with years of work experience who are considering a career change.
  • LinkedIn is under attack by a major job board. In June, Monster launched BeKnown, an application that turns Facebook into a recruiting platform. It has 760,000 active monthly users after just two months. Instead of joining forces with LinkedIn, Monster chose to bypass the professional site and ally itself with Facebook.

  • LinkedIn is also drawing fire from a startup. BranchOut, founded by former SuperFan CEO Rick Marini, is a similar application with 2.7 million monthly users. Like BeKnown, BranchOut overlays employer information on top of the Facebook interface while shielding personal data (like embarrassing photos) from recruiters’ eyes. The success of these apps shows that millions of job seekers don’t want to leave their favorite website when looking for work.
  • LinkedIn can’t compete with Facebook’s social marketing. A major part of job searching involves personal references and word of mouth. Facebook is designed for just such interactions, as its “Recommended Pages” on a user’s home page shows. Instead of “Three friends like Pepsi,” users might soon see “Three friends applied to work at PepsiCo.” This sort of peer-to-peer marketing, effective in virtually every other field, will be impossible to duplicate on LinkedIn.

Facebook has more people, spending more time on the site, using innovative technology and getting personal referrals. LinkedIn has only its reputation and clean—bordering on empty—interface. I predict 2011 will be a tough year for the professional networking site. 2012 will be brutal. And, sometime in 2013, Facebook will finally destroy LinkedIn.

Social Media Superstar: PepsiCo

As I travel around the country giving my presentation “Socialize Your Talent Strategy,” I’m always on the lookout for companies using social media in innovative ways to attract job applicants.My latest unbiased SoMe (if you don’t know what that means, sign up for my next Webinar) Superstar discovery is PepsiCo, the family of brands that includes the famous soft drink, Quaker Oats, Frito-Lay, Gatorade, and Lipton. True, a few weeks ago, Pepsi lost out to Coke in my head-to-head competition of consumer-facing social media. But when it comes to social recruitment marketing, Pepsi has some fizz.Here are 4 reasons why:

  • The company maintains one digital employer brand. 
  • The company offers iPhone, iPad, and Android apps solely for job-seekers. 
  • The company manages a separate Twitter account just for job-seekers and a fully optimized LinkedIn Careers tab.
  • The company speaks to the next generation of workers by posting in Spanish, highlighting PepsiCo’s jobs perks, and emphasizing its environmental and charity efforts.

Employer Branding: “The Power of Possibilities,” and four value propositions: Culture, Benefits, Diversity, and Development are featured on their Careers Site. (Memba when I called them out on this:http://bit.ly/mrhzNr?) Job-seekers can also watch four well-crafted videos that each tell a story about a different employee. This section includes download options for Pepsi’s mobile jobs applications (which I believe is the future of best-practice recruitment). 

Many members of Generations X and Y claim that salary isn’t as important to them as working for a company that does good. PepsiCo addresses this issue on their YouTube channel, with videos such as PepsiCo Feeds America and PepsiCo’s Global Water Goals. The employee profile videos are also here, for candidates who don’t visit the main site.

PepsiCo’s careers Twitter profile has over 4,700 followers and continues the “Possibilities” branding. True to my philosophy of providing interesting content, the company’s tweets include recipes (“Spice Up Your Snacking with Mexican Shrimp Cocktail Fritos Pie”), answers to applicant questions (“Hello, Gunther. Make sure your contact and work history are current…), and even posts in Spanish, which broadens its applicant pool.

But it’s on LinkedIn where PepsiCo really stands out. The Careers tab is branded with the “Possibilities” logo. There’s a video message from the CEO, a list of employee benefits (including an on-site gym and café), three testimonials from employees, introduced by a particularly powerful employer value proposition for the marketing and communications positions that PepsiCo is trying to fill: 

We entrust our marketing and communications experts with creating our message, positioning our products in the right markets, understanding what consumers want and building demand for our products. They are the curators of our message and the guardians of our brands.


So, we raise our glass of soda to Pepsi,  BRANDEMiX latest unbiased example of a SoMe Superstar!