Tag Archives: recruiting

Video: The Importance of Employer Branding

Jason Ginsburg, our Director of Interactive Branding, explains how a strong employer brand is crucial to the success of any organization.

Brandemix Bonus Reel: Gamification for Recruiting

Director of Interactive Branding Jason Ginsburg explains what gamification is and how HR professionals can use it for recruiting, onboarding, training, and employee referral programs.



Register for Jason’s FREE webinar, Socialize Your Talent Strategy, presented Monday, April 29, at HR.com.

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.

Why Bridgepoint Education Careers is a Social Media Superstar

I recently discovered Bridgepoint Education’s clever use of Twitter and Pinterest to hire for its campuses and offices in San Diego, Denver, and Clinton, Iowa. I then had the chance to speak with Christina Hastings, Director of Talent Acquisition and Development, about her philosophy, her strategy, and her success.

Christina runs a personal Twitter, @aRecruitersPOV, as well as @BPEdCareers. Like many organizations, however, social media is no single worker’s full-time job. An associate, KelliAnn Holly, contributes to the Bridgepoint accounts.

On Twitter, Christina and KelliAnn create themes for each month: January’s was #NewYearNewYou. February’s was #WhatDoYouLove. March’s is #GiveBack, which emphasizes charity and volunteering. The duo also came up with themes for each day of the week:

Monday – #HotJobs
Tuesday – #JobAdvice, tips for resumes, interviewing, and the job search)
Wednesday – #Development, as in “How do you become a better you?”
Thursday – Throwback Thursday, as in “What was your recruiter’s first job?
Friday – What to do around town, highlighting shops and restaurants near Bridgepoint’s locations in San Diego, Denver, and Iowa.

aRecruitersPOV on Twitter

“It’s important to speak on behalf of the brand and as a member of the brand,” she told me. She believes in “profersonalism,” a combination of individual personality and corporate culture that conveys a personal yet professional message. “People would rather connect with a person than a company,” Christina said.

Christina has three expectations for anyone contributing to her department’s social media: Be yourself, support the brand, and drive everything back to the brand.

Bridgepoint’s TAD department is responsible not only for hiring, but also developing, training, and engaging employees. Christina uses the hashtag #TADculture to give an inside look at the employee experience. Her goal is to tweet three to five times a day, with at least one photo. When she and KelliAnn recently ran out of images, they spent their lunch break roaming their San Diego office, taking photos.

For inspiration, Christina looks to @FordCareers and @GenMillsCareers, who communicate their culture “without being one giant billboard.”

Christina and KelliAnn also manage Bridgepoint Education Careers’ 11 boards and more than 400 images on Pinterest. “We visually showcase what the culture looks like on the inside,” she told me. “It lets candidates peek behind the curtain. If someone’s cousin says, ‘this company looks cool and my cousin should work there,’ then we did our job.”

One board features photos of the Bridgepoint recruiters, complete with Twitter handles (and the #TADculture hashtag for good measure). Another is devoted to inspirational quotes. Christina is planning “Behind the Bridge,” a board that will serve as a tour of Bridgepoint’s San Diego workplace. “We’ll show you where you’ll park on your first day, and pin photos of our gym – and even the best time to use it!”

Bridgepoint Education Careers on Pinterest

Christina says she models her efforts after the Pinterest boards of Intuit Careers, Target Careers, and a Brandemix Social Media Superstar, Taco Bell Careers.

She plans to expand to YouTube, but is waiting for a bigger content library. “If we can’t produce videos on a consistent basis, is it worth it to be on YouTube? I want to have 20 videos before I feel like I can create a YouTube channel.”

Social media recruiting efforts can be difficult to measure, but Christina says she increased social hires from 4% to 7% of all hires last year. Most companies peak at 10%, but Christina would like to eventually reach 20%. With goals that bold, it’s obvious why Bridgepoint Education Careers, and Christina Hastings, are Social Media Recruiting Superstars.

Brandemix Bonus Reel: Making Great Employer Videos




Job-seekers don’t want to see another “Harlem Shake” video; they want to learn about your workplace, your culture, and your employees. Here are some tips for creating a compelling employer video.

Video: How to Use Facebook’s Social Graph for Recruiting

What does Facebook’s new social search function mean for online recruiting? Jason Ginsburg, Director of Interactive Branding at Brandemix, has the answers.

How to Ruin Your Employee Referral Program

According to CareerXroads, 28% of external hires in 2011 were referrals, and that
number gets even larger when you factor in internal referrals. An employee
referral program is a fantastic way to find talent that fits your culture while
strengthening your employer brand with your current workers. It decreases cost
per hire, time to hire, and turnover.
But just as there are many ways to create an effective ERP, there are plenty of
ways to screw it up. Here are the most popular ones – make sure you avoid them.

Forget about 
it.
We’ve all seen this happen to company initiatives. Management makes a big
announcement, holds a splashy launch event, and then…nothing. No reminders, no
follow-ups, no mention of a deadline. No one announces the winners – if there
are any. Eventually, the program dies a quiet death. To avoid this pitfall,
give the program a catchy name with a slogan that reflects your employer brand
(like we did for Kaplan, below). Announce winners and new hires as soon as
possible, and give regular reminders to employees. Some workers respond to
scorecards and leaderboards, which can be real or virtual.
Kaplan ERP image

Don’t help employees.
It’s not enough to just tell your workers, “Go talk to your friends!” You have to give them support. Create badges they can post on their Facebook pages, provide short links to use on Twitter, and give them YouTube videos they can send in an email. You can even give them actual cards or certificates to hand out; they’ll feel like Santa Claus. Guarantee interviews for all referrals, so employees know their friends will make the first cut. And if your careers site is boring or complicated, create a
microsite just for the program

Make it complicated.
You’re asking employees to spend their free time helping you, so why make it
complicated? Strict or obscure rules – like “the referral should not have worked
for a competitor in the last three years” – discourage employees. Some
organizations forbid managers or the entire HR department from participating,
which just creates envy and dissent. And don’t make employees wait too long for
their reward; how excited would you be if you had won $100…which you’ll get after the new hire has worked for 90 days and then two pay periods later?
Party blowers

Give pathetic rewards.
You’re saving potentially thousands of dollars on a hire, so you can give more than a
$25 gift card to the employee who went and above and beyond to improve the
team. Publicize the winners to through every internal channel so that other
employees will want to double their efforts. If you can’t award large payouts
or flashy prizes, there are plenty of low-cost alternatives, such as a premium
parking space, lunch with the CEO, or extra/preferential vacation time. No
matter what the prize, make the employee feel special and appreciated, which
helps not only the ERP but your organization’s morale as well.
 
And don’t forget to promote the ERP externally, to all your brand’s fans, customers, and applicants. Also, give feedback to employees whose referrals didn’t get hired, so they’ll know what to look for in the future.
 
Employee referral programs turn your employees into brand ambassadors externally and generate team spirit internally. They’re cost-effective and increase the odds
of creating the culture you want in your workplace. Avoid these mistakes and
you’ll be well on your way – but if you need additional help, we at Brandemix
are experts.
And we’d love to hear from you.

Why I Love the Wendy’s “Hot Drinks” Video

As a specialist in employer branding and HR communications, I’m always looking for hiring, onboarding, and training samples and ideas. Here’s one I recently came across. It’s a training video, produced by Wendy’s, instructing employees on how to prepare hot beverages. The video seems to have been produced in the late 80s or early 90s.

Here’s why I love it:

It’s actually informative.
I work just a block away from the Wendy’s on Fifth Avenue but rarely have a reason to go inside. Watching the video, however, I learned that Wendy’s sells not just coffee and decaf but also hot tea and cocoa. I honestly had no idea that I could get hot chocolate at Wendy’s. And who wouldn’t want their drink served with a “juicy slice” of lemon?

It wasn’t posted by Wendy’s.
At least, as far as I can tell. The video is posted on a personal YouTube account with no affiliation to the restaurant. The video is so entertaining (or so kitschy) that someone decided to post it for the world to see – and more than 225,000 people have viewed it. Rather than trumpeting this video to the public, Wendy’s was simply trying to educate and amuse their employees; the fact that it’s going viral without their help makes its success completely authentic.

It didn’t have to be fun.
The training video for preparing four hot drinks could have been straightforward. A smiling Wendy’s employee could have conveyed the information in two minutes, at little cost. But Wendy’s took this video to a whole new level, writing an original song, adding effects, and turning a simple one-shot setup into a production with multiple cuts and angles. I’m sure that employees watching the video would go from smiling to laughing to tapping their feet. Even if they’re laughing for the wrong reasons, they’d at least know they’re joining a company that values fun.

This video is proof that it’s possible to be cheesy, fun, and informative all at the same time.

The next time you’re about to create training materials, remember “Hot Drinks” and ask yourself: Is this as fun as it could be? Will it keep the employees’ attention? And if an employee posts it online – a real possibility in the digital age – how will our brand look?

If you have training or onboarding content this compelling and engaging, send it my way. If you don’t, let’s get together

Recruit on Social — Because That’s Where The Job-Seekers Are

Jobvite just released their annual Social Job-Seeker Survey, which tracks social media use by people looking for work. The changes from last year’s survey are eye-opening. They show that social media is now a major part of talent acquisition — and will only keep growing.

Jobvite talked to more than 2,000 adults. 60% were currently employed and 86% had at least one social media profile. One item that grabbed my attention was that only 318 of the 1,266 workers were not open to a new job; that means more than 60% of employees are willing to leave their current workplace.

Let’s get to the numbers:

16% of respondents said an online social network directly led to their current or most recent job. In fact, 15% said they found their favorite or best job on Facebook.

Social media is becoming a search engine for job-seekers. 34% of respondents say they’ve used Twitter to find work. 38% have used LinkedIn, while 52% have used Facebook. I’ve heard people joke that they only visit LinkedIn when they’re looking for a job, but apparently half the country isn’t going even that often.

Speaking of Facebook, 14% of respondents said they specifically “searched for jobs” on the network. 20% said a contact shared a job opportunity on Facebook. 9% used it to research an employer before or during the application process; how does your organization’s Facebook Page look to job-seekers?


In fact, we can look at Facebook from the recruiter’s point of view. Jobvite recently asked recruiters about content they found on candidates’ Facebook profiles. Their answers may affect job-seekers everywhere.

78% of recruiters had negative reactions to content involving drug use. 66% didn’t like sexual content and 61% didn’t like profanity. Even if you’re a sober, chaste, polite employee, you should proofread your posts – 54% of recruiters had negative reactions to poor spelling and grammar.

Content that generated the most positive reactions? Anything involving volunteer work or donating (66%) and membership in a professional organization (80%).

It’s clear that job-seekers are using social media to connect with recruiters, employers, and each other. They’re researching companies before they apply and updating their profiles with professional information. They’re even starting to search for jobs directly on social sites, which should give Monster and CareerBuilder something to think about.

If you’re interested in joining this exciting trend and recruiting on social media, Brandemix has plenty of experience. We’d love to hear from you.

Employer Branding Numbers Everyone Should Know!

As experts in employer branding, we’re constantly researching the latest innovations and trends, and I’ve come across some recent recruiting studies that have some eye-opening findings. Think you don’t need an employer branding strategy? Read on.

88%
The percent of employees, out of 19,000 surveys and exit interviews, who leave an organization for reasons other than money. In that same survey, 89% of employers said they believed that employees left only because of money! (The Saratoga Institute)

What this means for you: You can compete even if you can’t offer top dollar. Generations X and Y consider many other factors, including culture, perks, flexibility, and corporate responsibility. If offering average pay and benefits is scaring you from reaching out to prospects, rest assured that your organization probably has one or more other strengths that will impress them.

60%
The percent of employees who would recommend jobs at their company to a close friend or family member — but employers say that only 23% of their employees participate in employee referral programs! (Bernard Hodes Group)

What this means for you: Organizations must do more to encourage their employees to refer talent. More than half your employees want to refer friends; they either don’t know how or don’t think about it when the opportunity comes. If you don’t have a referral program, you should create one. And if you have one, you should explore ways of getting information to your employees in a continuous, memorable way.

An employee referral program that Brandemix created for Kaplan


55%
Percent of employees, from more than 1,700 organizations worldwide, who believe “it’s important that other people want to work for my employer.” (Employer Brand International)

What this means for you: Employer branding isn’t just for recruiting; it can help retain talent, too. Just as employees leave for reasons other than money, they also stay for reasons like reputation and pride in work. Even if your recruiting is going somewhat smoothly, employer branding can help keep your current employees satisfied and productive, lowering your overall hiring costs.

51%
The percent of global employers, out of 632 surveyed, who believe that not having the right people had some effect on their companies’ losing business. (Universum EB Insights 2011)

What this means for you: Talent can be an unappreciated, overlooked, and under-funded resource. Some CEOs are familiar with cost-per-hire, but what about quality of hire? The wrong hire can cost more money than not hiring at all. In this economy, it may be easy to fill certain positions with warm bodies, but finding top talent who will lead the next generation of your company requires a compelling, differentiated message.

Image from Universum Employer Branding Insights 2011

3%
The percent of employers, out of a survey of 175 HR, communications, and marketing professionals, who said they had no employer branding strategy. 51% had an established strategy and most of the others were in the process of developing or refining theirs.(Bernard Hodes Group)

What this means for you: You must have an employer branding strategy. Presuming that you are an “employer of choice” with no need to engage job-seekers is no longer an option. Ninety-seven percent of your competitors are communicating their mission, vision, values, culture, and benefits to your talent pool; you have to get in the game or you’ll give away the victory.

Interesting information, no? And here’s one more number: 33%. It’s the percent of companies that plan to increase their investment in employer branding. Are you one of them? Contact Brandemix for a free employer branding consultation.