News & Content: ITA Take Aways

Exec Spin: Six Employment Brand Best Practices

Thursday, October 31, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gary Hotze
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Julia Kanouse, CEO, ITA



Finding and retaining top talent is difficult. We work with our members every day to provide strategies, insights, tools and resources to help recruit robust and diverse talent. One of the most common questions we get is how to build an employment brand.


Even when you aren’t actively recruiting, you should be thinking about how you are representing your company to future hires. Companies with a well-executed employment brand strategy tend to have a faster time to hire and lower cost per hire. Below are six of our best tips for building your employment brand in Chicago.


Ghosting Is a Dating Term, Not a Recruiting Term


Nothing can hurt your employment brand more than treating job candidates poorly. Think of it as a Yelp restaurant review; if you had a bad experience, you're going to write about it. There are employer review tools out there, such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor, where people can write bad reviews, and it's usually about an interview process.


Treat the candidates with respect regarding both their time and feelings. Most of them are probably working, and they are taking time out of their workday to go and interview. If they don't get the job, then you have to be considerate. Ghosting should be a dating term, not a recruiting term. There are a lot of recruiters out there that aren't communicative. You need to keep them abreast of where you are in the process.



The Velvet Hammer


When giving feedback, it's best to lead with the positive. Here are the things you did well, and here's why we went with someone else. It could be as simple as someone else had more experience or more relevant experience, but you need to go into detail. Recruiters should be well prepared to have excellent communication with their hiring managers so that they can give this useful feedback to candidates.


It's okay if you have multiple candidates. Even the candidates that you only do phone interviews with, at least, send an email that gives a brief but honest reason for why you will be moving forward with other candidates. It's easy enough and provides closure. Again, no ghosting.


Another thing that many ITA member companies do when it comes down to two fantastic candidates for a role but one is just barely edged out for the position; they will refer you to ITA or another organization. When a recruiter calls you and says, "We like you, it just didn't work out here." It leaves you with a great feeling. Utilize networks of recruiters, organizations such as ITA, Built-In Chicago and Sales Assembly.


Opening Your Doors


Candidates like to peek behind the curtain of your organization. Host meetup events and networking opportunities and fireside chats with your subject matter experts. It's exposure and more organic networking.

Reach out to diverse groups such as Out in Tech and Girl Develop It. They're always looking for spaces to host their events. It can give exposure to your employment brand and improve your diversity profile.


Building a Brand on Campuses


Even if you're not a big organization that hires a lot of entry-level talent or internships, students on campuses will be your workforce in five years. Get in front of them in with mentor projects to build your employment brand. Northern Illinois University, Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), and many more collaborate on these types of projects. Reach out to the career centers; they all have employer relations managers that can help you navigate the process. It's a mentorship opportunity for your current employees and an engagement point, but it also gets your brand in front of your future workforce. It's easy, cheap, or free.


Get Outside Your Four Walls


Your hiring managers and recruiters shouldn't sit in a cubicle all day. They should be forward-facing by attending things in the community. Moreover, not all recruitment should fall on recruiters; all of your employees should be the ambassadors of your organization. 

Therefore, as many people that you can get speaking on panels, attending professional development, and community events, the better. There's always something going on. Built in Chicago does Built in Brews about once a month. Seriously, you can eat and drink for free every night of the week in Chicago tech. Get your people out there, and more people will become familiar with your brand and organization.


Professional Development


In this generation of Millennials and Gen-Z, they're continually asking for more education. They want a challenge. We're in this learning generation, which is terrific. Additionally, the fun thing about professional development is that you can disguise it as employment branding and networking. For example, ITA holds a new manager training quarterly that is cross-functional. They are for people that are newer to people management who are looking to brush up on some skills. We have them sit at a table with five other people from five different companies on purpose. That’s five new touch points for your brand. It's a straightforward win for your organization, your brand and your employee for professional development, engagement and retention.


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