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Signs Your Employer Brand Isn't as Good as You Think

Is your employer brand really as good as you think it is? Chances are, it's not. Here are 5 data points you can look at to measure the health of your employer brand, and what you can do to improve it. 

The list of reasons why you should invest in your employer brand is long. Everything from employee engagement to lower recruitment costs can be traced back to having a solid employer brand in place.

You probably know this, which is why you might have already taken the first step(s) of investing in your employer brand.

Getting started is always the first step, but how do you know that your efforts are paying off? How can you measure employer branding and get an idea as to whether your brand perception is all it cracks up to be?

Measuring employer branding can be tricky - but to make your life a little bit easier, we’ve pulled together some red signs of trouble that you can look out for to keep a pulse on your brand.

Employer Branding Red Flags

Some aspects of employer branding, specifically campaigns, are easy to measure. You put research and money behind a campaign, and in the end, you see your results - which is usually a number of applicants.

But you’re not operating always running on an input-output mode like campaigns, which means you need to take a closer look at other data points to gauge employer branding performance. Here are 5 signs that can signal your employer branding efforts need additional investment.

High Interview Dropout Rates

Data Point: Monitor the percentage of candidates who drop out of the interview process before completion. Are candidates dropping off after the first call or is it at the offer stage?

Interpretation: Frequent dropouts signal a disconnect. It could be due to unclear job descriptions, unimpressive initial interactions, or negative word-of-mouth about the company. Your employer brand might not be creating the positive effect you desire.

How to address it: Improving the initial interactions candidates have with your organization could go a long way in helping your employer brand. This includes the application process, response times to applications, and the quality of communication from your recruiters and hiring managers.

Start by reviewing your current interview process and identify potential pain points. Some easy fixes to common issues could include streamlining your communication, providing relevant information through each step of the recruitment process, and making candidates feel valued throughout every interaction.

Lastly, set realistic expectations regarding the job requirements, work environment, compensation package, and company culture by being open and transparent. Seventy percent of people quit because the hiring process asked them to put in more effort than they were initially told. So, clearly communicate the steps involved, the expected timeline, and what candidates can expect at each stage.

Limited Referrals from Current Employees

Data Point: Track the number of candidates sourced through employee referrals. If you don’t already track application sources, you should start collecting that data as soon as possible. This will help you understand what channels (including employee referrals) convert the most applicants.

Interpretation: Employee referrals are a testament to a positive workplace. If your workforce hesitates to refer contacts to open positions, it suggests a lack of confidence in your employer brand. Your employees not only contribute to creating a positive work atmosphere but also actively promote the organization, attracting potential candidates who value the endorsement of those already working within the company. Proud employees are your best brand ambassadors.

How to address it: Assessing your employee satisfaction through surveys, feedback sessions, or even one-to-one discussions is a fundamental step in resolving this issue. Identify areas where improvements can be made to enhance the overall employee experience and work on them actively. By fostering a positive work environment you will have employees feeling engaged, valued, and supported. A positive workplace culture is more likely to encourage employees to actively participate in referring candidates.

Keep employees informed about job openings within the organization. This ensures that employees are aware of potential referrals. Research shows that current employees who make successful referrals also tend to stay longer.

You may also choose to recognize and appreciate employees who refer candidates by offering monetary incentives, bonuses, or other meaningful rewards such as mentions in the company newsletter, Slack channels, etc.

Lack of Diversity in Applicant Pool

Data Point: Analyze the diversity within your applicant pool at each stage of the recruitment process (i.e., first interviews, second interviews, etc.)

Interpretation: A lack of diversity signals a potential blind spot in your employer brand. Actively promoting diversity and inclusion is not just a moral imperative but a strategic move to appeal to a broad range of candidates. In the current professional landscape, candidates increasingly seek employers that prioritize diversity, recognizing the positive impact it has on innovation, creativity, and overall business success.

How to address it: Analyze your current recruitment strategy, job ads, sourcing methods, etc to ensure they are unbiased and are not hindering certain groups of people from applying due to a lack of inclusive languages and tones. Having diverse interviewers can also help candidates feel more comfortable and signals to them that diversity is valued within the organization.

Implement diversity and inclusion training for all employees - and consider additional training for hiring managers. These types of training can promote understanding, empathy, and inclusivity across the organization, making it a more welcoming place for individuals from diverse backgrounds. In addition, these trainings could help individuals recognize and remove biases during the recruitment process, creating a more inclusive hiring environment.

Promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace has been shown to correlate with higher revenue growth, increased innovation, and a 5.4 times higher rate of employee retention. So, set realistic diversity goals and track and report progress throughout the life cycle.

Difficulty in Attracting Passive Candidates

Data Point: Evaluate the success rate of attracting professionals who are not actively job hunting. One of the best ways to measure this is through the conversion rates from your outreach (i.e., InMails) to applicants.

Interpretation: A strong employer brand effortlessly draws in passive candidates. If your organization struggles in this aspect, it suggests that your brand may lack the allure needed to entice talent away from their current positions. The ability to engage passive candidates is indicative of a brand's reputation, perceived value, and overall attractiveness within the industry. Are you able to hook candidates in with your outreach? Does your career page convert applicants?

How to address it: With over 75% of the applicants being passive candidates, actively managing your online presence is vital to attracting them. Share company updates, achievements, and employee success stories to create a positive image that attracts passive candidates. Encourage your current employees to become advocates for you by using testimonials and endorsements on websites and social media platforms.

Employ recruitment marketing strategies and tailor your job ad for your audience instead of trying to attract anyone and everyone.

Network at industry-specific events and webinars to connect with professionals who are not actively looking for new jobs. Leverage your current employees' networks by implementing a robust employee referral program. Employees may have connections with talented professionals who are not actively seeking new opportunities but could be interested in your company.

Frequent Negative Glassdoor Reviews

Data Point: This one is fairly obvious, but be sure to set up and (regularly) check reviews on platforms like Glassdoor.

Interpretation: Candidates often turn to online platforms, company reviews, and social media to gain insights into an organization's culture and employee experiences. So, consistent negative feedback is a red flag. It indicates a poor internal reputation that can significantly hinder recruitment efforts. Potential candidates rely on such reviews to gauge the work environment, management quality, and growth opportunities.

How to address it: The first step is to take the time to thoroughly read and understand patterns and trends in these reviews. Conduct anonymous feedback sessions with your employees to gather insights directly from your workforce. Create a safe space for feedback and suggestions and practice transparency.

The next step involves taking action on the feedback. Based on the data, your HR team might have to organize leadership trainings, remodel your compensation or growth packages, or even hire an external unbiased professional to assist in organizational development.

According to Glassdoor, 86 percent of job seekers consider a company's reviews and ratings before deciding where to apply for a job. So, actively managing your company's brand, which includes responding to reviews and engaging on social media, increases the likelihood of attracting potential workers.

The resolution of most of the above-mentioned issues begins with one fundamental step- fostering a positive work environment that cultivates employee happiness. This common thread runs through all of them. When employees are happy, your organization will function at its utmost best causing your employer brand to thrive. Not only will you be attracting passive and star candidates, but your interview dropout rates will fall, positive Glassdoor reviews will become the new normal, and employee referrals will be at an all-time high. As charity begins at home, the journey to strong employer branding starts within the walls of your organization.

Author profile Manu Prasanna

Embarking on a unique journey encompassing marketing and recruitment, Manu has a fascination for all things Employer Branding, Recruitment and HR Operations.