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As an employer, you want one thing: the best and brightest on your team. But your team is made up of people who want to work for the best and brightest company.

And out there lies more candidates who want the same.

And we’re all striving to improve our hiring practices, our managerial skills, and our personal work habits, but especially after a year like the one we just went through, it’s crucial now more than ever before to have an unbeatable branding as an employer to ensure your organization’s and your own reputations are sparkling.

So, above all else, I encourage you to work on your employer branding by trying out the following tips I’ve accumulated over my years as an entrepreneur, CEO, and employer within both the HR and healthcare recruitment industries.

1. Perfect your online presence

My number one tip for improving—or even establishing for the first time—is having a knock-out brand style guide to use in all your work.

From email campaigns and blog posts to social media marketing and website designing, you’ll want your branding to reflect you and all you strive to do for others with your organization.

This may involve hiring a marketing team to develop your branding—including an aesthetic you adhere to on your website, logo, font, color scheme, photos or illustration style—to ensure your company looks cohesive, organized, well-established, approachable, and professional.

I mean, I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but look at how cohesive my digital marketing team makes our brand look:

Digital Work Passport

Above all, you want your online presence to speak for itself, so ensure that whichever route you take, your company is developed to look and feel like your best and truest sense of self in your role as an employer.

2. Establish an effective recruitment process

Nothing is more of a red flag for a job seeker than a company whose hiring process is long, tiresome, full of uncertainty, and provides you with no feedback.

To make sure you come across as a reliable and respectable employer to work for, you need to establish your company’s legitimacy from day one of the filtration process.

Namely, you want the process from an applicant’s application to their response—whether they’re moved onto the next hiring stage, or not—to be smooth, effortless on their part, and respectful.

Whether this is an effortless stage in your own hiring is another story (though why not make your job easier if there are options out there that can make filtration easy, reliable, and speedy with an automated, unbiased filtration process?), but the applicant should always be in the know, feel respected as an individual, and receive a response as quickly as possible.

As well, if a candidate makes it all the way to the end of the hiring cycle and then requires a background check, this should be taken care of in advance of their preferred hiring date, so that they can start working right away and won’t lose time or money on your lengthy background checking process.

My top tip for this step is to, of course, use Workwolf’s platform to provide your top candidates with a Digital Work Passport, so that their credentials are verified sooner than the traditional background checking process, though that is my biased opinion!

3. Communication is key

According to a recent LinkedIn poll, when job seekers were asked what their worst hiring cycle experience was, 80% replied with never hearing back from the hirer after applying for a position.

And sure, you may not care about the opinion of someone whose application you turned down, but this is just one example of how job seekers in an industry can learn to distrust you as an employer or company, and spread word about it to their colleagues or friends in the same industry.

By cutting yourself off from and creating bad experiences with these applicants can be closing a lot of doors for you and your organization, so make sure wherever possible, you’re communicating clearly, frequently, and respectfully with your applicants.

With that said, if your applicant lines are long, you won’t have time to write personal rejection letters with why they didn’t make the cut, and that’s fine!

Send out an email—even if it’s a form email, as long as it’s respectful and makes the applicant feel valued for their efforts—as soon as possible.

As well, be sure to be transparent in all aspects of their hiring process. Be upfront about the salary you’re willing to pay, what the benefits may be, and what kind of responsibilities they’ll have in their prospective position.

This way, your company and your own branding won’t be associated with wasting candidates’ time and effort, and will instead be a company to watch for open position postings.

4. Make a lasting impression on your applicants

A number one trick I’ve grown to use and love using over the development of Workwolf itself is to offer top candidates a token of appreciation to show that you value their time and efforts in their interview process, even if they don’t end up working for you.

The easiest way to show you care about a candidate’s career is to provide them with a tool that will help them get noticed for another job—maybe even jobs for the rest of their career: that is, by offering them a Digital Work Passport.

Let’s say I have three top candidates, and I interview each of them and decide by the third interview who of the three I want to hire.

The other two candidates will be offered a discount code to provide them with a complementary Digital Work Passport badge, so that they are able to pre-verify a certain number of credentials, and use this to improve their applications for future job openings.

This way, not only do they have an outstanding resume that will show other employers that they take their career seriously and have invested in tools to make their application stand out, they will also be able to by-pass some steps in the background checking process when they are chosen for a position.

5. Ensure your employees grow

Once your employee is hired and is well integrated into the company, even if you think you have the best team who will never leave your side, you’ll always want to continue improving and growing your own practices to ensure employee retention and allow them to have a positive work environment.

After all, happy workers are effective workers.

And as we all know, employees want to grow, too.

They’ll want a raise, or more responsibilities, more perks, maybe even shorter hours in the summer, and so on.

It’s your responsibility to ensure they’re taken care of, because the treatment of employees is a direct reflection of a company and its leaders, and more importantly, where they invest their time and money as an organization—in their own salaries, or in the wellness and development of their employees.

6. Highlight the company’s culture

In addition to fostering an employee’s growth and happiness within an organization, it’s crucial to ensure you’re showing external applicants how much you care for and work towards encouraging such an environment.

If you celebrate even the smallest days, like employee birthdays with Timbits, or National Coffee Day with a carafe of your favorite drip coffee, your employees will feel appreciated, and like you care for their wellbeing and happiness as individuals and as a team, and this will foster feelings of community and respect for one another.

Even better, if you’re investing your time and money into ensuring the team bonds together on a retreat to a beach, a tree-top trekking adventure, even a camping trip up north, share the news on your social media and website, and encourage your employees to share their pictures and experiences online and with friends as well.

This can spread word of your company and all the perks that come with working with you, and leave your employees with lasting memories that will make them think fondly of their time with you.

7. Ask for Glassdoor reviews (honestly!)

Truly, honesty is the best policy.

If you’ve worked hard to have a good team and friendly, yet effective team environment, you deserve to reap those benefits.

And what better way to have your company stand out than an honest, external review from a former employee?

Let’s say, worst case scenario, your favorite employee leaves your company to become a stay-at-home parent, or go back to school, or even head in a different direction with their career; you’ll want to ensure this employee shares their experience with all interested in replacing their position on the team.

Glassdoor is a great way for former (and even current!) employees to anonymously review their organization and explain to the general public their team dynamic, their workplace culture, and the juicy details that everyone is really wanting to know: their salary and what questions they were asked in their interview process.

While this can be a company and employer’s downfall, you can use this application to your advantage by encouraging leaving employees to give you an honest review that can be showcased to show what you did well as an employer and leader of your organization.

8. Offer reference letters to maintain a connection

Offering a former employee a reference letter—both a traditional one, or even better, a Workwolf one—is the best thing you can offer former employees to both show you care about their well-being and their future endeavors, as well as appreciated their time with you at your organization.

It’s a little time to go a long way into ensuring that they had a pleasant experience with you and have fond memories, and heck, may even encourage those they know to work for you.

Conclusion

With so much of our hiring practices feeling out of our hands, especially with the job market still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, the aspects of hiring you can control are more crucial than ever before. You can ensure your applicants—whether you hire them or not—and your current and even former employees are spreading kind words about you and your organization to others around them thinking of applying to work for you. By ensuring both applicants and employees have a positive experience, and find your company and your own branding to be personable, respectful, professional, and approachable, you’ll end up with some long-lasting workers or allies to your company, regardless of their career trajectory.