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10 employer branding faux pas you need to know about

A little Facebook here, a picture for your job ad there – oh, and definitely video for the career website. Putting an employer branding strategy into practice sounds easy, but be assured that you are entering a potential minefield.

Lucky for you, the worst mistakes have already been made by others. Dominik Hahn has put together the 10 biggest faux pas you do not want to repeat: scroll down after the list for our short interview with him.

The 10 employer branding faux pas

Faux Pas I – You’re communicating trivialities

Although pictures of female interns and/or burgers do get many likes this should not be the only content your (social media) strategy consists of. Come up with a proper content plan, and stories that matter. And do not forget that you’re still selling jobs!

Faux Pas 2 – You believe Employer Branding is advertising

Especially the younger generations do have something one can call a “bullshit detector”: They appreciate smart content, so do not believe a cool claim is enough to attract those target groups. And better avoid jumping on every train (e.g. cat content).

Faux Pas 3 – You say you don’t “do” Employer Branding

Even if you do not have a dedicated unit for employer branding, you’re doing it anyway. Your ugly carpet in the entrance area is doing it, your employees are doing it when talking to friends (or to Glassdoor, kununu & Co) about work, the wishy-washy handshake of a hiring manager during a job interview does it. So better influence your image actively!

Faux Pas 4 – You do not “maintain” your EVP

Once you have discovered your value proposition, keep on caring. Every brand needs maintenance because your company culture has never been standing still.

Faux Pas 5 – Employer Branding is not linked to recruitment

Are your employer branding unit’s content strategy and campaigns based on current and future hiring needs? Are your employer branding colleagues measured by KPIs that are directly linked to your recruitment needs?

Faux Pas 6 – You forget to measure

You somehow heard that KPIs besides the usual employer rankings would make (more) sense. But actually no one in your company has ever asked for a proper reporting. Lucky you! But for your one safety: start doing it now in order to do a(n even) better job.

Faux Pas 7 – You have exactly no clue of SEO

Globally, one third of all job seekers are using Google to find jobs. Nuff said part one.

Faux Pas 8 – You’re not mobile

Mobile traffic on indeed and other job boards tend to be higher than desktop traffic. Nuff said part two.

Fauxpas 9 – You’re not making your managers accountable

Sure, you should drive the employer branding strategy. But you cannot do it yourself, and it does not make sense to do it yourself. The business and their networks are key players when it comes to employer branding.

Fauxpas 10 – You believe an agency can help you

They can. That’s what they say at least. But the core of your employer branding, the stories to be told, the roots of everything you’re planning to communicate needs to come out of your own team. No agency on this planet will ever has the same company insights you have as an internal employee.

In your presentation at the Employer Branding conference, you outlined 10 employer branding faux pas in your presentation. Which of these do you believe has the potential to be the most damaging?

Well, I believe that many of the presented faux pas do have the potential to really hurt your employer brand – both short and long term. But faux pas number four can definitely be considered as a crucial one. Nowadays, KPI driven employer branding and recruitment is not just a must. It’s even quite easy to do it. Not knowing from which sources my applicants come from, how they actually behave on my career website and online application portal or which target groups rather prefer to use my mobile services leads to something I’d like to call “branding by gut feeling”. Posting a picture that I like here, negotiating with the (wrong) job boards there, adding features to my website with no value add – the list of potential failures is sheer endless. And those failures are not even noble ones. They are just silly fuck ups.

What do you have to say to companies who suggest they don’t “do” employer branding?

Branding is about creating or influencing images. Therefore it’s quite easy to understand that the employer branding unit is not the only influencer in town. Everyone and nearly everything, e.g. a building, has an impact on a company’s image to some extent. So it just does not matter if you actively do employer branding. It “happens” passively anyway. Having said that a company needs to take the decision whether they want to play an active role in the branding game or let others do the image building for them.

What are the integral components of Allianz’s own employer branding strategy?

In 2015 we conducted a huge internal and external research globally in order to exactly find those components. Bottom line Allianz can be seen from an employer branding point of view as “The home for those who dare”. Where the “working at Allianz feels like home” part is the one that is both true today and considered internally and externally as attractive, the “daring” portion is something our employees and target groups not only expect from us but also consider it as very attractive. No we’re working on exactly these two themes: Keeping the existing cool and friendly working environment but also establishing a culture where performance matters more and where people are encouraged to go beyond borders – even if they fail.

How can organisations ensure that employer branding is strongly linked to recruitment?

There are plenty of ways to ensure this. It’s never a mistake to have people in recruitment or employer branding who have already worked in the other field. It’s also recommended to have a setup where both areas are combined in one department. And last but not least you can steer and strengthen the collaboration by defining KPIs and measures which automatically lead to a strong connection between the teams.

Dominik shared his 10 employer branding faux pas at Quadriga University's Employer Branding Conference held in Berlin at the end of May this year. Find out more about Quadriga events on the subjects of social media, video communication, crisis communication and more here.

Dominik Hahn

Dominik Hahn has managed global employer branding and e-recruiting at Allianz SE since 2012. Since 2016 he is also recruitment hubs lead for Germany and Italy. Before joining Allianz as employer branding consultant in 2010, he held pubic relations and employer branding positions among others at Audi, BMW as well as a public relations agency and studied media and communication sciences.