The unknown company: How to attract job seekers?

17 Mrz
17. März 2014
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In the so called “war for talents” big brands such as Hugo Boss, Audi or Google have an unbeatable advantage. They are also employer brands and get often enough applicants because potential talents have already a passion for their products or company. How can an unknown mid-size company compete in such a race?  Many companies look desperately for very rare profile candidates, e.g. in the IT or engineering segment and several of them have a lot to offer: Great workspace, free fruits and drinks, leisure offers (fitness club, table soccer), child care, free language trainings, health care or life insurance or pensions (especially UK)… But how can companies better reach potential talents and make such benefits more visible? To build an employer brand is a long term strategy that will take time. A first step is a more creative usage of a simple job posting. The posting is a direct contact point with potential candidates. Many companies still do not understand that they have also to apply for candidates and that it is not enough to post a job and pray for getting the right applicants. A posting should not be a simple text ad with a logo, it could be advertsing for the company showing real people, products, workspace and office. To apply and be ready to change a job is also a very emotional moment. You have to gain trust even to make the candidate send his application. Trust is based on transparency and positive emotions.

A scientific study of the Goethe-University of Frankfurt/Main (Germany) compared a plain text job posting (standard ad) with a designed job posting (employer branding ad) that includes multiple pictures, a company video, interactive elements and was structured like a website with a simple navigation. The study was based on a multi-method experiment design combining pre-survey, laboratory experiment including eyetracking and post-survey with 180 persons. The research was conducted with two groups, each 90 persons that have seen only one type of posting, the standard ad or the employer branding ad. Both ads were for the same position and company (midsize, no top 100 brand) and had the same text description. The participants had to answer the same questions before and after they have seen the specific posting (rating on five point Likert scale). They did all not know the company before the test.

The study had two main findings:

1.) The residence time on the employer branding posting was with 3.7 minutes nearly the double of the residence time on the standard positing (1.9 minutes).

2.) All image related evaluations shown a significant uplift after the participants have seen the employer branding posting, while there was no real change for the standard ad.

For example the company was rated as more likeable, more authentic, more reliable and even more successful (compared to the standard posting). While the first two are explainable through the pictures of employees and the company video, the last two are definitely a subjective impression. The results show that such a designed posting with company insight can bring a candidate in a very positive emotional mood. Finally another result was that the willingness to apply for a job at the specific company increases with an employer branding ad.

The employer branding job posting was created and invented in late 2012 by my team and me at Monster Worldwide Germany. It is including full compatibility also on mobile devices (responsive design). Still it is not used by enough companies. Some firms do not understand the need for such an approach, some are still afraid to create a transparent picture of their company. But it is an opportunity, not a risk, especially as the current Generations Y or Z expect more transparency and authenticity than past generations. In times of social media it is difficult to hide something for a company, on the other hand there might a lot positive to show if communicated proactively. The employer branding job posting is no universal remedy against too less applicants, but an interesting and important tool for recruiters, especially for companies with not well known brands.

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