You’re reading an excerpt of The Holloway Guide to Technical Recruiting and Hiring, a book by Osman (Ozzie) Osman and over 45 other contributors. It is the most authoritative resource on growing software engineering teams effectively, written by and for hiring managers, recruiters, interviewers, and candidates. Purchase the book to support the author and the ad-free Holloway reading experience. You get instant digital access, over 800 links and references, commentary and future updates, and a high-quality PDF download.
An employer brand is the perception of a company among current and potential future employees of the company as a place to work. A company can impact their employer brand by marketing the company’s story, including the enticing and motivating aspects of the company’s narrative.
Your employer brand communicates your value proposition to candidates by covering topics like:
whether people use/like your company’s product
the problem the company is trying to solve (the company’s “mission”)
the company’s founding story
the company’s values and culture (what it’s like to work for you).
All of these attributes coalesce into the visceral feeling people get when they imagine your logo on their future resume. In the world of rhetorical appeals, your employer brand is all about pathos, or appealing to people’s emotions.
cautionBrand can work for and against you. For instance, Facebook reportedly saw a massive decline in its offer acceptance rate that seemed to be a result of negative press associated with the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Ideally, your brand is a magnet that attracts the types of candidates you want into your funnel, and helps tilt the scales in your favor when candidates are contemplating your offer.
Business Storytelling: A Primer
The first step in building employer brand is to tell the story of the business. As you prepare and strategize your hiring plan and process, you may discover that much of the skills and techniques necessary for success are undergirded by storytelling. Want to understand your internal company values? Work out your story. Want to write a compelling job description? Tell your story in just a few words. Want to make sure candidates understand your value proposition and what makes your company a great place to work, so they won’t opt out of your funnel, and will ultimately accept your offer? It’s all about how, when, and where you tell the right stories.
Business storytelling is not fiction. It’s not smoke and mirrors. It has to be authentic and grounded in truth. At the same time, it is not just a compilation of facts and figures (like your company’s growth rate or revenue). It is not lists of what your team has built or accomplished. These things may be compelling, but presented dryly or without the context of their meaning or significance, they won’t be memorable or exciting. You need to give these things narrative weight: a story that wraps up facts and events in a way that speaks to both heart and mind. Stories explain the purpose and mission that make these facts and figures important.
There are two types of stories relevant to recruiting and hiring: the company story and the story of the role you’re hiring for. Anyone on your team should be able to understand and convey both those narratives to candidates.
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