As children, we’re often given guidance from our parents, teachers and mentors on how to act, how to live and how to succeed. This insight ultimately leads to the choices we make, how we treat others and how we see ourselves. One of the more common pieces of advice? Be yourself, and don’t worry about what others think of you. While this may be reasonable for preteens who are struggling with their identity, it’s actually a pretty poor choice for both job seekers and employers alike.
Workplace and Relationship Perceptions
Not that you shouldn’t be yourself (that authenticity piece is the key to developing relationships), but ignoring the workplace and relationship perceptions of others can put a serious damper on your personal brand or employer brand. This lack of awareness creates a divide between you and your target audience that may lead to irreversible consequences down the road because the fact remains that perception really is your brand.
Perception May Be Your Employer Brand, but Technology Can Help
Like it or not, you will never have total control of your employer brand, but that’s not to say you can’t steer it in the right direction. In order to do this, though, you must disregard that advice you received when you were young and become actively involved with the conversation surrounding your company.
Luckily for us, we live in a digital world and have countless tools at our disposal. Not only do we have the huge social networks like Facebook and Twitter, which are conducive to open conversation, we also have online communities like Glassdoor that make it possible for applicants and current/former employees to share their experiences and sentiment toward a company’s employer brand publicly. Additionally, the implementation of social listening tools like Radian6, Social Mention and countless others make it possible to monitor social media, blogs, comments and more for references to your company.
Take the Reins, Employment Engagement.
While making the decision to use one or more of these tools as part of your employer brand and recruitment strategy is a step in the right direction, the real issue is knowing what to do with the information you collect. I call this employment engagement. It’s simply not enough to know what people are saying about your company (whether good or bad); you have to be committed to changing the perception of others to match the perception you and your employees have of yourself internally.
The first and big step is engaging these users, but don’t forget that other piece of advice you received when you were young: actions speak louder than words. No one will care if you simply say you have a great culture or tell your community that your company should be their employer of choice. You have to show them by quickly responding to questions, correcting issues, providing a great candidate experience and showcasing your organization through recruitment video, employee brand advocates and more.
Hiring the Right People in War for Talent
If you want to have a competitive advantage in hiring the right people the so-called ‘war for talent,’ now is the time to take the reins and start guiding others’ perceptions of your company. Remember, your employer brand isn’t what you say it is – it’s what others say it is.
Autumn McReynolds is the Content Strategist and Lead Blogger for TalentMinded, an online publication focused on talent attraction and engagement in the digital age. After landing in the recruitment space in 2009, she has spent the past three years in the job board industry as both a recruiter and project manager, consulting with clients about job advertisements, employment brand and SEO strategies for attracting new candidates via job postings. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter.