Have You Forgotten to Brand Your Jobs?


There’s a good chance if you’re in Talent Acquisition that you’re working on your Employment Brand (EB). EB has been probably the hottest priority for TA leaders over the past five years or more, and it doesn’t look like this trend will end anytime soon.

It makes sense. In the world today we need to attract great talent. As such, we want our organizations to look the most attractive to potential candidates as we can possibly make them. To do this, most organizations start at the top and feel their ’employment brand’ is the place to start.

There’s one big problem with this philosophy: candidates, in real life, actually don’t think about your company first when they think about coming to work for you. In fact, your organization might be at best third on the list of their priorities, and potentially lower than that! I can feel your disbelieving thoughts already!

So, what does a candidate think about first when looking for a potential place to work?

The Job, Dummy!

The single most important part of a candidate wanting to come to work for you has nothing to do with your employment brand for about 99.5% of organizations. It has everything to do with the type of job you have to offer the person, and then the second most important part I will say is the type of boss the candidate will be working for. I could also argue location, salary, etc. are all more important factors than your EB.

Here’s how a candidate sees organizations:

Bucket 1 – This is a very tiny bucket. You’re talking organizations like Facebook, Google, Nike, Zappos, etc. About .5% of organizations fall into this category as unicorns when it comes to EB. Almost everyone, if asked, would pick them out as a dream employer. Of course, dreams change from person to person, so for this example, we’ll consider these universally accepted dreams.

Bucket 2 – This is almost every employer on the planet. Your organization is here. So is mine. Nothing wrong with these employers. Candidates would be more than happy to listen to what you have to say, and might even love working for you. But, really, nothing unique or special amongst any of us. We all offer basically a similar EB and Employee Value Prop, in a broad sense.

Bucket 3 – Another tiny bucket. These are the employers who for the most part are universally hated (Enron, Walmart when they were locking employees in overnight, etc.). These employers will try desperately to increase their EB, but for the most part, they’ll always get B and C level candidates, unless they extremely overpay for talent.

This is a problem for a lot of organizations because we spend so much time and resources on EB, but hardly any time improving the brand of our jobs. This goes beyond better job descriptions. That will help, but from a marketing perspective it’s really focusing first on why this ‘job’ is the one for you, not why our ‘organization’ is the one for you.

Most candidates think job first, not organization. What do you think?

FOT Note:  We here at FOT like to think we get talent and HR at a different level. At the very least, we are probably going to have a different take than the norm. So it made perfect sense to ask SmashFly to be an annual sponsor at FOT, where they’ll sponsor posts like this one, allowing FOT contributors to write, without restriction, on all things related to recruitment marketing and how it helps organizations find, attract, engage, nurture and convert talent. To learn more about SmashFly’s Recruitment Marketing Automation Software for modern recruiting organizations, please visit the SmashFly website.  

FOT Background Check

Tim Sackett
Tim Sackett SPHR, is the ultimate Mama’s Boy!  After 15+ years of successfully leading HR and Talent Acquisition departments for Fortune 500s and smaller technical firms, Tim took over running the contingent staffing firm HRU Technical Resources in Lansing, MI. Serving as the Executive Vice President, Tim runs the company his mother started over 30 years ago, and don’t tell Mom, but he thinks he does a better job at it than she did!  Check out his blog at www.timsackett.com. Because he's got A LOT to say, and FOT just isn't enough for him.


  1. Kristina says:

    Totally agree that in most cases job 1st then company, but couldn’t you roll the type of supervisors, location, salary, etc that you listed as more important than EB as part of your EB?

  2. This is undoubtedly true for many job-seekers, especially those who’ve been out of work for a while and are more desperate for a paycheck. But I do think there’s a whole segment of job-seekers for whom company culture ranks higher than the job itself. There are tons of people who can likely envision themselves doing a range of different types of jobs, and doing them well, as long as they’re working with the right people. (I’m one of those people). Sites like The Muse cater well to those people.

  3. Branigan Robertson says:

    I wonder how many companies actually bother to ask this question when recruiting? I imagine companies like Google or Zappos (Amazon) suffer from big head syndrome and can’t help but shout from the mountain top what great organizations they are to work for. It stands to reason that you might actually be getting a better candidate for the position if you actually brand the job itself.

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