Some of the best known global brands have learnt how to trade off their reputation in order to attract some of the best talent in their respective markets. High-skilled, high-achieving individuals actively seek out roles at companies like Apple, Google, Virgin, Coca Cola and Microsoft, with the companies themselves having to do very little searching.
Certainly these organisations' marketing budgets are higher than many of ours, but what is it that they do so well to ensure that their brand attracts the top talent?
In short, these companies have managed to inject their brand with 'personality', such that prospective employees understand their culture and know what they stand for. Brand personality paints a strong image about what it is like to work for an organisation and like-minded candidates are naturally attracted to it.
Microsoft, for instance, has nurtured a 'work hard, play hard' culture, while Google has encouraged out-of-the-box thinking and entrepreneurship. Think about your own company's reputation and the key themes you would like to highlight to potential employees.
Do you want people to associate your business with words like 'stable', 'secure' and 'comfortable'? Or are you looking to attract those who are looking for something 'fast-paced', 'constantly changing' and 'challenging but rewarding'?
What is it that sets apart your company from the competition?
Crucially, however an organisation ultimately positions its brand, it must live up to its image and reputation and make sure it executes its values with consistency.
It sounds obvious, but you should look for talent where it can be found. In other words, ask yourself where the type of people with the skills you are looking for are regularly found and create a presence there for your brand.
The growth and impact of social media has meant that organisations are now utilising engagement strategies that extend far beyond traditional recruitment marketing techniques. Whilst the brand and its reputation need to remain consistent, the message can be tailored to the new medium and its specific audience.
Think carefully about the type of people you want to attract and tailor your message to them accordingly. Keep your message clear and consistent for that specific audience.
Work hard to protect your reputation so that your brand 'speaks' to people. In the best performing organisations, the staff are the greatest assets of the business and also the best advertisements. They 'own' its values and vision and can enthuse others.
Many Apple users, for instance, are champions for the brand because Apple has worked hard to embed their products into popular culture. The iPhone, for example, exists at the centre of its own culture and has an influence that is disproportionate to the technicalities of the product itself – since other companies produce equally good smartphones. Early on Apple learned how to inject personality into their brand.