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Most developers already have jobs (so they aren’t actively looking for a new one), which is why employer branding is so crucial. If your employer brand doesn’t grab a developer’s attention, they’ll quickly move on to something else. But when it’s done well, your employer branding strategy can get even the most passive candidates excited about joining your company.

There’s no one secret formula to successful employer branding. Some companies use their internal employees to create their branding content, while others only allow HR or marketing to touch it. Some companies spend thousands of dollars a month, while others don’t spend a dime. If you fall into the latter, it might be time to revisit. Here’s why.

Allocating budget to a specific initiative makes it easier to prove ROI

If you lump all of your recruiting, hiring, and interviewing efforts into one single budget, it can be hard to pinpoint which initiatives were worth the money spent. You can better calculate the ROI of your efforts if you have a specific dollar amount to look at (and diligently track your results, of course).

For example, your HR team spent $10,000 last year each on employer branding, job boards, and interview training. You record the results and then divide that by the total number spent. So if your employer branding efforts resulted in 5 new hires, while job boards only resulted in 2, you now have the knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. This allows you to alter your tech hiring strategy for maximum impact and may help you advocate for even more budget in the upcoming year.

Spending money on job boards and tools alone won’t get you anywhere

While this might work when hiring other employees for your organization, it doesn’t work when hiring developers. Not only are developers not hanging out on your traditional job boards like LinkedIn, the majority of them aren’t actively looking for a new job. Spending your entire recruiting budget in places that only target active candidates is a waste.

Instead, you want to spend some money on attracting those passive candidates. Running an employer branding campaign–like creating a set of videos about what it’s like to work on your technical team–is a way to reach that passive audience (while also catering to your active audience as well).

Spending money on employer branding up front could reduce your spend in the future

Ideally, putting money towards employer branding would help strengthen it by making more people aware of your company, what it’s like to work there, and the unique things your company has to offer. Companies that are well-known for being a great place to work typically don’t have to spend as much money on this as those with negative employer brands or no brand at all. If you spend the time, resources, and money up-front and early on, you can scale back over time.

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