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If you’re looking to attract top technical talent, you should be paying extra attention to your employer branding efforts. Programmers are looking for different things in a career than employees in marketing or sales departments.

In Misplaced Talent, Joe Ungemah highlights the five adjectives that all strong employer brands convey. We’ll go into detail on each of the five and suggest that you compare your employer brand with each and see where you stack up.

√ Impactful

For your employer brand to be impactful, it needs to resonate well with both current and potential employees. If a company’s employees are true supporters of a company’s culture and employer brand, it will be easy to find. Whether you see it on their personal social media accounts or just in the way their eyes light up when they talk about their job, it should be obvious. A large percentage of developers use referrals from their friends or old coworkers when making a job decision, so make sure your employer brand is impacting your current employees.

Ultimate Software is one example of a company that has an impactful brand. Their “People First” culture is infused into everything they do.  

√ Credible

For your employer brand to be credible, it needs to be a fair reflection of what actually exists. If your website claims that your company values work-life balance, but your job postings list a strict work schedule of 9-to-6 and weekends, you’re offering conflicting statements. Anyone can write that they “offer the best benefits” or “only hire the best people”, but you have to show your credibility when making those statements.

Boston Consulting Group often tops lists like Fortune’s “Best Places to Work”, verifying their credibility as a great employer to work for. They back up these claims by offering perks that their employees actually care about, like healthcare that’s paid for, telecommuting, and college tuition reimbursement – many of which are things developers told us they look for in a company.

√ Aspirational

For your employer brand to be aspirational, the brand should go beyond the tangible and address the culture. If all you’re including in your employer brand is the benefits you offer or the beer fridge in the office, you’re missing out on a large aspect. What goals does your company have and how does the engineering team help reach this goal? What impact does this have on consumers as well as employees?  

A great example of an aspiration brand is MOZ and their TAGFEE Code, which reflects the core values of MOZ. TAGFEE, which stands for Transparent & Authentic, Generous, Fun, Empathetic, and Exceptional, outlines the company’s goals – both for their products and their company culture. The code says, “We acknowledge that we are entirely responsible for our own reputation, the level of success we achieve, the brand image we create, and the contributions we make to the marketing industry.”

company goals.png

√ Distinctive

For your employer brand to be distinctive, it should set itself apart from the other talent competitors. If you’re offering what every other company is, why would a developer choose you over them? And it’s not all about salary – in fact, developers we surveyed last year cared more about things like the ability to work remotely and work on interesting projects.

Intuit stands out from the crowd in this aspect. They allow employees to spend 10% of their time on projects and ideas of their job, even if they are not related to their job.

√ Consistent

For your employer brand to be consistent, it should not conflict with the corporate strategy or values. If you preach about how much you value diversity, but your engineering team has only one woman, you’re not being consistent.

Accenture topped DiversityInc’s Top 25 Most Diverse Companies list in 2015, coming in at number 15. The company’s employees are made up of 36% women and 50% minorities, which is much higher than the average. Their non-discrimination policy and same-sex benefits don’t hurt, either. Their company website is full of information on how they work hard to make diversity an important part of their company and its success.

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