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Post by Rich Moy on Jan 8, 2018 12:00:00 PM

Last year, employer branding was one of the most popular technical recruiting topics that we covered. The reasons behind it are well-documented. Most programmers are employed, and your candidate-facing content is the first (and often, only) chance you’ll have to grab the attention of passive developers.

But what if your company has suddenly seen exponential growth? Shouldn’t the top programmers just come to you? After all, how could they miss all of the press coverage you’ve received recently? Those are all positives signs for your organization’s future, but they don't diminish the importance of your employer branding strategy, especially when it comes to finding and hiring developers.

In some ways, your brand could be even more critical to hitting your hiring goals in 2018. Let’s take a closer look at how it will impact your tech hiring this year.

Candidates Will Do Even More Research About Your Company Before Applying

Things like your careers website and job listings make it easier for developers to learn more about your company on their own. But how much research are they really doing? Quite a bit, according to a 2016 Glassdoor survey. In fact, the majority of job seekers will read at least six reviews before forming an opinion of a company.

Let’s assume that this average merely stays the same in 2018. Now, think back to the last time you monitored your brand mentions on social media. You probably gravitated to the positive reviews, while writing the negative comments off as outliers. But with the amount of information available to candidates, now’s the time to start engaging with your detractors just like you would with your promoters.

To revamp your employer brand this year, start by working with your team to read and respond to your Glassdoor reviews. Thank the people that shared positive notes, and for those that wrote about a negative experience, address as many concerns as possible without apologizing too much. After all, there are bound to be a few reviews from candidates who are only upset because you didn’t offer them a job.

Salary Alone (Still) Won’t Be Enough to Attract Developers

We’ve said this countless times, but it’s worth repeating that developers want to be paid according to their fair market value. But over the last few months, we’ve also learned that grossly overpaying them won’t make them ignore everything else that matters to them at work.

Not surprisingly, Corporate Responsibility Magazine found that 45% of 35 to 44-year-olds would leave their job for less than a 10% pay increase to join an excellent company. So what can you do to tell a more compelling story? Start by asking yourself and your hiring managers the following questions about your employer branding strategy and content:

  1. What types of exciting projects are we working on this year?
  2. What are some of the unique ways that we equip developers to do their jobs well?
  3. As a team, what can we do better—and how can new developers help us improve?

Be honest with yourself when you do this exercise. When you find the answers, use them to guide how you approach your brand. You might not be able to offer developers a perfect situation, but the good news is that they’re more concerned about finding the right fit for them.

Developers Will Expect Companies to Follow Through on What They’re Selling

A compelling story can inspire even the most satisfied programmer to consider switching jobs. But developers are just as aware of the fact that potential employers are trying to make themselves as attractive to candidates as possible—and now they want them to follow through on what they were sold.

Bryan Chaney, a Talent Branding and Attraction Strategist at Indeed, says that in addition to getting their messaging right, companies need to start affecting more tangible change. He adds, “I look at the surface level stuff — social media, reviews, all those things that you can quickly access — as the icing on the cake. I look at the actual culture, the support an employee experiences working at the company as the cake itself. It’s got to have layers.”

That being said, you shouldn’t stop creating employer branding content that highlights your company’s strengths. But in 2018, your employer brand will take a dramatic leap from a “sales pitch” into a full-blown promise that you make to developers.

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