Spotlight for Recruiting ProfessionalsAugust 6, 2014
When employers participating in Universum research were asked about their top challenge in talent attraction, more than half said differentiation, says Melissa Murray Bailey, President – Americas at Universum. These respondents recognize the importance of differentiation and the elusiveness of attaining it.
“Companies that differentiate themselves are putting a stake in the ground, being bold, and saying this is who we are,” Bailey says. “This will lead to their brand message resonating with the talent who will be most successful once they come on board.”
But why is it so hard for organizations to stand out?
“Companies have become so enthusiastic about communicating what they have to offer,” Bailey says. “People are often left with a generic impression of a decent employer, but there’s no strong feeling attracting them to that company.”
There are risks for an organization that isn’t able to differentiate itself. Bailey says that a weak, generic and undifferentiated brand will create a lot of extra work for a recruiting team because, while the employer branding activities will generate additional interest in the organization, it won’t be the right interest.
“Companies read what Millennials want and then they say they have that,” she explains. “Then what is the result? Everyone is saying the same thing. When candidates can’t understand the differences between organizations, they might not fully understand everything the organization offers. This could lead to overlooking a company that could be a potential good fit or choosing the wrong fit and then leaving the company soon after.”
The most common mistake that companies make, Bailey says, is failing to determine who their ideal candidate is and not seeking to understand what drives that group.
“In marketing, companies spend millions of dollars understanding their target group and developing campaigns that will resonate with their ideal customer,” she says. “Companies don’t invest the same amount in market research about their potential candidates.”
As a result, they depend highly on the qualitative feedback of their recruiters.
“This is definitely a key part of the equation, but without the quantitative piece it is impossible to have the full picture,” she says.
Another mistake is having one global employer brand.
“Segments of candidates are different, whether it’s women and men or American and Asian candidates,” Bailey notes. “A company that tweaks its message based on the target group has an employer brand that resonates more strongly and, therefore, differentiates the company from its competition.”
She provides several strategies for differentiation, including
“By looking at your organization through these three lenses—what your target group wants, what they associate with you, and what you actually offer—you are able to begin creating an employer value proposition that is attractive, credible, and true,” Bailey explains.
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