This sounds a bit cheesy, but I had a passion for employer branding before I even knew that it was a “thing.” I had been a recruiter for about 4 years and while I was an “okay” recruiter, I didn’t really have the passion behind filling a role.
My passion was in the human piece, of giving them the best experience, but also making sure that the company was the right fit for them. Before I came to Tenable, I was working as a Recruiter for a local tech company. It was really a great place to work for the right person, but no one knew about us!
Then a light bulb went off…
What if we teamed up with Marketing, Leadership, and employees and really made an effort to showcase what it was like to work here? What if we had employees tell stories about THEIR experiences instead of relying on the recruiters to tell the stories for them? I mean…everyone is a recruiter right?
So, I pitched the idea to the team and they gave me the green light to run with it. After I started doing my own research, I came across two phrases I hadn’t heard of before: Recruitment Marketing and Employer Branding.
After reading more about this part of the recruiting industry I was like “holy sh*t, this is it. THIS is what I’ve wanted to do and I just didn’t know it!"
I loved the idea of highlight a brand, the idea of utilizing social media to market to candidates, the idea of not just “posting and praying.” However, as an EB newb, I thought you needed a generous budget to get started. The fact that I didn’t have any budget paired with the minimal hiring needs of my current company, I moved on to another opportunity that had someone dedicated to EB and RM efforts.
I found my place in the talent world.
What do I wish I had known before starting my career in EB? I made a few mistakes when I started out in our world. I hope that sharing my mistakes and lessons learned will help some others considering a career in this field!
Dollar signs don’t equate to quality work.
When I first started, I believed that you needed a generous budget and a ton of fancy tools and technologies to build a successful employer brand program. The value is in the stories, the value is in the great opportunities your company has, the value is in what makes your brand a brand worth sharing. Not how much money you have to spend.
You can’t “create a brand” for a company. You have to see it for what it is, not what you want it to be.
While you can make a roadmap or plan of where you want a brand to be, or what you want to improve upon, you have to accept a brand for what it is. When starting out, I think I saw an employer brand for what I wanted it to be for candidates/employees, not what it actually was. This creates an issue of disingenuity. If you don’t like something that is represented in the employer brand, you have to fix it from the ground up.
Empower Employees to get involved.
I made the mistake of “forcing” employees to get involved rather than empowering them to be part of this experience. You get a lot more buy in when employees have freedom to share their story without feeling like you’re only asking them to do it to show how “great” a company is. Buy-in is a lot easier all around when you can show the value in it for everyone. Which leads me to my next lesson…
Befriend the Marketing team. Don’t fight them.
Don’t view the Marketing team as the creator of red tape boundaries. If you work with them, they will work with you. Speak their language, talk about how EB team efforts will positively affect corporate marketing efforts…because they do. Speaking their language and getting them involved will help. Communication is key.
Find a mentor early.
One of the biggest reasons I love the EB community is the support everyone has for one another. We all lift each other up rather than keeping our fabulous ideas, tips, and tricks to ourselves. If you are going to be a one-person team, or maybe you’re building out a team…find someone in the industry to mentor you as you get started. We’re all here and willing to help. I’ve been grateful to have a manager who doubles as a mentor, but there are awesome communities like the Talent Brand Alliance and Rally RM, to pair you with an industry mentor to help guide you and give you advice.
I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with my career after being a recruiter for a couple of years. I thought like a marketer, but I still wanted to utilize my recruiting skills. I found my people in the Employer Brand community and I hope you do too.
About Ashley Bush
Ashley is currently a University and Employment Brand Recruiter for a Maryland-Based Cyber Security company. After 4 years of searching for purple squirrels across Tech, Creative Services, Sales, and Marketing, she transitioned into the niche field of candidate attraction through employer branding and recruitment marketing. Her speciality is attracting the right talent through engaging content on the right channels. In a nutshell, she's here to make recruiter's lives easier! Ashley is also a pizza enthusiast and dog lover. In her spare time you can find her and her pup Oscar visiting different pizza cafes in search of the best 'za.