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Comfort in Connection: Why Employer Brands Shine in a Virtual Hiring World

July 13, 2020
iCIMS Staff
5 min read

Sometimes the business lessons we learn from everyday life experiences leave the largest impact. When my living room became my office, my morning rituals shifted to include a daily fix of Good Morning America’s “Deals and Steals” segment. In five minutes, viewers are instantly connected to various small businesses who have been hurt by the pandemic’s impact. The segment led to more of my pandemic shopping than any expensive commercials or targeted social media ads. This is because of GMA’s simple approach – share authentic messages with a targeted audience at the right time, prompting action.

So how can employers turn Tory Johnson’s trusted segment into a new way of thinking about recruitment marketing? Consider this: Every time I receive a package from this segment, I feel more than excitement over the product. I feel like I am a part of their story, like I helped in some small way to shape this business owner’s emergence from a global pandemic.

As consumer brands find new ways to show authenticity through storytelling, job seekers are looking for that same sentiment from the people they hope to build a career with.

It’s wonderful to see that 70 percent of companies have increased investment in recruitment marketing. Here’s how to elevate your hiring strategy with a compelling employer brand story.


Tell Your Story to Invite People In

We’re at a pivotal moment where a company’s story and culture need to extend beyond office perks and physical branding. Do you know the story your company needs to tell?

To give you a head start, think about the critical chapter that just occurred due to COVID-19. A worker seeking employment today hasn’t been living life as normal, while your company has tackled new challenges and changes. Job seekers have likely had their own set of challenging experiences with a previous employer, or from their homes, since many companies put a freeze on hiring. This could be everything from becoming overnight teachers to facing family economic hardship or simply being fatigued from regular news of the unknown.

Candidates will ask how you supported your workers through it all and how you’re continuing to put them first. But what if you could answer that question before they ask by showing how you lived up to core values, even when everyday was unknown?

Think about the shifts you and your teams made to make work better during a difficult time. Take note of the changes you made to the structure of your work day, communication styles, and culture and bring these to the forefront of your employer brand to build lasting connections that count.


Pull Back the Curtain to Build Trust

There is some comfort in knowing that the human connections we make today will help define us as we move forward.  We’ve been more distant than ever before in the past few months but that gave light to new connections with people from all over the world through video calls, social channels, and small businesses struggling to stay afloat.

That’s part of the reason behind the critical shift to make employer branding more human and authentic on the minds of every industry expert and practitioner. During the RallyFwd virtual conference in May, I got a preview into what this will look like across individual organizations. This included a great perspective on ethical employer branding recently recapped on our blog, from our customer Chantell Cooper of Arbonne. Chantell talks through the reality check she got about brand identity during a global lockdown, and how she took action quickly to differentiate Arbonne.


While the entire event was valuable, the closing session by Kathryn Minshew, CEO & Founder of The Muse left an especially strong impression on our teams.

Here are some highlights of what she shared, and why talent professionals should care:

  • Be flexible: A good employer brand is agile and adapts to the times. It considers what is relevant right now and stays timely.
  • Anticipate expectations: Candidates are used to the personalization of Netflix and Spotify, the visualization of Instagram and Pinterest, and the human to human authentic interaction of TikTok, Twitter, and Zoom. Delivering on those personal connections during the hiring process creates the same brand affinity that brought those platforms to the forefront.
  • Be easy to love: Beyond the product or service you may offer, your core values are what relate to your audience, and job seekers are paying close attention. Consider how accessible these values are, not only in the content on your career site, but in the experience to getting hired.
  • Let the experts do the talking: The best way to tell your story is through employee-produced content. This content should answer questions job seekers care about and share real moments of your company showing up for them in a time of need.

Need inspiration? Here’s a simple, yet impactful experience from my coworker, Sam:

“With daycare facilities closed and two working parents, my wife and I altered our normal work schedules to make sure we had proper childcare. iCIMS was empathetic and accommodating to my request to time box my working and parenting hours. Leadership even went as far as to create a team-wide ‘Parenting’ status, which informed other employees when working parents were with their children and might be a bit slower to respond. Candidly, it was a bit of a juggling act at first. The interesting outcome, however, is that with dedicated time to focus on being a parent and dedicated time to focus on my work I found that I’m more effective at both.”

So, what will talented individuals find when they explore the idea of employment with your company? What will they remember and tell their friends about as they browse your career site? And what human experience will be the one that removes any doubt that your company is the only employer of choice?

It will be exciting to find out together, and to continue this conversation long into the days where today’s events are in the rearview mirror.


If you’re looking for tactical ways to build on your existing strategy with recruitment marketing software, the Definitive Guide to Recruitment Marketing has you covered.


definitive guide to recruitment marketing cta

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