I had the pleasure of sitting down with Diana Thomas, executive coach, author and former Vice President of Training, Learning & Development at McDonald’s USA to discuss a topic that’s been coming up for years now: employer brand. What does that actually mean? We all know it’s a candidate-driven market today and job seekers, even if they are early career talent, have more options available than before with unemployment at a low.

When recruiting, a company needs to present a brand that can resonate and feel inclusive to all different types of audiences from the first point of attraction.

Working with employers of all different shapes, sizes, and team structures, I’ve learned that attracting and retaining that early talent audience requires a strong brand that resonates across a variety of groups. Employer brand is not just about what’s on your career site, your Handshake profile, or your social media sites. It’s more than that – it’s lasting and it’s ultimately why someone accepts or denies an offer from your company.

Diana and I shared ideas for building an employer brand, measuring efforts, and improving the effectiveness of early talent recruiting through brand.

Diana:  As you’re out there interacting with these other talent leaders, and based on your experience looking at the data from Handshake’s network, how are these successful companies finding the talent, especially when their competitors have such similar needs?

Kristen: First, Handshake believes that talent is evenly distributed and opportunity is not (today). So, I’d encourage employers to move beyond the perception that they’re all competing for the same talent and expand their reach. But in that vein, it’s almost like, nowadays, every company is a tech company. I’ll give the example of recruiting for technical roles because there’s such high demand today in early talent and experienced recruiting;  you have all kinds of industries hiring within engineering, data science, and IT. It’s really difficult because the other employers who aren’t Google, Facebook, Amazon, or Uber don’t have that corporate brand. We see a lot of employers in banking and finance with big hiring goals in tech; one example of a Premium customer excelling here is M&T Bank, who’s headquartered up in Buffalo, New York. They’re starting to be more proactive with their engagement with the  early talent population before they actually go to campus so that when they actually do show up, they have a very curated list of qualified students who fit their roles and have already heard about M&T Bank, why they should consider them, and what’s unique about them.

Another Premium customer, Raymond James, also recruits for technical roles and adapts their brand based on the audience. Within IT, their brand is very much FinTech. When they’re recruiting into the more traditional, equity capital markets, the brand is the premier alternative to Wall Street.

Diana: I love that. Being agile, and agilely adjusting your brand so you make sure that you connect with the right audience.

That’s just a snippet from the interview, but I encourage everyone to head over to Diana’s Talent Champions site to listen to the full podcast episode!