Employer Branding And Successful Recruiting

The concept of EMPLOYER BRANDING has been around awhile, long enough anyway to make it into SHRM’s PHR/PHR study material. I am not sure most people really know what it means, I am not sure I really know what it means. But people are starting to make the connection between employer branding and successful recruiting or attracting the types of employees they have worked successfully. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal by Joe Light titled “In Hiring, Firms Shine Images” try to shed some light on what larger companies are doing with branding. (Yes, I intended the pun, I figured Mr. Light did as well with his use of “shine” in the title.)
He talks about some of the major companies, such as PepsiCo and AT&T, trying to change the way they are perceived by the job seeking public. Apparently much of this branding or re-branding effort is driven by the fact that the really good, really savy, really desirable candidates are as hard to find as they have always been, despite high unemployment, and companies with poor employment brands are having a difficult time snagging these workers. Some companies, such as Henkel Corp. are finding that they have no employment brand at all, so they don’t snag good employees without, I imagine, a great sales job by some recruiter.
Small companies often have the same problem. There is no widespread public awareness of them so nothing attracts the attention of the great candidates. So is branding a bigger issue for them than for bigger companies? Do they do their branding through a Facebook page or through a website? How do they make that brand awareness wide enough to attract talented people?
I know I am full of more questions than I am answers but “I gots to know man.” It seems to me that your employer branding should be congruent with your company brand… or should it? Does PepsiCo need to send the same message about its people as it sends about their sodas, or tacos, or chips or whatever? If not how would it differ?
The WSJ article also talked about metrics, measuring the success of employer branding efforts. Do you measure this by applications, hires, traffic, quality of hire or what? Perhaps all of the above?
How about some input from some of you readers? What makes for a successful brand and how do you know it is successful?

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