I have a talentcrush on Selina McCarthy: “Employer Branding is not a once-off project — it’s a strategic decision”

Selina McCarthy is founder of the Dublin based employer branding consultancy ‘Reflektor’. She has more than ten years of experience working in E-Commerce, Event Management, and Advertising. Previously, Selina was creating sky-rocketing employer branding campaigns at Zalando and Home24. Fun Fact: She is a stand-up comedian as well.

How come that you ‘specialized’ in employer branding?

So to be perfectly honest, I didn’t plan to specialize in Employer Branding, I had never really heard of it before I took my first employer branding job. I had worked in advertising, marketing, and event management, so when I found employer branding, I happened to have a lot of skills which were transferable. And once I started working in it I realized how interesting it is and how much scope there is there for innovation and development in the field. My father also had his own recruitment company, so the world of employment is always something I’ve taken an interest in.

What is employer branding for you?

Employer Branding is 2 things for me. 1. it’s about being a good employer, and 2. It’s about presenting that to your current and potential candidates in a truthful manner, at each stage of the employee lifecycle. It’s about finding your USP as an employer and sharing that in a relevant, engaging and exciting way.

What is not employer branding for you?

Employer branding is not just some logo an employer branding manager creates.

“It’s not a once-off project — it’s a strategic decision made by companies and requires commitment from management and various stakeholders within a company, otherwise, it won’t work.”

How should companies build up their employer brands?

You need to first figure out who you truly are as an employer; look internally, assess your EVP and benchmark it against other companies, talk to your current employees, managers etc. Then you should identify the type of candidates you want to hire — who is the ideal candidate? What are their desires and how does your company meet those? And from there you should adjust your EVP, and build your marketing strategy. This should include internal communications and processes, as well as external.

Earlier this year Selina talked at HR in Tech how to leverage your employees to promote your brand

What is different between employer branding for business and for tech talents?

So there is definitely crossover — the majority of your employer branding will cover a lot of the bases in most sectors.

“Humans are humans and we all have basic employment needs that we want to be met. What differs are the channels you use to reach your audience, and the focus of your messaging.”

In tech, for example, potential employees will want to know which programming languages and platforms you are using, what technical challenges you are facing and your approach to development. They may be interested in reading your tech blog or looking at your employees’ contributions on Github, for example. People in marketing may be more concerned with how your website looks, for example, or be interested in which agencies you’ve worked with and will want to look at your previous campaigns.

What kind of data would you gather to develop your employer brand?

First of all, I would evaluate my current positioning. I’d collect data from my employees on their view of the employer brand and EVP. Additionally, I would collect data from employer review sites like Glassdoor and Kununu. If possible, I would try and talk to potential candidates about what they think of the company. And I’d also gather data at different points of the employee lifecycle, for example, surveying candidates who come through the recruitment process to understand how to optimize their experience so that they leave with a positive view of the company, even if they don’t get hired. I would then collect data on my competitors and benchmark myself against the market.

What kind of data would you gather to measure the impact of your employer branding?

Well, it depends on what your goals are. You could look at recruitment costs, time-to-hire, attrition rates, number of referrals, number of boomerang employees (people who leave and come back to your company), Net Promoter Score, visits to your career page, conversions/application numbers, ratio of applicants:hires for specific roles, bounce rate (if you want to measure the quality/relevance of your website/advertisements). You might look at how many flyers you hand out per month, number of visitors to your booth at a conference, number of attendees at in-house events, Glassdoor and Kununu ratings, number of awards you’ve won for being a good employer. It all depends on what elements you’re looking to improve.

What is your company Reflektor about?

Reflektor is an employer branding consultancy. We provide strategy and consulting services to companies looking to develop or improve their employer brand, no matter what stage of their employer branding journey they are on. We offer: consulting services, research and best practices reports, strategy and roadmap development, workshop facilitation, training.

Do you wanna know more about employer branding for tech talent? Read here.

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