I Have a Talentcrush on Yonatan Ido: “Employer Branding is not as Simple as Running an Ad”
Yonatan Ido is a Marketing Maniac from Israel, worked many years in Israeli start-ups and was Head of Performance & Customer Success before he reallocated to Berlin, Germany. Now, he is discovering the Berlin start-up scene and spotted some interesting observations — about data-driven employer branding & diversity.
What is the number one difference between Israeli and German start-ups?
Working in a German startup environment for a year and working in Israeli startups for years, I can say that the biggest difference for me is the can-do-attitude vs. planning-attitude.
Israeli startups are great at solving problems, they prefer speed over accuracy. In order to solve a typical problem, the team will get together, talk about the problem and about possible solutions, find the preferred solution and start working on it. Any problems that may occur will be solved in real time. The solution may be only okayish compared to the best solution but will probably fulfill the need.
German startups are much more methodical when solving a problem. They will get the team together (or just the upper management), talk about the problem, compare it to the planning, find solutions, debate about which is the best solution and how it may affect the further planning, come to a decision and not make any changes of the initial solution plan until it’s finished. The solution to the initial problem will be covered by the plan very well but not always fit the actual ad-hoc needs which may pop-up.
Does an employer brand matter for your decision to apply to a company?
Employer branding is something that can always excite you. For me, the most important is to meet the team, so I can see how they interact with each other. How is the atmosphere in the office and how happy I would be there? I think the employer brand is pretty much transported through employees which you meet in person. Less with fancy marketing campaigns or content-less slogans.
What are examples of good employer brands for you?
My former company in Israel — ironSource are a great brand for me, they started everything from zero and are now worth billions. All the C-level are very approachable and listen to their employees, people really love to work there and with each other and you can feel that. Again, the employer brand is transported through its people and comes from inside of the company, which creates great word-of-mouth.
What could employer branding learn from data-driven performance marketing?
That is a really interesting question. Working in performance marketing for so many years, I can tell you that in general, it’s a great fit. Identify the channels which perform better than others and spend more budget there. For example, if most of your job applicants come through LinkedIn than see how to improve that channel even more. For example, showcasing your culture or employer brand there.
For offline, I think it’s a bit harder. You can use the emails you got (from the Meetup signup or credit cards) to communicate with the potential candidates — from inviting them to future events, offering them jobs and so on.
‘My most important thought here though, is that employer branding is not as simple as running an ad to get a conversion.’
Deciding where to work is a much bigger decision than should I buy this product or not. The marketing techniques you should be looking at are of products with much longer life cycles — such as university studies, buying a car, loans, and mortgages. This will include more contact points with the potential candidate, more “brand” marketing and a longer time until they convert. Just think about Mercedes — you hardly see a “buy now” commercial by them. Instead, they are branded in many events, locations, and sponsorships that fit their targeted demographics. For employer branding, you may not have their budget, but you probably also have a much more targeted audience to communicate with.
My last point — currently we can’t measure the real world too accurately. Relying solely on performance marketing can make you not see many other things that are important to your brand. Take from performance marketing what you need in order to track what you can track, but always remember that people are much more complicated than a conversion funnel.
Do you spot a difference between Israeli and German start-ups when it comes to employer branding?
I think that employer branding is not a concept usually used in Israel. In Israel a huge amount of people come through friend referrals, so through our personal network. Because the country is so small and everyone knows everyone, you will know which are the good companies where your friends and colleagues work and what they have to say about the company.
Now, there is an understanding within the HR community that more efforts need to be made so they put many resources in hosting meetups, inviting people to meet the company and other activities to bring the employer brand closer to the people.
You were an active member of LGBTech in Tel-Aviv. Why?
I always found volunteering as a really important activity. Throughout my life, I always was involved in something and that usually makes me feel really happy. My connection to LGBTech was through a friend. They needed a photographer and I just started learning event photography, so it was a great match. The concept behind LGBTech and other queer networking organizations is that you use the connections you have within your community to help advance your community and help advance your career. The most special event I photographed was Microsoft contributed 10 scholarships to Trans youth and I was able to support this great cause by photographing it. I can also say the event photography is a great hacking tool to get to know really interesting people and talk to them. By giving them a great photo of themselves you open up a communication channel and create a new friendship.
What do you think companies could improve in their employer branding to make it more attractive for LGBTQI+ talents?
There are some great initiatives that companies are running right now. If it was up to me I would love to see that more companies are actively trying to recruit people from the Trans/ Non-Binary community. This community is the one that suffers the biggest discrimination in the job market and in general. I would be very happy to work in a company that has a lot of Trans people working for it. Other examples I can give are very semantic but also really important — For example, when asking for Gender — add the option to say “non-binary” or so. Also today Germany acknowledges a non-binary Gender — “Div”. So just by writing in a recruitment ad saying you are looking for F / M / Div you can understand that the company is a progressive one.
Another thing I always check when I interview somewhere is how many women are there in C-level. When I see companies with many women managers I feel more comfortable in knowing that this is a good company to work in.
Got excited about employer branding? Read here how to get support from management.