Whiplash Team. January 2018.

Until recently, HR departments did not need to do much more to fill a vacancy than to post a job description advertisement in a widespread media to get a line of candidates for the position. But in recent years this has changed, and recruitment and retention talent have become a competitive advantage for organizations.

Over the last century, one of the few things that had remained almost unchanged in the business world is the personnel recruitment model. Even after the widespread use of the Internet and until relatively recently, recruitment techniques hardly differed from those with which our parents and grandparents got their entry-level jobs.

In recent decades, however, this has changed. In Europe, for example, organizations have realized that a boring job description is not what will attract the best talent, even less if we talk about Millennials, whose expectations and demands for the labor market are radically different from those of previous generations. Today, organizations use marketing to build “employer brands” and position them as attractive to potential employees.

The objective, of course, is to attract and retain the best candidates. In a context ruled by speed of technological evolution, economic acceleration and the emergence of new business models demanding specific, high-performance profiles, talent begins to unseat capital as a key competitive advantage.

Thus, according to studies by firms such as PwC or McKinsey, most senior managers of global companies agree on the need to assume recruitment and retention of talent as a corporate strategy rather than as a task of the Human Resources department. However, the 2020 study Outlook. The Future of Employer Branding by Universum Global, reveals that we are still far from getting there.

For the time being, HR departments are still responsible for employer branding strategies, but according to the research by Universum, they feel unprepared to undertake that responsibility.

Building an employer brand requires a strategic mindset and a long-term plan, rather than tactics or specific actions to fill a vacancy. A brand, as we have said on other occasions, is “a symbolic ecosystem that is created in the heads of people that consists of all the information and expectations that are associated with a product, service or organization”. In short, it is what others think of it. It is a pattern that users and potential employees perceive, each from their point of view, and those responsible for the brand must have a clear idea of what goes into that pattern and what does not.

Creating a brand that is attractive for talent implies a strategic mindset change from those running the organization. They need to fully comprehend their target audience needs by putting themselves in the candidate’s shoes and understanding their reasons for running (or not) for the position.

This is essential when it comes to attracting precise profiles. A successful employer brand starts by deeply knowing itself, understanding which are its most attractive attributes for the desired audience, and connecting its purpose with the values and aspirations not only of society, but of those people that it wants to attract and incorporate to its staff.