We’re in the era of fake news. Whatever the job description says, candidates will be suspicious of what you’re promising them. And then there’s the reality that you’re competing with every communication they’re bombarded with left, right, and centre. It’s more important than ever to distinguish your organisation’s ‘real’ voice from the wall of noise candidates are faced with.

So we’re all trying to be as ‘authentic’ as possible in our employer branding. But what does employer authenticity actually mean, why does it impact candidate quality, and how can you improve it? (Hint: It’s not just by putting real people in your communications.)

Let’s cut to the chase

Employer authenticity has become another buzzword; overused, fluffy and blah. We can get straight to the point with these key questions:

Honesty

  • What are your strengths as an employer, and what are your weaknesses?
  • Can you deliver on the promises you’re making to candidates, and do candidates know what’s expected of them in return?

Transparency

  • What does an average workday look like?
  • Are you owning up to your shortcomings and addressing them?
  • Do you respond to matters like Diversity & Inclusion targets or negative Glassdoor reviews?

Consistency

  • Do your existing employees believe in your employer brand?
  • Do you have a long-term communications plan to interact with candidates?

Values

  • What does your organisation stand or fall for as an employer?
  • How are your values present in the workplace?

Individuality

  • What makes you different to other employers?
  • Why do you fit candidates’ needs?

The real deal

And there’s strong evidence behind the value being authentic brings. Blackbridge asked over 1,800 undergraduates whether they think organisations tell the truth or not – and what impact that has on their behaviour throughout the application process and employment. This is what they told us:

When it comes to employer authenticity, it seems you get what you give. Especially since candidates are smarter than ever, with endless information at their disposal – it’s no wonder they can sniff out a fake.

If your communications come across as disingenuous, candidates will be less engaged. Application quality will fall or candidates will forget you altogether. And if you do hire the ideal candidate? When their expectations aren’t met, they’ll leave you to start the process all over again. You get the picture – it’s expensive, time-consuming and frustrating.

Tell it like it is

It’s what’s on the inside that counts

Employer authenticity works from the inside out, which means all your internal communications should have your employer brand shining through, whether it’s an employee being recognised for their efforts or having a performance meeting.

Existing employees will naturally become your biggest and most powerful advocates if they feel engaged by your authentic employer brand.

What’s the big idea?

There’s a careful balance to strike when it comes to authenticity. You have a brand to adhere to, but you don’t want to sterilise your content. So how do you get the right measures of individualism, structure, and authenticity? We suggest creating a tight framework of central brand identity and a clear communication plan. It’s your big idea.

Giving the go ahead for employee-generated content on social media might work for one organisation, but completely clash with another’s identity. There’s no one-size-fits-all here. When it comes to sharing your culture, people and projects, ask yourself if it fits within your specific framework. There’s still plenty room to get creative, and you also rule out the possibility of your organisation appearing chaotic and off-brand.

Real jobs, real talk

Every job has its positives and negatives. If you’re putting out job descriptions, ‘Day in the Life of’ videos or blog posts, be upfront about the challenges. Candidates are more likely to believe the positives if you’re transparent about the more demanding aspects, and it’ll attract those who are excited by the reality and will thrive in your workplace.

Keep it consistent

Employer authenticity reaches far beyond social media, websites or job descriptions. They might be top notch, but if the candidate comes in for an interview and doesn’t see that workplace culture you promised, all your hard work will be undone.

Your employer brand should be evident at every stage of the candidate experience, from keep warm communications and assessment centres through to on-boarding and development. It all needs to be unified. If your messages are clear and consistent, you’ll have a strong identity that’s easy to engage with and develop a commitment to. Put simply, candidates will see that you’re serious about delivering on your promises.

Ultimately, investing in your employer authenticity pays off. It can reduce employee turnover rates, become a selling point for those hard-to-fill vacancies, and gain you loyal employees who are fierce advocates of your organisation.

 

Here are some examples of how we’ve incorporated employer authenticity in our work:

E.ON – It’s Personal

E.ON’s ‘It’s Personal’ campaign video revolves around employer authenticity. First off, it shows their employees in their real workplaces. Secondly, we’ve got creative within that ‘specific framework’ we talked about earlier – the whole video fits into their brand identity and proposition. You can watch it here.

Babcock – What Makes You

We made individual graduates the heroes of Babcock’s ‘What Makes You’ campaign. It celebrates the diverse personalities, professional and personal interests that make up each graduate, and shows how they fit into the ‘Being Babcock’ values. It’s working within the organisation’s brand framework to highlight their employer authenticity. Discover the entire campaign here.

Got a question about your employer brand? Get in touch.