Authors: Lauren Perna and Sahana Nazeer

In the first part of this series, we said that if a company builds a good culture up front, they won’t be forced to give a hard sell to potential candidates later.  This doesn’t mean a remarkable corporate culture is a substitute for marketing and branding. A comprehensive employer branding strategy complements an engaging culture.

BioSpace’s Katie Roth describes employer branding as “ensuring your company or organization is represented in the best possible way to attract candidates. It’s about connecting with candidates to ensure appropriate cultural fit” in her October 2019 article entitled 7 Tips for Branding in the Life Sciences.

For startups in survival mode this feels like the last thing on the list; resources need to go towards the research. Yet, if a company skips the legwork up front to attract the right people, they risk wasting valuable time and money bringing on the wrong people.

“Employers who don’t invest in their reputations pay up to $4,723 more per employee hired, and half of candidates won’t even consider working for a company with a bad employer brand, no matter how high the salary offer.” – Employer Branding Essentials, LinkedIn

Even for companies with limited resources, there are still branding techniques that incur minimal costs and provide big value. For example, employees can be brand ambassadors by sharing the company story to their networks in-person and online. They can also make full use of their LinkedIn profiles. Another inexpensive way to kickstart a branding strategy is by maximizing the company and careers pages on the website and on LinkedIn. In TalentLyft’s May 2019 article How to Hire for Cultural Fit and retain 86% of Employee the folks at Zety encourage employers to “over-communicate” what their company stands for on these pages; it helps “screen the candidate pool” and attract the right candidates.

Two other inexpensive yet impactful ways to establish a good brand are enhancing job descriptions and utilizing social media. We cannot stress the importance of a good job description.  We often see clients send us job descriptions that require an unreasonable list of qualifications, yet the description offers no personality of the company. This tactic scares potential candidates away, especially those that don’t meet every requirement but could be a good overall fit. When consulting with a client, we help them carve out a job posting that does not describe a unicorn candidate but does paint a good picture of the company. We also help clients maximize their social media coverage through their platforms and ours.

Roth’s Biospace article makes an important point about creating a diversified recruitment strategy.  Rather than casting a wide net, utilize niche sites and be thoughtful about targeting your outreach so you attract the right people. Biospace, MassBio, and Sci.bio’s career page are all great examples of niche sites to consider.

Once you have attracted the right candidates and created a team of employees that will represent your culture, the next step is making sure you live up to that culture. In the next part of this series, we’ll talk about the employee experience.