Employer branding is an essential part of filling your talent pool. The way in which potential employees outside of your ecosystem perceive your company can have a tremendous impact on your access to the top talent in your industry. In fact, one recent poll from LinkedIn indicated that a full 56% of professionals consider a company's reputation as a top deciding factor when choosing a new job. And believe it or not, the executive recruiters you work with can play a major part in your employer brand.
What is Employer Branding?
As a brief refresher, employer branding refers to the overall perception of your company in your industry or even in the community at large. An employer's brand is influenced by various sources, including word of mouth from current and past employees, corporate review sites like Glassdoor, and employer branding initiatives like job fairs or other promotions that are visible in the community. Your employer brand is how potential employees think of you before they have any hand on contact with your company.
How Executive Search Firms Influence Employer Branding
One source of employer brand influence that many companies may not consider is the executive recruiters with whom that company chooses to work. Since expert executive recruiters are not always on a company's payroll, these individuals are hired from outside, meaning they are not a part of the corporate culture as a whole. However, despite their outside status, recruiters can act as a mouthpiece for the organization. The way in which a recruiter acts with potential employees is a direct reflection on the company they are working for. When a recruiter is disorganized, unresponsive or generally less than professional, those effects can ripple through your potential talent pool and cause problems with current and future recruitment.
Retained Search Firms Mitigate This Risk
Every search firm differs in their level of commitment, but one of the biggest differences between firms is whether they work on a retained or contingency basis. Contingency search firms simply have less to concern themselves with when it comes to employer branding. When a contingency search firm is unable to find a proper placement for a certain position, they can end their search with no losses. This is not exactly incentive to be as professional and diligent as possible and can pose a threat to your established employer brand. If a contingency recruiter simply stops returning a prospect's phone calls, it reflects just as poorly on your company as on theirs.
On the other hand, retained search firms have established and continuing relationships with their clients. This means that they are committed to finding the right person to fill the position and, therefore, want to portray the company in a flattering and professional light at all times. Retained search firms have financial reasons to treat your potential employees just as you would want to treat them, conveying and even elevating your established employer brand.
As an employer, your brand is both yours to establish and grow. Unfortunately, dents in its armour are not always under your control. When hiring an expert executive recruiter, be sure that you would not only entrust them with your executive search, but with your entire reputation.