Recruitment Marketing Social Recruiting

Why Employer Branding is the Right Career, Right Now

Learn how to change paths on your Recruitment Marketing journey
Profile photo of Ashley Walls
Written by Ashley Walls

Are you looking for alternative paths on your Recruitment Marketing journey? Here’s how one Talent Acquisition Marketing Manager changed directions in her career to thrive in a dream job.

Why Employer Branding is the Right Career, Right Now
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I recently transitioned back into employer branding and Recruitment Marketing from a social media marketing role. And within weeks of starting my new employer brand role, the world turned upside down as we were hit with the COVID-19 crisis.

I have to admit, I went through a slight moment of panic—as many of you may have done as well. I asked myself, would an employer brand role really be in demand right now, in the current climate?

Lucky for me, and for many of us, I think many organizations are realizing that employer branding is more important than ever. From an external perspective, companies’ reputations are shifting in a big way right now based on how they are treating their employees during this crisis. In other words, their employer brand is drastically influencing their overall brand.

You can read more about how your employer brand can re-recruit employees here.

Further to that, being able to communicate internally, and improve the employee experience during a tumultuous time is really important too. In my new role, I’ve been able to flex my skills and showcase just how awesome our culture is even while we’re all working from home.

So many jobs have been affected by COVID-19, and will continue to be affected, and I am grateful to be in a position where I know that my work is making a difference for those who are searching for a job and going through the interview process. Beyond that, I’m grateful to work for an employer that is empathetic and allows me to play a role in supporting current employee sentiment too.

I’m thrilled to be working in employer branding, but interestingly, this is my second time around in an EB role. I recently took a detour to work in marketing, and learned a lot that prepared me for what I’m doing now. After taking you through my journey, I’ll also share my Top Social Media Tips for Recruitment Marketers in an infographic below.

Lead with employer brand webinar from RallyFwd

Why I left and returned to Employer Branding

I decided to take the scenic route to grow my marketing and branding skills. I did this by intentionally leaving my first employer branding role and taking a job on the Marketing team.

At my previous company, I started as an Employer Brand Specialist. I came from recruiting, but really had found passion in the creative marketing side of talent attraction. I have a natural instinct for marketing best practices, but my professional career had really only been in recruiting.

To bridge the gap, I learned a lot through mentorship and the awesome resources teaching you modern strategies in Recruitment Marketing, Employer Branding, Social Media and Candidate Experience provided by communities like Rally Recruitment Marketing. They even helped me expand my marketing skills—so much so as to be recognized by the corporate marketing team!

Corporate marketing saw the campaigns I was creating for our careers social media channels and asked me if I would be interested in starting a new role as the company’s Social Media Marketing Manager.

Here’s the campaign I worked on that captured the attention of the marketing team.

There was an initial reaction of “Holy crap!” that came from the realization that I had been a self-taught ex-recruiter who found a fast track into marketing. I was really proud of the progress I’d made and the recognition I’d received, but at the same time I needed to start thinking: What was my end journey?

I loved Recruitment Marketing, but something told me that this opportunity was necessary as part of my journey. Almost like a “sabbatical” from the Recruitment Marketing community. I wanted to leave and come back to RM feeling refreshed with new ideas to share. That being said, even when you’re on the best vacation, you think about your journey home.

Setting my career growth intentions

I believe all big decisions in your professional career should be made with a set of intentions. I asked myself, “What will I gain from becoming a social media manager?” and “Is this the direction in which I want my career to go?”

I knew that I was good at employer branding. I knew I loved it, so why did I leave? I knew that even if I ended up loving being a social media manager, which I did, that it wasn’t going to be forever for me. As mentioned before, I saw this as my scenic route back home to EB. So, I accepted this opportunity with the following intentions:

  • I will absorb as much as I can from the corporate marketing team, learning how a traditional corporate marketing team operates
  • I will “make my way back home” to TA marketing and be better and even more equipped to build an employer brand into something great

My takeaways from my corporate marketing sabbatical

I think that anyone who didn’t start their employer branding careers from a marketing background shouldn’t be afraid to try their hand at corporate marketing if given the opportunity.

For me, the experience really helped me be a better communicator to stakeholders when I came back to EB because I better understood what made leadership’s ears perk up and how to convey the critical nature of what we’re trying to accomplish in this field.

Here’s a campaign that included a blog and video I created as a result of a Tenable employee appearing on Survivor.

My previous work experiences also really helped to prepare me for the current crisis that we are facing. Running corporate social media accounts put me at the frontline of audience communication. I often received unsolicited feedback (good and bad!) on how we responded to other crises. What I learned is it wasn’t just customers who were commenting and engaging, but also community members who saw us as industry thought leaders and who came to us for guidance in times of crises.

This made me realize that when it came to our COVID-19 response, it wasn’t just about providing direct candidates with resources, but rather it was about how our community members, employees and candidates perceived us. In other words, I knew that our employer brand during this time was influencing far more than just candidate sentiment and that the perceptions we were building now started from within.

In the end, taking a few years of sabbatical from employer branding and Recruitment Marketing has really strengthened my skills and appreciation for this space.

They say home is where the heart is, and my heart is with this community. It feels damn good to be back. I don’t know where my journey will lead me next, but right now, I am happy to be home!

Ashley’s Top Social Media tips for Recruitment Marketers

Infographic on social media tips for Recruitment Marketing

Infographic: Ashley’s top social media tips for recruitment marketing

Lead with employer brand webinar from RallyFwd

Why Employer Branding is the Right Career, Right Now
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About the Author

Profile photo of Ashley Walls

Ashley Walls

Ashley Walls is the Senior Manager of Employer Brand for REEF. She previously served as the Talent Acquisition Marketing Manager at Arcadia and as the Social Media Marketing Manager for Tenable.

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