Recruitment Marketing

4 Expert Takes on Employer Branding for Executive Recruiting

Profile photo of Natasha Makovora
Written by Natasha Makovora

Your company’s employer brand is more important to attracting and recruiting executives than you might think. Here are 4 expert takes on how you can use employer branding in executive recruiting.

4 Expert Takes on Employer Branding for Executive Recruiting
5 (100%) 7 votes

You may think that employer branding only influences candidates in mid-level or entry-level roles, but it also highly affects your ability to attract and recruit executives.

Executive recruitment (also known as headhunting) is a specialized recruitment search for senior-level leadership roles. As you know, these searches are often highly specific and the candidates are passive — so, we may not target this particular audience in our Recruitment Marketing strategy as frequently.

However, as practitioners, it’s important to remember that people across all career levels want to be confident in the decision they’re making about their next job. During the recruitment process, executives are also looking at how a company positions itself as an employer, what the company’s reputation is and what the company culture is like.Here are 4 expert takes on how you can use employer branding in executive recruiting.

Q&A with Michael Lemmer, Founder & President, ML6

michael lemmer from ML6

Michael Lemmer is the Founder and President of ML6. ML6 is a recruitment and talent advisory firm providing customized talent solutions to support their clients’ visions for long-term sustainable results.

Rally: How much do you think a company’s employer brand influences an executive’s decision to join?

Michael: Employer brand is a critical factor at the executive level. For someone who has invested years into building their career, the reputation of a prospective new organization is paramount. Generally, the top 3 factors are mandate, reputation (employer brand) and company trajectory — and frequently, these 3 are intertwined!

Executives carefully examine the brand of a prospective new employer, specifically because that brand becomes an extension of the executive as soon as they join. The question in their minds becomes, “How will my peers, friends and family perceive me when they research this company, and how will it positively impact my career trajectory?”

The first place a potential hire goes, no matter the level, is to the company’s website, LinkedIn page or Glassdoor profile, and the next step they will take is to ask trusted peers what they know and think about the organization. If there is a poor or negative perception about a company, then the recruitment process with that particular candidate will stop before it even gets off the ground.

Rally: How do you and your company leverage Recruitment Marketing and employer branding to attract executives?

Michael: ML6 Search + Talent Advisory operates as an extension of our clients’ teams. We take the time to dive deep into their culture in order to ensure we are accurately portraying their brand when we go to market. Sometimes this means we work with our partners to help them uncover what their employer brand is, and help them tell the story.

Further to this, we also want to ensure that we are effectively portraying our employer brand at ML6, as top talent only wants to associate with reputable executive recruiting firms. The decision to work with a search firm, or even accept a reach out from a search firm, is not a decision that an executive, or anyone, takes lightly. Our brand and social marketing is almost as important as the client we are representing, as the candidate will take a look at ML6 and come to a conclusion about us based on how our brand is portrayed. This typically happens before a conversation even takes place.

Rally: How do you see employer branding and Recruitment Marketing influencing or evolving in the landscape of executive recruitment?

We’re already seeing a shift in the way organizations are viewing talent acquisition, and how they approach attracting top talent to join their teams. Compensation packages are becoming more flexible, as are working arrangements. Eventually, it will reach a point where compensation won’t be a major deciding factor — top talent will know their worth and organizations will be willing to pay it — resulting in a greater emphasis on the remaining key differentiators, employer brand being one of them.

Since organizations will no longer be able to rely solely on having the deepest pockets, they need to start thinking about how they are going to showcase what sets them apart from their competitors in the talent market:

  • How are they supporting diversity and inclusion?
  • How did they respond during the current pandemic?
  • What sort of green initiatives are they involved in?

These are just some examples of things that are currently topical, and will likely have a significant influence on talent’s desire to engage with and potentially join an organization — and these are all things that can be shaped by having and executing on an effective employer brand strategy.

Q&A with Jennifer Lennox, Vice President of People, Sensibill


jennifer lennox from Sensibill

Jennifer Lennox is the Vice President of People at Sensibill. Sensibill provides digital banking solutions such as AI-powered expense management, that foster stronger relationships between financial institutions and their customers.

Rally: How much do you think a company’s employer brand influences an executive’s decision to join?

Jennifer: The short answer? A lot. Prospective employees want to play on a winning team, and at Sensibill, we’re here to win! We have established a standard of excellence across our people, culture, clients and technology. Sharing our key values, outcomes and impacts not only helps boost morale but positively contributes to executive recruitment efforts. For example, our recent press release, blog post and social campaign announcing Chase as a partner quickly drew in a talented pool of applicants to our open positions.

We’ve also found that strong leadership attracts strong leadership. Two of our C-suite members, Corey Gross and Izabella Gabowicz, make time to speak with applicants about the vision and purpose behind Sensibill and where it’s headed, which drives significant interest. Potential employees appreciate the time and buy into the vision, connecting with our leadership as well as the talented team that supports them.

The key to all of this is being genuine. What makes an employer brand successful is hearing about clear, consistent key values and vision, but also seeing these elements firsthand. Transparency and integrity are key pillars of our brand, which not only means celebrating our successes but also acknowledging when we need to do things better. At the executive level, we want people to know what to expect when they join the team. Our careers website is reflective of our people and culture as well as our technology — the two components of Sensibill that drive success.

Rally: How do you and your company leverage Recruitment Marketing or employer brand approaches in attracting executives?

Jennifer: A major component of our employer brand is developing and cultivating thought leaders, and there’s no shortage of them at Sensibill. It’s our job to provide our executives with the proper platform to share their ideas and perspectives.

Our blogs are a great example of how we’re encouraging industry discussions on topics our executives are passionate about. For example, our CEO recently published a blog about how institutions can do better at serving the underbanked.

Beyond blogs and regularly appearing in local and industry publications, our executives are out and about in the community (although, more so virtually these days). This is important because prospective new executives will see this activity and keep us on their radar. Executives gravitate toward those they see and hear from in industry groups and forums.

Rally: How do you see employer branding and Recruitment Marketing influencing or evolving in the landscape of executive recruitment?

We used to heavily rely on in-person events to meet potential employees and share our brand story, but this has shifted in the current climate. We’re now finding ourselves looking for new ways to screen talent, build connections and communicate who we are. Zoom meetings, virtual networking events and happy hours are now a critical part of our recruitment process and factor into how we share our employer brand. The video element humanizes interactions and provides a genuine touchpoint, reminding everyone on the call that we all have families, pets or hobbies — people are more than their resumes.

Q&A with Kristina McDougall, Principal & Founder — Executive Search, Artemis

kristina mcdougall from artemis

Kristina McDougall is the Principal & Founder – Executive Search, Artemis. Artemis is an executive search firm for Canada’s Innovation Economy. Artemis partners with the leaders of growing technology companies, delivering innovative recruitment solutions to build inspired executive and strategic teams.

Rally: How much do you think a company’s employer brand influences an executive’s decision to join?

Kristina: A company’s reputation in their community and in their market have a definite impact on how they are perceived as a potential employer — both by executives and by every level of employee.

Every senior level candidate will read online employer reviews, read social media posts, customer testimonials and will seek insight from their personal and professional network. That said, at a senior level a leader can often affect change in areas that impact brand, including high turnover, bad morale or products that fail.

Rally: How do you and your company leverage employer branding to attract executives?

Kristina: As we develop executive leadership briefs and pitch executive level roles, some of the most valuable and persuasive information within them includes authentic stories about the company, their products, their customers and most of all the team members and their individual employment experience. Executive-level candidates want to know that the company both is able to tell their story to customers, that they have a strong sense of who they are as a team, and that they have values and a purpose that are genuine.

Rally: How do you see Recruitment Marketing evolving in the landscape of executive recruitment?

Kristina: Recruitment Marketing is more aligned with product marketing than most companies realize. Much like truly understanding your customer is key to the success of a product, understanding the drivers for your ideal employees and leaders is key to success in both recruiting and engagement. That and telling a great story.

We hear from top tech executives that they want to have impact, to find a role where they can leverage and grow their strengths — and perhaps most importantly to work with a team whose values are aligned with their own. When you can tell authentic stories that demonstrate a company’s values it’s very powerful. We love it when we can tell the story of leaders and employees at all levels who care deeply for their customers and their teams, and who solve meaningful problems.

Rally note: If you’d like to learn more about what content candidates are looking for, check out our blog post 7 Types of Recruitment Marketing Content Candidates Want to See.

Q&A with Michael Jacobs, Manager, Executive Recruitment & Sourcing, PointClickCare


michael jacobs from pointclickcare

Michael Jacobs is the Manager of Executive Recruitment & Sourcing from PointClickCare. PointClickCare is the leading electronic health record (EHR) technology partner to North America’s long-term post-acute care (LTPAC) and senior care industry.

Rally: How much do you think a company’s employer brand influences an executive’s decision to join?

Michael: I believe a company’s employer brand has a great deal to do with an executive’s decision to join or even engage with a company. If you have a highly engaged and active executive leadership team on social media, or any platform really, it gives external executive candidates a look at their potential future peers.

It helps determine if this is a culture they can work and thrive in, learn from their peers and get on board with the mission.

Executives also tend to have vast networks and have their ear to the ground when it comes to exciting news within their industry. The more active and respected your executives are, the more noticeable your employer brand tends to be. Meaning, your current executive team is very influential on your employer brand, whether they know it or not. Culture comes from the top down, so the content they put out is very telling.

Rally: How do you and your company leverage Recruitment Marketing and employer brand to attract executives?

Our recruitment team works very closely with our marketing team on content. Along with that, our executives (specifically our CEO and President) are very active on social media.

We don’t often use ads at this level, as they are very targeted searches, but I do use our social media platforms. I also constantly refer executive candidates to our Glassdoor page and share how organic it is. We don’t push for reviews and we don’t take down the negative comments. We want to paint an accurate picture of the company and let you make an informed decision.

I also keep a repository of relevant content that we’ve previously shared, as it will help speak to the position I am trying to fill. As an executive recruiter, I have to be a curator of content for potential candidates. Yes, they will do their research on us, but I can help by connecting executive level candidates to articles, posts, videos, etc. that I think will help answer any questions they have or might pique their interest. Here’s a sample article that I might send to a potential candidate.

Sample article from PointClickCare Blog

Rally: How do you see employer branding and Recruitment Marketing influencing the landscape of executive recruitment?

Michael: I feel that employer branding will become more and more of a driving factor in executive recruitment, as it already has in recruitment in general. People are not as driven to join companies with big names as they once were. The people are what draws great candidates in.

People are looking for companies that treat everyone well and have their best interest at heart, not ones that just focused on the bottomline. Executive teams that embrace this type of culture, are accessible and active on social media providing an inside look at the company culture will draw in potential candidates.

I couldn’t tell you the number of times I’ve had a candidate say they just watched a YouTube video of our CEO discussing why he got into the industry and how impressed they were. It is a very powerful tool when used correctly.


We hope these interviews with a range of executive recruitment experts have provided you with more insight into the candidate mindset and how employer brand and Recruitment Marketing influence executive searches.

4 Expert Takes on Employer Branding for Executive Recruiting
5 (100%) 7 votes

About the Author

Profile photo of Natasha Makovora

Natasha Makovora

Natasha Makovora is a Rally Content Contributor and Employer Brand and Recruitment Marketing Specialist at The Employer Brand Shop.

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