Employer Branding Recruitment Marketing

5 Considerations for When Hiring your First Employer Brand Leader

5 Considerations for When Hiring your First Employer Brand Leader
Profile photo of Kate Ryan
Written by Kate Ryan

Are you looking for the first employer brand or Recruitment Marketing hire at your company? Before you post the job description, consider insight from 1Password’s Kate Ryan to make sure you’re setting this new hire (and your company) up for success.

5 Considerations for When Hiring your First Employer Brand Leader
5 (100%) 4 votes

It’s a new year which means more and more job postings are popping up across LinkedIn as companies begin their 2022 hiring. More companies are realizing the value of having a team member dedicated to employer branding, and I’m seeing so many job postings that are searching for unicorns. 

I recently started as the Manager of Employer Brand at 1Password. Here, and at both of my previous employers, I was the first employer branding hire. As many practitioners know, this can be an exciting opportunity to build an employer brand from scratch and bring it to life, but it’s also important that this person is set up for success.

More and more companies are acknowledging their need to have a dedicated employer brand professional on their team. Taking this step is key to building and maintaining an employer brand. The conversations about your company are happening whether you insert yourself or not, so having a dedicated person internally to help craft your company’s narrative is very helpful. 

All that said, it can be difficult to know who and what you’re looking for as you begin your candidate search. Here are 5 considerations to make and questions to ask the hiring manager and key stakeholders before posting the job description for your first employer brand professional. 

1. What team will they be on?

This role has historically sat on either the marketing or people operations team, and often acts as a liaison between the two. When thinking about who this role might report to, consider what skills you want them to foster and bring to the team:

  • Are you looking to execute Recruitment Marketing campaigns across social channels? 
  • Or, are you looking for them to build out your company’s first EVP (employee value proposition) with internal stakeholders and executives?

There isn’t a right answer to this question, and I’ve experienced working on both teams and both can work well, but it is important to determine before you start the hiring process. 

You don’t want the one-person employer brand or Recruitment Marketing team feeling like an island. Giving them freedom to build out the function is great, but you still need to provide direction based on business and team objectives. Determining what team they’ll be on will help guide this, and give the candidate a better sense of the role and how they’ll be part of the greater team. 

2. What type of background are you looking for them to have? 

Talent Acquisition and Recruitment Marketing are two different skill sets. However, I see a number of job postings wanting a candidate to have years of experience in both. Yes, these roles will work very closely together. But asking someone to have years of recruiting experience alongside an in-depth understanding of the metrics associated with successful Recruitment Marketing campaigns is a big ask. You will be better off hiring two people with excellent backgrounds who have skills that will compliment each other.

That’s why it’s important to look at where your skill set gaps and needs are right now. For tips on how to hire and grow your team, here’s a helpful Rally blog on Expert Advice to Organize Your Recruitment Marketing Team. 

3. Is this really a specialist-level position? 

Many companies post Employer Brand Specialist or Recruitment Marketing Specialist roles, only to include in the job posting that they want this person to create a Recruitment Marketing social strategy, execute that strategy, and manage internal communications and company-wide meetings. This means it’s not a specialist position in most organizations. 

If this is your first employer brand leader (and I say leader for a reason!), you are likely looking for someone with a minimum of 3-5+ years marketing or internal communications experience. Building an employer brand skill set takes time, and understanding how to level this role is imperative to getting a candidate who can actually deliver results. 

The level matters! This will help set your new hire up for success, and ensure they feel valued and recognized at the appropriate level from the start. 

4. What is your short term vision for this role? 

As we know, the industry of Recruitment Marketing and employer branding is fast changing and how candidates respond to the market is ever evolving. While it’s great to think through the growth of this new role and the growth of the employer brand function at your business, it’s important to get specific about the short-term.

What do the first 6 months of this role look like? What specific projects do you want them to be responsible for? What’s the first “win” for this role? 

The answers to these questions can be included right in the job description. Be upfront about it in the interviews, so the candidates get a clear sense of what to expect when they start. 

5. Are you looking for a unicorn?

Wearing multiple hats is okay, but you can’t expect this person to be everything for everyone. It’s extremely difficult to find a video editor, copywriter, strategist and social media guru in one person. 

Determine what the objective of this role is: is it to build social media content? Are you looking for this person to work internally to build your EVP? Do they have graphic design resources available through other team members already at the company? 

You won’t attract great candidates if your job description includes a long list of aspirational skills you’re hoping they may have. As professionals who think about candidate experience a lot in our work, the same best practices apply to when you’re hiring someone to focus on employer branding and Recruitment Marketing. 

These candidates will be especially in tune to their experience through the hiring process and if your job description is searching for a unicorn, you’re likely losing candidates before they even apply. 

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Not only are these questions important to ask as you’re hiring your first employer brand leader, but it goes the other way too! For employer brand and Recruitment Marketing professionals currently in job searches, these are great questions to ask as you’re interviewing for roles.

By doing this work upfront and by asking your stakeholders these questions to clarify the role internally first, you’ll make crafting the job description easier, attract the right candidates, and set yourself and your new hire up for success. 

For tactical tips on writing job descriptions, check out the blog on How to Write Job Descriptions to Attract High Performers and Diverse Talent.

5 Considerations for When Hiring your First Employer Brand Leader
5 (100%) 4 votes

About the Author

Profile photo of Kate Ryan

Kate Ryan

Kate Ryan is Manager of Employer Brand at 1Password. Kate has a background in sales and customer success with a passion for employer branding. Kate previously served as a Communications Specialist at Flipp and Manager, Employer Brand Communications at Kira Systems.

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