Employer Branding Recruitment Marketing

The 3 Most Effective Ways to Differentiate Your Employer Brand

The 3 Most Effective Ways to Differentiate Your Employer Brand
Profile photo of Lori Sylvia
Written by Lori Sylvia

In a market filled with the same roles, benefits, values and language, how can employers truly stand out to today’s limited supply of top talent? Hear from Rally’s Lori Sylvia how to differentiate yourself long-term.

The 3 Most Effective Ways to Differentiate Your Employer Brand
5 (100%) 1 vote

The idea of the “untapped channel” is exciting to us recruitment marketers, especially in today’s noisy, competitive talent market. If I could just find a channel that none of my competitors know about, all my problems would be solved!

But in my experience, while new channels can certainly play a part in differentiating you as an employer, the effect always wears off as everyone inevitably comes to know the same channels. How you differentiate yourself long-term is in your messaging, content and ability to quickly adjust to what the data is telling you. 

With “not differentiating” recently being listed as one of the 3 key reasons that most Recruitment Marketing efforts miss the mark, I knew now was the perfect time to share what I’m seeing work for our community of 35,000 Recruitment Marketing and employer branding practitioners.

Rally note: Learn even more about future-proofing your recruitment strategy by watching Lori’s recent appearance on Social Talent’s podcast, The Shortlist, below.

1. Human-sounding messaging that conveys your employee experience

Why do people love working for you? What keeps them around long-term? The answers to these questions inform your employee value proposition (EVP) and are your real differentiating factors, and you can find them through any or all of the following methods: 

  • Employee focus groups
  • Employee surveys
  • External brand surveys
  • Glassdoor reviews from current and past employees

Underscoring your content with the answers to these questions is necessary not just to differentiate you on the talent market, but it also ensures that there’s no disconnect between what candidates believe they’re getting into by joining your team and what it’s actually like to work for you, lending to a positive candidate experience and long-term retention.  

But know that at least some of these findings are going to overlap with what your competitors find in their research, namely around hot-button topics like sustainability, DEI and innovation.

To avoid saying the same thing, you’re going to have to get creative. An EVP pillar on your careers site or Instagram post with a description that reads “we’re committed to innovation” is going to make you sound the same as everyone else.

Instead, talk about the specific projects you’re working on, the tools and tech you’re using and your concrete goals for the near future. Similarly, if DEI is a pillar, offer a glimpse into the work your employee resource group is doing. Or take a page out of Dell’s handbook and show what you’re doing to achieve a certain level of representation within your organization.

Dell's progress towards having a certain level of women representation at the leadership level.

Dell releases their Annual Progress Made Real and D&I Reports which outline holistically what Dell is doing to make progress towards their goals, including those related to women representation.

And this goes without saying, but in all of your messaging, avoid corporate jargon as best you can. Careers site copy, social media posts, job ads, newsletters and any other content you put out should sound like it was written by a human representing your culture, not copied from a lifeless template. 

2. Authentic content that covers topics candidates care about

Once you know what you want to say to candidates, the next step is to promote it through your content. Here is another opportunity to differentiate yourself, as a survey by Stackla found that authenticity is by far the most influential factor in people deciding which brands they like and support, yet less than half of brands create content that resonates as authentic.

So how do you take the findings from your EVP research and promote your employer brand messaging through your content authentically? You let your employees lead the way. The same survey found that consumers are 2.4 times more likely to say user-generated content (UGC), or employee generated content (EGC) in our case, is authentic compared to brand-created content. 

The case for EGC also comes through in data we’re seeing from Rally Inside, our new analytics & benchmarking tool. Among our users, we’re finding that employee generated content is consistently towards the top of the list for content with the highest levels of engagement.

Rally note: Hear directly from Coca-Cola how they engage job seekers with employee generated content in our free, on-demand webinar, Employee Generated Content that Attracts Top Talent.

In terms of the topics that you cover in your content, EGC and otherwise, this will depend on a number of factors, including the findings from your EVP research, your industry and the interests and questions of your specific talent audience. While you’re best to do your own research in these areas, here are some content insights from Rally Inside to get you started in the right direction:

Insight: Jobs content at the team or job function level (i.e. a post generally promoting engineering careers at your company) is receiving 70% more candidate engagement than content promoting individual jobs (i.e. a post promoting a specific engineering role) or all careers in general. 

Takeaway: Don’t just post individual job posts; mix in jobs content at the team or job function level.

Insight: The amount of people content being published is down by 40% compared to the end of 2021, but people-focused stories are receiving twice the amount of engagement compared to jobs content in Q4 2021. Engagement with culture content, in particular, is up by 174%.

Takeaway: Take advantage of the current lack of employer brand content by posting more employee stories, leadership profiles and content about your company culture.

Insight: There is 70% less corporate content so far in 2022 compared to the end of 2021, but the company content that is being posted is receiving 200% more engagement. 

Takeaway: Share as much good news about your company as you have to share, including company news, awards, partnerships, updates and milestones. 

Insight: Career progression engagement is up 103% compared to the end of 2021, whereas career advice engagement is down 77%. 

Takeaway: Show what career progression opportunities exist within your company across as many roles and departments as possible. This can be as simple as having someone who started in an entry-level position tell their story of how they progressed to their current position in a higher-up role. 

BMO’s “How it started, How it’s going” series, which features employees who started in entry-level positions but have progressed to leadership roles, is a perfect example of how to show career progression opportunities within your organization.

Data insights that let you know what’s working

Because Recruitment Marketing is still in the process of developing into its own practice, there is still a lot of confusion around how to track and measure its effectiveness. 

But without hard data to guide you, you can’t know if the messaging you’re using, the content your posting or anything else you’re doing is resonating with your talent audience. If you’re always going in blind, you can never develop a true understanding of what’s working, and consequently where to direct your strategy to really differentiate yourself. 

Not having a way to track, measure and report on your effectiveness can also stop you from getting necessary support and resources at the leadership level, especially since our Rally Recruitment Marketing Job and Salary Survey Report (coming soon!) revealed that about a third of Recruitment Marketing practitioners have managers who don’t understand what they do. 

A pie chart breaking down how leaders aren't familiar with Recruitment Marketing.

There is currently a huge opportunity for practitioners to define their work and value to leaders.

Of the managers and leaders that do have some understanding, many of them still see recruitment marketers as only helping to attract talent to jobs. This means they’re only graded on metrics like number of apply clicks, cost per click and cost per applicant. But this doesn’t account for recruitment marketers’ other, equally important responsibility of attracting talent to employers, which requires a completely different set of metrics to be measured by. 

With this in mind, keep track of the following metrics (broken down by the 2 main responsibilities of recruitment marketers):

  • Advertising jobs:
      • Number of qualified job applicants (important to emphasize qualified candidates and not hired candidates, as there are factors outside of Recruitment Marketing’s control that might stop a qualified candidate from accepting a role, such as timing)
      • Cost per application or cost per click
  • Marketing employer brand:
    • Number of people in your talent audience reached by your employer brand and jobs (i.e. subscribers in your talent network and followers on social media), and number of leads in your talent database
    • Engagement rate of your content (i.e. likes, comments and shares) designed to attract and influence candidates
    • Employer review ratings (i.e. Glassdoor reviews) and candidate experience scores (i.e. automated survey at the end of an interview)

Tracking, measuring and analyzing how you’re performing in all of these areas will help you make more informed decisions that differentiate you from your competitors, prove to leaders the full scope of your work and earn the resources and support you need to achieve your goals. 

Rally note: Get everything you need to plan, measure, analyze and benchmark a winning Recruitment Marketing strategy with our free 5-piece Recruitment Marketing Measurement Kit.


Instead of holding out hope for that one untapped channel that holds the key to unlimited top talent, try differentiating yourself through what you can control: your messaging, content and data tracking. 

For more help attracting talent in today’s noisy, competitive market, download our free ideabook, 5 Quick Wins to Achieve Recruitment Marketing Impact.

The 3 Most Effective Ways to Differentiate Your Employer Brand
5 (100%) 1 vote

About the Author

Profile photo of Lori Sylvia

Lori Sylvia

Recruitment Marketing evangelist and community builder. Founder of Rally.

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