What the Heck do Employment Brand Managers do All Day? #hrbasics

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For quite some time now, there has been much talk about employer branding and what companies should (or shouldn’t) do when it comes to branding. The other night, I had the pleasure of speaking with a recruiter from a large, very well known investment banking firm. Quite simply, she wanted to know what employer branding is and what brand managers do.

In light of this recent conversation and since it is #HRBasics week on Blogging4Jobs, I thought I’d tackle this question and more.

Why do companies need employment brand managers?

“Perhaps you have never heard of Employer Branding or Recruitment Marketing, but in the very near future you will. Its a growing area of Marketing necessitated by the challenging labor market condition,” reads a job posting by Philips Healthcare. “Our challenge to you is to bring your creativity, proactivity, resourceful nature and high-energy work ethic to drive brand preference …”

Yep, that sums it up nicely. And it’s one reason that we’re starting to see more and more companies creating this niche role within either the HR, Marketing or Communications department. But, how does an employment brand manager drive preference?

What do employer branding pros do?

We do a lot more than just post photos to Facebook. In layman’s terms, we’re “marketers for HR” and have our hands in a lot of pots. Some of us wear the title of Recruitment Marketing Manager, Talent Communication Strategist, Social & Sourcing Lead, Employment Brand Director or some other variation.

Regardless of title, here are some typical items on our to-do lists:

  • Conduct market analysis and focus groups,  increase awareness within key demographics and geographies, manage scalable projects, write content.
  • Negotiate contracts, ensure message consistency, create multi-channel marketing campaigns, promote referral campaigns.
  • Conceptualize recruiting videos, adopt mobile technologies for recruiting, know a little something about SEO, write blog posts.
  • Manage career sites and communities, train recruiters, implement new technologies, re-write job postings.
  • Align internal and external communications, create corporate slidedecks, attend vendor demos, keep up on industry trends.
  • Create pay per click campaigns, create brand ambassador programs, participate in events, plan photos shoots.
  • Build social media strategies, identify new digital recruiting channels, manage online reputations, write tweets.
  • Position the employer in front of target audiences, lead campus collateral redesigns, analyze website analytics, measure performance, have fun.

And. so. much. more. Over and over again.

What does it take to work in employer branding?

Some companies are keen on having someone from an advertising agency as their brand manager. Others want someone with a digital marketing background and an MBA. I know a very talented manager who started in graphic design before transitioning to recruitment marketing. And, there are quite a few all-stars that started in a purely recruiting role that — over time — morphed into employer branding.

So, to me, it’s not necessarily a matter of whether you’re a recruiter or a marketer, but how you connect the dots between the two.

Work in employer branding? What’s your favorite aspect of your role?

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Shannon Smedstad

Shannon Smedstad has nearly 20 years of recruitment, employer branding, and communications experience. Currently, she serves as the Principal Employer Brand Strategist at exaqueo. Previously, she held employer branding and recruiting leadership roles at CEB and GEICO. She’s a work at home mom raising two awesome girls who also enjoys reading, running, leading a Girl Scout troop, and her morning coffee. You can connect with Shannon on LinkedIn and Twitter.


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