2 min read

Be a Candidate Expert: The Quickest Path to Employer Branding Success

Use content to show that you’re a candidate expert. In other words, that you can read your candidate's mind.

60-second read (+0:37 video)

If you’re a Head of Talent or in-house recruiter who’s also tasked with figuring out employer branding (or you’re a non-traditional EB champion), here’s your quickest path to success—and you’re competitive advantage.


  • Hire the right people
  • Recruiter efficiency

The framework:

Step 1: UX research.

Before doing anything, spend a significant amount of time talking to candidates that you’re not trying to recruit with the sole intention of finding out what information they want before they apply.

You’re already doing it. (Or should be.) Either way, you’re the closest ones to this audience.

Step 2: Create low-lift, highly informative content at a regular cadence to test what works.

Take your research feedback and repurpose it into information-rich micro-content that you distribute via social, in outbound recruiter messages, and in other channels that your target audience spends time in.

Step 3: Allow content and feedback to inform your ongoing strategy.

You will get feedback. You will know what works and what doesn’t. Do more of what works, drop the rest. Iterate and repeat from there.

Bottom line: Use content to show that you’re a candidate expert. In other words, that you can read your candidate's mind.

It sounds so obvious and agreeable that it’s borderline eye-roll-y.

So why isn’t anyone doing this?

Why are employer brand leaders spending their time surveying current employees and new hires instead of conducting ongoing UX interviews with external candidates and reverse engineering content to match?

My guesses are:

1. They don’t know to do it. If this is the case, this also means that they don’t know how to do a lot of things that the smartest marketers do and EB is probably dead in the water.

2. They’re afraid to do it. So they mask their fear by doing what’s safe—the thing that on the surface looks productive, but completely misses the mark.

This single thing—not knowing what motivates your target market at a deep level—can be linked to all of the meaningless employer branding we see.

The reality is that few will do what I’m suggesting.

The majority will waste a ton of time and money starting with the wrong strategy and overthinking messaging and design. And when something does finally see the light of day it will be bland, vanilla, and safe because it will speak to their company, not to their candidates. It’s the classic echo chamber.

My advice to those willing to go against the industry norms and “best practices”:

  • Move fast by starting with your end-user.
  • Create a content-feedback loop that informs your ongoing strategy.

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