As a recruiter in 2003, I caught the early wave of digital marketing and tested many talent attraction tactics. Some failed, some didn’t, so for years I kept updating and testing strategies while managing hiring campaigns for giants like IBM, Accenture, SAP, and Deloitte.
By late 2009, I thought I had enough proof: when social media communicated an uncommon employer brand = talent attraction improved.
Yet repeatedly I saw employer brands play safe.
Timid, decaf company missions – hung in corporate offices with words like innovation, cutting-edge, passion, and stakeholder. *yawn* As charming as a poor chap that tries to be liked by everyone.
Over time, a question took shape:
How might a well-crafted employer brand affect
talent attraction if you aren’t a market leader?
I’d eventually serve challenger brands, defined as: A good company with an unremarkable brand from the outside. Maybe an underdog. A brand that struggles to hire the right humans because the competitor has larger salaries and brand trust.
But challengers have an advantage that the market leaders don’t: they can be picky – and boldly communicate what it’s like to be an employee.
If you are a challenger, you don’t need to appeal to the majority of the talent pool. You can appeal to the 20% that fit your culture, while repelling the other 80% and still achieve all your talent needs.
The magic comes from finding the true personality of your employer brand. It’s precisely because you can ignore the majority that you are able to stand out to the minority.
So, in late 2009, I quit my job. Link Humans began.