Startups are often the silent bystanders, in the sea of the large brands, when it comes to attracting top talent to occupy HR jobs, marketing jobs, etc. While their ability to rapidly scale depends on how successfully they attract, acquire and retain talent, many struggle to navigate the crowded labor markets inhabited by strong brands. Well-established brands are often considered ‘employers of choice’ by prospective hires, putting startups at a disadvantage right out of the gate. According to a Glassdoor survey, 84% of employees/job seekers say the reputation of a company as an employer of choice is important when looking for job opportunities and making a decision on where to apply for a job.

Insights from Randstad Employer Brand Research (REBR) 2019 show that Amazon and Microsoft are the most attractive brands in India. How can startups compete with such well-established brands for outstanding talent?  Here are a few tips that might come in handy in creating powerful employer brands.

Discover your employee value proposition: The first step is to create and communicate your Employee Value Proposition (EVP). An employer brand is much larger and more profound than what’s mentioned in the job posting. It’s important to understand that job seekers want a glimpse of what their lives would be like when they join the organization.

What kind of people would they be working with, what are the values that drive the company, what is the mission it has outlined to achieve, where does it place employees in its priority structure? All these merge to constitute the EVP, the “What’s in it for me?” factor which transcends transactional aspects like salary and benefits. Goldman Sachs’ EVP says, “At Goldman Sachs, you will make an impact”. This simple message addresses millennials who look for meaning in their employment beyond compensation.

Stay active in feedback portals: An employer’s online reputation and the general perception demonstrated in feedback portals such as Glassdoor go a long way in influencing a potential hire’s decision. Therefore, it only makes sense to create widespread visibility and positive employer recall on these platforms. The best way to do this is to encourage existing employees to post their reviews – which are honest and untampered. 54% of candidates read company reviews from employees on their mobiles, while 52% research salary information. From the organization’s side, every review should be responded to – be it positive or negative. The best people for this job would be the CEO or the HR head.

Fire up your career page: A company’s career page should act as the window into its actual workplace culture. Regular updates about people’s success and celebrations go a long way in showcasing the impact that employees make while having fun – an element particularly attractive to the newer generation. It is also equally important to offer glimpses of the benefits, career development opportunities, contribution to the community, etc. to highlight the caring side of your company.

According to Glassdoor, when researching employment opportunities, job seekers expect employers to provide information on:  salary, benefits, basic company information, what makes it an attractive place to work, and company mission, vision, values. If you are a tech start-up, a quick peek into the new age technology work going on within the company, new product development or a new service architecture, or even an overview of how the company has disrupted the market can bring to light the innovative nature of your brand.

Make employees your brand advocates: The first touchpoint of an employer brand is its employees. They are the ones who experience a startup’s workplace culture first. The best way to create a strong and powerful employer brand is to have employees who will proactively promote and advocate your company as an employer. For this to happen, a compelling work culture that fosters trust, respect, and pride is fundamental. Creating platforms for people to address their concerns, building a robust response system to address concerns, developing a culture of appreciating good work, and enabling avenues for doing a valuable job – all of these help align people to their employer brands.  Candidates trust employees 3X more than the employer to provide information on working at a company.

A smart employer brand is one that not only attracts the right talent but also ‘repels’ talent that will not be a good cultural fit in the workplace. It is up to the brand to decide whether they want to drain their time, money, and effort in a wrong hire or deploy the self-selection mechanism where a candidate gets to self-select (or reject) a company based on its unique culture.


about the author
yashab giri new
yashab giri new

yeshab giri

chief commercial officer - staffing & RT professionals

yeshab is responsible for leading the development and expansion of randstad India’s value added staffing services which currently encompass field force, engineering and technology roles.