What Is External Employer Branding?

A definition plus tips to build your external branding strategy

Written by Bailey Reiners
What Is External Employer Branding?
Built In Staff | Jun 29, 2022

Employer branding is one of the most critical aspects of your overarching recruitment strategy. It entices candidates to apply for your job, and encourages employees to stay at your company.

In this guide we'll cover the differences between external and internal employer branding and how each works to support the other. We'll also share tips on building an external employer brand that resonates with job seekers and stakeholders.


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The Difference between internal and External Employer Branding

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External employer branding is a company's strategy to manage and influence its reputation among job seekers and key stakeholders, ultimately to position itself as an employer of choice.

An external employer brand is promoted through recruitment marketing efforts to inform candidates about a company’s internal employer brand. These efforts can be conveyed through employee spotlights, career pages, social media, events and even job descriptions.

Conversely, internal employer branding is the reputation an employer has with its current employees. An internal employer brand includes an employee value proposition (EVP), perks and benefits, compensation, company culture, core values and anything else that a company has to offer employees in exchange for their work. 

Now that you have a better understanding of the difference between internal and external employer branding, you can start building an authentic external employer brand that job seekers love and trust.  


External Employer Branding

External employer branding is a company's strategy to manage and influence its reputation among job seekers and key stakeholders, ultimately to position itself as an employer of choice.


Creating an external employer brand

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In order to create a successful external employer branding strategy, you must first understand and define your internal employer brand. The most successful strategies are data-driven, so start by reviewing key employer branding metrics, like retention rate, application rate, source of hire, employee satisfaction and employee engagement

In addition to analyzing these statistics, conduct an internal employer branding survey to gain a more holistic picture of your brand and how your employees view it. All of this information will help you understand how people became employed at your company and why they stay. You will be able to identify pain points and gaps between the EVP you provide employees and the external employer brand you pitch to job seekers.

Get support from employees across your company by creating an intentional and well-defined internal employer branding team. Your employees know better than anyone else what it’s like to work for your company, so having them by your side to create and share employer branding materials will make your brand more authentic and transparent. 


8 External Employer Branding Strategies

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As we mentioned earlier, there are a number of tactics you can use to create an employer branding strategy. While anyone can say their company and employment opportunity is immaculate, it’s most important to create an external employer brand that genuinely reflects your internal employer brand. We’ve gathered a few tactics that you can use to make sure your content remains true to your brand while being transparent with job seekers.


Establish Candidate Personas For Open Roles

In order to know how to tailor your external employer branding efforts based on the roles you are hiring for, it’s important to create specific candidate personas for each open role. These personas will help you hone in on the defining characteristics of top candidates — like the perks and benefits and team culture they’re most interested in — so you can create tailored content that will optimally resonate with them.

The personas will also help you identify the best platforms to connect with your ideal candidates. For example, if you’re looking for a marketing professional, it’s safe to say your employer branding efforts would best be focused on social media platforms. Whereas if you’re hiring a technical role, it’s a better use of your time to attend hackathons or connect with professionals on a platform like GitHub


Share Employee And Team Spotlights

No one knows your employer brand inside and out like your employees. In addition to acting as brand ambassadors in their own networks, you can leverage them and their experiences through employee spotlights. These spotlights can come in a variety of forms from a quick pull quote answering a question about your company culture to an in-depth blog post about their experience working at your company. 

If you’re hiring for an in-demand role or multiple roles for one team, create a series of employee spotlights to shine a light on a specific team. This will provide candidates with a wider breadth of individuals they can expect to work with if they get the job. 


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Create An Authentic Social Media Presence

Regardless of your company, industry and open roles, employer branding on social media should be a part of your strategy since the vast majority (80%) of candidates find jobs through social platforms. 

Unlike other employer branding platforms, social networks allow you to be more candid and personal with the content you create, giving job seekers with a better sense of what it’s like to work at your company. 

While you can repurpose a lot of employer branding content for different social networks, your social media recruiting strategy should vary between platforms. Optimize social posts to best utilize the different features of each platform so you can better connect with your ideal candidates.

Create a content calendar to stay organized and differentiate content by platform. Also, consider investing in a social media tool to keep your brand on track.


Show Off Your Internal Brand With A Video

There’s no doubt that video content has been on the rise for years and its popularity continues to grow. In fact, 54% of people want more video content from their favorite brands. While creating a video may be intimidating, it's well worth the time and cost to create a recruitment video you can share across multiple platforms.

There are a number of different videos you can create based on your employer brand, such as company culture videos, employee spotlights or recaps from events. You can also add some personality by creating a music video or goofy clip to show off the fun side of your company’s culture. 


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Connect With Candidates Through recruitment Events

While a lot of your employer branding strategy will focus on digital efforts, it’s important to create experiences where you can connect with candidates and spread brand awareness in person. Recruitment events are great ways to spread the word about your employer brand and really connect with candidates on the things they care most about through a candid conversation. 

Get creative and make the experience memorable with unique activities, keynote speakers, giveaways or incentives for people to apply on-site. Host the event at local, popular spots and make sure the event reflects your office culture. If your office is business professional, inform candidates that they should dress as such, and if your office is casual everyday, create a more casual event that allows candidates to experience your culture before they even apply. 


Keep In Contact With Your Talent Community

Regardless of how, where or when you attract candidates, it’s important to stay in contact with them and keep your employer brand top of mind. You can do this by creating a talent community of professionals who have shown interest in your brand as a prospective employer. Regularly engage with these individuals through a monthly newsletter or by sending specific job descriptions to people who have the right background for an open role. 

Talent communities can save you a wealth of time sourcing candidates, and the more you engage with community members, the more informed they will be about your employer brand and the opportunities you have, lending themselves as brand ambassadors within their individual networks. 


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Make Your Career Page Informative

Similar to how the homepage of your website is a portal for people to learn more about your company, your career page is a portal for job candidates to learn more about what it's like to work for you. No matter where candidates first learn about your company, they will more likely than not end up on your career page at some point, especially if it's the best place for them to apply to a job. 

Your career page should tie all of your employer branding efforts together. Include all of the content you create and the information you share on other platforms on this page. 77% of job seekers use company websites to learn about potential employers. For this reason, all of your employer branding materials must be consistent across platforms, even if you alter content for optimization purposes.


Include Employer Branding In Job Descriptions

Most job descriptions include the bare minimum of information like specific job requirements, responsibilities and perhaps an equal opportunity employer statement. All of that information is important, however, it's not enough to entice top job seekers to apply to your role over your competitors. 

While you certainly need to include the basics, job descriptions are also a great place to include employer branding information that will sell your company as a top choice employer. Include details on perks, benefits, salary and anything else candidates often ask about when pursuing a job. Addressing FAQs early on will better prepare candidates for the interview process and save you time answering questions.


By now, you should have a better understanding of the distinct difference between internal and external employer branding. With the tips and tricks in this guide along with our other employer branding resources, you should be well on your way to deploying a stellar strategy that attracts top candidates and effectively grows your team. 


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