How to run an employer brand agency selection process

Choosing an agency to manage your employer branding process is not an easy task. Developing and leveraging a talent brand is key to improving talent acquisition, employee retention and engagement across the business. In other words, it’s a long-term investment that has enormous significance to an employer. Creating an identity that summarises who you are as an employer both internally and externally is a huge responsibility. Therefore, it’s vital that you find the right employer brand agency to partner with.

But, how do you know what to look for in an employer brand agency, and where do you begin?

We’ve outlined the key steps to running an employer brand agency selection process and the most important things you should be looking out for as you make your decision.

Firstly, gain a clear understanding of who you are

Before you ask agencies to pitch to you for your employer brand, it helps to gain an understanding of who you are and what you want from the process. A good employer brand agency will help you conduct research (more on this later), but as an employer and leadership team, you must know what your company is and what you stand for. Make sure you’re clear on your mission statement and know what the most critical aspects of your employer brand are to you, as it will make the process of briefing and writing a recruitment RFP much easier. A well-communicated project outline and RFP will ensure you get the best results from your agency selection process. It will make the pitch process easier for agencies and ensure their proposals are aligned with your mission.

Look for industry experience

Your employer brand communications are all about speaking to candidates and showing them why you’re a great employer, which means it helps to have someone on your side who understands these candidates. Working with employer brand agencies who are practised in your industry means collaborating with people that know your sector, so this is something you should consider when you ask them to pitch. You can benefit from their knowledge and experiences; they’ll know first-hand what works for these candidates and what generates results. Talent Works, for example, have a lot of experience building employer brands for tech businesses. Therefore, we know how to appeal to tech talent. Our teams understand the language, visual styles, and even emotional drivers that can connect with these people and help scaling businesses become an employer of choice.

Talk about EVPs

When you’ve decided which agencies you’d like to pitch for your employer brand, one of the most important aspects is getting to know their process. A good employer brand strategy is built on a foundation of research. Developing your EVP should be the first thing mentioned, as it’s impossible to create an employer brand without a clear employee value proposition. Crafting and refining an EVP involves market research and digging into the less apparent motivations for talent to join you, including intangible, emotional factors.

An EVP goes beyond salary and flexible working; it helps employees to see themselves working for you for years to come. You need to find an employer brand agency that understands the worth of an EVP, who will take the time to get to know yours and conduct the necessary research to improve it. If it helps, ask for examples of EVP frameworks alongside an explanation of the process, so you can see how in-depth and seriously an employer brand agency take this element.

Research, research, research

To build a successful employer brand, agencies need to get under the skin of how an organisation works and its people. The only way to do this is to dive into the company and conduct market research. A good agency will encourage research on the industry and delve into competitors’ employer brands to get a broader idea of the tech recruitment landscape. They’ll also conduct interviews or focus groups with employees and candidates to create an authentic employer brand based on perceptions and identify any areas for improvement in your organisation.

Good employer brand agencies will recognise that it is a time to make a real difference in your organisation, not just change the image you put out into the world. Remember, your employees are all potential brand advocates. If they are to ‘live’ the new employer brand, then it must be an accurate reflection of your organisational culture and image; inconsistencies will be called out, especially in the age of social media. The right agency will know this. With the proper research and value proposition, you can begin to build a clear and consistent brand identity, designing messaging and content that promotes your unique employer brand. 

Get a feel for their creative work

A good employer brand agency will have an in-house creative team who can help to bring your brand to life. If you’re going to promote yourself as an employer on social media and online, you need stand-out creative that can differentiate you from your competitors. Creative media is the backbone of your employer communications. Whether it’s a poster in the staffroom or the design of your careers site, the creative will tie everything together. It helps you to create a coherent talent brand that is recognisable to both candidates and your existing team.

Therefore, when selecting an employer brand agency, you need to get a feel for their creative work and what they can produce. Of course, they probably won’t have made something that will work precisely for your brand yet, but who wants to be the same as someone else? Instead, you need to look at their ideas, creativity, and ability to execute.

Look for people with passion

One of the most critical parts of choosing an agency to partner with, no matter what you’re outsourcing, is the people you work with. You have to ensure that you can work well together, which doesn’t necessarily mean forming friendships but a good working relationship. When outsourcing tech recruitment or creative work like employer brand strategies, you need to get to know the core team you’ll be working with before you make the decision. It will help you assess whether these people are passionate and excited about the project. People with passion are so much more likely to deliver results. Suppose you’re looking to create a memorable employer brand. In that case, you need people who are dedicated, passionate about your brand and determined to make it as striking and memorable as possible.

Think beyond building the talent brand

Building your employer brand or talent brand is one thing, and many creative RPO agencies can provide you with this. However, a good collaborator will look beyond creating an employer brand and work with you to leverage and communicate this to the right audience, from internal employer brand strategies to digital attraction campaigns that can convey your message on a larger scale to the right people. It’s no use building some employer brand guidelines and leaving you to it; the right agency will want to work with you to create a strategy and ensure their work is successful.

Talent Works help businesses to build and leverage striking employer brand strategies built on in-depth research. With in-house creative, digital and insight teams, we are experts in creating talent brands for scaling tech businesses and beyond. Our wealth of experience combined with our creativity and agile approach to RPO allows us to build employer brand strategies that cut through the noise and resonate with both active and passive candidates. Beginning with EVP formation and measuring internal perceptions to launching careers sites and brand awareness campaigns through social media, we use research and creativity to build enticing employer brands and to communicate them.

 As an agile RPO agency based in Manchester and Northampton in the UK and Boston in the US, we offer a unique, global approach to talent branding. If you’d like to learn more about our Elemen.tal service and how our approach to employer branding can help you, contact our team today.