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“Know the enemy”

Employer Branding Agency

The title of this ‘Green Day’ song seems fitting; ‘the enemy’ alludes to a company’s competitor for talent

When embarking on an exercise to define one’s Employer Brand and articulate Employee Value propositions (EVP’s), it’s imperative to understand who your competitors are and what talent pools think about them.

While recruiting fresh from management and engineering colleges, it is elementary; your research base is aggregated in one spot called a ‘campus’.

You travel to campus, assemble a few students and run a focus group discussion or then scan the net for published reports on how youngsters feel about companies seeking to woo them (since many publications have a keen interest in this lot). Pretty straightforward and easy.

brand consultancy Bangalore

Cut to your competitors for lateral hires and the solution is well, not so simple. You can’t cold call or InMail folks working in other companies and say, ‘Hi, I’m calling from a competitor, tell me what you think about us as a potential company to work for …’

Options? Here are a few tips from our navigations in this space

  1. Ask the candidate: An enterprising hiring manager might be tempted to shortlist and call for discussions, candidates from the competitive set. “Bingo!, They will tell us all that there is to know about what they feel about their current company and why they believe we are a better option”. Beware the perils of travelling this path. A candidate interviewing with you is bound to be extravagant with the praise he showers on your organisation and quick to project her current employer as the villain. Hence a card you should be cautious of playing given it is loaded with bias.
  2. The second innings:Most often you will find folks who have joined you from one of your competitors. These employees have had an adequate experience of working with ‘us and them’ and hence provide a rich comparative perspective. Seek them out and get an external or neutral person to mine their minds
  3. Seek out the alumni:Your competitors for talent aren’t just companies that you seek to hire from, they will also comprise of those that seduce your talent away. Narrow down which these companies might be, figure out which alumnus is now working with them, pick up the phone and call. Ask them what they miss most about working with you and what’s the ‘magic potion’ in the company they left you for.
  4. The middlemen:We’ve often got information bytes from placement consultants, after all, they are perched at the epicentre of this marketplace. Not a bad idea to initiate a conversation, but the quality of the information you get is highly dependent on the level of insight that the search firm has. In fact, more than the firm, it’s often the individual you pick to speak with, that’s pivotal.
  5.  A social sweep: Digital social platforms are now a preferred choice for many people to air their thoughts and opinions on their employers. While the likes of Glassdoor might be top of mind for you, there is a lot more being shared in closed groups and discussion forums online. It won’t hurt to have someone always on the social watch, filtering the available information, intelligently

Green day goes on to say, ‘Well, gotta know the enemy’, and guessing that is indeed your pursuit, here are some ways to cut to the chase without having to ‘boil the ocean’.

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