“Latte or Americano?”: The Importance of Employer Branding

Last month, I received a very brief email from an internal recruiter at a competitor that started with “Latte or Americano? It's a question worth answering if you wanted to meet up for a confidential coffee chat one day”.

It was very cheesy, but for me he missed the point; and an opportunity to sell his brand – he told me nothing about the company, the team or why I should respond.

But it did get me thinking about employer branding and how charities can also do more to increase theirs. In a competitive recruitment market, employer branding is everything, but is often overlooked.

The Problem:

For people within the sector, working for a charity is a no-brainer. And therein lies the problem – charities can sometimes forget to sell their organisation and acknowledge that not everyone joining the sector is 100% clear on their decisions or motivations. In my mind, that’s ok – searching for a job is a journey and for the most part, a huge decision.

It’s not just about people looking to transfer into not for profit either. The charities market is highly incestuous and people talk. At some point during a recruitment process, people usually turn to friends and trusted colleagues to ask what, if any, opinion they have of an organisation. If that person has had a bad experience in the past, then that increases the chances of someone declining an offer should one be made.

I can name five instances this year alone that a candidate within the sector has declined to be put forward for a job based solely on a previous experience.

Understanding your Brand:

Employer branding should cover all aspects of the candidate journey, from the initial contact (whether via an advert or direct), to the receptionist they meet when they come in to your office and through to offer stage & on-boarding. It’s incredibly important that you understand the feedback and experiences of people that have engaged with your organisation at any stage of the recruitment process.

We often think about feedback being solely about the candidate, but why shouldn’t it also be about the hirer? Why are we afraid to ask people that have taken the time out to interview what their experience was and any feedback or suggestions for future campaigns?

As recruiters, we’re normally the people that candidates vent to. That’s ok with us, because it’s useful for us to know. If a hiring manager has been disengaged or abrupt throughout an interview, then we need to know that so that we can feed it back. Interviews are a two-way process and a bad experience on either side will most likely mean that will stick for many years to come.

Growing your Brand:

If you’re not doing so already, then I would encourage all organisations to take feedback from all candidates at the end of the process, whether successful or not. Not only is this invaluable for you to understand possible improvement areas, but also shows that you really care.

It’s important that your employer brand is built upon by everyone within the organisation, not just with HR. Hiring managers are just as accountable for creating a positive experience for prospective candidates, however will rely on HR to help guide them.

Be flexible as well. If an individual shows a genuine interest in your organisation, then use the opportunity to engage with them. Connect with them on LinkedIn, encourage them to follow your company page and even meet them for an informal meeting if appropriate, as a number of my clients are now doing so with my networks.


It would take too long to list out everything on here to help increase your employer brand, however I have provided extensive support to a number of my clients already and would happily discuss and provide advice for anything specific should you wish.

The important point is to be consistent. Regularly review how you recruit and ensure that everyone that shows an interest in your organisation gets the same level of care and service.

Never underestimate the power of chit-chat and if you leave one person with a positive experience, then they will inevitably feed that back to their own networks.

And for anyone that does want to know, I have an Americano with a small dash of milk – I’m very fussy.

Mark is an Executive Consultant, leading Badenoch & Clark's 3rd Sector team, with six years' experience recruiting at a mid-senior level within the sector.

If you would like to contact him for more information or advice, please call 020 7634 0389 or email mark.crowley@badenochandclark.com.

By Mark Crowley, Senior Executive Consultant


Recruitment , Public Sector , Local Government , Marketing
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