What Ukraine teaches us about attracting talent and employer branding

Insight on employer branding in Ukraine amid war.

Lessons from Ukraine on talent recruitment and employer branding

Ukraine has experienced a 15-fold drop in all job vacancies at the beginning of the full-scale war. From three to five times more candidates apply to one . Even the highly competitive candidate-based IT market had 2 times fewer jobs posted and the competition among entry-level candidates has risen enormously. The number of vacancies is growing every month but yet not recovered to the pre-war number, according to Work.ua, a key Ukrainian job portal, and DOU.ua, an IT community.

But many recruiters are still struggling to find suitable candidates with the required hard and soft skills who get along with the existing team and fit the corporate culture.

In cases like this, building an employer brand is not a magic wand for hiring, but it helps attract people with the same values and reduces the time the candidate needs to decide after their first contact with the recruiter. Here are five tips to build a compelling employer brand even in a competitive market.

Know your strengths and weaknesses. It is essential to communicate your differences from the other businesses in the industry and beyond. Messages like “comfortable office and friendly atmosphere,” or “company that cares about employees,” don’t work anymore because this is something you see in every second job posting. And without actions and reasons to believe, it sounds like another cliche. Try to find instead something that makes the atmosphere in your company unique. Talk to the team and communicate what they love about the company, their project and cooperation with each other.

Focus on people and products or services. Candidates want to know who they will work with and what impact on society they will have. Building communications on real stories, team and product updates helps attract new professionals and turn external communications into a benefit. This is an opportunity for the company’s leads to grow horizontally as market experts, feel recognized and see the importance of their work.

External communications grow from internal. Employer branding is not a mass-market product. Its task is to focus on compiling candidates, find the right key messages for each audience segment and use communications tools accordingly. It is also not a place to follow trends, lie about who you are or copy the competitors. Use authentic wording and communicate the company’s or founders’ values to attract people who share it.

Be honest about ups and downs. Being open and consistent is the key to building a compelling employer brand. Whether it is an award, new contracts, layoffs or a salary cut, you need to talk the team through it: explain the impact on the everyday work and the company’s strategy. When it comes to a crisis, explain how the issue influenced the company and how you plan to use this experience or change the processes to avoid the same situation.

Devil in the details. Employer branding is a complex product representing a company as an employer, potential employer, partner and part of the community or society. How you communicate within the team, give offers or decline candidates, and cooperate with partners also impacts your image among candidates and the existing team. Positive mentions in the media are influential but they work even better when enlightened with reviews of the ex-workers and impressions of the subcontractors and community experts.

Viktoriia Chernova works with Newsfront Communications.


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