FMCG Recruitment Teams Should Copy Their Brand Colleagues

17th December 2018

What consumers think of a product is crucial to the success of any brand.

For any FMCG company, their brand is central to everything that they do. Tens of thousands of hours have been invested in perfecting and refining how it is perceived in the marketplace. If they get their brand spot on, the sales will continue to roll in.

The marketing function in such companies is therefore highly specialised. They follow the needs and behaviours of their customers with an eagle eye, and they understand the subtleties of communication required to reach the right people with the right message. How many times have you seen an advert and been sorely tempted? Yes, those people understand the dark arts of marketing, that’s for sure.

Recruitment never used to be so brand oriented. The most that a potential candidate might learn about the company before their interview would be from a job description and to find out anything more always required significant detective work.

However, over the last decade, social media has brought employer brands into the public domain, and, just with the consumer example, it is crucial that companies manage how their employer brands are portrayed and communicated. For FMCG companies, in particular, there are a good few lessons that they can learn from their marketing colleagues.

I suppose the first admission should be that their employer brand matters.

Too many companies are still recruiting with an intense external focus (i.e. who is out there) but too little focus on internal matters. They can do all the talent mapping in the world, but if the recruitment and employee experience isn’t up to scratch, then that talent won’t stay long (or maybe even get to the end of the recruitment process).

It is never easy to take a long hard look at ourselves, but this is exactly what needs to happen when we are evaluating what others think of us. An understanding of an employer brand does not come from the board room table – it comes from the confidential thoughts of current employees and the thoughts of everyone else who has come into contact with the organisation from outside. Just as candidates need feedback after a recruitment process, so an employer needs feedback the other way.

When you have this feedback, you actually have to want to do something about it. FMCG brands are ever changing and evolving in response to feedback, but if an employer adopts a “this is how we are, take it or leave it” attitude, then they will be unlikely to attract and retain the very best talent. They have to understand what their people need, and they have to strive to give them the very best possible experience – whether they are potential employees or whether they have worked there for ten years.

Happily, I think that employers are getting the message. Most meetings that I have with potential hiring companies are dominated by discussions around what they can offer to the candidates, and it is vital that recruiters act as their brand ambassadors. Many of my clients have amazing consumer brands, and most of them seek to focus on their employer brands in the same way.

It’s basic consumer marketing, but when you do “what it says on the tin,” you can’t go far wrong. Potential employers could do worse than a “what you see is what you get” attitude to demonstrating their attractiveness on social media.

Employer brands are so important – how do you communicate yours?