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Hiring Remotely: Why Companies Need to Care More About Employer Branding

13 August 2020 , by Jomiro Eming

Companies are increasingly hiring remotely, which can open the talent pool of developers from hyper-local to international. However, selling top candidates on your company's mission and team culture without meeting them in person can be really hard. When hiring remotely, it’s incredibly important to focus on how you tell your company’s story, and the way you position a role to a candidate.

We spoke to two top tech sourcers, Sjamilla van der Tooren and Vanessa Raath, about how companies should approach employer branding, and selling candidates on what matters remotely.

Sjamilla has worked for companies like Zenly, and now sources tech talent at Dutch bike company VanMoof, and Vanessa freelances from South Africa and hosts recruitment workshops for hiring specialists around the world. Both have presented at conferences and meetups, and both are active members of the tech recruitment space.

Watch the video of our discussion at the end of this post! You can also check out the full Q&A of our conversation here.

How to do employer branding remotely

Work with your hiring team

Firstly, one of the things Vanessa and Sjamilla have learned is that a lot of best tech talent does not sit on a LinkedIn job portal. In their experience, technical managers should work closely with hiring managers, recruiters, and sourcers who know how to find and reach out to tech talent. Vanessa explains:

“You need someone who's got specialist skills in order to be able to track down those good players.”

Once you do this, you’ll have someone who dedicates their time to understanding your company and crafting a first message that lands.

Vanessa adds that improving how you work with a hiring or sourcing team can be a valuable asset to how you reach out to a candidate: “Companies need to realise that the recruitment and sourcing teams are not the ugly, redheaded stepchild of the HR industry. They have such an impact on your brand: They generally have a much better EQ, will get to know that company really well, and will go and reach out to the best with a really good story.”

The first message (and who it’s from) really matters

One of the biggest differences with remote talent sourcing and remote hiring is that your entire process now happens online. Since you no longer bring someone into your offices and show them around, how you interact with them virtually is critically important — and this starts from the moment you reach out.

The first message to a candidate is their first impression of your company. Sjamilla says that it doesn’t matter whether you’re a tech giant or a small startup; if you aren’t intentional about how you reach out, you could be affecting your entire brand:

“We often forget that we’re probably the first contact from a company that's getting in touch with a candidate. The thing is, if I get a message from a recruiter that's really bad, then I don't want to buy stuff from that company anymore.”

Sjamilla’s advice is to treat every candidate like a potential client, or a potential customer. “Even if you don't want to want to hire this person in the end”, she explains, “make it special, make them feel heard, and make them feel like they're the only one in the world that's going to fix your problems.”

Tell a good story by finding where motivators align

Being intentional about your interactions with candidates requires being able to tell your story. In Sjamilla and Vanessa’s experience, this is where most companies falter. “I don't give a beep about someone's pool table”, Sjamilla explains. Rather, her advice is to find what excites someone in the role you’re offering:

“A company has a mission and they have values. A candidate has their own values and interests — and something that they want to accomplish — and you're looking for that point in the middle where the company's motivators align with the candidates motivators... And that is so much more than money.”


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