Skip to content
Join the AI Skills Survey and share your thoughts Take the survey
HackerRank Launches Two New Products: SkillUp and Engage Read now
The 2024 Developer Skills Report is here! Read now
Showcase Your Talent Brand

What Is an Employer Talent Brand?

Written By April Bohnert | October 2, 2023

Abstract, futuristic image generated by AI

The tech world is buzzing. Everywhere you turn, there’s a new innovation, a breakthrough, a startup gearing up to change the world. As a result, the race for the best technical talent — from developers and data scientists to machine learning engineers — is intense. The demand is high, the supply limited, and the stakes? Well, they’ve never been higher.

How does a company stand out in this environment? Salary and benefits are just one piece of the puzzle. The differentiating factor, more often than not, is the company’s employer talent brand

According to a LinkedIn report, 83% of employers believe their talent brand has a significant impact on their ability to hire great talent. In a world where everyone is clamoring for attention, it’s no longer sufficient to simply showcase the company’s achievements or milestones. To truly connect with today’s tech professionals, companies must persuasively articulate why they’re the best place for these talents to grow, innovate, and make an impact.

As we dive into the world of employer talent branding, we’ll uncover its essence, its critical distinction from the broader company brand, and, most importantly, why it’s the secret sauce in your tech hiring strategy.

What is an Employer Talent Brand?

An employer talent brand is the unique imprint your company leaves in the minds of current, past, and potential employees. It’s the sum total of perceptions, feelings, and beliefs about your workplace. While other forms of branding might focus on the company’s products, services, or vision, the talent brand focuses on the experience of working at your company. 

What’s it actually like to be a developer on your team? How does a data scientist feel about the culture, challenges, and growth opportunities? 

For tech professionals in particular, the employer talent brand can be the litmus test they apply when weighing job offers or considering a switch. In fact, 91% of job seekers seek out at least one resource to evaluate a company’s employer brand before even applying for a job, and 69% of candidates are likely to apply for a role if the company actively manages their employer brand. 

And what are they looking for exactly? According to Harvard Business Review, learning and growth opportunities, flexibility, and rewards and recognition are the three main factors that motivate tech professionals to look for a new job. So when it comes to evaluating your tech talent brand, they’re going to want to dive into the nitty-gritty — how innovation is fostered, what opportunities they’ll have to learn, how the company handles failure and rewards success, how, when, and where your teams work. 

These crucial details, communicated implicitly or explicitly, help form your tech-focused employer talent brand and give job seekers more meaningful insight into what it’s like to be a part of your team.

Given the demand for tech roles, it’s evident that your talent brand is a pivotal tool in attracting the right candidates. While your product might be groundbreaking and your company vision inspiring, it’s your talent brand that tells a tech professional, “This is where you belong. This is where you’ll thrive.”

Talent Brand vs. Company Brand

Your company brand is a broad umbrella, encapsulating everything your company stands for. It touches upon your products, services, mission, vision, and the values you wish to project to the world — customers, partners, investors, and beyond. In essence, your company brand answers the question, “Why should someone buy from, invest in, or partner with us?”

On the other hand, your talent brand is a subset, zeroing in on the employee experience. It answers a different question: “Why should someone work for us?” It’s all about the atmosphere, opportunities, culture, and, crucially for tech professionals, the growth trajectory and innovative potential that awaits them.

A strong company brand can indeed give your hiring efforts a head start. After all, a company known for its groundbreaking products or having a renowned reputation will naturally pique the curiosity of potential candidates. But this level of notoriety is tough to achieve for most businesses. 

While a robust company brand might get a candidate’s foot in the door, it’s the talent brand that convinces them to accept an offer or stay in a role for the long haul. The uniqueness of your work culture, the challenges and projects they’d tackle, and the camaraderie among teams — these are the elements that will resonate deeply with a tech professional.

So, while your company’s achievements and broader brand can act as an initial magnet, it’s your employer talent brand that truly seals the deal. 

Understanding the Importance of a Strong Tech Talent Brand

In the tech sector, your employer talent brand becomes more than just a recruitment tool; it’s your company’s competitive edge. It’s a declaration of what you stand for as an employer, and it speaks volumes to prospective tech professionals evaluating their next career move. Let’s unpack the pivotal role a solid talent brand plays and the ripple effects it can have throughout the organization.

Competing With Big Tech for Talent

Tech teams at non-tech companies are like a best kept secret. Developers work on tech teams in nearly every industry. Finance, retail, healthcare, life sciences, market research, gaming. But these companies might not be on the radar for most developers. 

Instead, working at big tech companies like FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google) is an aspirational goal for many developers. Why? Those companies have a strong tech talent brand. Developers known that employees at big tech companies work on exciting and innovative projects, learning innovative technologies in the process.

For tech teams at non-tech companies to compete for developer talent, they also need to foster a strong talent brand. A talent brand that tells a story that attracts candidates and promises the opportunity to work on exciting and cutting edge challenges.

Attracting Top Talent 

The best developers and engineers often have the luxury to be selective with the opportunities they select. A compelling talent brand can be the differentiator, setting you apart from the herd. A strong talent brand can be your magnet for top-tier professionals. 

A recent Hireology study found that 84% of job seekers are willing to forego higher pay for roles that offer key benefits like great culture, growth opportunities, flexibility, and more. Your talent brand is a crucial way to make these benefits known to job seekers.

Improving Retention

It’s not just about bringing in the best; it’s also about keeping them. Over half (53%) of job seekers cited poor or diminishing employer brand and reputation as one of the reasons for leaving a previous job, and 20% said it was the main reason why they left. 

High turnover rates are detrimental, especially in tech roles where continuity and deep domain expertise matter. A clear and resonant talent brand ensures that employees feel aligned with the company’s ethos, reducing the desire to move. By actively investing in their tech talent brand, companies can reduce turnover by as much as 28%.

Strengthening Company Culture

77% of job seekers consider a company’s culture before applying for a job. A well-articulated talent brand helps set expectations about your culture while also attracting the kinds of people who will be good culture adds. When employees join with a clear understanding of the company culture and find the reality matches the promise, it fosters trust, cohesion, engagement, and a sense of belonging — critical ingredients for innovation and collaboration in tech roles. 

Enhancing Brand Reputation and Perception

A satisfied employee is the best brand ambassador you can ask for. Their testimonials, word-of-mouth referrals, and even casual conversations can amplify your talent brand’s reach and reputation. And considering 86% of professionals research company reviews and ratings to decide where to apply for a job, this online brand reputation is critical. Platforms like Glassdoor and LinkedIn are stages where your talent brand plays out, influencing perceptions far and wide. 

Who Owns Employer Branding?

Employer branding, at its core, is a collaborative endeavor. Different organizations often have varied interpretations about who shoulders the responsibility. Some place it within the realm of HR. Others see it as a marketing function. And yet some believe it’s a companywide duty. In the end, it’s all about crafting an authentic, compelling narrative about what it’s like to work at a particular company.

However, when we zone in on a tech-focused talent brand, the picture sharpens. Two pivotal players emerge: tech recruiters and tech hiring managers. Each has a distinct, yet intertwined, role in sculpting the brand’s narrative.

Tech recruiters are the vanguard. They’re tasked with making the first impression, and often, they’re the ones who ensure that key tech-centric messaging seamlessly integrates into the broader talent marketing channels. And recruiters are tasked with effectively communicating that talent story through platforms like social media, career pages, and recruitment drives. By emphasizing cutting-edge projects, growth opportunities, and learning experiences, they lay the foundation of the employer brand.

On the other side, tech hiring managers are the embodiment of the brand. They serve as thought leaders, often emerging as the public face of the tech team. Their insights, garnered from firsthand experience, offer a deeper look at the intricacies of the engineering culture at the company. By speaking at conferences, attending tech events, writing articles, or even engaging in one-on-one interactions with potential hires, they humanize and demonstrate the brand. Their role is pivotal in not just attracting talent but in fostering trust, showcasing authenticity, and amplifying the narrative in arenas frequented by tech professionals.

Together, the synergy between tech recruiters and hiring managers becomes the heartbeat of a robust tech talent brand. One sets the stage with broad, yet tailored messaging, while the other deepens the narrative with expertise.

Navigating the Future with a Robust Tech Talent Brand

A well-crafted talent brand acts as a company’s signature, painting a vivid picture of its culture, ethos, and promise to potential hires. It dives deeper than the company’s general brand, highlighting what it truly feels like to be a part of the team.

The importance of such a brand in tech recruiting can’t be understated. As the pace of innovation continues to accelerate, new roles will emerge, technologies will evolve, and the need for exceptional minds to navigate these changes will grow exponentially. Companies equipped with a compelling tech talent brand and narrative will undoubtedly have the upper hand. And in this story, the brightest tech professionals will find their calling, shaping the course of innovation for years to come.

This article was written with the help of AI. Can you tell which parts?

Ebook: How to Build a Tech Talent Brand: The Definitive Guide

How to Build a Tech Talent Brand: The Definitive Guide