How To Tap “Unsung Heroes” To Build A Killer Employer Brand

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Editor’s Note: In the hunt for top talent, employers have to rely on more than salary and perks to stand out. That's especially true in the red-hot Silicon Valley market, where tech roles remain in high demand. For advice on how recruiters in any market can build a brand that stands above the rest, we turned to Celinda Appleby, who leads recruitment branding for the Global Talent Acquisition organization at Silicon Valley-based tech giant Oracle.

Appleby’s accomplishments show her bona fides: In a single year at Oracle, she’s built a team of 13 professionals from the ground up and led their efforts to refreOracle Instgram posts support its employer brandsh Oracle’s social
 touch points with an eye to globalization. During the same period, Appleby also launched Oracle’s corporate accounts on Instagram and Glassdoor, formed partnerships for job distribution and mapping, trained recruiters on personal branding, and relaunched the
Oracle Careers Blog.

In this interview, she explains how she uses recruitment-marketing strategies to enhance talent acquisition at Oracle.

Why do you consider executives so important in enhancing branding and recruiting strategies?

Recruiters have always been at the center of executive business strategy. I’m not suggesting this should change, but I encourage companies to start looking to the unsung heroes. Your executives – company thought leaders – are the people who close deals and mentor hires. As a job seeker, that's who you want to learn from.

Adding executives to your strategy is easy. Interview them, use them in employee features on social channels and your blog, give them shareable content that helps extend your employer brand, and train them on how to use their LinkedIn profiles as an extension of your brand.

How do you ensure executive buy-in?

When I'm pitching ideas for brand campaigns, I start from the top. My famous line is, “Do you want to be the one to tell your story?” The answer is always yes.The reality is that not many companies are asking their executives to participate, because they feel untouchable. But how can you claim an open door, when you aren’t featuring the COO or the SVP?

How do you choose the right media channel for the task?

I choose the best option for what needs to be done. For example, our global Facebook demographic is age 18-34, so this channel won't likely engage or attract senior talent. That's a different target demographic.

Why is it important to recruiting to upgrade your social strategy?

We made several employer brand lists for the first time (WilsonHCG, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor, to name a few). Consolidating and having a real strategy on social has created over 300% growth across all four channels this year alone. Empowering recruiters with shareable content has increased internal engagement by 400%. I'm feeling the buzz and energy we've created spill over to external channels.

In the age of Glassdoor, how can we maintain control over our company’s brand?

Transparency is key – your employees can post with or without your support and guidance. So use that to guide and foster the new age of social sharing. It’s also very important to monitor your company's online persona. Whether feedback is good or bad, you should reply. Take it offline if you need to. Work with HR and Legal. Create a task force so you can stay ahead.

What other advice do you have for a successful employer branding program?

Be realistic – you can’t do it all overnight. It’s also easier to tackle this if you have measurable goals (increased brand recognition, engagement, diversity, hires). The goals and outcomes should change and increase as you progress.

I find that some companies are still stuck on measuring data that no longer makes sense further into the journey. While recruitment marketing may be a new form, we need to treat it like traditional marketing and make some wins for the business.

Lastly, don't be a brand narcissist – many companies use social media to amplify everything about themselves – “Come to our event,” “Join us,” “Check out this job” – in efforts to stand out. Instead, offer your followers a multi-pronged media approach that showcases third-party content. You want followers to be well informed in all aspects of job searching, not just searching for your jobs.

Looking for more employer branding tips? Join the conversation @goodhiretweets #HRTips  #TheWorks.

Celinda Appleby

Celinda Appleby


Celinda Appleby leads recruitment marketing and employer brand strategy for the Global Talent Acquisition group at Oracle. Prior to joining Oracle, Celinda was the Global Digital Media Program Manager at Hewlett Packard, leading their social recruiting and employer branding efforts.

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Arte Nathan

Arte Nathan

President & COO at Strategic Development Worldwide
Deb McGrath

Deb McGrath

Founder and Chief Instigator of
Tony Le

Tony Le

Sr. Director, Global HR Operations & Talent Acquisition at IAC Publishing
Celinda Appleby

Celinda Appleby

Head of Global Recruitment Branding, Oracle

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