The Talent Acquisition Advantage: The WilsonHCG Employment Brand Report

IRI Podcast on Employment Branding

 To be successful in Talent Acquisition today, you need a secret weapon – and for those who appreciate the power of employment branding, WilsonHCG’s annual Employment Brand Report is the secret weapon you’re looking for. Today, Jennifer talks with Meghan Ford and Gillisa Pope from Wilson HCG, and here, they explain: 

  • Why modern employment branding can be critical to talent acquisition;
  • What WilsonHCG's research has revealed about employer branding in 2022;
  • The impact of "influencer"-style vlogs on sharing company culture; and
  • What candidates are looking for in an employer today!

If you prefer to read along while you listen, we've done all the hard work for you! We listened back to this episode and took notes below, and access is free! 


Researching Employment Branding

  • Back in 2014, WilsonHCG began compiling reports after realizing companies were taking an inbound marketing approach.
    • Companies, especially in the tech industries, were making efforts to attract a certain kind of talent , and wanted that talent to come to them. 
    • WilsonHCG wanted to learn more about how employment branding can be evaluated and know more about how impactful branding tactics can be.
  • Employment branding is how companies present themselves, their reputation, and where they stand in the industry.
    • WilsonHCG’s report focused on branding, which is more stagnant than talent acquisition.


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Research Process

  • WilsonHCG’s employment branding research focuses on six key components: career site recruitment, marketing, job advertising, the employer’s reputation, accolades, and corporate social responsibility.
    • The study breaks down these components into essential benchmarks, and determines if the element is present or not within a company. 
    • Analysts then use the given data to determine if these components are present or not within the company. 
    • Given the ever-changing nature of employment branding, the criteria is also evolving, as are the tactics being used by companies. 
      • For example, more companies are changing the way they approach video testimonials: shifting away from traditional “formal” testimonials, and using more influencer/vlog style testimonial videos to attract their talent. The way these videos are utilized changes the branding and their effectiveness for a company.
  • This year, WilsonHCG focused on companies increasing diversity. They evaluated different companies, from startups to Fortune 500 names.
    • One of the reasons for looking into diversity was because the talent pool has changed dramatically over the last two years, and as a result, the playing field for employment branding has changed. 
    • The study looks at how companies of different sizes handled dealing with the same talent pool, remote work options,and more which leveled the playing field across the board. 
      • The 2022 study compares and contrasts with how employment branding plays into talent acquisition strategies, and how that changes over time.  
    • WilsonHCG develops takeaways from these studies and creates actionable ideas to help companies work on what they are trying to achieve, and create innovative ideas for employment branding

Employment Branding and Talent Acquisition

  • Companies are always looking for something that gives them a competitive edge to acquiring fresh talent.
  • Now people are wondering about not just the components of employment branding, but how they can get a leg up on the competition to garner fresh, successful talent by comparing them to other companies. 
  • Vendors in the technology and employment branding spaces are wondering what smaller companies can do to leverage a strong employment brand, and compete with larger companies. 
    • Companies need to get creative about how they position their brand.
    • An advantage for smaller companies is they are able to experiment with their hiring style and don’t have to worry about automated hiring. 
      • An example of how small companies take unique approaches is by utilizing social media and talking about their companies on TikTok or Instagram, broadcasting what it’s like to work there. 

The Impact of Employer Branding

  • Employment branding is a not-so-secret weapon anymore – now, the secret weapon is embracing modern employment branding. Companies need to evolve along with their branding. 
  • One way to change your branding is by updating career sites, making it a simple, straightforward experience.
  • It is also important to have strong, and modern, channels for promotion by allowing your employees to share their story and experiences through social channels they are already on.
    • It is a candidate-driven market with potential candidates everywhere.
    • It is also important to keep potential candidates interested over time in some way, attracting them to the brand and less to the position. Creating a community-engaged platform is a smart move from a content perspective and an important element of strong employment branding.

Results of the Report

  • WilsonHCG found that candidates expect learning and development opportunities from employers when looking for potential companies in which to work.
  • Candidates also want to work for an employer that really cares about them. They are looking for more empathy in the workplace, and companies have been over indexing on financial benefits and perks, but candidates are looking more towards emotional value and worth within a company.
    • Employees and candidates are listing diversity and inclusion, equity, sense of belonging, culture, and safety as important things they look for in a potential employer.
  • If learning and development and a strong culture are what candidates are looking for in the workplace, it is important for companies to include that messaging in their employment branding, recruitment, and marketing to attract strong talent.

Recruitment Marketing

  • Recruitment marketing is an ongoing process that needs to be active, rather than curated. 
  • By “flipping the camera around” and putting the employer in the hot-seat, asking them to answer questions about the company like an influencer, it creates a strong employee voice that candidates are looking for. 
    • In WilsonHCG’s research, they found that people are three times more likely to believe an employee about the workplace experience and employment branding than an executive. This creates high impact recruitment marketing.
  • Marketing recruitment has become an inbound method, and there is a person-to-person trend, where candidates are looking for real, human interactions and testimonials.
  • While people still become aware through job advertisements, those need a fresh approach as well, with engaging descriptions and inclusive language that encourages people to apply. 
    • Rather than trying to exclude people with specific skill sets, recruiters need to pivot to encourage people of all different backgrounds and work histories.
    • This is especially important at a time where the demand for talent is so high, and the supply is so low.

A Checklist for a Modern Employee Brand

  • It’s important for companies to have a strong employee value proposition, and ensure the company is delivering on these expectations.
    • It is also important that the elements within the proposition: the compensation, benefits package, experience, and unique qualities, are all in check and up to current standards.
  • It is also important to empower employee stories, and deliver authenticity and individualism on what the culture is like at a given company, and be able to inspire that in potential candidates.
  • Making applying for jobs at a given company a simple and enjoyable experience is key. 
    • Building a strong talent community, with open communication between the company and potential candidates is very important. 
    • By making the content on the employment application site engaging and personal creates a reliable and strong employment brand that sets the company apart from competitors. 
  • Developing a strong talent community, and maintaining relationships with people who are interested in a company, is important.
  • By using smart channel strategies, companies can identify where their prospective talent lives. This allows for some experimentation with new social media platforms and room for more growth with employment branding.
  • The most important aspect for all parties involved is doing what feels right, and doing what brings joy.
    • Regardless of the size of the company, the budget, or the investment that companies put into technology, these tools give employers a guideline to creating a meaningful and modern brand. 
      • This can identify strong points within a company, and where a company can grow with actionable ideas. 

Meghan Ford Background

  • MBA of Business Administration from the Univeristy of Tampa
  • BA in Journalism from the University of South Florida
  • Ms. Ford began her career with WilsonHCG as a Copywriter, served as Director of Marketing, and she currently holds the title of Vice President, Brand and Content for WilsonHCG.

Gillisa Pope Background

  • BA in History from the University of Scranton
  • Ms. Pope began her career as a Recruiter for TEKSystems and DECO Recovery Management
  • She currently serves as the Senior Global Director of Talent Attraction and Sourcing for WilsonHCG.



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