Balancing Act: How to Prioritize Your Client’s Brand With Your Own

How important is it for staffing firms to understand and promote a client’s brand when it comes to recruiting efforts? It absolutely impacts placing candidates, but in what ways? And more importantly, for contract hires, how do you prioritize a client’s brand alongside your own?

Managing a client’s brand while effectively managing your own can be tough to navigate. While strategies can vary, overall there’s no question: A partnership with your clients means working with them to promote their brand to better attract, secure and retain talent.

One of the key elements of that overall brand is employment brand, defined as the unique image a company portrays to employees and candidates. Employer branding, for both your own firm and that of your clients, affects all stages of the talent acquisition process, from sourcing to interviewing to onboarding to engagement to retention.

So how do you strike the right balance between promoting your own brand with that of your client’s? I talked with some of my industry peers who have a hand in this every day. They weighed in on how they prioritize branding efforts, what they do when faced with a client’s struggling employer brand, and why it all matters.

The Powerful Role You Play in Employer Branding

“Branding is an important way staffing firms can create additional value because they can provide context outside of what the clients themselves can,” says Eric Gregg, founder and CEO of ClearlyRated. “Candidates lack the ability to see inside the walls of a potential company, but staffing firms can bring transparency to that and help candidates see beyond the job description and pay and determine whether they will be a good fit or not.”

When determining how to prioritize branding, Dave Smith, co-founder of Triple Crown Consulting, shares that you must start with branding your own company. His firm specializes in tech talent, and he emphasizes how his company’s candidates need to understand and trust his team of recruiters. The goal is to work with these candidates long-term, from project to project. So, building that brand equity with talent is critical. Once he establishes his own company’s brand reputation with the candidates, he turns his focus to the client’s brand. The way he approaches that, he says, largely depends on the type of client and candidate.

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“We are very intentional about how we brand clients to our candidates,” Smith says. “Our recruiters’ job is to get to know each candidate in order to connect them with the right company. We know what each of our candidates is looking for, and we are very upfront with them about what companies are like so there are no surprises later – on either side.”

Whom you represent is an important part of your staffing firm brand, Gregg says, “The candidates view those clients as your partners. Candidates will have coaching, support and access to opportunities they wouldn’t have without the help of a staffing firm.” Leverage the power of those brands in your recruiting efforts.

Bob Baer, COO of BelFlex Staffing Network, knows how important the client’s brand is when it comes to selling the candidate on the opportunity. Using a company’s logo and name (with permission, of course) can attract candidates who are also being wooed by competing staffing firms. BelFlex, which focuses on commercial staffing with many opportunities in light industrial, uses the brand recognition of a client to give it the edge to get a candidate to the table.

“Using the name and logo is just the tip of the iceberg,” Baer says. “We use that to get them in the door, but then we tell the whole story of what it’s like to work there. We talk about culture as well as paid time off and other benefits. It’s all part of the complete picture.”

When putting together the package for the candidate, it’s not important if it’s BelFlex or the client offering the benefit, he says. “It’s not about ‘us vs. them.’ We package everything up when we present it to the candidate. It’s about the partnership and the entire candidate experience!”

Don’t forget the power of candidates when it comes to building employer brand. Samira Alimohammad, VP and general counsel of Specialist Staffing Group, the US Division of SThree plc, says, “These well-placed candidates become brand ambassadors of both the staffing firm and its client.”

In my next post, I will discuss how to manage a negative client employment brand.

MORE: Create content to imporove tyour recruitment brand

Leslie Vickrey

Leslie Vickrey
Leslie Vickery is founder and CEO of ClearEdge Marketing. She can be reached lvickrey (at) clearedgemarketing (dot) com.

Leslie Vickrey

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