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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Why Brand Ambassadors Are Key to Your Recruiting Strategy in 2014 – Part 1

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

As recruiters, we sometimes like to think of ourselves as superheroes. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, build a log-term pipeline of candidates and still recruit for a position at a moment’s notice. Much like a superhero’s job, it’s a demanding but rewarding job that requires strategic thought yet also relies on quick action to get the job done. In a lot of ways, recruiters are superheroes but as any superhero knows, it’s a job that just can’t be done alone. Batman has Robin, The Tick has Arthur and recruiters have brand ambassadors, their partners in crime and secret weapon.

What is a brand ambassador?

A brand ambassador is a person that represents your employment brand in a positive light. Their work ethic, attitude, appearance, values and loyalty reflect that of your company and you leverage that outside your company walls. Whether with family, friends, colleagues or even acquaintances, they quietly promote your company, maybe without even knowing it. They provide a silent example of the benefits of working with your organization and those around them unknowingly develop an expectation of your company. In short, they are your field staff, an extension of your marketing and recruiting efforts.

Your built-in sidekick

Brand ambassadors are the sidekicks to your recruiting efforts. They make it possible for recruiters to do all that they need to do administratively and strategically, while having a constant presence out in the world. Everywhere they go, they represent your employment brand, allowing you to focus on the long-term recruiting strategy. In fact, your brand ambassadors are a part of your long-term strategy (or should be!).

They are particularly valuable to your organization because while your HR department or recruiting team may only have a handful of people, the number of your potential brand ambassadors is enormous and includes current employees, former employees, past candidates, family and friends of employees and more. This team of people is only limited by your organization and the actions it takes that make a difference to brand ambassadors and potential brand ambassadors. It is essentially up to you how many loyal representatives you have and to what extent they lobby for your company among their peers.

How, where and when

Brand ambassadors are not walking billboards for your company, they do not walk around the mall shouting their list of reasons they like your organization and will not be the ones setting up booths at career fairs. Brand ambassadors are your silent marketers and cheerleaders, planting positive seeds about your company with each work story they tell among friends, promotion news they post on social media and chat they have at their professional development luncheon they attend. They may even be a silent testimonial to the success of your company, but rest assured, brand ambassadors are worth their weight in gold.

Companies sometimes take their brand ambassadors for granted or don’t fully understand how to harness the power of them, but it’s an invaluable thing when done right. Watch for part two of this three-part series, which will show how brand ambassadors elevate your company culture and will explain the role they play in referrals.

Does your company take advantage of its brand ambassadors? Tell us how in the comments section below.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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