7 Tips for Branding in the Life Sciences
The life sciences industry is growing at a tremendous pace.
According to a CBRE report, the life sciences industry has a 3.2% year-over-year growth rate, and employment in the industry has grown 42% over the past 20 years.1 What does this mean? More job openings, and fewer candidates to fill them. The competition for talent is becoming fierce, and employers need to up their game. And now 69% of candidates rank employer brand strength as important when evaluating a job offer.2 This means your brand and how you present your organization is more important now than ever before. Here are some tips on how you can enhance your brand.
1. Confirm you have a career page on your corporate website which is easy to find and up-to-date.
In a recent survey conducted by BioSpace,* life sciences professionals indicated they want a job site that is “easy to apply” and with “job listings that are actively recruiting.” Furthermore, if you don’t have any openings, make it clear on your site that you aren’t hiring right now. Not in the budget to have a career page? Then partner with companies like BioSpace who can host a company profile page highlighting your brand and connect this to your active job openings.
2. Don’t just copy and paste the job description.
Job descriptions are a great opportunity to tell candidates about your organization, its culture and any unique benefits you offer. Use the job description to support your employer brand initiatives. Candidates should understand who you are and what you do in about five seconds. Here are a few pointers:
- Make sure your description is visually attractive, with effective use of white space.
- Bullet point the important requirements or skills you want candidates to focus on.
- Use key search terms to help candidates find and match their skill set to your open role.
- Emphasize why a candidate would want to work for your organization.
- Include a call to action – yes, the apply button is most likely somewhere on the page, but considering having a number to call or an email as well.
One of the biggest mistake companies make is thinking the job description is about the company. It’s not about the company, it’s about the candidate. Let candidates know why they should work for your organization. Hint: It’s not just about salary. According to a recent BioSpace survey,* the top two reasons why life science professionals will look for a new job in 2019 are 1) they are ready for new challenges (54%) and 2) they are looking for more rewarding opportunities (42%). Salary came in third with 35%. Let candidates know about the rewarding opportunities you provide by elaborating in your job description.
3. Don’t "ghost" candidates.
Communication and interaction with candidates is key throughout the hiring process and reflects directly on your employer brand. Over the past year, through various channels, BioSpace has captured comments and quotes from candidates stressing the need for communication from potential employers. One professional mentioned:
“Let us know the job has been filled.”
While it may not always be feasible to communicate to candidates that roles have been filled, for those you’ve interviewed, follow-up is key. Many BioSpace professionals mentioned their frustration with employer ghosting. One professional is quoted as saying:
“Ghosting is something that employers have been guilty of for years.”
“I've gone as far as having two phone interviews, an in person interview, and then a site wide interview with a dozen or so employees only to then not hear anything.”
Although you’re extremely busy, do not ghost the candidates. Communicate with these individuals, even if it’s just a quick email to say they are not being considered. You are a brand ambassador for your organization to candidates throughout the hiring process, so ensure they have a positive experience with your brand. Just because you’re not hiring them today, doesn’t mean they won’t be a key candidate in the future.
4. Showcase your organization’s culture.
A recent survey from BioSpace* reveals that culture is a top factor when considering a job. One professional stated,
“Culture and reputation of a company are very important.”
On the flip side, as an employer you also want someone who fits well into your culture. When asked what defines a quality candidate, one BioSpace employer indicated:
“Passion and motivation for our company mission,”
and another stated:
“Fits our culture.”
But if you’re not telling candidates the keys to your company’s culture, then how will they know if they are a good fit before applying?
5. Optimize social media.
Consider using social media for branding and lead generation in your recruiting efforts. According to The Nielsen Company, adults 18+ years old spend an average of 44 minutes per day social networking.3 Also, the majority of Americans now use Facebook (68%) and YouTube (73%).4
Also, ensure that your company’s LinkedIn page contains all pertinent information. Many companies have incomplete pages and information. Position your company as an industry thought-leader rather than an online commercial. Also, encourage employees to share content through their social media accounts.
6. Consider video.
Whether used to promote your employer brand, specific career opportunities or company profiles , video is a great way to connect with candidates. Cisco has indicated that globally, IP video traffic will be 82% of all IP traffic by 2022.5 Videos can help increase your SEO, and job postings that include video are more likely to show up in a job seeker’s search results than those that don’t.
Not only does video increase traffic, it can also increase response rate. According to research, a hiring manager welcome video makes a candidate 46% more likely to consider the job and 30% more likely to respond to a recruiter or apply.6 Candidates also retain more information with video. HubSpot has determined that 55% of people pay close attention when consuming a video, more than all other types of content.
7. Do you have a diversified recruitment strategy?
Remember, it’s a consumer market. It is important that you promote your brand across different channels and across multiple platforms, both niche and general. For quantity performance, you may choose a broader type of platform. But is it always about the numbers? Aren’t you looking for the “right” candidate? For more quality candidates, promote on those niche platforms that target your specific industry.
It’s important to point out that the term “branding” has gotten a bad rap. It’s not about making your company a household name like Coke or Pepsi. It's about ensuring your company or organization is represented in the best possible way to attract candidates. It’s about connecting with candidates to ensure appropriate cultural fit. It’s about helping candidates to see your organization as more than brick and mortar.
Employer branding gives your organization life throughout every step of the hiring process.