How to choose the right employer branding partner

So, you’ve decided to invest in your employer brand. How do you find the right partner?

There are plenty of paths to choose from - do you try to do the work in-house, engage the marketing agency you usually turn to or find a specialist employer branding partner? Time and again, we’ve seen employer branding strategies and initiatives fall flat because the organisation hasn’t engaged someone who truly gets employer branding, talent attraction and recruitment marketing.

Whether you want to articulate a full employee value proposition (EVP), develop a strategic action plan or create a suite of recruitment marketing content, you should start by setting clear goals and ensuring the experts you’ve partnered with are up to the task. Here are some ways you can narrow down your shortlist.

Five questions to ask your potential employer branding partner:

1. Can you show me examples of your previous work?

Okay, this one may be a little obvious: you should choose a partner who is an expert in employer branding, with the evidence to back this claim up. Take a look at their portfolio of previous work and see if you like what they produce, particularly for employers in similar industries to you. Critically, you should also ask for testimonials from happy clients and success stories linked to their work.

Watch out for agencies with expertise in commercial branding, but not employer branding - these are not the same thing. If you want talent results, you need someone with proven experience in this specific area.

2. What does your EVP ‘deliverable’ look like?

An EVP should never just be some words on a page. Ask about the different tiers of messaging you’ll receive, how this will be presented, and how you’ll be able to use it once the “project” is complete. (Bonus tip - employer branding shouldn’t be seen as a project you can tick off your list, but rather as an ongoing strategic process for shaping your talent offering.)

There’s some flexibility here depending on your unique context, but you should expect a short, sharp leadline to cascade across all talent assets, key pillars with supporting copy that details your key attractors, and a nutshell statement that succinctly captures your ‘why work for us’ message.

3. What’s your process for developing an EVP?

Your partner’s process for gathering information and developing your EVP is just as important as the end product. Many lower-value employer brand agencies have a lot of style over substance in this area. Don’t be distracted by their “cutting-edge approach to human-centred design”. It’s simple - do they actually talk to your people? Will they conduct interviews or focus groups with the people who know best what it’s really like to work with you? If the answer is no, there’s no way they’ll be able to create an EVP that accurately and authentically reflects your true offering.

4. Can you explain the strategy behind your employer brand videos?

This question will usually get you to the heart of your partner’s approach to storytelling for employer branding. If they talk about finding your best, genuine employee advocates and telling their stories (the good and the not-so-shiny stuff), you’re probably on to a winner. Scripts, gloss and highly polished videos are a red flag. This content may seem nice, but it’ll never convert the talent you want and need.

What ROI can I expect?

Employer branding outcomes can be hard to measure precisely, but you should absolutely be able to track some key indicators for success. Investing in employer branding services should, at a minimum, increase quality applications and expressions of interest, improve employee satisfaction and success, and reduce early attrition. Be wary of partners who stumble on this question, but also be wary of those who hype up the possibilities of success without the stats to prove themselves - or else you’ll find yourself with high expectations and no way to meet them.

Here’s our final bonus tip: Think about the personality or culture of the employer branding partner/agency you’re considering. Does it align with your own? Do you care about their schmick website and buzzwords like “employer of choice”? Or do you want someone your people and talent audience will find trustworthy and relatable, and who can help shape your organisation's culture in a positive, sustainable way? If all goes well, you’ll likely be partnering for a long time, so it’s important to ensure a comfortable cultural fit.

This advice should help you find the right employer branding partner for your organisation, whatever your options. If you’re keen to team up, we’d love to discuss what makes us a great choice! Get in touch to see if we’d be the right fit.

Tahlia Robinson

About the Author

As Employer Branding Australia’s Commercial Marketing Storyteller, Tahlia Robinson communicates our fantastic, imperfect organisation’s story to the world. With a background in PR for non-profits, she specialises in connecting organisations with their audiences in positive, meaningful ways. Tahlia is keenly interested in accessibility, activism, and keeping up with current trends on social media (while constantly wondering if she’s too old to be on TikTok).

About Employer Branding Australia

We exist to help you attract the best talent and keep them engaged. Together, we’ll create and promote your 'Why work for us?' and turn your authentic people stories into your most powerful marketing tool.

Contact us today for a free, honest assessment of your employer branding opportunity.


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