Five Critical Components of an Employer Value Proposition

When I talk with managers who are frustrated by their company’s inability to attract quality applicants, they often begin the conversation with an acknowledgement that there isn’t enough qualified talent out there to fill all the jobs. True, but that’s something wholly out of their control in the short term.  What can they do, I ask, in the near team to put their best foot forward in the market and maximize their likelihood for success?

Recruiting is a sales and marketing process.  Competing for scarce talent is no different from competing for your customer’s business; it starts with a clearly defined value proposition. Why would someone choose to work for you over all other options? In the recruiting world, that’s called an Employer Value Proposition, or EVP.

Creating an employer value proposition starts with answering one fundamental question: What is your company’s competitive advantage when it comes to hiring and retention? To answer that question, consider these five critical components of an employee value proposition that must appear on any company career website, along with the goal you’re trying to meet with the content you’re providing to the site visitor.

1. About the company

It may sound self-evident, but a clear and immersive description of the company is a critical first step.  When reviewing the About Us page of most company career sites, the language often reads like it was written in the 1960’s by management consultants – stodgy and full of business jargon that makes everything sound impressive but means very little to someone conducting actual research into your company.  

When you’re crafting the description of your company for consumption by potential job applicants, start with WHY.  Why are you in business?  Whom do you serve? In what ways do you serve them?  Other content that job applicants find extremely valuable includes the history of how the business came to exist (the “origin story”) and information about the founders and/or key leadership team members.

Goal: The applicant should leave with a full understanding of why the company exists, whom the company serves, what company does, and how the company does it.


2. Available positions

If you’re wondering why I feel the need to point out that, yes, you should list your open jobs on your company careers site, it’s because so many companies don’t do it. Approximately 30% of company career sites or pages simple list a web form or generic email address, imploring interested applicants to fling a resume over the transom and hope someone will find and read it, perhaps even email them a response.

General job application email addresses and detail-free generic job listings will do nothing to build your employer value proposition.  When you take this approach, you’re communicating to your potential job applicants that their time just isn’t important to you. You’re asking them to blind-submit a lead form without knowing whether or not you’ll take the time to respond, or even let them know what jobs are available.  In short, you’re making yourself look bad to the best applicants.

Goal: The applicant should be able to review a list of currently available positions for which candidates are being actively sought.

3. Career path

“What’s in it for me?”  That’s the question every job seeker is asking themselves when they’re reviewing your company career site.  Have you taken the time to answer this question for your top targeted employment prospects?

Research shows that millennials place “career growth opportunities” as the number one factor in when evaluating a new position.  It’s incumbent upon you as the employer to explain to them not only the position that’s available, but what the next two, five, even ten years might look if they’re successful with your company.  If you’re interested in diving deep into the hiring mindset of millennial job seekers, check out this eBook from the team at Hireology.

Goal: Visitors to your career site should come away with a clear understanding of the career path options available to them at your company.

4. Compensation and benefits

The days of stating that “compensation is based on skills and prior experience” is quickly becoming a relic of the past. In fact, some states and major cities are even making it illegal to ask candidates about their salary history during the hiring process.

In the area of comp and benefits, I’ve always found that naming your price and explaining the perks in vivid detail is the way to go.  Candidates who are out of the price range will simply opt out, saving you countless hours of screening that awesome applicant who turns out to be $50,000 a year more expensive than you can afford.  If a highly qualified applicant applies and it turns out they were making $10,000 less last year for performing a similar job, so what? What’s more important, hiring the best person for the job, or keeping your new employees pegged to their last pay rate?

Goal: Job applicants should have a detailed overview of the compensation and benefits offered for the position being described, and should understand the compensation philosophy of the company at a high level.

5. Culture and values

Your company culture and values system is the single most important tool in your arsenal when it comes to attracting the right people to your company.  For some, your culture may look promising, inspiring and perfectly suited for them. For others, it might look to them like their worst nightmare.  Such is the power of a well-defined culture.

Your employer value proposition must explicitly state that your culture is one of the biggest reasons why your company is an employer of choice. Use employee testimonial videos, photography and social media to bring your culture to life.  Your career site should be organized to show prospective employees what it’s like to work a day in your company.  The right people will line up for a chance to work for you.

Goal: Your career site should contain highly descriptive language and imagery that immerses the job seeker in your company culture and values system.