Last Updated November 2018

Quick Hits on Employer Branding Tools:

  • Candidates are in control, with 4% unemployment and 7.5 mm open jobs in the US

  • There are two main drivers of value from employer branding - more awareness about your company, and convincing a higher percent of people who become aware that they need to apply

  • Make sure your strategy is ROI focused, a lot of branding strategies will leave nothing but vanity metrics

  • Marketing will be a strategic advisor, but rarely help execute

The 7 Best Employer Branding Technologies


The Good

Kununu is the Glassdoor of Europe, with a newish presence in the US. They collect more in depth reviews, and you can almost certainly start from scratch when curating this profile vs your Glassdoor which has reviews going back to the founding of your company.

The Bad

Kununu simply doesn’t have the traffic of it’s competitors in the US. The SEO battle is hard to win, and it probably doesn’t make sense for them to pay for traffic.

Curious about Kununu? Learn more (opens in new tab)


The Good

TheMuse was one of the first companies to pioneer the employer branding space with their in depth company profiles and content first talent attraction strategy. They’ll help you create interesting information about your company, and then distribute this content onto their site.

The Bad

The skeptic in us want to call TheMuse nothing more than a job board that was founded in 2014, and therefore is a lot more consumer friendly and content heavy than old school job boards. It’s also worth noting that their distribution is very strong with millennials in New York, SF and other “Tier 1” markets, but drops off when you get beyond the top 10 cities, let alone outside the US.

Curious about TheMuse? Learn more (opens in new tab)


The Good

Glassdoor has tens of millions of active job seekers on their site which you can market to via pay per click advertising. This is one of the best places to get more applicant flow. It’s also a place where you can greatly enhance your employer brand for free by encouraging employees to write reviews.

The Bad

We all know the bad about Glassdoor - you can’t fully control it and it’s full of ex-employees with an axe to grind. Beyond that, their pricing has risen a lot in the past few years, although perhaps that trend is over due to increased competition and the fact they the business has now exited to Japanese company RecruitHoldings, the owner of Indeed.

Curious about Glassdoor? Learn more (opens in new tab)

NextWave Hire

The Good

NextWave allows even the smallest HR teams to get a new career site, talent communities and employee testimonials up and running fast - with a strong focus on driving trackable ROI. It’s simply the best tool to take your employer brand from zero to sixty and leverage all the best practices your marketing team uses to drive new revenues.

The Bad

Make sure your marketing team isn’t going to get in the way of HR controlling the career site, or else it will take months instead of days to get this solution live. Also be aware that the functionality is limited vs a more robust (and expensive) offering such as Avature if you’re looking for a CRM. **Please note, NextWave’s Ownership overlaps with SelectSoftware Reviews

Curious about NextWave Hire? Learn more (opens in new tab)

LinkedIn Elevate

The Good

We’ve heard time and again that this tool rocks when it comes to spreading awareness about your employer brand. Elevate pushes content to your employees, who then share it with their networks. Are referrals a good channel for you? Then this is tech worth checking out.

The Bad

For one, you’ll be even more tied into LinkedIn. It’s worth noting that there are MANY tools that do the same thing as Elevate, it’s just that competitors are more tuned towards marketing use cases vs Elevate’s HR first product.

Curious about LinkedIn Elevate? Learn more (opens in new tab)


The Good

Want employer branding content? Want to get eyeballs on it? Want to have the flexibility to try this tactic at a low price point? Well then BuiltIn has you covered. BuiltIn runs a network of geographically focused sites (like “BuiltInBoston”) that share articles about company culture, etc. They’ll write something up, and send it to their mail lists.

The Bad

We’re fairly certain job seekers are smart enough to realize the article on an “amazing place to work in XYZ City” is sponsored content - but it seems to work nonetheless.

Curious about BuiltIn? Learn more (opens in new tab)

Other vendors we considered in our research: OnGig, Firmplay, Digi Me, Social Toaster, Video My Job, PathMotion, PhenomPeople, DynamicSignal, Altru, TMP

ROI of From Employer Branding

Download Employer Branding ROI Calculator

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The Return On Investment (ROI) driven from employer branding is a bit hard to track but that just means it’s even more important to focus on. There are two main buckets we can broadly put initiatives into, one is increasing awareness, and one is increasing conversion.

Awareness: If we make more people aware of our company’s talent brand, and they apply and are hired, then we have something to show for our efforts. For example, we spend $10k on ads on Glassdoor, get 1,000 applicants and hire 10. Our typical cost/hire is $5k, and so we have a profit of (10 hires *$5k cost/hire) - $10k spend on Glassdoor = $40k.

Conversion: Let’s say we get 1,000 career site visitors/month, and 5% of those apply for a job. Let’s say we update our site, and now 11% apply, 6% more. So, we’ll get 1,000 visitors * 6% = 60 more applicants/month. We know that for every 60 applicants, we’ll get 1.2 hires. Our cost/hire is $5k. So, we’ve made 1.2 * $5k = $6k.

Take a look at the calculator on the right for a template you can change for your specific project.

2 Key Metrics for Employer Branding

Yes, we are data nerds here at Select Software Reviews. Here are the metrics we think you should be tracking for your employer branding efforts, and why:

  • Career Site Visitors: This metric can be broadly defined as “awareness” - but that can be tough to track across all your social impressions, job ads, etc. So, the easiest thing to track is the number of people going to your career site each month, which is a strong proxy for the number of people your brand is getting in front of.

  • Conversion rate: What percent of career site visitors are converting into your ATS and talent communities - “We were getting 5% of traffic into the ATS prior to implementing microsites, and are now getting 7% which means 250 more applicants/week, 3 of which we hire on average.”

  • Other Metrics: Here are a few more if you want to go all in - percent of offers accepted (better branding means people are “sold” from their first point of contact with your talent brand and therefore more likely to accept), retention (stronger employer brands see higher retention as employees know what they’re getting into), employee advocacy (more referrals, social shares, testimonials are all part of having a great employer brand).

Employer Branding Pitfalls

Here’s where we see people struggle when it comes to employer branding:

  • Marketing is a great ally for your HR team, but they are not going to do the work. When you’re looking to build out your brand, realize that marketing gets paid based on new revenues. That said, they have the skill set to help out. So, ask them for advice on any initiative you’re considering, and make sure you’re not stepping on their toes when doing something outward facing. Just don’t expect them to do any real work or you’ll be stalled for months (or years).

  • Don’t feel like you have to have a full blown employer branding strategy all at once. Companies spend literally years putting together strategies that are outdated before execution begins. Take a “lean startup” approach and focus on one initiative that will make a difference for your business.

  • Make sure you stay focused on ROI. The teams who do, get more budget. The teams who don’t, get frustrated when the CFO won’t shell out more cash. Unfortunately, HR is held to a higher standard when it comes to proving ROI because they’re a cost center. Take that as a challenge, and keep track of all the value your initiative is bringing to the table vs what it cost.

  • Get executive buy in early. Make a short deck around why employer branding is important. Something like “we’re growing/hiring a ton, the war for talent is brutal, we need to market ourselves as a place to work just like we market our own product.” Employer branding is super intuitive to the c-suite, they just need to hear it conveyed correctly with a business case in mind. Once you have this, getting budget for the first project or two shouldn’t be too difficult.

Our Advice

Pick one area that your talent acquisition efforts are really struggling with, and focus on that. Maybe it’s engineering hiring, being more proactive with talent communities, or getting more awareness about your tiny company that no one’s ever heard of. Pick one area of pain, design an experiment, and track the results religiously. If it works, double down. If not, go back to the drawing board.

The good news is that most HR teams have been slow enough to adopt employer branding tactics to the point where there is still so much low hanging fruit when it comes to differentiating yourself versus your talent competition. Good luck!

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