Recruitment expert Anna Bertoldini discusses how the power of human-centric employer branding can help you attract and retain top talent

A lot of what candidates do in their journey is driven by emotion and gut feeling. So you need to cultivate that warm and fuzzy feeling around your brand at each touchpoint through storytelling.

Anna Bertoldini
Global Head of Employer Branding at NielsenIQ
Anna Bertoldini employer branding


Recruiters and marketers have a lot more in common than you think. 

Nowadays, a recruiter needs to think more like a marketer when it comes to sourcing and hiring talent.

According to LinkedIn, 70% of the current global workforce is passive talent, with the remaining 30% actively seeking jobs. That means you need to build trust and interest in your organization before candidates are even interested in applying for you. 

In employer branding, we’re thinking long-term. We’re selling a long-term relationship between the candidate and the company, and as in relationships, we need to understand the candidate’s unique motivations – their values, aspirations, and needs.

So how can you connect with a job seeker beyond just listing benefits?

You can do this by creating special moments and sharing them with your employees and candidates. This way, you’ll position yourself as a top employer. Enter our secret ingredient: stories.

A well-told story can leave a powerful impression on the human mind. Candidates researching your company nowadays want to feel what it’s like to work for you before they join.

So how can you give them a peek from the outside? 

Stories foster and strengthen that positive emotional connection with your brand. A lot of what candidates do in their journey is driven by emotion and gut feeling, from clicking on your job post to accepting an offer after meeting the hiring team. 

So you need to cultivate that warm and fuzzy feeling around your brand at each touchpoint through storytelling.

And who can best tell your story? Your employees, of course. They live and breathe your culture every day. 

Employee advocacy is based on the principle that people listen to people. People trust people a lot more than brands. 

So sharing employee stories and encouraging advocacy can humanize your brand and bring it to life. It bridges the gap between the company and the candidate by giving a face to your business and offering an exclusive peek into your organization.

How to get started with storytelling

If you work in talent acquisition and want to get into employer branding, here are some steps that you can take to start your journey:

  1. Find your Employer Value Proposition (EVP)
  2. Define your EVP content pillars
  3. Harness your company and employee stories
  4. Track success

Step 1: Find your Employer Value Proposition (EVP)

Find what makes working at your company truly unique.

Your EVP is the “North Star” that guides how you engage with candidates and employees. It gives direction to your messaging and answers the question: Why should someone do this job at your company instead of anywhere else?

A great EVP is co-created with employees and leadership and serves three purposes: attract and retain top talent, deliver shareholder value, and inspire customer loyalty. 

Step 2: Define your EVP content pillars

Once you’ve got your EVP and candidate personas down, it’s time to create your content pillars. These are the major themes you want to highlight in your story and content.

Pick a few content pillars that will serve as guidance and foster consistency in your messaging at each touchpoint of your candidate’s journey. 

Step 3: Harness your company and employee stories

Culture can be hard to define. To me, it´s the culmination of unique moments and experiences that make your company special. 

You can start by creating and planning a strategy around your content pillars, sharing information about the culture and business updates. 

Source relevant stories to celebrate what makes your culture unique, share them on your social channels and use a mix of company and employee-generated content to reinforce your EVP narrative.

To harness employee voices:

  • Train your staff on the power of personal branding
  • Provide resources and assets to share on social
  • Select a few brand champions and recognize them

Tip for great human content: Show the real stuff. The human stuff. The celebrations, traditions, jokes, wins, and failures that make your culture unique. 

Step 4: Track success

There are various ways to track your employer branding efforts’ success:

  • Brand awareness and engagement – Here, you can measure how much people are being exposed to and interacting with your posts. This can include engagement rate on socials, impressions on social media content, traffic to your pages and source of traffic, and follower growth.
  • Lead generation – How are your social activations performing for lead gen? Check if your content is converting into hiring ROI. Here you can check the volume of applications, the volume of qualified applicants, your source of applications, and the CTR on your content.
  • Employee engagement – Happy employees equal more advocacy. Here, you can measure engagement. For this, you can check metrics such as employee opinion survey responses, percentage of employee advocates, and volume of referrals.

With this, you should have everything you need to start your storytelling journey and attract and retain top talent

Happy branding 🙂


Anna Bertoldini

Anna Bertoldini is the Global Head of Employer Branding at NielsenIQ. Here, she’s leading global employer branding and recruitment marketing efforts to bring the organization’s employer value proposition to life and attract and retain top talent. She’s driven to help global companies communicate their culture, mission, values, and purpose with authentic and engaging storytelling. What gets her out of bed every morning is her mission to help organizations either build their presence or reinvent themselves to attract the right talent to scale sustainably.


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