Employer Brand Euro Remix


The pandemic has royally remixed employment branding for a lot of companies. What used to be a nice-to-have is now a must-have, no matter where you are in the world. That's why we brought in Kim Werensteijn, Employer Brand extraordinaire from the Netherlands. It's a must-listen for furloughed, future, and currently practicing Employer Brand pros.


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PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION sponsored by:

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INTRO (1m 0s):

Hide your kids! Lock the doors! You're listening to HR’s most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheeseman are here to punch the recruiting industry, right where it hurts! Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark, buckle up boys and girls, it's time for the Chad and Cheese podcast.


Joel (1m 21s):

Aw. Yeah. That's the bitchy on the left hand side. What's up everybody? It's Joel CheesCman. You're listening to the Chad and Cheese podcast. I'm your cohost Joel Cheeseman is always joined by my co-host and arms Chad Sowash and today we are honored to welcome Kim Werensteijn founder at Werkimago. If I said that correctly,


Chad (1m 45s):

That was good.


Joel (1m 47s):

Calling in from Spain, but you're Dutch folk.


Kim (1m 52s):

Yes, I would say Dutchy.


Chad (1m 53s):

Dutchy on the left hand side, which also means a Doobie. Right? So, I mean, that means marijuana on the left hand side.


Kim (2m 3s):

Well, and I'm sure that it's a lot there. Yeah.


Chad (2m 7s):

Well now that's that's coffee, right? You go to a coffee shop.


Joel (2m 9s):

I'm sure our fans have no idea what that is. So Kim, tell us about yourself.


Kim (2m 16s):

Great. Well, you pronounce it a bit German and because it's Dutch, but it's hard. It's really hard to pronounce of course. But my name is Kim Werensteijn from Werkimago. So we have a really strong, "r"


Joel (2m 31s):

And that's a company, not a town in the Netherlands.


Kim (2m 36s):

So it's actually in English translate it's the "Working Image." Yes. And I'm a learning and coaching recruiters, especially in the SMB so the small to medium businesses to implement yeah, employer branding and recruitment marketing in their companies.


Joel (2m 55s):

And you're historically sort of a sourcer. Right? You got a lot of sourcing experience?


Kim (2m 60s):

I worked as well as a sourcer. Yeah, yeah, yeah,


Joel (3m 2s):

Yeah. So how'd you make the jump from that to employment brand. That's a jump most people don't make.


Kim (3m 8s):

Yeah. Well, I work now for 10 years in recruitment. I've seen the RPO, the corporate sites and as well, the, how do you say like the agencies? And since I'm actually working remote in Spain, I do some sourcing with it as well, but my main company is learning the recruiters, how to do it. And it actually became because in the Netherlands, a lot of trainers are a bit talking, always in strategies and theories and all kinds of fancy words regarding employee branding. Well, we can do that more easily.


Kim (3m 47s):

So an Everett's recruiter understands this topic as well. So that's why I started my company.


Chad (3m 54s):

What you're talking about is generally more on a tactical level as opposed to strategic, or do you also do strategic consulting? Where do you actually live in the world of employer brand?


Kim (4m 10s):

Well, I think the bigger your company is the more strategic you go. That being said, of course, when you're a smaller company, you can also work strategic. But what we see a lot in the Netherlands with small-medium businesses is that sometimes a recruiter is just alone and doesn't have that much boot yet. And even then you can do some employer branding activities. So if you're looking to me, I can go two way. But if you're looking to most of the clients within the SMBs? They are in the middle, I think so they are technical, but as well, doing the work themselves, the operational work.


Joel (4m 53s):

Gotcha. How do you yourself define employer brand?


Kim (4m 57s):

Oh, and that's always a nice one because you can go several ways, but employer branding, where to start? Because in the middle of, I don't know how it is in the USA, but a lot of people confuse it as well with recruitment marketing. So employer branding is more the part who you are as an employer, you, I guess, you know, in being in the USA as well, like the EVP. So, your values, which values do you have? What kind of culture? What you're standing for, those kinds of things. And I always say recruiting marketing is more making your employer brand visible.


Kim (5m 37s):

And so how you make your employer brand feasible? Yeah. In the Netherlands, like a lot of people were not that familiar are always saying, okay, employer branding, I want to do employer branding. And then I'm asking, what do you want to do with employer branding? And they, they describe recruitment marketing, for example.


Chad (5m 54s):

You're talking to recruiters, you're also, I would assume helping them develop a personal brand as well, because that individual who does represent the brand, but that individual really needs to have kind of like they're their own brand per se, whether it's on LinkedIn, whether it's working with candidates or what have you, having their own podcasts, those types of things. Do you talk to recruiters about creating their own personal brand underneath the umbrella of the corporate brand?


Kim (6m 24s):

Yeah, of course it goes hand in hand, for that to matter. So we always hits that topic as well, but I think as well, a lot of recruiters always want to do everything by themselves.


Chad (6m 38s):

Why?


Kim (6m 39s):

Yeah. Why? I don't know. I think recruiters are like doing from marketing until people's skills, until administrative thousand and the position of a recruiter is of course, very broad. So I think a lot of recruiters think, okay, I'm going to do this and where I also learn them a lot. Okay. Ask as well, the employers who are in a certain position add two to do, describe for example, or to write a blog or an article or whatever about their job instead of the recruiter is going to write about the job of an account manager. I just name an example.


Joel (7m 18s):

You started your company in 2019, your consulting practice? So a year after you started at this little thing called the pandemic hit and we're slowly crawling out of it. So I'm just curious aside from the great timing that you had and when you started the business, talk about what EB looked like in 2019, what you saw in the pandemic, obviously we saw a lot of people, employment brand managers being laid off. Employment brand became less important. And then, what sort of your take as we come out of the pandemic, is it going to be as strong as it was before? Is it going to be stronger? Are companies going to move away from it or embrace it, as we come out of the pandemic.


Kim (7m 59s):

Well, I think especially in sometime in some specific markets, it's hotter than ever because I've noticed, the more scared people are, scarce, not scared. They're more as well scared actually. Yeah. By them. And the more people or employers tend to once to do something with employer branding, of course they feel a lot of pain for not filling in the vacancies. So, but employer branding of course is not a short-term strategy, it's a longer term, but that's what I see a lot.


Kim (8m 39s):

And if you're looking to the periods before COVID, if you're looking in the recruiters market, it was in the Netherlands really, really hot topic. So there weren't enough recruiters as well like the temporary positions of recruitment, for freelancers, there weren't enough. Then of course, in March 2020 COVID came and all those recruiters were left off and they left companies and they were unemployed for a long period. But starting from September on until now, it's a race again. But now again, it's before COVID, it's like everywhere are vacancies for recruiters, temporary and permanent.


Kim (9m 22s):

So it's again, really. Yeah. Going crazy again for recruiters. And, I think it's as well because the different markets are becoming more and more scarce.


Joel (9m 36s):

So are you lumping employment brand folks with the recruiters that are being hired? Are they hiring employment brand folks in equal numbers?


Kim (9m 43s):

Mmm. No. I don't think so. Because a lot of, especially small-medium companies don't have those positions within their company so the recruiter just need to do it.


Chad (9m 53s):

Do you work directly with individual recruiters to be able to help them build their personal brands? Are you just working generally with small to medium size businesses and helping them build brands along with their recruiters at the same time? Are you engaging the SMBs small-medium sized businesses? Are you doing both?


Kim (10m 14s):

Most of them with the individual recruiters. So the recruiters within the SMBs, I help them and coach them to develop the employer brand and then the recruitment marketing. And of course, a lot of time companies ask us, well, oh, maybe you can help with this, or with the landing spaces for the career sites or something like that. So then I say, okay, we'll help you as well with this.


Chad (10m 37s):

So on the SMB side, do many of these organizations have any marketing capacity whatsoever? Do they have anyone that's in a marketing role? Do they do anything on the marketing side of the house versus what we're talking about on the employer brand side?


Kim (10m 53s):

Yeah. Yeah. Most of them have an own marketeer or sometimes there's also like an HT who does it, but most of the companies have a known marketer. Yeah. Or several actually.


Joel (11m 5s):

Curious about sort of strategies and tactics. What how much do you review sites like Glassdoor and Indeed reviews come into play when you're consulting with a company, when you define employment brand? I was when I defined it, I think of it as what people say about you, is your brand. So what people say on review sites is really important. Is that a focus for you when you're helping a company? Or what sort of your take on the importance of employer brand site or review sites and how you should, how you should manage.


Kim (11m 38s):

Yeah. Well, actually the funny thing is that review sites they aren't there, but they're not that big, I think, as in the USA. So they are really, I guess, rising, of course you have Glassdoor. Indeed is more like a platform where you can post your vacancies and it doesn't really say something about your company performance.


Joel (12m 1s):

Canoe is fairly big in Europe for example.


Kim (12m 4s):

I never heard of it. How do you say can-no?


Chad (12m 7s):

I guess not. I think Australia, maybe Australia, it could be Australia.


Kim (12m 12s):

Yeah. But the thing is that it's actually funny that you say, because a lot of other parts of the world think Europe is like one, but like in Europe, the Netherlands is completely different from Germany and it's completely different then from Spain and


Joel (12m 29s):

Whoever does it is irrelevant. Are you saying you don't have review websites or it's not a thing in Europe at all?


Kim (12m 35s):

We have them. And of course they are used, but it's not that big, I think, as in the USA. So you see it in the Netherlands, actually, a lot of times people are working on their employer brand from internally. So what are the employees saying? And of course as well, what are applicants saying for example, but Glassdoor and Indeed, and like the reviews of those. I think they, a lot of companies look a bit to it, but it's not that it's that thing that is your employer brand, what people are seeing there.


Joel (13m 8s):

That's fascinating. Okay.


Chad (13m 10s):

How hard is it being in Europe? Obviously, there are so many different languages, so many different cultures. How hard is it to actually establish a brand and employer brand a personal brand? Because I would think being able to try to reach all these types of groups of not just countries, but people that would be incredibly hard compared to over here in the big globule USA.


Kim (13m 36s):

Yeah. I think from one side, yes. But the other one is that a lot of Dutch companies are only recruiting within the Netherlands, so they don't have anything to do with the other countries.


Chad (13m 48s):

Why is that? I mean, remote obviously works.


Kim (13m 52s):

Yeah. I just wanted to say like, since COVID, that I am as well, working remote from Spain for the Dutch markets. But since that that's something that's COVID as well, maybe it's an advantage of COVID that more and more companies were forced to work remote and saw the advantages of it. I think if you look in the Netherlands, the Netherlands is quite international so hardly everybody speaks English. So when there are international companies, they just, will to everything in English, but a lot of companies are still wanting Dutch speaking persons. So they just have everything in Dutch and the companies who are very internationally orientated and don't have a really good employer brand.


Kim (14m 40s):

For example, if you have your vacancies in English, I don't know hard numbers, but, but you will get less applicants if you're writing your vacancy in English, instead of writing it in Dutch. So I always say to people, if you want somebody who speaks Dutch, you need to make the vacancy in Dutch.


Joel (14m 58s):

Let's get to the marketing pole that you mentioned. Talk about that.


Kim (15m 3s):

Jen and I had like a month ago a call and then we said like, okay, where does employer branding actually belongs? And I thought, okay, it's funny to do like a little poll on LinkedIn in, within my network. And I asked the question like employer branding and recruitment marketing, where does it belong? And actually, well, 44% said it belongs to recruitment. So it's actually quite funny, 28% said with marketing, 14% said HR and 13% said different. And then I said, well, put your comments below.


Kim (15m 43s):

And most of those comments were like, it doesn't belong with one department. It belongs with three. So marketing recruitment and like communication.


Chad (15m 54s):

I think it's interesting that HR is even in the conversation because HR are they're paper pushers, they're compliance, they're policy, to be able to say that they have anything to do with your marketing or branding is probably the worst decision in the world, number one. Number two, to not say that one organization has accountability for it, screws the whole pooch, because you don't know who to look to when your brand is all fucked up. Right? So it's like, and again, this is a very European, I think answer, is, "oh, we all do it together. "That's bullshit. There has to be somebody who's accountable for that.


Chad (16m 35s):

Right? I mean, and again, that's, I think more of an American thing to say, it's like, who do I point to when I want to get shit fixed?


Kim (16m 41s):

I have to say that all the people who said, like it's divided through several departments, I asked them like, okay, but who's the final person responsible for it? And then a lot of people said it should be then recruitment. The opinions were of course, as well be divided. And I think that a lot of people said HR as well, because within the SMBs, you have a lot of persons who do HR and recruitment. Well, I think we can have a separate podcast about that because it's of course different skills. But so you also have within the smaller companies, just one person responsible for HR and recruitment.


Joel (17m 20s):

I'm gonna let you out on this, on your website. You talk a little bit about candidate experience and why that's important to the employment brand messaging. So talk about advice you give clients in terms of the candidate experience, because those tend to be very cold and corporate activities when they are really great opportunities to get your brand across. I think a lot of companies are missing that opportunity.


Kim (17m 44s):

What, what I see a lot, if it's talking about employer branding vacancies or recruiting marketing, is that we tend to have a high level of what we want as a company. The what's in it for the candidates is often forgotten. So I always say to companies who do not have the luxury of a lot of applications. I always say, put less requirements in your vacancy. Not that you need to put them overboard, but let the people first apply. And if you'll have, for example, 10 applicants, then you can either, you have an option to choose from.


Kim (18m 26s):

But if you're already putting 10 requirements, for example, you don't have even people who will apply because they think they can't succeed that level of requirements. So this is a very practical example, but as well, you see in the Netherlands, you still see a lot of people if you're talking about candidate experience, who let the people, the candidates, well just rest for one week and then they come back and then the candidate has already another offer. And what I also always try to give them is also look at your website. Like if you're, for example, having a picture and people are looking at you, then you have less like conversion then if people are looking to the apply button.


Joel (19m 13s):

You say no pictures?


Kim (19m 15s):

So a big picture to make it more personally and as well, pictures from real people, not from models. But if you, there are like a kind of smart thing, sometimes a color of an apply button can already be of influence if somebody will hit the apply button or not. So I'm always looking a bit further with my clients. What can you do on your career website as well to make it more low key that people will actually apply? For example, I now made a button with apply or ask your questions through WhatsApp. Actually very simple, but people tend to hit more the button, ask your question through WhatsApp then to hit the button apply because then in once it's really official.


Kim (19m 57s):

a


Chad (19m 57s):

Yeah. Well, that being said, as we're talking about candidate experience, you're talking about WhatsApp. What about conversational AI/chat bots? How are you? Are you seeing more companies using those for a better candidate experience? Are you not? What are you seeing with companies that you're talking to?


Kim (20m 16s):

Well, I think if you look in the Netherlands, we have one big company who does this and they win all kind of prices and stuff like that. So, and because they do it very well, actually I think.


Joel (20m 29s):

What kind of prizes? New car!


Chad (20m 33s):

Money.


Kim (20m 34s):

Yes. They have a lot of news value for the average company. I think more and more companies are implementing these systems. But that being said, if you don't, if you're a smaller company, you don't have much budget, but you see it's more common and people are, employers are implementing these suffer more and more.


Chad (20m 55s):

Kim it, is wonderful to be able to talk to you, especially for us to be able to better understand. Generally we talk about the bigger companies, not as much the SMBs, so you helping us and enlightening us on that side of the house and also across the pond. So we appreciate you coming on. It's Kim Werensteijn everybody


Joel (21m 16s):

Dankenstein Kim.


Chad (21m 19s):

Kim, if people want to listen to the podcast, remember everybody it's in Dutch. So you have to listen to Dutch. If they want to listen to the podcast, they want to connect with you. Where would you send them?


Kim (21m 31s):

Well, I have to say to be honest, a lot of things with what I do are really in Dutch because that is my main target audience. So, but if they want to connect, they can connect me on Instagram. My Instagram account is werkimago, I'll really dark and as well on LinkedIn. So I would, I will say again in Dutch, my name because Joel, you're always saying <inaudible> right? So my name is Kim Werensteijn. Oh yeah. So not international, but anyhow, so, and I'm also connected with you guys, so maybe they can look in your friends and search for Kim and they will find me.


Chad (22m 14s):

Which means we out. We out.


Outro (22m 17s):

Thank you for listening to, what's it called? The podcast with Chad, the Cheese. Brilliant. They talk about recruiting. They talk about technology, but most of all, they talk about nothing. Just a lot of Shout Outs of people, you don't even know and yet you're listening. It's incredible. And not one word about cheese, not one cheddar, blue, nacho, pepper jack, Swiss. So many cheeses and not one word. So weird. Any hoo be sure to subscribe today on iTunes, Spotify, Google play, or wherever you listen to your podcasts, that way you won't miss an episode.


Outro (23m 1s):

And while you're at it, visit www.chadcheese.com just don't expect to find any recipes for grilled cheese. Is so weird. We out.

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