Meeting Selina McCarthy today of employer branding firm, Reflektor Consulting
Hi Selina, it is very good to meet you, first tell me about yourself and your professional background?
Hi Billy, great to meet you too. I’m a native Dubliner, from Ballinteer originally. I moved away from Dublin in 2004 and have only been back sporadically since then, having lived in London, Australia, France and elsewhere. Most recently, I lived in Berlin for 4.5 years. I returned to Dublin in July last year to set up Reflektor.
I studied Commerce and German at NUI Galway and then a double masters in International Management at Smurfit in Dublin & the University of St.Gallen in Switzerland. Since then, I’ve worked in advertising and event management for companies like Gartner, Lidl and the Web Summit, moving on to freelancing for a while, before moving into Employer Branding. I worked for some well-known large Berlin Start ups, before deciding to move home and using my employer branding knowledge to set up Reflektor.
Explain about employer branding, what is it?
Employer branding is the art of promoting your company as a great place to work, in an authentic and enticing manner, on the right channels, to the right target audience. It functions like product branding, but instead of customers, you have candidates, and your product is your job offering or your “Employer Value Proposition”.
Employer branding is not solely focussed on the external aspects of a brand but also involves looking inward, assessing your offering as an employer, ensuring you are delivering on your promises and that you are competitive. After that, it’s a case of ensuring your message is reaching the right audience on the right channels, in a consistent and convincing manner
Why is employer branding so important in Ireland today?
For a multitude of reasons, Ireland has become a hub of employment recently. With Brexit looming we’re seeing people looking for jobs outside of the UK, and as the only English speaking nation left in the EU, Ireland is in prime position to benefit from this. In technology, we’re also seeing a trend towards companies basing their engineering effort in Ireland too. Previously, the bigger tech companies used Ireland as a base for their sales operations only, but that is definitely changing. All of this means there is increased competition for the best tech talent. And there are some really excellent, well-known employers in the city. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you will need to invest some time and effort into your employer brand.
Give examples of companies where it works?
Every company that has employees is doing employer branding in some form or another. If you have a career website or job ads, you are doing employer branding, even if you’re not officially calling it that. The best companies have consistent messaging across every platform where their company has a profile. They are the ones that deliver on what they promise, where the employees are happy and can articulate the culture and what it means to work at their company.
And examples perhaps of what not to do? Don’t name companies if you do not wish to!
In my opinion, the worst thing a company can do is say one thing but behave in another way. For example, if the management of a company post their values on the walls of the office and ask everyone to live by them, but don’t live by them themselves, then it makes the values meaningless. It also destroys trust if you don’t live up to your promises. So don’t claim to be something you are not, internally or externally. You will eventually be found out and people will not be happy. It’s better to be who you are, and own it, flaws and all.
I wonder is employer branding for large tech companies only?
Not at all. As I mentioned before if you have employees, then you are doing employer branding. If you are talking about your company, in job interviews or in casual conversations, that’s employer branding, just on a much smaller scale.
How should smaller businesses approach employer branding?
Smaller companies should focus on getting a clear idea of their purpose and goals, and finding a way to articulate that in a way that feels real to them, and trying to find their USP as an employer. They should focus on coming up with an EVP they are happy with first. Once they have that in place, then it’s a case of promotion. There are a lot of different channels for promotion depending on which industry you are and the size of your budget. Ensuring you have the same messaging across LinkedIn, your career website, your jobs ads would be the first step.
What are the next plans for Reflektor?
For the moment my focus is on consulting in Ireland. I am also running a new meetup group and am developing an online training course for international recruiters
Where can we contact you, and find out more about employer branding?
Tell us something surprising about yourself?
I once spent a summer working in a zoo in California