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In the high-stakes game of tech startups, every founder and HR manager knows the value of a strong hand. But what if I told you that one of the most powerful cards you could play isn’t about the size of your investment or the uniqueness of your product, but about how you’re perceived as an employer? Welcome to the world of Employer Branding.

Key Takeaways of this article:

  1. Employer branding is a strategic tool for tech startups to position themselves as an ’employer of choice’.
  2. A strong employer brand can attract top talent, even amid a talent shortage, by resonating with their values and providing a positive work environment.
  3. Employer branding can reduce hiring costs by up to 50% and streamline the recruitment process.
  4. It can boost employee retention, engage employees, and promote higher job satisfaction.
  5. Employer branding can build a positive reputation amongst tech professionals and boost stakeholder confidence.
  6. Successful companies like Heineken, Cisco, and Slack have adopted effective employer branding strategies.
  7. Startups can build their employer brand through strategies like improving the employee experience, offering learning opportunities, sharing their story, monitoring reviews, aligning the brand with the company’s mission, and involving marketing in the employer branding strategy.

What is Employer Branding?

Simply put, employer branding is a strategy to position your organisation as the ’employer of choice’ for both your current employees (for retention) and prospective candidates (for attraction). It’s the most effective way to build relationships with candidates for hard-to-fill positions like software developers, devrel people and product owners/managers.

In an industry where competition for tech talent is as fierce as a Game of Thrones battle, a strong employer brand can make your company stand out like Daenerys Targaryen on a dragon. No wonder 86% of HR professionals report that recruitment is becoming more like marketing, and employer branding is now more important than ever. For instance, it’s been found that a poor company reputation can dissuade half of the potential candidates from accepting a job offer, even if it comes with a higher pay. On the other hand, a company with a solid corporate reputation can entice over 90% of professionals to consider a switch.

What are the Benefits of Employer Branding?

So, how can employer branding help your tech startup? Let me count the ways:

Fosters the Ideal Match

A strong employer brand is a mirror to your company’s mission, vision, and values. By promoting your strengths, you attract candidates who share those same attributes and are more likely to be a cultural fit for your company. This often leads to more engaged and motivated employees, which can also promote higher retention rates. According to a CodinGame survey, developers regard challenging tasks, a balanced work-life equation, and company culture as paramount factors over compensation. Thus, cultivating your workplace reputation can draw skilled professionals to your doorstep.

Bridges the Communication Gap

Employer branding is a tool to communicate in a language that resonates with your target audience. For instance, a blog where your developers share their experiences can serve as a direct connect with potential employees. This method of User Generated Content (UGC) endorses your brand in a genuine manner. Leveraging this strategy, you can build a robust reputation amongst tech professionals, making you an attractive prospect for passive tech talents. According to the 2022 Stack Overflow knows survey “The most popular resources developers use to find out about future employers after their personal network are company reviews (41%), other media (34%), and company media (33%). An example of a company with a great engineer-driven blog is Etsy’s Code as Craft Blog.” [Source: Stack]

Highlights Your Unique Proposition:

Employer branding can help highlight the unique aspects that set your organisation apart. It could be your flexible work culture, your commitment to diversity, or the emphasis you place on learning and development. Add these to your social media schedules, as your users and followers could one day be employees.

Enhance Your Candidate Experience:

A strong employer brand leaves a positive impression on candidates, irrespective of whether they secure the job or not. This positive experience builds a healthy talent pipeline, as candidates are likely to recommend your company to their peers. This is particularly the case in the world of tech.

Streamlines Hiring Process

Employer branding can significantly reduce hiring costs, with companies reducing their cost per hire by up to 50%. Your reputation and promises become your unique selling points, encouraging current employees to recommend your company within their networks. It also makes it easier for recruiters to ‘sell’ your company to headhunted candidates. This reduces the cost of creating awareness for openings and recruiting unqualified candidates. An added advantage is a shorter recruitment process, allowing you to focus more on closing candidates for harder-to-fill roles.

Builds a Positive Reputation Amongst Tech Professionals:

As mentioned above, consider integrating employer branding content throughout social media, employee and user generated content and other channels so you can build a strong reputation consistently. This is particularly beneficial in attracting passive tech talent who are open to new opportunities if the right one comes along. If they know about you in a positive light, then the odds are in your favour.

Boosts Stakeholder Confidence:

Your reputation as an employer can significantly impact stakeholder confidence. A strong employer brand that’s responsive to the needs of both customers and employees contributes to business growth. It can also help mitigate the risk of a tarnished reputation due to employee scandals, potentially saving your business from substantial losses and a long road to reputation recovery. Furthermore, your ability to attract and retain the right talent can significantly enhance customer experience, driving customer satisfaction and potentially increasing revenue. In this way, a strong employer brand can help secure your business’s credibility in the eyes of customers and investors alike.

Companies That Hit the Bullseye with Employer Branding

Let’s take a look at some companies who have nailed the art of employer branding:

Heineken: Remember their “Go Places” campaign? It featured the stories of their current employees, making the company feel more human and relatable.

Cisco: Their employer branding focuses on trust and authenticity. They encourage employees to share real stories of their experiences at Cisco, providing a genuine and unfiltered view of the company’s culture and values.

General Electric (GE): They repositioned themselves as a digital company with their employer branding strategy, releasing timely and modern commercials to reflect their new identity.

PwC: They used their employer branding strategy to change their reputation from being just an accounting firm to a company where candidates can go for career advice.

Starbucks: Their social media strategy doesn’t just show appreciation for current employees; it’s also a platform for interacting with future ones.

Slack: Their transparency in the recruitment process and initiatives supporting community service and inclusivity make them one of the best tech companies to work for.

Building Employer Branding in the Tech Industry

So, how can you build a strong employer brand for your tech startup? Here are seven tips:

    • Improve employee experience: Make sure your employees have a positive experience from the get-go. This will make them more likely to stay with your company and recommend you to others. You have to practise what you preach. If you say you are inclusive and promote flexible working, you have to honour that in reality.
    • Offer learning opportunities: In the tech industry, it’s crucial to keep up with the latest developments. According to the Stack Overflow Developer In the tech industry, it’s crucial to keep up with the latest developments. According to the 2022 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, nearly 59% of developers cite the opportunity to learn new technologies as a key factor to consider when job hunting. Encourage your employees to develop their skills by offering opportunities for learning and growth – it will only benefit you in the long term.
    • Share your story: Encourage your employees to share their experiences and stories about your brand. Creating behind-the-scenes videos, sharing employee testimonials, showcasing the journey of new hires, and providing a sneak-peek into a typical day at your company are effective strategies to shape potential candidates’ perception of your business. This will give potential candidates an authentic and relatable view of what it’s like to work at your company.
    • Monitor reviews: 86% of employees and job seekers research company reviews before applying for jobs. Keep an eye on what past and current employees or even former candidates are saying about your company. Respond to both positive and negative reviews – it shows you are listening and are open to feedback.
    • Align your brand with your mission: Your mission, vision, and culture should guide your employer branding strategy. Any disconnect between these can affect your reputation and overall success.
    • Build a tech employer branding strategy: Keep an eye on industry news and trends. Understand the ever-changing expectations of in-demand specialists. Set inclusive policies that match the needs of the industry. Tackle any obstacles to your hiring process and turn them into your strengths.
    • Involve marketers: Your HR and marketing teams need to work together to develop a brand image that speaks to your dream candidates. These experts understand how to use storytelling and other techniques to showcase your company in the best light. Make the most of the ‘What We Do’ and ‘Life‘ tabs on Linkedin to encourage prospective employees to discover more about your company culture by sharing what life is really like at your company (just like Anomalo has here).


In summary, employer branding is not something to be overlooked, especially in the tech industry. It’s a powerful strategy that can attract top talent, reduce time and cost per hire, improve retention rates, and build credibility with customers and investors. So, if you haven’t given much thought to your employer branding strategy yet, now is the time to start. After all, in the tech industry, the future is always now.