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The employer brand - A tale of transformation

1 September 2017 by

The employer brand - A tale of transformation

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Sorcha Coleman Marketing


By Sorcha Coleman, Head of Talent Solutions, Alternatives.

I am often asked by companies, how can they attract the best talent? What can they do to ensure that they are getting employees who are the right fit and worth investing in be it for permanent or contract opportunities? My answer to this is always the same – look at your employer brand process.

There was a time when a well-known global organisation was struggling to attract the right talent – they were going through a very impressive growth period and were offering fantastic opportunities to work with an exceptional range of products/brands across numerous areas within their team i.e. Marketing, Sales, IT, Finance & Supply, however they were not getting the calibre of people that they required. They were using numerous recruitment agencies and recruiting directly, but the results were not being achieved.

The Harsh Reality

So they took a step back and faced up to reality. They took the time to look at who they are as an organisation, what was working well and recognising what was not working well. I was invited to meet with a number of hiring managers and with the HR team to give the view from the market –I was asked to not hold back, they needed the ‘warts & all’ version of what was being said about them as employers – What was the perception out there about them and where I believed they were going wrong.

Lessons Learnt

A couple of months later, I was invited back to spend a few hours with them in their HQ. I spent a couple of hours in their head office, along with recruiters from other specialist agencies e.g. finance, procurement, and manufacturing. We were met with various members of their team from CEO level down who each told us their story of what it was like to work in this organisation. The HR team communicated to us their acknowledgement of where the organisation had made mistakes with their team, the were honest about the fact that ‘yes we had issues around work/life balance’ and ‘yes, we got some past hires wrong in terms of cultural fit’.

They then presented to us the changes that they have put in place to correct past shortcomings, the investment they were committing to across the group and the policies that had now been implemented which were already providing positive indications. Importantly, they also communicated to us the future plans for the organisation, how they were aggressively on a growth path, what new activity was coming into play, the new infrastructural changes that were underway and what investment they had committed to ensuring all of this transformation of growth was happening.

We were also given an insight into what their culture is, unapologetically they clearly highlighted the type of people that succeed with them and the professional development that they provide to all members of their teams.

As I left these highly informative few hours with my goodie bag in hand, I walked away with pure admiration and respect of this company. They just spent the last few hours talking with a group of people who were now going out to the market and not only communicating to the market what was going on with this company, but we were communicating this message with passion and belief.

They gave us an honest insight into who they are, how they work and why they

Walk The Walk

Since that insightful afternoon, I have had the pleasure of placing numerous leading marketers into this organisation. Their recruitment process was the first key change that I noticed – I was no longer being emailed a job spec (along with 5 other agencies) and asked for CV’s within 5 days. I was asked to exclusively work on the role, meet with HR and the Hiring Manager where I was given a full debrief on the key requirements of the role, we placed dates in the diary for the interview process and agreed a clear and open communication plan and timeframe.

Whilst going through my screening process and meeting with potential candidates for the positions, the historic negative perceptions were being communicated back to me. But I now had the real-deal – I had the story to tell, the insights to convey and the genuine passion and belief to pass on.

With a clear message to candidates on how the process would work and when decisions would be made I bounced back to the hiring manager and HR with the talent that I knew was what they needed, both from a cultural and technical skill stack.


With nine new members of their marketing team now in place, since my initial meeting with this organisation, it has been a pleasure to catch up with these marketers and hear their tales of true passion, commitment and growth for their employer. For me, as a recruiter, that is what it is all about – transforming marketing careers for great talent within great organisations.


Sorcha Coleman, Head of Talent Solutions, Alternatives.