In reality, employer branding is not a magical hoax, it’s hard and continuous work. Because almost every quality candidate now has a job or multiple competitive offers. Recruiting has turned into selling, drifting away from the buying concept — and companies, that don’t adapt, aren’t able to attract and hire the best talent.
In reality, there are many people working on it daily as a full-time job.
We reached out to the HR, branding, and recruitment teams in some cool companies – Bolt, Veriff, Scoro, Supermetrics, and TransferWise– to hear how they do employer branding.
A big THANK YOU to the employer branding and talent sourcing experts who took the time to help us out! 🙌
Anna Golubchenko, Lead Tech Recruiter in Meta pointed out that people often value having a team of highly skilled people around them: “In Bolt, whether it’s engineering or marketing, you will meet colleagues from Google, Amazon, Facebook, Booking.com, TransferWise, Bloomberg and much more.”
Elisabeth Seepa, Recruitment Specialist at Inbank brought out that their company’s outlook to become one of the next tech unicorns is highly attractive for many job-seekers.
Marika Salkola, Senior People Operations Manager in Supermetrics added that having a good product plays an important role: people want to work on something meaningful and see thousands of others benefitting from their work.
Jihan Ahmed, previously Employer Brand Global Lead in TransferWise and now Employer Branding consultant, added that ownership and trust are among the things people value the most.
What are the main employer branding activities?
If there’s one sure thing we learned about employer branding channels, it’s that there is no one go-to channel or activity.
Employer Branding expert Jihan emphasised that their company prefers a very targeted approach with their employer brand and picks an individual mix of channels for each specific target audience.
On the bright side, there’s a wide selection of potential channels to use. 💁
Here’s a list of channels that the people we talked to mentioned:
Social media ads
Let’s take a closer look at each.
How to use your website as an employer branding channel
Most people applying to a job in your company also check out your website.
So having a high-quality home page is already an indicator of your company and its product.
On top of this, all the companies mentioned in this article have a dedicated Careers landing page with information about the company and available job offers.
TransferWise Careers page
The Careers page is the best place for listing all the employer awards, reasons to work in your company, and for sharing positive reviews from your current and past team members.
Elisabeth from Inbank added: “The importance of a website for employer branding is very significant, which means that one key consideration should be how to optimize your career page. Often, the career page is a candidate’s first step to familiarizing themselves with an organization and its values. If a company brand is not portrayed correctly through its career site, it could lose potential top talent and not attract the right candidates.”
How to use social media for employer branding
You can use all the main social media channels – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn – for employer branding purposes.
If you have time to create beautiful images of cool company events and office life moments, you can set up a special Instagram account. Here are links to the team Instagram accounts of Scoro, Veriff and Transferwise.
Scoro team’s Instagram account
LinkedIn is a channel that most companies are already using for finding and recruiting top talent. You can also boost your brand awareness by sharing positive news about your company.
For example, Bolt recently shared a LinkedIn post about being the 3rd fastest-growing company in Europe. Pretty impressive, huh?
Bolt LinkedIn post
Want a less traditional approach? Here’s Jihan ex-Transferwiser:
“Rather than TransferWise saying it’s great to work here, we wanted to create authentic content that our candidates can relate to. That’s why we’re really proud of our employee vlogs.”
PS. And remember to live up the promise. Difference between promoted messages and the reality will quickly spread with Word-of-Mouth.
Does your company need a Glassdoor account?
If you plan to grow your company across multiple markets and have a team of 1,000+ people one day, you should create a Glassdoor account sooner rather than later.
According to Elisabeth (ex-Veriff), 50% of the current employees checked Veriff’s Glassdoor before they made their decision to start to work at the company.
Veriff’s Glassdoor page
Tip: If you’re just getting started on Glassdoor, ask your existing team members to write reviews, so that your account has a strong kick-off.
What to do with negative reviews? – Embrace them, learn from them, and make sure to keep them away in the future by hiring the right people and taking good care of them.
Should you organise employer branding events?
Employer branding events can be highly efficient if you know whom exactly you want to attract.
For example, Anna from Meta shared a hiring event they did in Moscow to attract software engineers (way back for Bolt). It was a coding contest and Bolt received 2000+ first challenge submissions – a huge number! To reach so many people, they used Facebook ads, articles and interviews with Bolt’s Engineering team members, Telegram channels and direct email marketing, and collaborated with Work in Estonia.
Bolt hiring event even had a custom website
TransferWise also organises regular hackathons to attract IT talent. See the Facebook event here.
It’s an event where students, hackathon enthusiasts, and TransferWise employees come together for two intense days of collaboration to turn big ideas into a working product. TransferWise mentors and talented participants will share their ideas and knowledge with one another to build something groundbreaking in FinTech.
TransferWise organises hackathons
In addition to helping the Estonian tech ecosystem grow, TransferWise will also attract early attention from talented young people.
Should you start organising hiring events?
It depends. If you’re looking to hire a large number of talented people working in highly competitive fields, having an in-person meeting ground might be a good idea.
However, if your company’s only looking to hire 10-20 people this year, organising a huge hiring event might be too big of an effort.
What are Stack Overflow and GitHub?
Stack Overflow is the largest online community for developers to learn, share their programming knowledge, and build their careers.
It is also a great channel for attracting top technical talent.
By having your team members actively contributing to the forums or by advertising your job offers through these platforms, you can build brand awareness inside the developer community.
We took a sneak peek to job offers in Stack Overflow and guess whose job openings first popped up? – TransferWise and Bolt!
Stack Overflow job offers are a good way to attract developers
Should you set up a referral bonus?
There’s also one critical channel that can only be built up over time and with considerable effort: word of mouth.
As Marika from SuperMetrics put it:
“For us, the power of word of mouth has increased a lot over time. This means that marketing is no longer the guardian of the brand. Rather, the employer brand is in the hands of your employees and candidates. Research shows that 92% of candidates trust the recommendations from people they know.“
Having a job referred by a friend you trust is a strong seal of approval.
And referral bonus is a great way to boost the word of mouth among your employees. Both Bolt, Veriff and SuperMetrics have a referral bonus system.
Usually, the referred candidates have to work for the company for more than a couple of months before referrers receive their fee. According to a survey, 71% of companies paid their employee referral bonus in full after an employment period between 45 days and six months.
So once again, what are the best employer branding channels?
There are no universal employer branding channels, each type of role needs its own approach. We recommend that you start by defining your employer branding strategy and goals, and only then select the best channels.
❗Also, here’s a very important note from Anna from Meta:
“None of the channels above will work unless you take care of your candidate experience during the interviews, thus make sure that even if you are not proceeding with an offer they will still be recommending your company to their friends.”
Make sure your employer branding is in the DNA of your company, not just a facade you show to the outside world.
How to get started with employer branding in your company?
Ok, this thing called “employer branding” sounds pretty amazing: people considering your company a cool place to work at, more talented job applicants coming in…
So how to get started?
Here’s the advice from our favorite employer branding experts! 👇
Start by taking a laser-focused look at a specific target audience you want to attract.
List all the possible reasons they aren’t applying to your jobs and why you’re struggling to hire the right people e.g. they just don’t know about your brand, they don’t want to relocate, people are applying, but they don’t have the skill set you need.
Then think about how you can change perceptions through your employer brand.
If someone hasn’t heard of your brand, you need to be out there, telling people what you do. If people don’t want to relocate, your messaging needs to talk about the positive impact of relocating. If you’re attracting the wrong skill set, be explicit in your messaging about what you’re looking for.
Start with the strategy. Who is the target audience that you want to reach?
Who are the potential candidates you want to hire, what’s their skill set, where are they located? Which channels can be used to reach them? What kind of content are they interested in?
What is your brand’s unique story that makes you stand out? Interview your employees about why they love working at your company and what made them in the first place. Always be authentic in your employer branding!
First, define the message: It is important to first define your employer branding messages and goals.
Create an authentic message and tone of voice for your brand, so the employees and also candidates know exactly what to expect from working in the company. Make a plan and define the channels to promote your employer brand.
Don’t forget to nurture your culture: Employer brand is a reflection of your culture, and so building a positive culture is the root of a strong employer brand.
Don’t copy other brands, but still look around and check what other companies are doing.
Start with the basics: Glassdoor, LinkedIn and Wikipedia (sounds weird I know).
There is no need in buying a special offer from LinkedIn for a company page from the very beginning, just keep it simple with basic information and posting updates, articles or photos of your achievements, good news or daily life.
Do not forget to invite your employees to join the company on LinkedIn and let them share and like the content from the company page.
The same with Glassdoor: fill the initial information, connect to your ATS for automated job posts, and invite your team to leave reviews, feedback about interviews and compensation. There will be not only positive reviews, listen to those carefully, take into consideration common points and remember that all companies on different stages of growth have received bad staff. It’s inevitable, and a good way to improve interviews and internal processes.
If your applicants and future candidates start to research your company, what is the first thing that comes up in Google search? – Think about thefirst potential touchpoints.
99math is an Estonian startup and math gaming platform with the aim of making math fun again. Founded in 2019, 99math has raised $3.6M in funding, with its primary market being the United States.
99math used MeetFrank to hire a:
✔ Front-End Engineer
✔ Mid- or Senior-level
✔ Located in Estonia (with remote being an option)
To build a candidate shortlist, 99math took advantage of active sourcing features on MeetFrank. After posting their position, the algorithm showed them the most suitable candidates that are currently considering new opportunities.
In 6 minutes, 99math worked through the list of suitable talent, chose the top 20 most promising candidates, and sent out the initial pitch to all of them, essentially requesting to start a chat.
It didn’t take long for the responses to start coming in – the first candidate replied just 49 seconds after receiving the message. 2 hours after reaching out to talent, 99math already had ongoing chats with 7 candidates.
Overall, 99math achieved a 50% response rate from candidates on MeetFrank. Importantly, 9 out of 10 responses were positive, meaning the candidates were happy to chat about joining the company.
⏰ Time spent to source candidates: 6 minutes
💬 Candidates sourced and contacted: 20
🏎 Time to the first positive response: 49 seconds
🙋 Number of chats started in the first 2 hours: 7
🤩 Overall response rate: 50%
✅ Overall number of positive responses: 9 out of 10
What they say
“MeetFrank is great for fast recruiting! You can see who is open to being hired – stuff you can’t do on LinkedIn. On MeetFrank, you can headhunt people who are actually open to moving.”
We have had the opportunity to interview a lot of great companies & people over the past year – each with their own unique story to tell. We’ve talked about remote hiring, building outstanding company culture, “spoiling the employees” with perks and many more interesting topics. ✌️
Here are the top 10 most popular articles from last year, ranked by the number of readers.
#10 – Ubiquiti
We start off the list with a conversation with Kristaps Rikans, Regional Managing Director at Ubiquiti. 🛠
Ubiquiti is a truly unique technology company globally, as there are no other companies that have shipped so many different IT products with such a small R&D team. We talked about how does Ubiquiti manage to keep its employees happy, motivated and so productive.
We chatted with Httpool a while back, in the summer of 2021, but the interview is as relevant and popular as ever, because Httpool’s global reach and direct access to the largest tech platforms in the world. 🌍
We interviewed Arnis Ozols, Regional Managing Director, about why talent should consider joining the journey. For a candid look into the company and its projects, we also chatted with four bright sales & marketing experts from Httpool about their experiences.
To get a glimpse of life in a truly global adtech company, we interviewed Karolina Baltuonytė, Global Platform Solutions Consultant at Adform.
The people filling the client-facing roles in Adform, work in a truly international environment with the biggest brand names in the world. We talked about NYC’s hustle and bustle, how to gain clients’ attention in a different cultural environment and how to step out of your comfort zone for a confidence boost. 🚀
Surfshark is a cybersecurity company with quite a story, for example, reaching one million paying customers faster than Netflix and becoming one of the most popular VPNs globally in just 30 months. Shortly after the interview, Surfshark joined forces with Nord Security to become 2nd Lithuanian tech unicorn. 🦄
We talked with Regimantas Urbanas, Chief Marketing Officer of Surfshark, about its most significant achievements, stellar growth, cybersecurity trends, and much more.
Katana, one of the most popular Estonian employers on MeetFrank, is well on its way to building the world’s leading manufacturing platform. Naturally, we had tonnes of questions for Priit Kaasik, its co-founder and CTO. 💡
The conversation went deep into their technological backbone, but also touched on lighter subjects, such as why is their office PS5 and barista-grade coffee so heavily underused.
Every now and then, a start-up goes into hypergrowth. Kilo Health is the perfect example of this by more than doubling both the revenue and size of the team in a year. 🚀
This is why we were excited to interview Juste Vižinytė, Chief People Officer at Kilo Health. We asked her about the thinking behind “spoiling the employees” with perks and benefits, why they discarded all rules regarding the working location, and much more!
The most popular interview of the past year comes from the aviation industry. The speed, the stressful situations, the fun, and the ever-changing daily life is the normal for all those working in SmartLynx Airlines. ✈️
We talked with SmartLynx Airlines Chief of People & Culture, Mara Steinberga, about what does it mean to work in the aviation, what are the most exclusive things about working in this industry, and how does the average daily routine looks like at SmartLynx (spoiler: every day is unique).
MeetFrank, a job search app for remote work, has been growing rapidly as tech talent is looking for new opportunities across borders.
“The demand for remote jobs is exploding — The number of applications has risen 400% in just half a year,” says Kaarel Holm, Co-Founder and CEO of MeetFrank. Indeed, remote work is now more popular than ever, with major employers announcing a shift to a fully remote workforce seemingly every week.
The rise in popularity, which was accelerated by the pandemic, is not a surprise as remote jobs bring many benefits to talents. In addition to flexibility in work time and location, remote work often comes with a sizable salary increase. For example, a mid-senior marketer working fully remotely for a company in the Netherlands might make up to 80% more than if working in the same position in Portugal.
Even considering the benefits, actually finding a remote job might seem like a tedious task. MeetFrank has tackled this problem by developing a clever algorithm that recommends the best jobs out of 150,000+ active offers. After setting up your preferences, like skills and expected salary, the app keeps you up to date with the best job offers available for you.
To make sure great job offers won’t go unnoticed, MeetFrank has already added over 5,000 companies to the platform, including the top tech employers like Airbnb, Spotify, Revolut and Nord Security. “There are the most remote job offers in software engineering, sales, and data analysis. But there’s also quite a lot of demand for marketers and designers,” concludes Kaarel Holm.
Surfshark is a cybersecurity company originating from Lithuania, and offers products such as a VPN (virtual private network service), a data leak detection system Alert, Antivirus, and a private search tool – Search.
Surfshark has over 3000 servers in 65 countries, and in 2020, they were named the best VPN of 2020 by CNN. By the end of 2020, they were among the top three most popular VPNs globally.
We talked with Regimantas Urbanas, Chief Marketing Officer of Surfshark, about its most significant achievements, stellar growth, cybersecurity trends, and much more.
🔵 Could you tell me about Surfshark’s journey – how did you get started, and what are some of the top achievements/milestones you’ve achieved to date?
The most significant milestone I’d say is that we managed to reach our first million paying customers in just 30 months. When comparing growth patterns with other companies, it’s similar to Spotify. Meanwhile, we’ve grown even faster than Netflix because it took them 42 months. So, we managed to get into the top positions of the VPN market very quickly. Within the first year of marketing, we established ourselves among the top five VPNs globally, and by the end of 2020, we were in the top three most popular VPN companies.
This is all thanks to our team of professionals. When I joined in the summer of 2018, we had only three people working in marketing. Now, it’s close to 60.
But we are not a VPN-only company. We’ve entered the broader cybersecurity and privacy field and launched three more products (Surfshark Alert, Surfshark Search, and Surfshark Antivirus) to offer our customers the complete security and privacy package. All of those products are also available in a package called Surfshark One.
🔵 How did you achieve such fast growth?
There have been internal and external reasons, but I’d say that we were in the right place at the right time. The world has been going through turbulent times over the past few years. For example, China increasingly started making aggressive actions in Hong Kong, and suddenly, all the neighbouring countries of China wanted to protect their internet searches, social media, etc. That’s when we saw a massive spike in adoption in countries like Taiwan or Hong Kong. Currently, we’re the number #1 VPN brand in Hong Kong.
We also operate in an industry that grew massively during the first wave of Covid. People stuck at home were both working and doing other things online. Many people got more interested in using VPNs, and we capitalized on that.
We had the capital to grow and take aggressive steps at the right time. Our goal was to humanize security and make it accessible to everyone. That’s why we started using comics and similar content in marketing, trying to be more human and relatable without overwhelming people with complex terms.
🔵 The foundation of a successful company is usually built upon a real-world pain that founders discovered because they experienced the pain or their market research was top notch. What kind of pain did you find when Surfshark got started?
The idea for Surfshark came from our CEO, Vytautas Kaziukonis. He discovered VPN technology 11-13 years ago, but it was a very niche product at that time. However, he is a visionary and saw where the world was moving – the time spent online was increasing, and there are always potential security threats tied to the internet. So he saw vast potential.
VPNs have historically been very complicated to use. His idea was to launch a product that is easy to use, which speaks the language of everyday customers and still offers all the security benefits of a classical VPN. Also, unlike our competitors, we were the first VPN brand that never had the word VPN in our brand, because we didn’t want to be defined by these three letters and knew that we would be willing to offer other security/privacy solutions.
🔵 Why is the cybersecurity field currently so trendy, not only for cybersecurity experts, but also for aspiring marketers, developers, etc?
All successful people want to work on products that are or can be successful because that’s your opportunity to make the most significant impact in the world. As a marketer, my personal reason for joining was the ability and chance to build a household name — a brand known for all the people who want to take care of their protection and security.
It’s quickly becoming a mass market, where our products are used by millions of customers. Since the beginning of Covid, an even larger share of our life has moved online. The more we depend on the online world, the more important it is to protect the data. There is no corporate office network that can protect your computer access at home, so you should be in charge of protecting that.
🔵 Could you talk a bit more about how Surfshark as a company works and functions?
Currently, over 300 people work at Surfshark. Our company consists of customer service reps, the marketing department, the infrastructure team, and developers.
Our customer-facing team is working with our customers to ensure that they have the best experience and understand how to extract value from Surfshark.
Our marketing team takes care of our messages to appeal to potential users across the world and makes sure that we’re communicating the value of our products. We’re a global company with users in more than 140 countries, so we want to be relevant and understandable in different languages.
As a VPN service provider, our primary technology is operating loads of servers (over 3000 worldwide), and Surfshark’s infrastructure team makes sure that they are as fast and reliable as possible. When planning the locations for our servers, we want to ensure that there’s always a physical server not further than 300 km from our users.
Surfshark is available on all possible platforms – Android, iOS, SmartTV, Windows, macOS – and we offer our customers a seamless user experience. This is possible because our developers and large UX team optimize each step of the customer journey of our products.
These are the key teams in Surfshark. In addition, there are supporting administrative functions like HR, Finance, and others.
🔵 What unique challenges does your industry present for developers, product managers or marketers?
Every team has different challenges. From the technical point of view, when offering security and privacy-related services, you need to take extra care of the security of your product because you would never allow your product to be compromised in any way. We’ve promised our users that we never collect any data about them, we don’t log their usage, and no one can intercept our connection or service. It’s a big challenge to keep the product as secure as people expect.
From a marketing perspective, it’s different from products that have a lot of data about their users and can upsell or cross-sell to specific segments. As a VPN provider, we don’t collect any specific data about our users.
🔵 Why should someone come and work for Surfshark?
We’re a disruptive, challenger brand, and we came here to change the status quo in that industry. It’s always more enjoyable to work for a company that wants to redefine and shift the industry by setting new standards. As a brand, that’s what we’re doing, and we have people who want to be the best in what they do.
As a CMO, I would love for Surfshark’s brand to become synonymous with online privacy and security. To build a brand that would pop up on top of your mind when thinking about internet security.
From the technical side, the leading product requires different solutions. It’s easy to be a mediocre product, but it takes a lot of mastery and skills to become number one.
When talking about benefits, there are plenty. Since the beginning of Covid, we’ve adopted a hybrid work model to give people the opportunity to combine the best of both worlds. We also offer two months of working from anywhere. And of course, there are many other typical benefits such as physiotherapists, loads of training, etc.
I’d say that Surfshark as a start-up is the best-kept secret of Lithuania at the moment. Many people know the product, but not so many know the connection to Lithuania.
🔵 What are three cybersecurity trends to watch out for in 2022?
People want to prevent the damage instead of fixing the damage. We’re developing products based on that insight, such as creating an alternative identity or reclaiming your data from websites to prevent them from getting exposed in a hack or data leak.
One trend that I see is the possibility of not putting your actual data in danger while surfing the web by using a one-time credit card and an alias instead of your real name. That’s just one idea on removing personal data from your online activities.
The second trend is that people don’t want to engage with security products actively. They want the security products to be effective, powerful, and work in the background without disturbing them.
Last but not least, companies that started as VPN or antivirus companies may now expand into neighboring territories. Everyone is trying to take a more significant share of the cake and offer full-service packages.
We want Surfshark to be like the Revolut of cybersecurity. Revolut became the super app for personal finance – enabling people to trade crypto and stocks, exchange currencies, put money into a savings account, and get insights about their savings, all in one place.
I would love it if Surfshark became a super app for privacy and security. A central app for everything related to your data and online privacy, where you can control what’s happening with your data and toggle various layers of protection.
Check out Surfshark’s open positions on MeetFrank: