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Building Your Employer Brand on a Budget: How to Attract Top Talent

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  • Post last modified:May 21, 2024
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In many industries today, the job market is highly competitive. According to the World Economic Forum, employers anticipate a structural labor market churn of 23% of jobs within the next five years.

Some of the most affected industries will be supply chain and transportation; media, entertainment, sports; manufacturing; retail; etc.

Amidst this, every company wants to ensure they are getting the best of the bunch. It takes a lot of money and no surprise that the biggest companies often end up with the top talent.

You might wonder about your fate if you manage a small business with a small purse. According to some estimates, the average cost per hire is about $4,000. If you plan to hire 10 employees, you can expect to spend up to $40,000.

How can small businesses cope?

Instead of obsessing over your limited budget, there is a lot you can do with the resources you have now, especially when you have a solid employer brand. This article will teach you all you need to know.

1. Define Your Company’s Values and Culture

Every company should have a set of core values it seeks to project through its products and services. To attract top talent, you want to be sure that your mission is clearly stated so there is no ambiguity as to what you stand for.

This includes establishing an employee value proposition (EVP), which could be considered a fancy way of saying what an employer offers to employees in exchange for their skills and work.

You need to be able to convince talented people that your organization is a great place to work. And it’s not just about work, but about doing meaningful work.

You want to make your employees feel their work is making a positive impact, rather than treating them as cogs in the wheel. Project this vision.

2. Highlight Employee Stories

The best approach on how to attract top talent is to let the current employees do the talking. Job descriptions and brochures can be dry and full of jargon, but nothing beats authentic employee stories describing what it’s really like to work at a company.

So, after you have established your vision and EVP, employee stories show how they translate into real-life experiences in encouraging employees to achieve their goals and contribute meaningfully. As such, top talents gain a window into your company culture. In many cases, this matters even more than the job pay itself.

Besides showcasing employee stories on social media and the like, you also want to empower your employees to be advocates of the company, demonstrating that they share in the company’s drive and passion. This form of ‘ownership’ is highly attractive to top talents.

3. Leverage Partnerships and Networking

As any professional recruiter will tell you, posting job descriptions on job boards is far from being the best way to attract top talent. For one, job boards are crowded, and relying solely on them means waiting for qualified candidates to come to you.

Yet, to reach the best talents, you need to be proactive in finding them and to convince them to join you. As you can tell by now, this requires excellent networking abilities, combined with targeted recruitment strategies.

Collaborating with local universities as well as attending job fairs and other industry events are excellent ways to find top talents at various stages of a job.

Brilliant university students and graduates, for instance, are highly driven with passion and looking to gain meaningful experience that you must have been positioned to offer them.

4. Offer Competitive Benefits

This is perhaps the chief worry of small companies with tight budgets: how to compete with big companies who can easily offer the best talents the biggest bucks.

It’s a valid concern. Still, there are creative ways to offer competitive compensation packages without breaking the bank.

One way is to offer flexible work arrangements, to the extent that the nature of your business allows it. Remote and hybrid work options are particularly popular among many employees now, especially with rising concerns about work-life balance.

You can also offer equity options, profit-sharing, performance bonuses, unlimited paid time off, and other perks to demonstrate your commitment to your employees.

Remember that compensation is much more than the salary. An excellent package will attract excellent talents.

5. Highlight Growth Opportunities

Top talents are not born; they are made. The talents you are interested in are highly rated precisely because they have had access to several growth opportunities in the past and are still committed to developing themselves in the field. Surely, they want an employer who is equally committed to this.

Right from the initial conversations with a potential employee, discuss their career goals and outline potential paths for advancement within the company. This could include internal training programs, online courses, tuition reimbursement, mentorships, and so on.

If you are looking for talented employees at the entry-level or the junior stage of their careers, offering generous growth opportunities is a foolproof way to gain their attention.

6. Track, Analyze, and Adapt

Continually learn from the process of hiring talents so you don’t repeat past mistakes. For instance, analyzing cost-per-hire will help you prioritize budget allocation and identify areas for cost savings.

In addition, you need to continually refine and improve your employer branding to adapt to the prevailing circumstances. Times are changing and issues like sustainability and social advocacy are being brought to the forefront in the corporate world. Find what your audience cares about and cater to those needs.

To Attract Top Talent, Prioritize Positive Employee Experiences

As you can now see, building a strong employer brand on a budget is an achievable goal. By focusing on positive employee experiences, leveraging the power of storytelling, implementing targeted recruitment strategies, and constantly refining your strategy, you can create a compelling employer brand identity that resonates with top talents.

Featured image by storyset on Freepik

Joseph Chukwube

I'm a Professional Content Writer and Marketer, SEO and PR Expert. I'm the Founder and CEO of, a results-driven content marketing agency. To create content and improve your brand awareness, get in touch at

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