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Building a strong brand today is extremely important. Especially if you want your company to strive for a leadership position. The key to success may be a skilled workforce. That is why it is worth paying attention to individuals in the organization. Their commitment and talent can translate into the success of the company. But to make this possible, you need a qualified person responsible for the recruitment process.

Explore the backstage of Employer Branding

We begin a series of "What you should know about...", in which we will talk to particular employees of our company. This series will introduce us to the positions of Railwaymen and what's more to all the people behind them. In the first episode, we decided to ask Iwona (HR/EB Specialist at Railwaymen) about the recipe for effective recruitment. Thanks to our conversation, you will get to know the specificity of work in this position. You will also learn what challenges Employer Branding employees face. 

- Railwaymen: How did it happen that you chose the employer branding career path?

- Iwona: Well, it just happened naturally. Since the beginning of my cooperation with Railwaymen, I’ve been closely involved in employee matters. At first, I worked in the payroll department and supported recruitment processes that took place in the company. Over time, I became engaged in all the activities that made our employees happier inside our organization. What do I mean by “happier”? - more intimate with other team members, more motivated in performing their duties. At Railwaymen, we always strive to build a welcoming atmosphere based on a sense of trust and friendship. We don’t just want to create a working environment, but a friendly space as well. 

- Railwaymen: If you had to describe Employer Branding in short, what would you consider to be the most important?

- Iwona: All company activities that build a reputation of a good employer. As a result, the organization is perceived as one that creates an inspiring and motivating workplace. 

- Railwaymen: What role do you think Employer Branding has in building a strong brand?

- Iwona: Employer branding has a key role in building a strong company brand. We can look at it in two ways, and specify two categories of activities: external and internal.

A way to create a structure in which the employee works with joy and satisfaction 

All activities that are conducted externally and build the impression that a particular employer is the best choice for a future employee.

These two approaches must combine closely to create a truly strong company brand. 

- Railwaymen: What do you pay attention to during the recruitment process?

- Iwona: My main principle is to create a friendly atmosphere during the recruitment process. Usually, after 30 seconds of conversation, the candidate and I address each other by name. :)

The first stage of the recruitment process, that I am involved in, is very essential. It defines whether we will talk further and what the next recruitment steps will be. My main task is to cause the candidate to trust me and form a good opinion about the company. The first stage of the recruitment that I conduct is divided into 3 parts.

Firstly, I do a comprehensive introduction to our company, describing how it works, and how our philosophy looks like. During this part of the conversation, I tell more about the role the candidate is applying for, the projects  he or she will be involved in and a few words about other team members. There is a time for questions from the candidate.

During the 2nd part of conversation, I tell more about stages of recruitment and other people that will be involved at each of them.

Finally, the 3rd stage of the interview is about the candidate’s experience gained in previous roles and verifies that it matches our requirements. At the end of the interview, I also review formal expectations and availability of the candidate. 

- Railwaymen: Is there anything that IT applicants look for when recruiting? Do you see any popular trends or standards?

- Iwona: Yes, I realize that some trends regarding IT recruitment are leading the way, actually. The days when candidates wanted an employer to provide them with fruit on Friday or a sports package are gone. These benefits are rather a standard now. What are potential IT employees looking for in 2022? I have the feeling that the crucial factors for IT specialists are interesting projects, new technologies they can grow in, a talented team they can learn from, and a friendly work environment. There are also non-developmental factors that may encourage sending an application, such as the possibility to work at a fully remote, satisfied salary or a defined career path.

- Railwaymen: What challenges do you face in your daily work? How has the pandemic affected your responsibilities? What is currently the most challenging?

- Iwona: Regarding employer branding initiatives, each day we work on improving internal processes - to engage our employees in the company's common activities. I have to admit that this is difficult, especially with the remote working model. 

The greatest challenge in the recruitment process is to find talented professionals who will fit our requirements. We observe that currently it is slightly harder to find IT specialists. Why? We may refer to the fact that because of the pandemic, we are switching into a fully remote/hybrid model of work. What does it mean? Most organizations look for potential specialists across the country or even abroad. When thinking about Railwaymen, we also have to admit that the technology stack in which we move is niche. Therefore, it is important to efficiently and precisely catch talents in the market. 

- Railwaymen: As we well know, Employer Branding is not only about taking care of new employees. It is also activities that influence the chemistry of the current staff. Which activities have the best impact on staff integration?

- Iwona: It is well known that project teams are the most integrated. This happens automatically by working in a specific project or department. We make every effort to create fields for overall integration. As an example, we’ve implemented channels for internal communication. Organizational information and project & departmental news are also exchanged seamlessly within our structure. From time to time, we organize initiatives that go beyond company duties. That is a great opportunity to get to know each other better and do some creative stuff. Additionally, we organize integration events for teams from particular projects, smaller party in our office and once a quarter we invite for bigger bonding events. :)

- Railwaymen: How to encourage employees to participate in Employer Branding activities?

- Iwona: We haven't found the golden mean yet. We are still learning and trying to find the right method. The level of engagement with employer branding topics depends on the specific person and the proposed initiative.

Personally, I have noticed a trend that activities that carry a larger social message are better perceived by employees and more people get involved. We did some inspiring projects such as: #dev16challenge, Christmas video with our own version of “Jingle Bells” and we have even more interesting plans to realize. :) Our social media channels are also systematically expanded with engaging content about our company and employees! 

We also undertake activities related to the sharing of technical knowledge - all thanks to our employees, of course. Through such initiatives, we try to build a good brand among programmers and IT business professionals. For example, right now, we are preparing for the next edition of KRUG (Kraków Ruby Users Group) event. :) Our company will be a co-organizer of the ruby conference. More information will be available soon - follow our social media channels!

- Railwaymen: Do you know of a company whose Employer Branding efforts can be shown as an example?

- Iwona: It is hard to indicate 1 main example, but I really like external EB initiatives realized by x-kom. Interesting, well produced and not obvious. Bravo!

- Railwaymen: What does the future of Employer Branding hold in the coming years?

- Iwona: I’m convinced that employer branding will be increasingly noticed and appreciated. We have to live in a time of pandemic, and nothing will be like it used to be. Human bonds are very fragile, and every employer should do as much as possible to strengthen them. This is the challenge - to build a place where people want to work and stay for years to come.

Discover the Railwaymen team

As you can see, working in the Employer Branding department means being responsible for many company processes. Creating a welcoming workplace is half of any company's success. As well as constantly improving the hiring process. All of this is aimed at providing employees with opportunities for growth and a comfortable environment to accomplish tasks. Employer Branding is also an important function from the perspective of providing the right atmosphere in the team. However, after conversation with Iwona, it is clear that apart from responsibility, this position gives a lot of satisfaction. 

We encourage you to follow our series of interviews. The next one will appear on our blog soon.

See other articles of the " What you should know about..." series:

#2 What you should know about - Ruby on Rails Development