The Big Misconception about Employee Value Proposition | Charlotte Marshall

Picture for category The Big Misconception about Employee Value Proposition | Charlotte Marshall

Your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is designed to attract talent toward your organization. That’s what the industry says. Google it! You’ll find that basic premise all over the internet. Yet, I believe the most valuable use of EVP is to help your organization repel talent. As counterintuitive as it sounds, it’s true. 

I’ve never worked with a business that just wants more applications.  Everyone wants more of the right applicants based on competency, potential, culture alignment, and diversity. It’s time to stop thinking of an EVP as something to attract people to our brand and start thinking about it like a smart filter designed to reduce the number of applications. 

Think of your employer and EVP as a smart filter that sits between your recruitment marketing and your recruitment, helping to weed out people who are unsuitable. For the good of the organization and for the good of those people, too. The true value of EVP lies in articulating the expectations, harsh realities, vulnerabilities, and challenges people must be willing to overcome to thrive at your organization. Pair those with the benefits they stand to receive in return, and you’ll be amazed what starts to happen to your recruiting funnel.

 It’s important to articulate the 'give' because it enables you to qualify applicants before they apply. Embracing the things that people need to be prepared to face, such as working lean or being ready to embrace a consensus-driven organization, enables you to repel anyone who isn’t up for working that way. 

If conventional employer brand is all about talent attraction, our methodology focuses on repelling the many to compel the few. And the benefits are great. Consider the cost of decline candidates.


Consider this: If your organization has 1,000 people and you turn over 15 percent each year, that’s 150 open jobs. If you receive 100 applications for each open requisition, and each person has a social network of 500 people, your exposure is 7.5 million people. That 7.5 million people will form an impression of your organization based on what a rejected candidate has to say about their experience. Seeing this simple math makes it startlingly clear that it’s in our best interest to dissuade people from applying to our jobs if they:

• Have no chance in getting the job 

• Would accept the role only to find the less-than-stellar parts of our environment that we neglected to mention on our career site and leave because they weren’t prepared for it

Ninety-nine percent of the time, recruitment is in the rejection business, an appalling waste of time and money with significant human cost on both sides of the process. One of the most impactful ways to improve this situation is to use your employer brand and help more people self select out of the process before they apply.


When you embrace the philosophy analyzed in our book "Give & Get Employer Branding" you’ll likely find yourself in a conversation where you need to reiterate why it’s in your best interest to trade in your braggadocio for humility. Here are a few reasons why this method is so effective: 

It’s disarming. If we feel we’re being sold to, our mind shifts to defensiveness. Talking about what’s not great about a job or who won’t enjoy it causes candidates to drop their shields and get curious. 

It builds trust. Rather than coming off as overconfident or self-aggrandizing, you show candidates your team is open to constructive criticism and dedicated to continuous improvement. 

It saves you time. If your messaging brings in lots of candidates who aren’t a good match, that’s making your recruiting less effective. By being honest about a job’s downsides, you give the wrong candidates a reason to self-select out, which reduces the noise in your funnel. 

It draws in the right candidates. Your business needs people who are excited to meet its biggest challenges. The sooner you surface those challenges, the more likely you are to find the candidates who see them as a fun problem to solve.

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