THE BLURRED LINE BETWEEN EMPLOYER BRANDING AND SOCIAL RECRUITING.

In order to gain some insights on what people think about employer branding strategies and techniques, we decided to look on Quora, one of the most Q&A website used by professionals.

We realized that there is a lot of confusion around the intersection of these two subjects: What is the difference between Employer Branding and Social Recruiting, then? How they can empower each other, in order to take advantage of positive synergies?
Employer branding represents a firm’s efforts to promote, both within and outside the firm, a clear view of what makes it different and desirable as an employer. (Backhaus and Tikoo, 2004) It is, therefore, the sum of all strategies providing information, building employees’ advocacy and communicating values, culture and benefit of the firm. Employer branding is a comprehensive view and a Long Term perspective. It is, as mentioned also in the previous article, comparable to a positioning strategy: finding the right spot in the mind of jobseekers. From the insights gained by the users on Quora, it is outstanding the view of employer branding as deep commitment and powerful tool for talent attraction and retention.

On the other hand, the term Social recruiting usually refers to the ongoing practice of searching and sourcing candidates via social media. At a first glance, therefore, it seems more contingent to the active search of candidates. (Quora, 2015)

The main differences between the two concepts seem to be the time lapse and the strategic impact. On one hand, Employer Branding entails long term, hardly reversible strategic choices in terms of positioning, image and brand in general. On the other, Social Recruiting is focused on gathering the best candidates around a specific job vacancy in the moment the job opportunity opens. After that specific window closes, the company may “suite” other target-candidate with different techniques for another job position.

The cognitive and strategic resources, as well as the degree of commitment, allocated to the two options differ dramatically. Thus, employer branding choices seem much more relevant and binding then social recruiting ones.However, they cannot be fully discerned since there are some grey areas where the two (should) overlap. 

The synergies between employer branding investment and social recruiting activities come up at the moment companies decide to open a new vacancy and reveal a greater value then the sum of the two outcomes: focusing EB investment at the moment of application – exactly when most interested candidates approach the company – provide them with precious insights about the potential fit with the job, preventing companies’ communication either from being filtered (i.e. by common job board/ sterile aggregators’ interface) or missing a strong call to action (i.e. career day or job fairs).


Backhaus, K., & Tikoo, S. (2004). Conceptualizing and researching employer branding. Career development international, 9(5), 501-517.

Quora, 2015. Is there a difference between social recruiting and employer branding? (n.d.). Retrieved March 23, 2015, from https://www.quora.com/Is-there-a-difference-between-social-recruiting-and-employer-branding

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