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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Choice of Employers or Employer of Choice?

UnknownElena Morozova
In today's globalized world there is no employment for life -- job hopping is a way of life. Global mobility means we are free to choose which cities and countries to live and work in. Many big employers are fighting to snatch up college graduates, often by promising much but delivering little. Unfulfilled hopes of employees lead to high staff turnover and more expensive recruitment campaigns.

Many employers are now coming around to what is called employer branding, or how a company is perceived as an employer. Each company has an employer brand, even if it does not know it. The trick about an employer brand is that it cannot be sold unless it is real, unless the employer perpetuates its brand in relations with its employees.

Today's graduates are blessed with the choice of major employer brands. Abundance is a good thing, but it makes making a decision all the more difficult. Today's graduates are more discerning due to the new information sources available to them: the Internet, social media, MySpace and Wikipedia. This "Generation Y" tends to trust each other more than official sources. The Annual Edelman Trust Barometer for 2006 shows that a "person like yourself or your peer" is seen as the most credible spokesperson about a company and among the top three spokespeople in every country surveyed. Older generations are an easy target of advertising. Generation Y is different so employers need to adopt a different approach. It is harder for the brands to just sell themselves: their reputation among potential employees is based on word-of-mouth marketing, homespun "opinion surveys" that people regularly "conduct" when discussing their careers with friends, relatives and on various internet forums.

So what questions should you ask if you're carrying out your own research on a prospective employer?

• What's the corporate culture like -- cold and distant with separate lifts for the management or warm and caring with an open-door policy?

• Internal communications -- will your opinion be sought and considered by the management, will you get all the necessary information or will you be kept in the dark?

• General care for employees -- any special programs for newcomers, women, employees with children, other?

This approach of trusting your friends and former employees of an employer has its own weak points. After all, tastes differ. So for a balanced picture, go to various career forums, attend the open days of major companies and get talking to people face-to-face. Be attentive to details and don't be afraid to ask questions. Analyze employers' value propositions, or in other words, what they promise you based on these criteria:

• Will it be good for your CV?

• Will it develop you, invest in you? Will your marketability rise significantly in several years?

• Is the word "career" mentioned a lot? Where will you be in five years' time?

• What are the company's methods of appreciation and recognition of its employees? Is there a bonus program of any kind?

• What is the average age of employees? When you come to the firm and are surrounded by young professionals will you easily make new friends and will work have an element of fun?

• Does it have a good image in the community? Is it involved in corporate social responsibility, charity? Does it sound forward-thinking or slow to embrace modern realities?

Use your own judgement; establish what is good for you, what sort of corporate culture you prefer. What is most important for you in the employment value proposition: a fast-track career or a great deal of flexibility; structured and controlled internal processes or the freedom to use your creativity? Few employers manage to get all these factors into their mix, but in fact it can happen sometimes! If it does, it means you've been lucky enough to find the employer of choice!