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What is an EVP?

Amal Ravindran
December 19, 2022
What is an EVP?

An EVP (Employee Value Proposition) is the pledge you make to your employees (and candidates) about why your company is a great place to work. It’s essentially about the steps you’re taking to attract employees, then keep them on-board.

Why the EVP matters

If a candidate reads about your company and can’t help but snooze, then frankly, you lose. Building an EVP is a big part of developing an intelligent marketing strategy for inbound recruiting. If you can position your business as a great place to work through meaningful referrals – not just the claims you make on a job spec – you can fine-tune your brand’s reputation, attract candidates based on the things that really matter, and avoid spending hours writing endless job ads.

Outbound recruitment is only one piece of the pie, and ideally, not a very big piece. In the best recruiting organisations, around 70% of hires come from inbound sources (30-35% from referrals and 30-35% from applications), and these companies intentionally focus on inbound recruiting as they scale-up.

So with all that in mind, we’ve rustled up some useful tips on how to pen the awesomest EVP.

Which benefits should your EVP highlight?

In this ContractRecruiter piece, Andrew Greenberg observes how an EVP can be a vital tool in your armoury. Aside from the financial package, here are some of the carrots that Greenberg suggests you can dangle:

  • Non-monetary benefits. “Health insurance, paid leave, flexible hours, remote work, moving or commuting stipends.”
  • Training opportunities. “Training, mentoring, career guidance, promotion opportunities, leadership training, and more.”
  • A positive work environment. “Flexible work hours and remote work…a culture of recognition, effective communications and team building, conflict resolution, safe working conditions, and freedom from bigotry, discrimination, and harassment, particularly for minority employees.”

We’re all familiar with the tales of recruiters working harder than ever to attract candidates, and as Greenberg writes, employers no longer have the “pick of the litter” when it comes to hiring. But if you get your EVP right, your recruiting can start to take care of itself.

Walk in the candidate’s shoes

Job ads and careers pages are some of the other ways of defining your proposition. When putting these together, it’s easy to wax lyrical about how your company is a ground-breaking, award-winning, best-in-class techtopia. But a job description is an opportunity to see things from a candidate’s perspective. As Justin Lestal writes in this DevSkiller piece, job ads can be “a very effective tactic, provided that the job description is attractive to the potential hires”.

“It shouldn’t be limited to job duties and requirements solely, but should clearly state ‘what’s in it for the candidate’, and why they should be interested in the job.”

In other words, there are plenty of opportunities to talk-up your company, but when a candidate is scrolling through a sea of ads, it’s all about them

So, what matters to candidates?

Back in the old days – a.k.a. 2019 – many employers didn’t necessarily give much thought to ‘culture’ when cooking up job ads. In fact, LinkedIn published a job description heat map which listed the key priorities for candidates, judging by what they were scanning job ads for. These were the big 3:

  • Salary range
  • Job details (such as location and direct reports)
  • Qualifications. 

But a lot has happened since then, and it’s fair to say that a job ad is not what it once was.

5 tips for writing job descriptions

There were some pearls of wisdom from Olivia Moore – @omooretweets – on how to write a job description that turns a candidate’s head and drives action.

Here’s a summary of Olivia’s tips:

  1. “When writing an ‘About Us,’ try to answer: What makes people brag about working here? Candidates want to understand what makes the company special and why the work is meaningful.”
  2. “Be specific about what candidates can expect from the recruiting process, and what the timeline looks like. It signals you’re organized, know what you're looking for, and respect their time.”
  3. “Help candidates self-select out. You don’t have to share all the unglamorous parts! But, help candidates understand what is in/out of scope for the role.”
  4. “Pitch candidates on ‘what you'll get.’ In this market, people have options – and want to understand how the role fits into their career goals. What will they learn? What skills will they develop? What will they be prepared to do next?”
  5. “And some personality! Job descriptions tend to be VERY dry. The bar is on the floor – you can stand out by surprising people and making them smile.”
Money talks, but culture matters

Your job descriptions are a shop window to your business, and an opportunity to demonstrate your welcoming and inclusive culture. And this recent report by (an AI-powered recruiting service) offers some pointers to help you do exactly that: 

  • Avoid an “alphabet soup” of technical skills. Instead, your job ad should “convey the fundamental qualities your team values”.
  • Use dyslexia-friendly writing formats. For extra clarity for the reader, consider “fonts with less crowded letters (‘kerning’), consistent heading structure, bullet points, bolded texts for emphasis and concise paragraphs”.
  • Avoid gendered pronouns. Use gender-neutral pronouns like ‘they,’ ‘them,’ or ‘theirs’ so that non-binary candidates feel included.

Write a job description for every role

It might sound like common sense, but it’s amazing how often a time-starved hiring team will resort to boilerplate copy in their rush to fire out a job ad. But in order to pique a candidate’s interest, you need to speak their language.

Elad Gil, previously the VP of corporate strategy at Twitter, argues in his High Growth Handbook that bespoke job ads are worth the time and effort.

“For each role you should write a job description that explains what the role will do, and what experience and background you are looking for. You can also [write] the list [of] things you are not looking for, or consider less important.”

Once the job ad has been written, it should be “circulated to people interviewing for the role with a short note explaining what the hiring manager is looking for and prioritising”.

The advantage, writes Gil, is that you can refer back to the job description “to correct any bad assumptions” if your team raises questions about which candidate is the right fit.

Check out Gil’s guide for many handy tips on recruiting best practices in general.

Be realistic

When crafting your EVP or job ads, be careful not to ask too much of candidates. Now, some degree of pre-interview prep is fair game, but as this reddit post explains, step one shouldn’t mean ‘step one of one thousand’.

More hiring resources

The EVP is just one consideration among many when it comes to finding and retaining talent. Check out the Intrro toolkit for more resources to empower you and your hiring heroes.

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