How to Use Employer Branding to Showcase Your Company & Culture as a Bootstrapped Startup


With approximately 543,000 new businesses opening up each month and an unemployment rate that has hit an all-time low — the battle for talent carries forward. Todd Hsieh of Zappos once said, “Business often forget about the culture and ultimately they suffer for it because you can’t deliver good service from unhappy employees.” The bold moves that Hsieh took with Zappos gave them a solid up on any competition when it comes to recruiting and while there are mixed results Mr. Hsieh did what a lot of startups fail to do — brand themselves.

Your employer brand is one of the most crucial pieces of your brand that helps potential applicants see what your culture is like outside of the free lunches, yoga on Fridays, and on-site dry cleaning. While those perks are nice — they no longer cut it primarily due to quick adoption of these perks. So how does a startup whose bootstrapped showcase their culture in a cost-effective way? 

3 Secrets to Showcasing Your Culture through Employer Branding

Use video to capture your unique workplace

If content is king, video is the queen behind the scenes orchestrating everything. Create video that captures everything about your company or welcome videos for candidates who fall on your page. If you’re feeling bold like Todd Hsieh branch out into the uncharted territory of video job descriptions and create that engaging candidate experience from the time they land on your careers page. These don’t have to be expensive and if you’re just starting out — it’s okay to have something that isn’t on a million dollar budget. Keep this video simple and make sure to point out the different aspects of your work. We’ve seen some great examples of companies like HomeAway, SalesForce and VMware having employees take over the Instagram page and post “stories” which are micro videos of moments throughout the employee’s day to give a true look at the experience of working at the company.

Start a blog series called “A Day in the Life of a [insert job title]”

If you want to show who you are as a company have everyone on your team track their day and write up a blog post that talks about their day. You’ll find little nuggets of information that really bring out the finer points of your culture — and the cost is next to nothing. Have fun with these — take goofy pictures for the blog, have each employee list things like hobbies, favorite rom-com, or the vegetable they hate the most. These low-cost ideas will bring out your culture in a unique way.

Be niche in your career sites.

A basic branded career site can help do wonders for your company when it comes to finding your next hire. It doesn’t have to be something extraordinary, but make sure it includes the basics. Things like employee-created content, company videos, and photos that speak to each position that’s open. If you’re hiring for a software engineer — make sure to create a site that speaks directly to that potential candidate. Tell them what stack your using or what it’s like to be a software engineer at the company from the view point of a employee. 

These three things boil down to one major topic: content. The more content you have out there in the various forms to showcase who you are as an employer the better chances you’re going to have when it comes to hiring talent that you need. If you’re not sure where to start or you need help shoot us a message and we’d love to chat with you. 

Will Staney

Will is the Founder and Principal Consultant at Proactive Talent Strategies, LLC and the former Head of Global Talent Acquisition at rapidly-growing startups Twilio andGlassdoor. Prior to that he held recruiting leadership roles at enterprise software leaders VMwareSuccessFactors and SAPwhere he lead strategic programs includingemployer brandingsourcing strategy, recruiting operations and systems process design.

During his over 7 years as a recruiting practitioner, after 10 years in sales and marketing, he developed a passion for building what he calls "modern recruiting machines". He would push innovation from the inside, execute on his vision, and once it was realized he would pass the torch on to those he had mentored and move on to his next challenge. He was destined to start a consultancy so he could help as many companies as possible adopt a more proactive recruiting strategy with community in mind.

In his free time, Will enjoys riding his motorcycle, trying out the newest gadgets, and spending time with his two kids, Foster and Felicity.