To win the war for talent, developing an employer branding strategy focused on attracting and retaining top talent is more important than ever.

Many of the traditional sources of competitive advantage, like capabilities, processes or technology, are easily replicable. Today, it’s more often a firm’s people and the experiences they deliver to clients that provide a winning edge.

Here we’ve outlined 10 tips for developing an employer branding strategy to attract and retain the top talent that can propel your firm forward.

1. Know who you’re looking for

The first step in attracting ideal candidates is to have a clear picture of what one looks like for your company. Think about the traits that your top performing employees have in common, and develop a persona of the ideal candidate. Then craft the messaging on your career site to appeal directly to that persona. This will not only encourage like-minded candidates to apply, it will dissuade candidates that might not be the best fit, saving your hiring managers from interviewing the wrong people.

2. Develop employer branding as a cohesive strategy across the organization

An effective employer branding strategy follows the candidate through acquisition, to hiring, to long-term engagement and retention. This requires collaboration and integration across the entire company. Effective employer branding is not an “HR thing”, or a “marketing thing”. It is a cohesive business strategy that should be integrated across all departments and top-of-mind for all decision makers.

3. Gain the commitment of your firm’s leadership

C-suite executives should be involved and invested in the integrated employer branding strategy. They should be informed on the concept of employer branding, why it’s important, how it delivers value, and how to organize people to optimize an integrated strategy.

4. Review your mission and vision

You may find it necessary to adapt your mission or vision to reflect the firm’s commitment to crafting an ideal career experience for its employees as a means of providing superior services to clients.

5. Craft the entire employee experience from the point of view of the candidate

Keep in mind that a job search is very time-consuming, and often conducted while working a full-time job. The entire applicant journey should be mobile friendly, efficient, and intuitive. Re-evaluate your company’s HR practices and eliminate redundancy and bureaucracy as much as possible. Focus on reducing “time to hire” and “time to productivity;” nothing’s worse for your applicants than a three-month hiring process. Plus, more agile competitors with a shorter hiring process could snap them up before you’ve had a chance to make an offer.

6. Be clear and consistent about what you stand for

In order attract talent that fits with a company’s culture and core values, all touchpoints — the company’s website, emails, social media pages, interior office layout — should reflect a unified brand personality, consistent with the core values, mission, and vision. Candidates should be able to easily get a feel for a company’s culture from its website or Facebook page.

Remove anything that’s inconsistent, or potentially harmful to your brand. This could include overly “sales-y” language, too-good-to-be-true copy on your career page that feels inauthentic, or statements that are either too general or too industry jargon-filled. Although authentic and thoughtfully presented employee testimonials can be a nice touch for a career site, poorly executed testimonials run the risk of reducing your applicant pool.

7. Evaluate the effectiveness your online career information

Your career site has two main purposes: to help candidates determine if your firm is worth their consideration; and to allow them to apply for a position. Carefully assess your site’s effectiveness at fulfilling these goals.

Get personal with the copy on your website and social media pages. Make it authentic and unique to your brand and culture. Also ensure sure that it is succinct and scannable, placing the most important content up front and using light blocks of content separated by clear headers. Consider resume uploads or the option to prefill forms automatically by uploading a resume.

8. Showcase what it’s like to work for your company

Showcase employees through individual “meet our people” pages that demonstrate the personalities of your employees as well as the work that they do.

Show potential new employees what it’s really like to work for you as much as possible, using visual content to set expectations for everything from your office interior to employee dress.

This will get candidates that are a good fit excited about working for you, as well as discouraging those with drastically different values from further engaging.

9. Stay top-of-mind with your target candidates

Engage passive candidate site visitors that could be good fits in the future, but might not be currently actively looking. A “Join our community” call to action could allow you to collect data on potential hires and add them to your mailing list. This data can then be used to target potential candidates who continue to actively engage with your site.

10. Make your brand tangible to interviewees

Consider crafting a printed brand booklet that artistically shows your values and mission to give to candidates following their interviews. This can serve as a physical reminder of their experience with your firm and help you to stand out among others they may be considering.

Employer branding is all about the experience

Employer branding is about developing exceptional experiences for all stakeholders involved. It focuses on the entire employee journey from their first visit to your site through to retaining them years down the line.