In today's market place, to attract and hire top talent, recruiters must act like marketers. Rather than differentiating a product or service, recruiters have to position their organizations as top employers. This process is known as employer branding.

How impactful is it? According to iCims, a software solutions provider to the talent acquisition industry, 94 percent of candidates are likely to apply to a job if a company actively manages its employer brand. On the flip side, LinkedIn found that not knowing what it's like to work for an organization is the number one obstacle that candidates face during the application process.

In a nutshell, employer branding connects who your organization is to what it does.

One of the best ways to spread the word, per Phil Strazzulla, CEO and founder of NextWave Hire, a startup that specializes in employer branding, is "to create lots of in-depth content that candidates care about."

That makes sense, but where do you start? Luckily, through a 2016 LinkedIn Global Trends report, we have five pieces of direct advice from candidates on what to share about our companies and prospective roles:

1. Give an honest perspective.

Recruiters' knee-jerk reactions are to highlight the awe-inspiring and overwhelmingly positive experiences. In reality, everyone knows that those instances are few and far between.

Instead, provide a real-life picture of what it's like to work inside your environment. Doing so will increase the chances that you not only hire the "right" person for the role, but also for your culture.

2. Share employee views.

Although primed and proper presentations from the company's executives bode well with shareholders and customers, prospective employees actually want to hear directly from the staff member's perspectives. Yes, this also means the negative aspect of the job as well.

Disclosing some of the current frustrations ensures that recruiters don't set false expectations and over-promise and under-deliver.

3. Explain what makes you different.

Work is work. From a job description standpoint, "accountants" can be "accountants" anywhere. Rather than marketing the role itself, make sure to highlight examples of why your organization is different from others.

Whether it's a collaborative environment, having access to coaching and mentoring, or an onsite gym that sets you apart, prospective employees want a better understanding of what life will be like.

4. Clarify the vision and strategy.

It's tough to gain a true understanding of an organization's vision through headlines alone. Having an executive delve deeper into your mission will help recruits better connect what your organizations does with why they do it.

5. Be open about retention.

Also known as: Be honest about why this position is open. Whether newly created or open due to voluntary turnover, people appreciate transparency. As a recruiter, this piece of advice terrifies me.

Although you can't disclose everything, painting an accurate representation of the position and expectations is critical to the new employee's success -- and candidates know it. Set them up for success by being as up front as possible.

A few of these suggestions may feel uncomfortable to discuss. However, their effectiveness is undeniable. Through Strazzulla's research, focusing on employer branding can significantly decrease your cost per hire, increase the likelihood that career site visits turn into applications, and double the amount of job applicants.

Published on: Jul 27, 2017