Why most companies fail with their EVP and how to avoid making the same mistakes

Written by Stan Wasowicz

Stan has spent the bulk of his career working in the recruitment industry. He loves gaining and sharing knowledge, especially when groundbreaking technologies are involved. At VONQ he operates at the forefront of recruitment innovation and contributes to the future of recruitment marketing.

Don’t know what an EVP is? Check Wikipedia’s pretty solid definition to make sense out of it all. You can find much more online, but this one should be enough to help you understand this article.

Tldr: Create and advertise multiple tailored EVP’s in order to attract talent successfully. The first half of this blog is about the “why”, the second half is about “how”.

I’m going to give it to you straight. Unless you’re hiring for a small business of specialists doing one specific thing, trying to create one unified corporate EVP and advertising it to improve hiring efficiency will fail.

The reason for this is simple. It’s doesn’t exist.


Let me explain. Talent interacts with your company on the three levels:

  1. Employer brand level – How your company is perceived as a whole
  2. Target audience level – How your company is perceived by members of a certain job category, region, age group, gender, educational background, seniority level, ethnic group, religion or culture
  3. Job level – How your company’s jobs are perceived by the people you’d like to attract for them

EVP level image

The three levels of talent interaction

Hiring success highly depends on how well you can tailor your EVP to the needs and desires of the people you are trying to attract and should be different on every level. For instance, you can imagine that when it comes to picking a place to work a sales representative doesn’t have the same needs and desires as a software developer.

To make it a bit more complex, potential candidates for those exact same roles have totally different needs and desires depending on where they’re from. Just imagine the cultural differences between Japan and Holland.

Or zoom in a bit more. You can drive through the longest stretch of Holland, going top to bottom or the other way around, in approximately 4 hours. Yet still, regional cultural differences are impacting Dutch job applications on a massive scale.

Now, if all of the above was a constant, it would (and does) already mean you would need to develop multiple different EVP’s to continue to be appealing for the talent you want to hire, but here comes the multiplier… People’s needs and desires change!

They’re constantly influenced by internal and external factors, like their personal situations (having a child, etc) or what your competitors are offering (better benefits, etc.). This means you have to be constantly evaluating, adjusting and improving your EVP and how you advertise it. This exceeds the realm of TA/HR, but touches straight into value proposition design.*Note 1

*Note 1: Alexander Osterwalder literally wrote the book on value propositions, which I highly recommend. Don’t like reading? Check his Youtube channel. Just change ‘customers’ to ‘candidates’ and you’re good to apply most of the theory in your quest for the perfect EVP

That’s it for the why part amigos! Read on to for my tips on how to start getting things done!


Back to your EVPs. Yes, EVP with an “s”, because I hope that by now you understand that you will be creating and advertising a bunch of them.

Here are my 6 steps to so you can start to ace this every time (in time, but I’ll get to that in with the last tip).

Tip 1: Start small. Focus your efforts on your most important target audience in your most important region. For example IT professionals in Paris. Zoom in on your most important job within that target audience. For example Front-Enders.

Tip 2: Socrates knew that any personal development started with “Gnothi seauton” which translates to knowing thyself. Same goes for your company. Look inside, interview your top performers. What triggered them to come and work for you and what’s keeping them there? What do they do outside of work and why? What are their objectives, their pain, and their gain, factors? Map them out in personas.

Tip 3: Create a tailored EVP for your personas consisting of pain relievers, gain creators and the right circumstances to facilitate those. In this stage, looking outside and learning from thought leaders, peers and competitors is very valuable and will keep you from reinventing the wheel. One important rule though, don’t copy paste – and stay authentic.


Tip 4: Find the best way to communicate this EVP to your desired candidates. How? See tip 2 and 3. Talk to your people, find out what content they like. Look at what’s already being done and create your own authentic and original messages and content.

Tip 5: Make sure your brand new awesome tailored messages can reach your desired candidates by advertising them in the right place and at the right time. There are ways two ways to achieve that. First one, you’ve guessed it, back to step 2. Ask you’re people where they’re at (on- and offline). Second one. Rely on data. You’re own, as well as that from other companies who have tried to attract talent from similar target audiences, for similar roles, in similar regions.

Tip 6: This is the most important one to get anything done, anywhere, anytime, whatever it is! START DOING IT! Take a lean approach, small scale at first, structure your experiments and learn from them. Improve by choosing to pivot or persevere in an agile manner with every iteration, until you find a so-called ‘sweet spot’. Double down when you do. Repeat this process continuously *Note 2

Note 2: This time, Eric Ries wrote the book on this – which I again highly recommend! Don’t like reading? Here’s a 3min8sec video. Again change ‘customers’ to ‘candidates’ and the material becomes extremely valuable when creating your EVP’s.

Now I know all of this is easier said than done. But the cool thing is, you will start seeing some really interesting results right from the start and you’ll have a blast doing it.

Comments and feedback are much appreciated. And if you’d like to discuss this personally, I’m easy to find and promise not to bite.

Follow this link to book some time to discuss your hiring challenges and receive free and personal recruitment marketing advice.

You can also sign up for the #ChatTalent webinar that the VONQ team are running in a couple of weeks, for more on this topic.

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