Employer branding and online dating have a lot in common; both singles and employers want to show their best sides and promote themselves.
But how do employers recognise their own attractiveness? The swipe to the right on Tinder is often the employer ranking or rating platforms in employer branding.

In recent years, the number of employer best lists has exploded. “Universum”, “Great Place to Work”, “Swiss Employer Award”, “Best Employer by LeTemps/Handelszeitung”, to name just a few examples. One could be forgiven for thinking that employer rankings are still highly relevant today. However, I increasingly hear from clients and experts that they are not entirely undisputed.

Appearances can be deceptive
Apart from the fact that – depending on the provider and methodology – a wide variety of company names can appear at the top; these rankings always represent only a small section of reality (e.g. top 10 or 100). In particular, studies that are not based on employee surveys but are conducted with external persons show relevant shortcomings. The response behaviour of respondents predominantly reflects the general level of awareness of a company or product and only to a limited extent the degree of attractiveness of employers. The respondents (often students) are only capable to a limited extent of actually assessing the quality of an employer, as they have not (yet) worked in the company in question (Beck, 2008; Trost, 2009).

My conclusion: Question employer rankings critically. Do not automatically value high ranking positions as high quality employer performance. You should also not interpret this as an achievement of prior attractiveness and thus not see the need for (innovative) employer branding measures.

Kununu? Revenge is sweet!
“Come in and burn out” – one of my favourite quotes on the employer rating platform “Kununu”. I am quite impressed by the creativity that some (ex-)employees display! Admittedly, websites like “Kununu” have the reputation of functioning mainly as a platform for nasty retaliatory strikes by disappointed employees. Nevertheless, that does not change the fact that they are still relevant!

When the average is not good enough
According to a study by Bitkom, around half of internet users in Germany in 2021 have already searched online for employer ratings. Since 2018, this figure has increased by eleven percentage points. Most importantly however, an employer’s rating has an impact on people’s decision to take a job. Forty-four percent of all respondents who did their research on employers say that this influenced their decision to change jobs. As Softgarden points out: Apparently, even an average rating is enough to be considered a poor employer. In my opinion, however, it is not only the rating itself that is relevant, but also the question of whether and how a company reacts to it.

The question is, what can an employer do to improve its ranking and rating? There is a call for the one campaign that will push the Kununu score from 3.2 to 4. And for this, digital channels are seen as a key tool for the job.

Digital? Not only for “young talent”!
Digital channels are relevant for employer branding. By now a no-brainer? I know! Nevertheless, in my day-to-day work I often meet people who want to do “some cool stuff for young talent”. Believe it or not, around 63% of 50- to 69-year-old Swiss people log on to social networks (BfS, 2020; University of Zurich, 2019).

SEO and SEA – a powerful duo
Other studies state that the job searches are mainly conducted via online job portals, search engines, career websites or social media (Uni Bamberg, 2020; Randstad, 2021). In short, digital is relevant. And that is for everyone. At this point, however, it should also be said that even the best job advertisement and career website is of no use if it cannot be found (keyword: SEO/SEA).

In the long run, the best (digital) campaign or the highest ranking won’t do you much good. For sustained success in employer branding, the following two points are, in my opinion, crucial:

  1. Employer branding is not a sprint, but a marathon
    Maintaining continuity and consistency in terms of appearance and messages is important. A one-off campaign will not permanently make you the most popular employer. This also requires solid groundwork (developing an employer value proposition), as my colleague Martin Fawer explains in his blog post.
  1. True beauty comes from within
    Internal measures are also necessary. Employer rating should be addressed in the company. The cause must be investigated and appropriate changes must be initiated.

And what do you have to bear in mind so that you not only attract talent, but also make a “match”? There will be more on this topic in an upcoming blog post. In the meantime, we can talk about employer branding over a virtual coffee. Get in touch with me for this on LinkedIn!

More articles from Farner on the topic of employer branding
Blog article “Employer branding:strategies for the new normal”
Blog article “Employer Branding: Überzeugen Sie mit Ihrer wirkungsvollen Positionierung im Arbeitsmarkt”Range of services offered by Farner in the area of employer branding








Trost, A. (2012). Talent Relationship Management. Heidelberg: Springer.
Beck, C. (2008). Personalmarketing 2.0. Personalwirtschaft. Köln: Luchterhand.