Recruiter Top 10: Ways to Promote Your Company Culture to Candidates

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Welcome to Top 10,’s weekly rundown of the best of the best in recruiting! Every Friday, we release a list of some of our favorite people, things, and ideas dominating the industry. From awesome tech tools and cool companies to great books and powerful trends, no stone in the recruiting space will be left unturned.

This Week:  Top 10 Ways to Highlight Your Company Culture

When you’re trying to attract top talent to your organization, one of the best ways to spark qualified candidates’ curiosity is to show off your company culture. But how do you do that? We asked our network for their advice on promoting your company culture. Check out our ten favorite answers below:

Aaron1. Don’t Just Tell It – Be It

In my experience, companies spend too much time and effort working on how to get the word out about their company culture and not enough time and effort on shaping and developing company culture. It’s less something to promote and more something to be – to actively be.

It’s a lot easier to figure out how to tell the story of your company culture to recruits and candidates when you have tons of stories to tell about what happened when. It’s a challenge to figure out how to tell the story of your culture when values are slogans on the wall without any real-life narrative to back them up.

Subtlety speaks volumes. When the whole company reflects the values espoused in the literature, candidates and recruits can feel the integrity of the message. They can feel incongruence as well. Give feedback to leaders and all staff on behaviors that support the culture you’re trying to build and those behaviors that don’t. Then, start making a record of the true stories that reflect the culture you’re inviting new people to join.

Aaron Schmookler, Company Culture Engineer, The Yes Works

George2. Take Candidates on a Tour

When interviewing a candidate, be sure to show them around the office. The office space and the employees in it are big parts of a company’s culture. By getting a feel for their potential surroundings, candidates can get a general feel for the organizational culture overall.

George Bradley, Communications Specialist, Circa Interactive

hannah3. Let the Team Interview Candidates

We demonstrate company culture in a couple of different ways with new candidates. First, we ask the team to interview them! Nothing proves employees have a say like allowing future teammates to ask a candidate questions! We also try to make interviews more conversational rather than interrogations. We want candidates to be excited about working with us, not terrified!

Hannah Munro, Senior Business Technologist, Itas

nicole4. Write a Blog Post

One of the first things a candidate should do before interviewing with a company is review their website to learn more about them. Any potential candidate that puts even just a little bit of time into browsing our site will see that we have a blog. If that candidate goes one step further and starts reading our blog posts, they’ll find this one, a post that not only demonstrates our company culture but also explains why our culture matters.

You might be thinking, “Wow, a blog post. Real original.” However, we’ve had candidates specifically mention this blog post as a factor in their decision to apply to one of our open positions. It may not be the most unique tactic to demonstrate our company culture, but it is effective.

Nicole Stelmar , Digital Marketing Specialist, Inseev Interactive

jason5. Encourage Candidates to Explore for Themselves

After interviewing close to 100 people over the last 10 years, I know that you can try to explain, describe, or display aspects of company culture, but that will always be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. Good candidates pay attention and will come to their own conclusions about company culture.

While it’s wise to put on your best face, focus as much or more on being open and encouraging candidates to explore the culture themselves. This applies throughout the interview process, starting from the initial interaction with the interview team through to the on-site visit. Encourage candidates to talk freely (i.e., confidentially) to any employees. Let them kick the tires and figure out for themselves what your company culture is all about. The conclusions they draw will be more influential than anything you can say or do.

Jason W. Sickler, President, Torchlight Solutions, LLC

lee6. Get Social

We encourage candidates to follow our social media channels so they can keep up to date with company news. We often post about days out, team-building exercises, and other exciting happenings, and we share pictures of our day-to-day office life. This gives candidates a good idea of our company culture.

Lee Fisher, HR and Hiring Manager, Blinds Direct

rachel7. Don’t Be Too Aggressive

Conveying your company’s culture shouldn’t begin once you’ve found the right candidate; it should be a foundational step when creating a job listing. We often see mistakes in describing a company’s culture occur as early in the recruitment process as during the development of a job listing. Not being specific enough in requirements and job functions, focusing too much on the company perks, and making assimilation into the company culture a requirement can all deter qualified candidates from applying

Often, job listings include generic phrases like “relaxed work environment” and “flexible work hours.” These can be misleading to candidates, as these phrases often mean different things to different people. Phrasing that is too aggressively aligned with your company culture, like “hiring only the best of the best,” can turn off candidates who may not immediately identify themselves with niche characteristics.

Rachel Ferrigno, Developer Hiring Expert, Stack Overflow

karen8. Create a Website

Most companies have a simple one-page “Join Us” section on their website; at Sanford Rose Associates, we have created an entire site dedicated to attracting future hires to our firm. The site includes testimonials from recent hires, pictures from our sales incentive trips around the world, and accolades received by our firm that would be relevant to a prospective new hire. We have partnered with Next Level Marketing Communications to create a suite of videos that explain what one must do to be successful in search, answer commonly asked questions, and spotlight superstars sharing their own top tips. Video communication personalizes the candidate experience significantly; existing team members can share their stories in their own voices and communicate with depth and personality.

Karen Schmidt, President, Sanford Rose Associates

danny9. Let Candidates Attend Team Meetings

We make an effort to illustrate who we are, what we do, and why someone should join before candidates even apply or speak to a recruiter. For example, there is a ton of videos on our career page and content on Glassdoor that reflects what it’s truly like to work for one of our teams, warts and all.

That said, we understand that this can be a one-way conversation, and not everyone trusts media being pushed out by a company. So, we like to give potential hires tours around the office, get them to attend our daily company-wide sync-up, have lunch with the team they might be working with, and even meet with our CEO to get a 360-degree perspective of what life would be like if they choose to join us.

Danny An, Recruiter, Influitive

steve10. Take Your Time – and Spend Some Time With the Candidates

We’ve experimented with various channels, like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and our website, for posting our job openings and also to promote our culture through photographs and videos. That’s a necessary step to bring in applicants, but it only goes so far.

Ultimately, our most effective strategy has proven to be showing candidates what we’re about. The only way for them to truly get a sense of our culture, and for us to see whether they’re the right fit, is to spend some time with them.

Steve Goodman, Founder and CEO, Restless Bandit

By Recruiter