Blogs, Pods and Quotes

Hi. I'm James Ellis, the employer brand nerd.

I've been helping companies of every shape and size understand their own employer brand and how to leverage it to attract and retain great talent.

These are places I've spoken and written over the years.


November 8, 2023

Employer branding for small and medium sized companies: Des humains et des marques

In a nutshell, here is what we've discussed: - employees need to send the message that the company doesn't own them - working at your company is not the only option anymore - since 2021, #talent is looking for mobility (81%) and culture (41%) - to create trust, you need to tell your story - as most hiring managers don't know what they really want, recruiters must explain the value of having the right people in the chair And don't forget.No people = no company ❗

August 24, 2023

The Case for Biotech Employer Branding

While the biotechnology industry is typically quick to adopt new approaches and methodologies, companies have been slow to embrace employer branding as part of their recruiting processes. Most attempt to build the case for working in their company around “saving lives” and “innovation,” as if every single biopharma company doesn’t exist for the same reasons. They talk about how they are an amazing place to work without saying why or to whom they would be seen that way. That is a missed opportunity to establish a brand that attracts the right people.Simply put, an employer’s brand is the perception of what it’s like to work at a company. If done well, it isolates and amplifies a compelling message to lure top candidates to your place of employment over the thousands of other companies in the space.In a sector where companies sound and look the same, where they are unable to talk about their scientific approaches with specificity, an employer brand creates clarity and focus around why someone should choose you. Here are five specific reasons that biotech companies eager to hire great talent need to take advantage of this strategy. Read the complete post here:

August 22, 2023

The Recruitment Flex (with Marcus Body)

Marcus and I get to hang out with Serge and Shelley on The Recruitment Flex podcast.‍ The pairing of James and Marcus is the employer brand & TA’s version of Megan & Harry. James, being our most popular guest, has teamed up with Marcus to talk about employer brand, for an hour at a time and yes, they have a point of view! Measuring employer brand in its simplest form, “Did it solve the problem?” Ending the argument on what is an EVP Employer Brand in different countries, one size does not fit globally EB looks different based on the size of company you're in Advice for TA as they launch into EB

August 7, 2023

How to build employer branding with no budget ? with James Ellis

Bestselling author James Ellis is sharing his secrets to develop employer branding with no budget. WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT? What is really employeur branding ? Who is it for ? How can we stand out ? What is the cost and is the return on invesment ? What are the ingredients for employer branding ? does it have an impact on retention ? What are the metrics we need to follow ? Who is responsible for employer branding ? Marketing or HR ? How do we convinced the C-Suite to invest in employer branding ?

August 7, 2023

Biotechs' Career Sites Leave Much to Be Desired

While layoffs are still a common occurrence, the demand for talent in the biotech space has never been greater. So what are emerging biotechs doing today to compete for the talent their leadership demands? I have spent the last 10 years helping companies of every size understand what makes them an interesting place to work and how to communicate those ideas to candidates. To understand the approach these companies were taking to attract and engage talent, I reviewed the career sites of 34 small-but-growing U.S.-based biotech firms, focusing on companies with 50–500 employees who have at least $50 million in stated funding and are listed in industry publications as “hot biotechs” or “biotechs to watch” this year. Here are my conclusions.

July 27, 2023

The Power of Credibility—How Emerging Biotechs Can Earn Candidates’ Trust

When it comes to hiring great talent, you may have encountered a common obstacle: Candidates just don’t trust you. As someone who advises recruiters, leaders and businesses on how to appeal to top talent, I've seen this become a stumbling block for many. Think about someone you’d want to hire in the industry. Whether it's a chief medical officer who can boost your product line to new heights, an experienced product manager who can get you closer to clinical trials or a financial expert who can make investors swoon, these people all have a few things in common. They are rare, they are smart and they are valuable. This means they also have options—a lot of options.These people will likely have a direct impact on any company’s bottom line, so the fact that you want to hire them means plenty of other companies would also love to bring them on board.

July 10, 2023

Stop Checking The Box: Leveraging Your Employer Brand To Enhance Your DEI Initiatives

The last ten years have seen a revolution in how companies think about diversity. The foundations laid by 1960s civil rights initiatives and 1980s multiculturalism thinking have led to conversations at various levels of a company about representation, antiracism, and a company’s moral need to make real change. This leads to expectations. Expectations that companies would become public about their employee demographics (accompanied by the requisite letter from a leader about how they’ll work hard to do better next time), expectations about committing to diverse interview pools, and expectations about the use of policies and tools to eliminate bias in the workplace.But for all the passion people have brought to this problem over the last decades, does it feel to you like things have stalled?

July 3, 2023

The silent nudge: The power of the unstated in storytelling

At this very moment, I am trying to make you think of a certain number. Think it’s easy? It isn’t. Because if I wrote the number, you didn’t think it. You read it. If you saw a sign that said, “I am 17 feet tall,” that didn’t make you think you might be the height of a one-story house, did it? No. You just read it. And chances are, you forgot it two seconds after you saw it. So here is my challenge. How do I make you think of this particular number?

June 12, 2023

Immediately Better Hiring: 9 Things to Do Right Now

Want to hire better? Of course you do. Your business will stall out (and you’ll have to start looking for a new job) unless you can keep up a steady stream of great hires straight to your hiring managers. But things like developing an employer brand or investing in new tech platforms can seem to take forever. Is there anything you can do immediately that will make a difference? There sure are. Here are nine impactful, useful and effective means of elevating your talent acquisition efforts that work immediately.

May 23, 2023

Kick-Arse Employer Brands - The Podcast

James Ellis, best-selling author and Employer Brand Nerd at Employer Brand Labs, talks about getting better talent (not more), finding your real match, and the importance of showing your bad side.

May 23, 2023

What’s Your Strategy for Attracting and Hiring New Grads?

Tis the season of new grads. And while your company has high hopes to reinvent the biotech and biopharma industry with your innovative approach to drug discovery, drug development and the like, you probably need a bunch of new grads to staff the bench. Do you know who else needs to hire those new grads by the metric ton? All the major pharmaceutical companies, both in the US and abroad. So you are faced with what seems like an impossible problem: How does your company, perhaps consisting of 400 or 1,000 employees (or perhaps much less) compete with companies quite literally 100 times bigger? It seems like a rigged game, right?

May 22, 2023

Recruitment leader James Ellis talks about how employer branding impacts candidate identity

When we think about “our employer brand,” we usually focus on “how we’re seen.” How our company is seen.Are we seen as an innovative place to work?Are we seen as a company that cares for our people?Are we seen as being the place where people are pushed to perform at their best? But we’re missing a bigger opportunity.


Hi. I'm James Ellis.

Having spent the better part of a decade developing employer brands and EVPs for Groupon, Roku, Enova, Recursion, Telecare, TradeShift, Gearset, CreditShop, and others, I focus exclusively on helping companies build and activate their employer brand so that they can compete (and win) against much larger companies. How? By creating and growing the next generation of employer brand leaders, managers, and specialists.

That's why Google calls me the employer brand nerd.

Employer Brand Labs, LLC

EBL is dedicated to bringing the power and value of employer branding to every single company, regardless of size, industry, or region.

You can be an employer not just of "choice," but of desire.

If you're ready to start attracting great talent to you instead of chasing it, reach out.
James Ellis [LinkedIn]
421 W Melrose St
Chicago, IL 60657