An employer branding strategy: developing a talent atraction model through action research


  • Raquel Noutel
  • Patricia Araujo
  • Rosina Fernandes
  • Paula Arriscado



Employer Branding, Talent atraction, Enginnering, Action Research


Organizational difficulties in attracting talent should alert to the need of employer brands to present characteristics differentiating them from competitors. Employer branding is a fusion area between human resources and marketing, which aims to build an organization’s reputation as a great place to work. The future of organizations depends on the quality of the workforce they can attract (Chhabra & Sharma, 2014) and people, as brands, are the most important assets in a company (Backhaus & Tikoo, 2004). This research aimed to conceive and test a talent attraction model of graduated engineers for a large business group with decades of experience in industry and automotive sectors, in Portugal. Action research was performed in two cycles, consisting in focus group, intervention (detailed organizational presentation) and a final survey with 6 questions about organizational attractiveness of the organization in study. The Employer Attractiveness Scale by Berthon, Ewing and Hah (2005) was used as a guiding paradigm. Twenty recent graduates and finalists participated, with an average age of 23, male, from Mechanical, Automotive Mechanical and Industrial Management Engineering degrees of two Oporto Schools (Portugal). Data was collected personally, by researchers on campus. NVivo Content analysis and descriptive statistics were used, and intervention improvements were introduced before the second cycle. Results showed that: (i) The most valued dimensions by participants were development and economic; (ii) Before the intervention, students didn’t know the organization well, neither in terms of business areas or size; (iii) Post-intervention, participant’s opinion about the organization improved, with an average of 6.4 (1-7 lickert scale); (iv) After the intervention 90% would consider the organization as their employer. Based on the two cycles and organizational information, a model for engineer attraction was proposed, however, it’s overall principles might be adapted and applied to other areas of talent and different organizations facing similar challenges.