Q and A: Exclusive Interview with Blake Thiess

April 21, 2021 by Verified First

Q&A: Exclusive Interview with Blake Thiess

A brand is a company’s investment in its people, its future. For it to be valued externally, it has to be supported internally. Shockingly, however, one of the first initiatives to get the axe during financial hardships is brand marketing. Similar to axing brand marketing initiatives, TA and HR leaders often have to cut branding initiatives in their hiring strategies due to time and resource restraints. In today’s talent market, a strong talent acquisition brand strategy is critical to sticking out. That’s why we hosted Prestige Care’s Director of Talent Acquisition, Blake Thiess, in episode four of our HR at the Table series. 

As part of the healthcare industry, Prestige Care felt the brunt of the pandemic in its talent acquisition efforts. Like many other companies in the industry, they struggled with recruiting and retaining talent. However, Blake believes “brand wins” and found his company thriving through the COVID-19 pandemic as they honed in on their talent acquisition’s brand strategy. 

During our exclusive interview, Blake answered three key questions:

  1. How do you think TA and HR leaders can create a winning talent acquisition brand strategy?
  2. What recommendations do you have for attracting and retaining younger generations?
  3. In what ways do you use technology to impact the candidate experience?

Q: How do you think TA and HR leaders can create a winning talent acquisition brand strategy?

1. Be intentional.

“If you drive around, you’re going to see a lot of people with ‘now hiring’ signs. Everybody is looking for people; that’s why building out and being intentional about building a brand can get you more folks to apply to your jobs and your career opportunities.”

2. Collaborate with in-house marketing.

“What are the tangible things that you can highlight at scale that make you different? Drive that in all of your job postings and optimize all of your job announcements. I would 10x, 20x your efforts to get that employee value proposition out into the marketplace, whether it be with paid media on your social feeds or on any external-facing outlets.”

3. Celebrate highlights.

“Highlight the good in your organization, highlight your own team members… [Find] something good to share with society. People want to feel. People want to see heartwarming tales and the good.”

4. Remain vigilant.

"Keep getting your brand out there, and try different avenues as well… If you have some social media outlets, show overall engagement and followers. That's free eyeballs on your brand."

Q: What recommendations do you have for attracting and retaining younger generations?

1. Figure out what your brand offers them in the short and long term.

“Build out systems in which [your organization] can promote people willingly… People want to know that they have a home where they choose to work and that they’re going to be promoted. Set clear expectations and get the heck out of the way people will stay.”

2. Speak to your population where they are at.

“Don’t just wait for people; go and engage people. Approach candidates where they are at, whether it be on social media, whether it be on personal email, you could go and find their phone number and call them up out of the blue.”

3. Think about essentialism.

"One might think about making it as easy as possible for candidates to apply. Go through the process of applying for one of your jobs with a fine-tooth comb because that's what your candidate is experiencing. Finding efficiencies will allow a more positive candidate experience."

4. Focus on the candidate.

"Focus on hyper-personalization. Ask that new team member, ‘what is important to you?’ ‘Is it words of affirmation?’ ‘Do you want more money?’ ‘Is it gifts?’ ‘What would resonate with you when you think about retention?’"

Q: In what ways do you use technology to impact the candidate experience?

1. Utilize the technology you already have.

"Utilize the technology that we have in our pockets here [iPhones] to create content and distribute that content, whether it be in that drip email campaign or on a landing page or an updated website page.”

2. Nurture passive candidates.

"It's proactively sending messages about some of the great things that we're doing, leveraging the technology to talk about the brand to nurture those passive candidates, and showing that this is a great place to work because of x, y, and z."

3. Share the company’s purpose across external-facing outlets.

"Leveraging any sort of technology to show what is in it for the candidate is going to resonate… Dig for those stories, and highlight those stories on social media which, by the way, is free, which is a great price. Share those stories because that can help build positive brand recognition. Not only in your local marketplace but in your industry as a whole. To further that, you can run sponsored ads on it, on social, against various markets to get your brand out there.”

4. Mutually connect.

"Texting has been a game-changer for us. Interacting with candidates in real-time, where their eyeballs are at, that's really key. Texting is efficient on the employer side because I can interact with people that have applied for my job. From a candidate experience standpoint, people want to interact with a human."


The HR trifecta for return involves three components: brand, technology, and talent. When optimized to create a winning talent acquisition brand strategy, the three impact recruitment, retention, and the overall candidate experience.

While these are only snippets of Blake's insights, we have his exclusive interview available on-demand. Watch episode four of HR at the Table and register for our next HR at the Table episode on Binding Culture, Talent, and Technology.

About Verified First
Verified First is known for delivering streamlined background screening backed by the best client support, and for developing the easiest, fastest HR system integrations, for free. Our client support team is U.S.-based, answers calls in seconds, resulting in hundreds of positive testimonials and a 96% customer satisfaction. Verified First's patent-pending, award-winning integrations include over 100 applicant tracking systems, and provide clients a turn-key experience.

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