The Importance of Branding in the Steel Industry

By Michael Jones on November 15, 2018

In the steel industry, competition for quality candidates has never been tougher. The labor shortage is limiting the industry’s access to new talent and making it more difficult for firms to hire and retain strong employees. But there’s a solution to these issues that many steel companies are overlooking: strong branding. By improving branding efforts at both the industry-wide and company-specific levels, steel companies can better attract, hire, and retain exceptional talent.

Use Branding to Attract Up-and-Comers

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Most of the students who are ready to enter the workforce are still choosing to enroll in four-year universities rather than attend trade schools or start in full-time jobs. For many of them, that’s a simple matter of not having access to all the information about their options. Steel companies that reach out to high schools and community colleges have the chance to brand the industry as a strong choice for students to consider when they graduate. Educate students on the competitive salaries, comprehensive benefits, and exciting, high-tech projects awaiting them within the steel industry. Offer internships and extensive training opportunities to get students excited about joining your team. Bright, ambitious students will be much more likely to consider a career in the steel industry if you present the opportunities in the right way, so be prepared to answer questions and provide as much information as you can.

Don’t Underestimate the Google Factor

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Do you know what comes up when you Google your company? You need to. Job seekers today rely on the web more than ever when considering a new job, and they start by Googling any prospective employers. Candidates will be drawn to companies that appear to be good places to work, so keep your website up to date with relevant information, project pictures and videos, company news, etc. Your website should also be visually appealing and easy to navigate to ensure that your company branding is a positive experience for candidates from the very first click. Social media is another good way to engage with candidates, so take advantage of popular platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. Be consistent across platforms, from your colors and logo to your web content -- candidates want to know that when it comes your company, what they see is what they’re going to get.

Demonstrate Your Brand in Person

Branding goes beyond the image you present on a website. If you want candidates to believe your company is a great place to work, it’s important to demonstrate that during the hiring process. At a minimum, that translates to keeping open lines of communication, following through on what you say you’re going to do, and putting together strong offers. The interview is another good place to show candidates what your company is all about. Asking behavioral questions during the interview is one way to identify which candidates possess the qualities you value most highly, and who is likely to be a good cultural fit. For example, ask the candidate to describe their management style, or present a real-world stressful scenario they might encounter on a job and ask how they would respond. Be prepared to act quickly when you find a candidate who fits in your culture. A strong company culture attracts strong talent and also helps you retain that talent.

Many companies make the mistake of underestimating the importance of branding in the steel industry. Invest in a great branding strategy and you can reap the benefits of talented, passionate, loyal candidates who will strengthen your company culture.

The Author

Straight from the desk of

Michael Jones

Michael Jones


Michael joined Kimmel & Associates in 2012 as an Associate in the Structural Steel Division. Michael partners with companies that design, fabricate, and erect structural and metal components used in commercial, industrial, and heavy civil applications.