How To Craft a Role-Level Employee Value Proposition

Great benefits are just the beginning


Your company is great, your benefits are on point, you have an inclusive culture, you provide equal parental leave and flexible remote working – surely everyone wants to work for you?

In the candidate-first era that we’re in, these are all essential and will put you in the ‘consider’ category for top talent – but many progressive businesses have these. To really push your company over the edge and convert those gold medalists you need or want on your team, you also need a role-level employee value proposition (EVP) that speaks to your target candidate persona. 


What makes a role-level EVP different from a General EVP?


A general employee value proposition represents an employer to all relevant

target groups. It is usually one core proposition to which the company is fully committed.

Role-level vs. general employee value proposition

An example by PwC:

“From empowering mentorships to customised coaching, PwC provides you with the support you need to help you develop your career. You’ll work with people from diverse backgrounds and industries to solve important problems. Are you ready to grow?”

As you can see, it’s a great and very impactful directive, but not specific to any one particular role in the company.

A role-specific EVP on the other side is a separate employee value proposition for each critical target function designed to reach specific target groups. A single proposition would not do justice to diversity in this case.



Crafting a Role-Level EVP With Your Incumbents


Hiring managers give you their hiring criteria, which is great. They’ll know what skills they need and might have a great idea as to how a candidate should communicate or fit into their existing team. 

However, they’re not the best person to give you cracking role level EVP(s) that can be woven into the job spec, outbound messaging, or the role pitch.

So how do you craft an unforgettable role-level EVP? Leverage the subject matter experts — your incumbents.

The saying “Penguins Hire Penguins” (thanks Armin Trost) encapsulates this point. So if you want to hire a software engineer, work with other software engineers who have been successfully hired to understand what it is they want.

This strategy also lifts the burden off of HR and makes hiring a much more collaborative process.


Questions to ask your Incumbents


  • What specific event (in or outside of work) made you realise that you made the right decision to work here?


  • Give us three reasons why a talented, strong, capable person should work in this company for your role?

But don’t stop there, follow these answers and get deeper by asking:

  • What do you concretely mean by these reasons?
  • Give me a real example demonstrating this reason.
  • For this reason, give me proof, stories, and situations.
  • Why do you consider this reason special?

This exercise is about becoming deeply curious about the role and its incumbent. Look for stories, emotions, anecdotes, and evidence that this job is everything a candidate could hope for and more.


Outcomes of Your Incumbent Interviews


When you’ve got the really juicy bits about what makes a role attractive to your incumbents and who it’s best suited for, you can craft the following:


What to do and what not to do when crafting your role-level EVP


  • Avoid banalities. Everyone’s working on what we hope are exciting, mission-driven things. But get specific. What are some upcoming goals and projects? What tools do you use? What’s the budget like? Get into some of the juicy stuff.
  • Elicit and elicit again. You may have to ask your incumbents the same kind of questions to get to the good stuff. So if their first answers don’t seem pithy enough, keep digging. The gold is there.
  • Messaging should be positioned for a subject matter expert, not watered down. This is not mass marketing, this is a narrow audience so you do not want to be attractive to everyone at all. 
  • Share messaging for sign off. Test your Role-Level EVP statements with a sample group of existing employees in your division to see if it adequately articulates why an individual would want to work for and stay in your organisation and team. 
  • Your EVP statement needs to be honest, and be based on what is right for the employees. Most importantly, you must be able to deliver on what you say. If your EVP is genuine then it should naturally filter through everything you do.


Example of a Paid Search Role Level EVP


We were recently tasked with refining a role-level EVP for a Paid Search position.

After interviewing incumbents, we were able to add the special sauce to what was an attractive but not outstanding description.

Here is an excerpt from the new role-level EVP:


Over the last 12 months as travel has returned our marketing spend has grown by 4x and we have improved our efficiency dramatically as we have adopted some leading-edge techniques for bidding. This has helped {company name} achieve tremendous growth. We are also early adopters of Google’s newest campaign type, Performance Max, and consult with their team on improving the product.

Paid search is our biggest paid marketing channel and we aim to continue this growth over the next few years. To do so we need a data-driven Paid Search Executive to work with our Paid Search Manager to hit the ground running, improve our campaign efficiency and find new ways to reach people.

In this role, you will learn from the best and you will develop, it will also be expected that you come up with new ideas and will be given the freedom to experiment.


As you can see, we’ve added specifics around growth, included some news about how they are early adopters, and how they also influence product development. Much more exciting to someone at the top of their game.


Final Thoughts


Crafting your role-level EVP isn’t where it ends. You need to put it out there in the world and see how it performs. Iterate and test your EVP in messaging. See if it resonates with the candidates you’re looking for – what elicits responses and what seems to fall flat. Remember, your role-level employee value proposition is a living document which means it is subject to change – so if it’s not resonating, change that!