While your employer brand can help bring in top talent, your candidate experience is a critical component of an employer brand. “Candidate experience is a two way street,” says Meghan Biro, the CEO of TalentCulture, “Make sure yours is good and true to your brand, or you are setting the brand up for damage both upfront in the recruiting process and to your internal employees and stakeholders.” For those candidates you end up hiring, the recruiting process is the first time they are exposed to your brand, while other candidates may become future customers or refer others to your company. Remember these five tips to improve your employer brand through recruiting
1. Emphasize Cultural Fit
According to Katie Bouton of HBR, “Cultural fit is the glue that holds an organization together. That’s why it’s a key trait to look for when recruiting.” Not only can poor cultural fit cost a company 50-60% of an employee’s salary due to turnover, but it can also weaken the employer brand by diluting company culture and values. Luckily, emphasizing cultural fit in the hiring process also improves your employer brand. Office tours or team lunches with candidates not only let you determine cultural fit--they also help set expectations from before day one, so when your new hire starts they can immediately reinforce your employer brand. Emphasizing cultural fit during the hiring process also reinforces the value you place on employer brand to your current employees, encouraging them to maintain and improve company culture
2. Don’t Ignore Declined Candidates
Even though a candidate may never work for your company, they can still positively or negatively impact your employer brand through word of mouth and online reviews. A survey by CareerArc and Future Workplace revealed that 60% of candidates have had a poor candidate experience, and 72% of those candidates have shared that experience, either online on social media or review sites, or through conversations with friends or colleagues. Meanwhile, “Fewer than half of employers re-engage declined candidates yet nearly all (99%) believe re-engaging will help them build their talent community and protect their employer brand.” Failing to respond to declined candidates not only disincentivizes them from applying to your company further along in their career; these dissatisfied candidates can also create a negative reputation surrounding your hiring process, turning off other qualified candidates who place a premium on companies who treat customers, candidates, and employees with respect.
3. Don’t ask for a resume, ask for a LinkedIn Profile
Forcing candidates to submit applications or PDFs of their resumes is an outdated, tedious process which frustrates candidates and gives them the impression that you don’t value their time. As Liz Ryan writes on Forbes, “If everything we care to know about you and your career is already on LinkedIn, why on earth would employers require your resume, much less force you to fill out endless forms duplicating the information that is already on your resume?” In addition to potentially creating a negative candidate experience (see above), refusing to accept LinkedIn profiles in lieu of resumes or applications can lead to the perception that your company is overly bureaucratic and not technically savvy. Protect your employer brand by allowing candidates to apply as easily as possible: with their LinkedIn profile.
4. Update your careers site and job pages
While we’ve covered why career sites are important and what makes them great, it’s worth emphasizing that the right careers page will not only attract the best talent--it’s also an opportunity to highlight your employer brand and what it has to offer candidates. Swap the stock photos for real pictures of people working at your company, set expectations for what candidates can expect in their workplace environment, and double check to make sure your careers site is easy to navigate. Not only will you attract candidates who are more likely to continue to reinforce and build your culture, but your careers site is an excellent opportunity to showcase your brand.
5. Build a careers blog
Even if you have a fantastic team culture, great perks, and every monday is soup day, you still need a platform in order to share all the great work you’re doing. Beyond the perks you can easily add to the bottom of a jobs page, a careers blog is an excellent place to let your employees share what it’s actually like to work at your company. In 2015 57% of all Fortune 500 companies shared employee stories on their careers pages, but beyond a one-off employee story or testimonial, a blog offers a certain level of spontaneity and continuity that demonstrates to candidates that your company culture is genuine. While the listed perks and well written mission statement might catch a candidate’s attention, the employee stories will convince them you follow through, day in and day out.
Recruiting and employer brand feed off each other: an effective brand will attract top talent with the right cultural fit and lower turnover, which helps to further build your brand while cutting costs. Likewise, a negative employer brand will make it more difficult to recruit the best candidates, increase turnover, and cost you more and more. By making these changes to your recruiting and candidate engagement process, you can improve employer brand while also attracting candidates which will continue making your company an awesome place to work.