While there are many things that affect an employer’s brand, companies often neglect to think about a critical influence; that of job candidates. We hear companies talk about the employee experience, engagement, and even off boarding, but rarely do you hear companies considering how the candidate experience has an effect on their brand.

Even when organizations do consider the candidate experience in terms of branding, they are almost always talking about the employer brand, and the company’s ability to attract and recruit the best talent. What most people fail to consider is that their employer brand is not a separate entity to the overall corporate reputation. The immediacy and transparency of the internet means that the information available to people who are learning about your organization as part of a job search, is the same information potential customers will find while searching for your product or service solution.

Is your recruiting process hurting sales?

A CareerBuilder study revealed that 82 percent of employers think there’s little to no negative impact on the company when a candidate has a bad experience during the hiring process. The same study found that 58 percent of candidates are less likely to buy from a company that did not respond to their application, and 69 percent are less likely to buy if they had a bad experience in the interview.

As if that’s not reason enough to make sure your organization has a responsive and consistent recruiting process, the impact may be even greater when the influence of social media is factored in. When people share their experiences with your company on their social media networks, those comments are available for everyone to read, not just other job seekers.

Most companies have a very poor candidate experience – they publish a job posting, often filled with cryptic language, and wait for people to apply. When candidates do apply, they are treated with a one-size-fits-all process. They are often asked irrelevant questions in online employment applications, hit submit, and hope to hear back. More often than not, candidates don’t receive any notice that their application was even received. If they are considered, but ultimately not selected, they don’t have any idea why they were eliminated from consideration, or even that the decision process has taken place.

For the lucky ones that do get an interview, there are often timing and communication mishaps that make this stage of the consideration process even more frustrating. Although this scenario doesn’t describe the application process for all companies, it’s true for far too many. The reality is, when a candidate has a poor experience, either with the information they are able to collect when considering you as an employer through your company career pages, the job description itself, the application process, or even the interview process, they will come away with a poor perception of your company.

Improve communications

Instead of assuming your employer reputation isn’t affecting your consumer brand, take a step back and look at your processes and your results. You should already be actively monitoring social media and employer review sites, such as Glassdoor. Examine your recruiting and hiring processes and make sure you have the systems in place to handle the quantity of inquiries you get when you post a job. Consistent and timely communications may be the key to your organization’s ability to protect your employer brand and your consumer brand.

One of the biggest complaints by job seekers is the lack of, or timeliness of, communication between the company and the candidate. Alleviate this roadblock to a better brand by taking a close look at the systems you have in place to communicate with candidates. Job candidates shouldn’t feel like their resume got lost in a black hole, or that your organization is too uncaring to send a simple email after conducting an interview.

Of course, your efforts at improving communications with your candidates shouldn’t end once they join the company. You should also be looking at how well you communicate with your current and past employees. Don’t forget to put systems in place to monitor your employee experiences on a regular basis as well as the sentiment of your alumni employees  – and be prepared to make changes based on the feedback you get.

Improve your candidate experience

In addition to improving the frequency and consistency of communications, evaluate your entire candidate experience. If your online application is too long, or too daunting, you may be discouraging the very talent you are trying to attract. If you’re interested in improving your candidate experience and protecting your employer and consumer brand, start with these simple best practices:

  • Only post positions for which you are really hiring
  • Be specific and detailed in job descriptions and expectations
  • Treat people with respect and kindness in the interview process
  • Find a way to kindly reject candidates when the need arises
  • Communicate with people in a timely manner
  • Treat your job candidates just as well as you would treat an employee or customer

In today’s marketplace, there are a lot of choices for consumers for most goods and services. If your candidates have poor experiences with your company, you are absolutely alienating your current, and possibly future customers. Beyond that, just like any consumer who has a poor experience, they are likely to share their experience with others.

Humanize and personalize your recruiting and hiring processes and treat candidates with respect, your brand will thank you.

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