Employer Branding - A Candidate Perspective

Following our recent article focused on employer branding from an organisation perspective, we now consider the implications of this from a job seeker’s perspective.

In today’s competitive job market, it’s becoming increasingly vital that applicants have the best possible experience throughout a recruitment process. Organisations need to consider that the ideal candidate experience should reflect the high expectations of the ideal customer experience. In both digital and real world environments, job seekers should be treated as customers by recruiting organisations. Any applicant should be treated in the same way that recruiting managers would like to be treated. Employer branding plays a significant role in achieving this.

Done well, employer branding serves to demonstrate an organisation’s recognition of an applicant’s potential value, as well as giving them confidence in joining an organisation and the way they do business. In our experience of assisting organisations to achieve employer brand excellence, we’ve found that a simple and streamlined application process gets the best results. Key to the success is acknowledgement of application and regular feedback at all stages of the recruitment process. Professional and knowledgeable recruitment specialists, who show a genuine interest in the candidate and their success is also an important aspect. Ensuring that information and updates are provided regularly will allow a job applicant the opportunity to make an informed decision as to whether an organisation is the right fit for them.

I truly believe the ultimate candidate experience goes beyond the recruitment process, right through to onboarding and induction. All of these touchpoints and experiences are hugely influential in terms of a successful applicant building up a picture of who an organisation is and how they operate. This is critical in ensuring a new employee settles in well and, importantly, wants to stay for the long-term.

Being a job seeker is an experience, and naturally, candidates want it to be a good one. Organisations must bear in mind that applying for a job and living through the recruitment process can be a stressful situation. It’s therefore important to try to make the experience as enjoyable as possible, whilst still achieving the same outcome. Providing clarity, open dialogue and setting expectations for all applicants, whether successful or not, allows candidates to learn from the experience and hopefully feel positive about the process they have been through.

Creating a great candidate experience cannot be a one-hit strategy. It’s developed over various interactions with an organisation, which typically include:
• Research
• Application
• Interviewing
• Acceptance or rejection
• Onboarding

A candidate will frame their overall experience from whether they gain a positive, negative, or neutral impression in each of these stages.

Strong employer branding has a number of proven benefits to both retention and cost of hire. As mentioned in my previous article, it’s been shown to reduce employee turnover rates and can significantly reduce hiring costs.

The recipe is actually pretty simple; the better an organisation is in developing, implementing and maintaining a strong employer brand, the more likely they are to attract and retain the best talent.
The fact is that employer branding exists whether you like it or not. The job seeker’s external perception of an organisation forms their employer brand and this will happen regardless of whether it’s managed actively or passively.

Strong candidate experience allows employers to maintain a relationship with both successful and unsuccessful applicants. This helps to retain their interest in an organisation and it’s important to remember that if a candidate is unsuccessful for a particular vacancy, they may be suitable for future positions and therefore may become an employee at some point in time. From a candidate’s perspective; if an organisation doesn’t take the time to create a great first impression during a recruitment process, then it’s unlikely that a strong employer relationship will be nurtured in the future.

Employer branding and the candidate experience sit hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other when you’re looking to attract the best talent for the business. Once an organisation has created a strong employer brand, the next critical steps are to ensure that there is a streamlined application process in place. Messaging must be clear within the business to gain buy-in from a recruiting team and training must be implemented to ensure interviewers know how to conduct a fair interview and are well informed about how the organisation wishes to present itself during their interactions with candidates.

The process of aligning an employer brand and the candidate experience will ensure that the two are working in partnership towards the same goal; to attract, recruit and retain the best talent who will play a critical part in the future success of an organisation.

Contact our team to see how we can help you to evolve your employer brand!