Building your employer brand is tricky, and at the center of it all lies the candidate experience. A positive candidate experience is critical in building a strong employer brand. Just as you focus on your products and how you message them, focusing on your employer brand will help you look at candidates as customers – all the same rules apply.
Your engagement with candidates defines their impression of both your company and employer brand – and those first impressions are lasting. This is why it’s so important to be on your game in every interview and train your team so they can put their best foot forward on your company’s behalf.
Here are five compelling reasons to focus more on perfecting your candidate experience:
1. Word travels fast. We live in a digital age where, whether you like it or not, people are sharing their experiences online. Whether they’re buying a camera or reviewing a mediocre interview experience, it’s easy for people to share their experiences.
Don’t look at this as something to be afraid of – instead, use it to your advantage. According to a Glassdoor survey, 94% are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages their employer brand, which includes responding to reviews. Join the conversation and get involved if you want candidates to apply.
2. Competition is tough. These days, companies are known almost as much for the quality of their workplace as the quality of their products or services. Sure, it’s great to make a killer product, but if you aren’t a great place to work, what’s the point? Remember: 69% would not take a job with a company that had a bad reputation, even if they were unemployed! Your ability to compete in the marketplace and stay ahead is directly related to your ability to attract and retain top talent.
3. First impressions count. The second a candidate receives a follow-up email, steps foot onsite or meets a team member, they’re sizing you up. And, many of them have already done their research on Glassdoor and have an initial impression of your company from the get-go. A candidate’s first impression of your company will stay with them throughout the entire process – so make it count. Similarly, a bad candidate experience can translate into a bad impression of your products or services, and that is never good for business.
To deal with this, ensure that you take those little steps to go above and beyond. Send personalized follow-up emails to candidates and make sure that every applicant receives a response, regardless of if it’s negative or positive. Train your team on how to properly interview, to always offer drinks or snacks when candidates arrive onsite, and how to handle tough interview situations. Taking the extra time to make candidates feel welcome and important will really set you apart as an employer.
4. How would you like to be treated? One of the most powerful things an employer can do is put themselves in the candidates shoes. Think back to when you interviewed last. What stands out about the process? Was it negative or positive, and why? What elements of a company’s employer brand mattered to you?
Asking yourself these questions and putting yourself in the candidate’s place will help you relate and stay ahead. It’s important to nail down exactly how you want candidates to leave your company feeling – then build your process around that end goal.
5. Don’t burn bridges – instead, build brand advocates. While many candidates may be no-go’s right now, businesses change and new opportunities can arise without notice. Candidates that may not be the best fit now could work in a few months or even a year, so never burn those bridges.
To ensure you’re never ruining relationships, always communicate transparently with candidates and be as upfront as humanly possible. Don’t ever just not respond to candidates for months on end – that will put a sour taste in their mouths. Instead, be proactive and honest. Everyone you interview (but don’t hire) should be glad to hear from you if you ever reach out in the future. Plus, this will leave you with a large, talented candidate pool to reach out to if the opportunity ever arises.
A combination of a good process around your recruiting and hiring function, and a laser focus on the candidate experience will build a strong Employer Brand, help you attract and retain rock star candidates and employees, and drive your business success!