Written By: Jacqueline Jacks
To be seen as a strong employer brand, every step you take towards candidate care is crucial – especially when it comes to the recruitment process
In discussions, studies and articles on attracting and retaining top talent in order to have a competitive advantage – both now and in the future – the terms ‘candidate care’ and ‘employer brand’ are often mentioned. These concepts – referring to the process a company follows to fill a position and their reputation as an employer, respectively – are crucial to such discussions. But ‘candidate care’ and ‘employer brand’ shouldn’t just be buzz words bandied about in talk. These should be action words that companies implement in concrete steps, specifically when it comes to how they handle the recruitment process.
Numerous articles and blogs refer to the existing recruitment model as ‘broken’. There’s often a disconnect between the employees a company wants to attract, and the employees they get. Digital processes have compromised that human factor that once defined recruitment. And recruitment is often seen as lacking. So now that we know what some of the pitfalls in our industry are, it’s time to work together to fix them.
PWC’s 17th Annual Global CEO Survey found that 93% of CEOs know they must change their strategy for attracting and retaining talent. The people factor is increasingly important to a company’s brand. According to the HR Trend Institute, employer and consumer branding are merging. This means the employee experience of your brand should align with the customer experience of your brand. If you think of the definition of a brand touchpoint − each instance your brand comes into contact with a customer, service provider or employee – it’s clear that attention must be paid to HR and the recruitment process. Just think, for example, of how Google’s reputation as an employer boosts its corporate brand.
So how do we re-establish the recruitment industry as a professional, reliable, ‘go-to’ service for job seekers? How do we revision recruitment as a dependable, professional, partnership for companies looking to hire? How do we leave a good impression with not only employees, but candidates who come into contact with your brand through the recruitment process?
Consider the steps in the candidate’s journey, just as you would for your customers. Apply the brand touchpoint wheel to the hiring process, to see each stage as an important touchpoint: pre-employment, getting them on board, and post-employment. Making some small but key changes to each step will have an immediate impact on improving candidate care, while also helping to authentically build your employer brand.
Here are three action steps to start:
1 Streamline and simplify through building a relationship with specialist recruiter service providers
Your initial response to filling an urgent job post may be to send out a call to as many external recruitment agencies as possible, while also giving it to your internal recruitment team, who will then advertise on all the same platforms. I caution against this approach.
Why? It creates confusion for the job seeker, it duplicates everybody’s efforts (those of the job seeker and those involved in the recruitment), which just creates a bun fight − especially if you’re operating in a small market, like we are in Cape Town.
Rather develop a partnership with a handful of specialist recruitment agencies, as stakeholders who’ll communicate and support your brand’s values and purpose. Allowing these specialists to get to know your business intimately − its culture, nuances, perks, structure and challenges – will serve you in the long run.
Today’s job seekers are drawn to brands with a purpose. They want their work to contribute to making a meaningful impact on society and the planet, and these are some of the questions that get asked of us. Remember that as recruiters, when we take one of your jobs to market, we are discussing your brand with potential candidates but also with your existing consumers. And even if a candidate doesn’t get the job, for a while they also act as brand ambassadors. Will they speak well of what they experienced of your company?
2 Forget about long, laborious job descriptions
Tell us why candidates should apply for a position with your organisation, as opposed to one of your competitors. What does the average day of a systems engineer, content writer, brand manager or data scientist look like in your company? What are some of the promotional or training opportunities? Have you been specific enough in the job description to avoid lengthy pre-screening or interviews that waste everyone’s time?
3 Give feedback
A lack of response to job applications or feedback after interviews is a common complaint among job seekers, who feel ‘left in the dark’. Once you’ve engaged a candidate in an interview process, commit to that process and get the hiring, decision-making managers on board. Don’t leave weeks between initial discussions and providing feedback, and please, do give us feedback.
As a courtesy to the candidate, and to leave a positive, lasting impression of your brand, let’s keep the feedback loop timeous, honest and constructive.