When it comes to branding, the strength of your reputation is influenced by the company you keep. Celebrity and expert endorsements are believed to lend credibility and notoriety to a brand. However, with all the benefits to be gained, these relationships can also severely impact a brand if they turn sour. Enter your employment brand.
Think back on celebrities with tarnished reputations – Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps and Gilbert Gottfried – and how corporate sponsors handled their fall from grace. Aflac worked swiftly to replace Gottfried as the voice of their duck mascot after he published insensitive comments on Twitter. Other brands, like Nike and Gillette, publicly expressed their relationship with Woods would remain unchanged after allegations surfaced of extramarital affairs.
The Power of Association
Whether you’re “known by the company you keep” or “guilty by association,” the impact of brand representatives extends to recruitment as well. For talent acquisition leaders, your employment brand is not only a product of corporate culture and word-of-mouth testimonies, but also the recruiters you hire to represent your company.
Attracting top-quality talent is no small investment, so follow this practical advice to ensure interactions at every stage of the application process reflects positively on your employment brand:
Recruiter Behavior Matters
Like celebrity endorsements, individual recruiters can impact employment brand. If the recruiter is having a bad day, is late to the interview, impatient or otherwise preoccupied, the candidate can be completely turned off. Provide your recruiting team with ongoing training to help them present the best possible first impression to candidates. Simple practices, like allowing 15 minutes between appointments, can help recruiters arrive on-time, organized and focused for interviews.
Timing is of the Essence
The recruitment process is long and it can take even longer to extend an offer when multiple candidates or decision makers are involved. A lot can go through a candidate’s mind when waiting to hear back about a job, and over time their enthusiasm about a position and the employer can wane. “Common courtesy, like responding in a timely manner, is an important practice,” according to Betsy Geiger, a corporate recruiter. It helps to keep candidates engaged through frequent communication on employer social media pages or in a corporate talent community.
Personal Touches Impact Employment Brand Perceptions
“It’s difficult to follow-up with every single applicant, but if they ask me directly for feedback, I feel it’s important to respond,” Geiger said. If the hiring manager has any feedback following an interview, recruiters should share it with the candidate – even if it doesn’t involve a job offer. Treating candidates with candor and respect makes them more likely to apply to positions at your company in the future. With so many resources spent to attract applicants and motivate them to apply, closing the loop on an emotionally-charged interview can keep that individual an engaged member of your talent community for years to come.
Present Opportunities Realistically
Personal touches are just one part of creating a consistent and considerate hiring experience. It’s also important to present the organization’s employment value proposition accurately so candidates understand the benefits and downsides of the company and the job. Your recruiters should honestly present strengths and areas of improvement to ensure new hire job satisfaction and reduce preventable turnover.
Avoid treating the recruitment process like a contest. Recruiters who are paid per placement are less likely to take time with candidates, underselling your employment value proposition in the process. Recruiters can become focused on selling a candidate on a position and unintentionally misrepresent what can be expected once hired.
Tell a Compelling Story
One of the best ways to attract and retain best-fit employees is to establish a connection through an employment brand. If the employment brand is negative or nonexistent, it can be hard to get candidates to even apply for the position, much less interview.
“Now that the economy is getting better and there are more jobs available, many candidates have a choice of where to work,” Geiger said. If a company doesn’t have a strong employment brand, recruiters often focus on job responsibilities or look to external sites like Glassdoor to use employee testimonials to sell a candidate on a job. Negative feedback diminishes the selling point of a company, so recruiters must master the art of telling their own employment value story.
Bottom line: a solid employment brand makes it easier to recruit top candidates. Rally everyone – from recruiters to hourly staff and executives – to act as stewards for careers in your organization.
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