Growing your team? Creating a candidate experience that’s true to your employer brand is just the ticket for attracting the best talent.
Whether it’s to build a home, or build a career, everyone has a different reason for hauling themselves from the toasty cocoon of their beds every morning and heading to work. But now, more than ever, people are interested in how this purpose coincides with a passion for not just what they do and the brand they work for as well. This is just as, if not more important than what the actual job is; and that’s where employer brand comes in.
So what does that mean for recruitment? Well, to put it in food terms (which tends to be how we describe most things) it’s like the candidate is choosing a cake – all of them look good, and they’d be happy with either, but there’s one in the corner with a mini donut on top. Employer brand is the cake with the donut – a great culture and HR strategy is the cake itself, where communicating your employer brand effectively is where the icing and donut come in; you can’t really have one without the other.
In the recruitment stage, there’s multiple opportunities to communicate your employer brand in the best and most authentic way possible. This is called Candidate Experience (or CX, for short).
Candidate experience starts looooonnngg before a candidate applies, and thanks to t’internet, they can suss out a brand in a few short scrolls. This is why, amongst 5 gazillion other reasons, it’s so important to effectively communicate your brand purpose, values, personality and culture. In saying that, communicating is one thing, acting is another: candidates are looking for authenticity, and if a brand only makes an effort every time they need something (whether that’s new employees or new business) it can be sniffed a mile off. And when that reaches a candidate’s nostrils, they’ll be outta’ there faster than you can say ‘fancy a coffee?’.
Probably one of the most trusted channels of potential candidates is word of mouth from anyone who has had an experience with your brand – customers, suppliers and of course, your past and current employees themselves. Sometimes candidates don’t even have to speak to anyone directly, with websites like Glassdoor, Rate My Employer and the big open ocean of social media, brands are more transparent than ever. Although this can be a risk, if anything, it’s an opportunity to show off what makes your brand an awesome place to work, which is why a lot of brands are encouraging user-generated content from their teams. If you have a great company culture, it will comes across in everything you say about your brand and what others say about you too.
A job description is the first official point of contact with potential candidates. So, on top of doing what it says on the tin, a job description should give an insight to your brand as an employer.
Sure, you’ll throw in the basics – role, responsibilities and desired skills, but that’s what every other job description for the same role has too. What makes your job description stand out like a unicorn in the employer crowd is your employer brand – your vision, values, brand personality and culture that again, make someone want to be a part of your tribe. From that initial job description, a candidate should say ‘yep, that looks like the place for me’.
Once a candidate is interested in a job role, they’ll go through a process, and at each point of that process, there’s more opportunity to communicate your employer brand. Again, every piece of content should be a true representation of your brand personality.
● Careers site – choosing to apply for a new job is a big decision. On top of the job description, you want to hook them in with all the info on your team, opportunities, training, achievements etc. Don’t be shy – a careers site is your place to shine.
● Application process – submitting an application should be as smooth as a bar of Dairy Milk. So, if it includes carrier pigeons, glitchy uploads and loading at a snail’s pace, forget abaahht it.
● Holding email – a nice ‘thanks for your application’ email or phone call that’s true to your brand personality and tone of voice is just the thing to get a candidate excited about hearing from you.
Wahoo! If someone has reached this stage, then things are looking promising (both for you, and for them). The interview is a big, mahoosive opportunity to showcase your employer brand, because it’s in person and in front of the candidate – no porkies hidden here.
Knowing an employer brand inside out will influence every part of the interview experience, from the questions asked, to how they’re welcomed and most importantly, the interviewer his or herself.
Because of this, the interviewer has to be fully committed to your brand – if they don’t agree with your values and in general, aren’t too fussed about what you’re all about, they can undo all of the hard work you’ve done (and that’s never good). On top of that, the interviewer should be a personification of your brand – knowing your brand personality and tone of voice like the back of their hand and applying those principles when talking to a candidate will communicate your brand consistently at all levels. With a solid employer brand that’s on paper and known company-wide, the interviewer will be able to answer any questions and shout about what makes your business an awesome place to work with ease.
After all the rounds of applications, it’s time to give someone the good news. Now, you could send them a ‘thank you for your application, you have been successful’ email – but where’s the fun/personality/human in that? Instead, you have the opportunity to get their first experience as a member of your team off to a flying start, again – showcasing your brand values and personality at all opportunities. We always think it’s nice to give someone a call, then get them into the studio to meet the team, so they know a few familiar faces on their first day.
The other side of this stage in the recruitment process is giving someone the not-this-time-news. Although it definitely isn’t as fun as the good news, it’s even more of an opportunity to showcase your employer brand and create a warm, fuzzy candidate experience. Again, it’s about treating your candidates as you’d like to be treated if you were in their situation – crafting an application can take a lot of time and effort, so a little effort in return goes a long way.
Often, it’s thought that an employer brand comes into play when a new person joins your team, but really, the experience of your brand as an employer starts long before they’re given their locker key and lanyard. Knowing your employer brand from the get-go will ensure that the experience is consistent for all employees, both current and potential.