Why the Entire Candidate Experience Should Reflect and Enhance Your Employment Brand
Telling your story through an authentic message derived through organizational culture is what employment branding is all about. But how does your employment brand factor into the overall candidate experience? And why aren’t more companies able to tell a consistent story throughout the candidate journey? Throughout this blog, we’ll explore just what it means to invest in a unified candidate experience through the lens of your employment brand, and explain why consistency is key in helping your company attract the right candidates who will make a difference for your business.
Defining the candidate journey
When we define elements of the ideal candidate journey, there are three primary categories to consider. First is Awareness, or recognition of your brand. Next comes Likeability—or how candidates perceive your brand. Third is Investment, or willingness to get involved in your brand. The goal of any employment brand is to create perception and awareness of what it’s like to work at an organization and to express that throughout the candidate journey.
Establishing the groundwork that carries candidates through their experience with your organization is crucial. One where they identify what it is like to work at your organization, and through each step, learn more and dig deeper. While the element of surprise can be useful, your employment brand needs to be part of a strong foundation that candidates are aware of—and can like or dislike. The goal is to increase awareness and perception so you ultimately reach the investment stage.
Make it streamlined and consistent
Reinforcing your authentic story means being streamlined and consistent in what you say and do—all the way from your candidate attraction methods to your career site to your applicant tracking system. When you do this, candidates can see a clear perspective of what working at your company would be like, which can, in turn, help your business.
According to a recent report from Aberdeen Group, “…your candidates’ application experience, from initial interaction to final decision, must be a top priority for any company, no matter the industry. Even if candidates aren’t hired, their perspectives on the overall process will have an impact on your brand, your customers, and your success. A great candidate experience can make all the difference for the business.”
How a great candidate experience starts
To begin developing a consistent candidate journey, there are two essential research components to explore. The first is your organizational culture—you need to understand what your culture is and the authentic message it defines. If you don’t know what your message is, then it’s important to talk through the process of defining and building it after undergoing a thorough cultural assessment.
The second element is media consumption research. Candidates consume media in a variety of ways. From online to traditional media outlets to in person events, candidates are constantly receiving messages from various media outlets, which impacts their perception of your employment brand. Understanding how your target audience consumes media—from the style to the outlet—is key to ensuring your message gets to the right places and to the right people.
Once you have foundational research and establish clear, measurable candidate experience objectives, you must strive to create a window into your organization through your career site. This should then be paired with the latest technology to build a seamless experience that helps candidates self-select in or out of the hiring process.
Starting with these foundational steps doesn’t just help you attract the right talent for your company. It can also have an impact on your bottom line. Again, according to Aberdeen Group, “having a strong, well-rounded candidate experience can also have an impact on the costs associated with hiring, the future of recruitment and the business as a whole…organizations that prioritize the candidate experience are twice as likely to improve their cost-per-hire…”.
Remember to consider all angles
So what are some specific actions you can take to ensure your candidate experience clearly and accurately reflects your employment brand? Here are some of the top guidelines we recommend:
- Make your career site the home base for your message: Ensure recruitment content flows from and to the career site, and make your career site social and sharable. Also build a content calendar and apply ownership so someone is looking over the short-term and long-term journey.
- Connect corporate initiatives to recruitment initiatives: Uncover the corporate marketing/external brand content calendar and adapt the messages to be recruitment focused. Then identify corporate channels for external branding and extend them to focus on your internal brand.
- Fuel social networks with rich content: Create a content calendar that provides short-term and long-term strategies for content and look for opportunities for social outlets. Identify social networks that are non-traditional and fuel them.
- Turn employees into brand ambassadors: Empower your employees to serve as ambassadors; encourage and enable your people to share their experiences with candidates. Then structure this initiative more formally to have a sound strategy and measurable results.
- Hunt and attract through tailored campaigns: Understand the media consumption habits and messaging style of the talent you are seeking and develop hunting mechanisms for finding them. Also initiate an attraction strategy and use these to fuel your website with rich content and traffic.
- Find and tell the stories: Give candidates a sneak peak into your organizational culture and job roles by focusing on stories about people and culture, not just jobs. Leave an impression so candidates should know who you are and what you stand for.
- Draw candidates in with great content: Draw people in, attract them to you and create content that is useful, interesting and authentic. Allow the community to share and interact with your content. Push content out on social channels, but tie everything back to your career site and applicant tracking system.
- Nurture the communities: Continuously re-market and re-connect with your talent community.
- Think long-term: Go beyond the short-term and think broader with your content strategy; always be building, creating and measuring. Tell your stories again and again; repackage existing content, but tell it in new ways. View your content strategy as a word-of-mouth tool, and ultimately, a brand-builder.
Learn about the impact organizational culture can have on business performance. Read “What’s your story?”.