How to Improve Your Employer Brand through the Candidate Experience

September 18, 2014 at 12:00 PM by Kathleen de Lara

improving the candidate experienceRecruiters, if you’re trying to sell the product, you’re doing it wrong. 

Getting candidates engaged with your open opportunities isn’t only about stirring up interest in what the company does – it’s about selling the employee story. How does a role benefit a candidate’s plan to reach their career goals?

Attract more top talent by boosting your employer brand. In other words: Sell the opportunity by getting candidates to envision themselves working with the team. Completing day-to-day tasks. Building strategies to attract customers. Developing a career plan with their managers. What’s more exciting – using your company’s product or knowing what it takes to make a great product?

Recruiters often confuse their company brand with their employer brand, sharing the nitty gritty of what they sell, forgetting to share the nitty gritty of what it’s like to work there. Bridge the disconnect between the brand and work experience to improve your candidates’ experiences. Here are three tips to get started. 

Track your candidate disposition. 

If you’re wondering what that means, candidate dispositioning is the process of keeping candidates informed of their status in the hiring process, especially if they’re no longer being considered for a position. Recruiting Blogs’ Nick Price argues disposition management begins way before a candidate even submits an application. Flash back to when you were a job applicant. Remember the excitement of submitting your first cover letter and resume only to never hear back from anyone at the company? Qualified candidates are used to not hearing back from recruiters or hiring managers in a timely manner.

Prior to filling out a job app, a candidate spends some time deciding a few factors:

  • Do I want to work for this company?
  • Is this company a right fit for me?
  • Am I a right fit for this role?
  • How will this opportunity help me move toward my professional goals? 

At the same time, the candidate has already set expectations on their experience as an applicant including how long it’ll take for a recruiter to respond to their application, to schedule a screening and interview, and to follow up with an offer or rejection. Recruiters and hiring managers can either surpass those expectations and cut down time on their response times, or they flop and fail to meet applicants’ expectations, lagging on responses if there are any. Price writes, “Clearly setting out expectations, managing and meeting those during the process and setting high standards for treating the candidate with a respect that maintains strong brand reputation and continuing engagement opportunities in the future.”

Make the application process convenient, responsive, and user-friendly. 

Think of the application process as an extension of your product, but instead of focusing on giving customers what they want, focus on what candidates want in an online job application. The user experience is equally important in this sense, and by making an application for a role accessible and streamlined, candidates are less likely to fall through the cracks out of disinterest or frustration with the application process.

One way to find out if your company’s online app is user-friendly is by experiencing it firsthand.

  • Visit your company site.
  • Do you immediately start searching for a Careers or Jobs link somewhere on the homepage?
  • Does the careers page have a good balance of content and photos showcasing company culture?
  • Is there a clickable button or link that brings visitors to a list of open jobs, or is the list already located on the same page?
  • How visible is the Apply Here button?
  • Do applicants receive some kind of confirmation for submitting their application, either as an email or as in-line page text? 

Try looking at what your favorite companies are doing with their careers’ pages, then play the role of the job applicant and observe your own online behavior. Monitor what actions and expectations come automatically – What do you anticipate to see after clicking a specific link? Are pages loading at an expected rate? Do applicants have enough, multiple touch points to decide whether or not they want to apply for a role? Break down each step of the online application process to learn how to improve the applicant’s online experience. 

Don’t forget about the employee experience.

As you probably know, we’re huge advocates for looking to your employees’ networks to source referrals, as you’ll quickly find higher quality candidates. If you want an intro to that top candidate, however, be sure your current workforce is able to share why they’re happy with what they’re doing and where they’re working. Learning about what boosts employee satisfaction is critical to understanding the way the team operates and how specific management techniques and company culture factors improve retention.

Want referrals? Frequently check in with team members to get feedback on their employee experience. How can the company better guide the team toward their professional goals? What can hiring managers do to help their employees perform well? Happy, satisfied employees are more likely to speak highly of your company, share open opportunities with their network and, paired with an employee referral program, are more driven to encourage their connections to join the team.

What are some employer branding techniques you apply to your recruiting strategy? Share them with us in the comments or send a tweet to @Entelo, and don't forget to download our eBook on building your employee referral program!

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