Employer Branding & How Your Candidate Experience Shapes It

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Picture this: you’re trying to catch a delicious fish to roast and serve to your friends for dinner. 

You’re properly equipped, so you prepare your fishing rod and a piece of bread. You bait the hook and arm yourself with patience. Sure enough, a while later, a fish bites and you reel it in. 

Well, hiring top talent works the same way. Sure, perhaps you won’t need a literal fishing rod, but hear me out: your Employer Branding strategy attracts top talent, and your Candidate Experience keeps them hooked throughout the application process. 

A company’s success relies on its people; an attractive reputation as an employer and a solid application process are a sine qua non for hiring star talent. There’s no successful recruitment strategy that doesn’t include both elements. 

The fact is, your Candidate Experience has a heavy impact on your Employer Brand, whether positive or negative. You simply cannot have the former without the latter.

In this article, I’ll show you exactly how the way your candidates experience your hiring process influences your reputation as an employer but, even more importantly, I’ll teach you what to do to create harmony between the two. 

Before we dive into the matter, here’s a quick refresher of what both mean: 

Employer Branding: this is your reputation as an employer, a strategy and process to position your company as the employer of choice. Having a strong Employer Brand will bring you more high-quality candidates all while consolidating loyalty and improving engagement.

Candidate Experience: this describes how an applicant feels about you as a potential employer, based on the interaction they had with you during your recruitment process. 

A positive Candidate Experience will boost your Employer Brand, a bad one will harm you

Let me show you what I mean by building a metaphor around some characters we all love: superheroes.

Picture this: the world is in a bad place. There are crimes happening on every block. Natural disasters are surging. Because of these developments, two superhero teams are needed like never before. In fact, they’re stretched so thin that they find themselves in dire need of hiring other heroes to help them save the world. On the one side we have the Avengers, and on the other, the Justice League.

The Avengers 

Director of Hero Acquisition Nick Fury is on a mission to double the size of the team within a year! Luckily, the team has a good overview of their recruitment operations and solid Candidate Experience

Nick knows that 77% of candidates share their positive experiences within their inner circles, consisting of other qualified heroes, and even potential customers (who doesn’t like Avengers merchandise?). In other words, as long as they’re happy, all of their candidates, including the rejected ones, will drive more candidates - through referrals - and new customers. 

Nick is also aware that 64% of people that had a great experience would apply again, increasing the talent pool further.

And that’s not all - 57% of candidates with a positive experience will share their experience online, where even strangers have an opportunity to understand how awesome it is to apply at the Avengers.

Wondering how many people rely on such reviews? 48 % of candidates read reviews on portals such as Glassdoor before applying! The Avengers has a great reputation as a company to apply and work for, resulting in great heroes applying and an increasingly amazing team fit to save the world. 

All of the above should make it clear that if you want to establish a great employer reputation, you have to fix your Candidate Experience. It creates a type of loyalty that cannot be achieved through other interactions. 

The Justice League

Let’s look at the Avengers’ main competitor: the Justice League. They’re in the same growing industry, and captain Bruce Wayne also wants to double the team. 

However, recruitment has never been Bruce’s specialty. His recruitment operations are a black box, and applicants are having a negative experience. 

Bruce doesn’t know that 52% of candidates with a negative experience will share it with their inner circle, but the Justice League gets fewer quality applicants and sees their merch sales go down. 

The team notices that candidates are not applying more than once, applicants from referrals are decreasing, and negative reviews are blowing up. The talent that still applies withdraws their application more often, as they feel that their time is disrespected. Their reputation as an employer is ruined. The Justice League has shiny ambitions, but they have no option but to hire B-players, like Mediocre-Man, or MehWoman. 

Do you see? Having a poor Candidate Experience will cause serious harm to your Employer Brand, resulting in fewer high-quality candidates, a decrease in quality of hire at a cost-of-hire that shoots through the roof. To make it even worse, it’s a downward spiral. As Steve Jobs said: “A players hire A players; B players hire C players; C players hire D players. It doesn’t take long to get to Z players.”.

How can you ensure great Candidate Experience and a strong Employer Brand?

First things first, if you want to improve something, you’ll have to measure it. Tools like Starred give you a 360 view of your Candidate Experience by collecting feedback at every stage of the recruiting process. 

What you need to do is to demystify your Candidate Experience and understand how you make all of your candidates feel at every moment of their journey with you. 

This, and only this, will give you the instruments to provide a positive Candidate Experience and, therefore, a strong Employer Brand. 

Turn negative experiences into positive ones by following up on their feedback

Feedback responses from your candidates will give you the insights you need to work on your Candidate Experience and Employer Brand, but there’s a step you can already take: follow up with candidates that had a negative experience. 

We advise you to always collect feedback from your rejected candidates, as it’s the group that can harm your reputation the most. I can guarantee you that there will be at least some people who have had a negative experience with you. You should identify which candidates were disappointed and follow up to close the feedback loop. 

This personal approach, reaching out to these candidates to have a conversation about their experience, will almost certainly change a negative perception into a positive one, as VodafoneZiggo realized

Starred’s solution makes this process a lot easier, especially for companies that hire at large volumes. Starred’s firefight alerts notify the right recruiter, recruitment coordinator, or manager when someone’s had a negative experience. The alert details what elements of the process let the person down and allows you to reach out directly. Even when you collect feedback anonymously, you can send a message via Starred to this person without identifying who it is. 

Forward your happy candidates to Glassdoor to boost your reviews

As you will understand which candidates had a negative experience, you’ll also be able to identify those who had a positive experience. 

Filtering out your happy candidates and asking them to leave a review on Glassdoor in which they share their experience will give you a better online reputation, attracting a larger number of highly-qualified potential applicants. 

Starred identifies your happier candidates automatically and it will ask them to leave a review on Glassdoor immediately after finishing the survey. In fact, the last page of the survey links to your Glassdoor page so candidates can get straight to leaving a review. Thanks to this, our users see a 6% increase in positive reviews within the first year. 

In Conclusion

Building a successful organization starts by hiring the right people. To do that, you need to have a strong Employer Brand to attract them and to deliver a positive Candidate experience to make them eager to join, but we see that your Employer Branding is deeply impacted by your Candidate Experience. 

So where do we start? Collecting feedback from your candidates on their experience, at every stage of their journey with you, will give you the insights needed to get a clear picture of your operations and how your candidates perceive them. 

With their feedback, you can get to work and identify the elements of the recruitment process that are working well and those that need improvement. Making data-driven decisions based on feedback from your most valuable source will see your Candidate Experience improve and your reputation strengthen in no time. 

Filter out the candidates that had a negative experience and reach out to them by email or phone. Having a personal conversation with them about their experience is a game-changer and will most certainly alter their perception of you as an employer. 

Are you rejecting too many candidates for this to be a feasible part of your process? Starred automates a big part of closing the feedback loop which saves you a bunch of time and makes this manageable, even for the biggest companies. 

Next, you filter out the candidates that have given you positive feedback. These are the people that had a positive experience with you. Ask them to leave a review on Glassdoor to boost your online reputation. Starred’s Thank You pages automate this process for you and they’ll let you see a 6% increase in positive reviews within the year. 

Do you want to start your journey toward a great Candidate Experience and a strong Employer Brand? Book some time with us, and discover how we give thousands of recruitment professionals worldwide the instruments to hire better.

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