Candidate Experience

How Does Candidate Experience Affect Employer Brand?

Your employer branding strategy is closely tied to the candidate experience you deliver through the hiring process. Here's how they're intertwined - and how improvements to one can impact the other.

We talk a lot about employer brand these days — it’s one of the bigger HR/talent acquisition terms of the past five years. In simple terms, employer brand (and subsequently employer branding) is the “process of promoting an organization as the employer of choice to a desired target group.

In short: what about you is going to help you get the best people?

Think about the connotation of working at Google. That’s a strong employer brand. More broadly, think about “a hot startup.” You probably can assume long hours, but good pay and in-office perks. While each startup is going to have its own specific list of points and perks, that’s a general idea of “employer brand.”

Some company operating out of an office park near the city limits? It has an employer brand, sure, but it’s likely much less well-known than those examples above.

Employer brand is the first brick in successful talent acquisition. Candidates need to understand who you are, what you do, your overall mission, and how you’ll provide for them.

What about candidate experience?

Candidate experience is the end-to-end process of what a candidate goes through when trying to work with you, including:

  • Job ads/descriptions
  • The application, and follow-up ATS actions
  • Communication with HR/recruitment
  • Interview scheduling
  • Interviews
  • Feedback
  • Length of time
  • Offer
  • Onboarding

Candidate experience is hugely important — 60% of applicants quit a job application in the middle due to length, for example. Amazingly, too, 72% of hiring managers believe that the job descriptions they provide in the postings are clear — but only 36% of candidates feel the same. Talk about a disconnect.

A poor candidate experience can destroy employer brand. This is similar to “The Glassdoor Effect.” Basically, a company can control assets of its employer brand — i.e. videos about people skateboarding around the office, etc. — but the actual employer brand is how people feel about applying and working there. That’s now more transparent in the world thanks to Glassdoor and other sites. So even if you have an employer branding strategy, your candidate experience is going to be a major factor in its success. People will discuss their experience with your company on social, on Glassdoor, on Reddit, in forums, etc. Clearly, your company’s candidate experience has to be right in order for employer brand to work.

So how do you get candidate experience right?

The No. 1 way is to communicate effectively, providing feedback and updates at different stages of the process.

This can be a huge challenge with high-volume hiring, but we’re increasingly seeing automation at top-of-funnel hiring stages with concepts like:

  • Scheduling tools (for interviews)
  • Chatbots (for candidate feedback)
  • Candidate rediscovery (finding qualified candidates who applied to similar roles previously)

When more of the task work becomes automated, recruiters need to be spending their time communicating with active candidates — and building proactive pipelines of future candidates through networking events, LinkedIn reach outs, trade shows, and more.

Most of the complaints from candidates in a standard white-collar job search involve these issues:

  • Lack of communication
  • Process takes too long
  • Unclear role
  • Lack of salary transparency

To nail your candidate experience, fix those four things. To wit:

  • Improve communication at each stage
  • Provide a simple landing page where you ask for a resume and some social links
  • Develop a job profile for each role to identify exactly what’s needed, and have the recruiter and hiring manager sit and discuss it
  • Be open about salary from the jump — even in the job description (in fact, Tim Sackett notes that job postings with a salary will rank higher in Google than those without)

If you get candidate experience right, 81% of candidates will talk about their positive experience, and 51% will share their positive experience on sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn. That’s the catalyst for getting other people interested. And as you continue to deliver on that great candidate experience, you’re going to nail employer brand too. It’s all a giant ecosystem.

What else have you seen work in terms of candidate experience? Let us know in the comments!

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