Perfect Pair

perfectpairHow employer brand and recruiting can work together to gain top talent.

By Neil Griffiths

It is said that when a pair is perfectly matched, the two bring out the best in each other by complementing each other’s strengths. This is equally true when it comes to

the workplace. While an organization’s marketing and HR departments were traditionally kept separate, we are seeing a significant shift with the two showing distinctive crossover when it comes to communicating an organization’s brand.

Today, an organization’s consumer base is also its talent pool. Where an employer brand is key to attracting and securing top talent, it also impacts the way consumers perceive the business—and nowadays, customers are often transitioning into employees. It is critical to ensure employer brand supports the organization as a desirable place to work. What’s equally important is the very first contact with a candidate during the recruitment process becomes memorable—and for the right reasons. The CHRO and marketing director should work together to align the organization’s talent acquisition strategy in order to protect the company’s overall business reputation and subsequently, the bottom line.

There are a number of areas employers need to focus on to ensure they are appealing to top tier talent—from social media and innovative recruitment strategies to mobile tools and communicating the value proposition. Developing each of these areas can improve brand communications to customers and potential employees.

1. The social factor. With more devices connected to the Internet than ever before, social media has made a huge impact on brand perception. More than 500 million tweets are sent daily and 684,478 pieces of content are shared on Facebook every minute. This is hardly surprising when you consider that 40 percent of people are said to socialize more online than they do through face-to-face interactions.

Damaging tweets, negative blog post comments, and critical Facebook remarks can be posted instantly by candidates involved in the recruitment process for the world to see. In this social media focused world, the way an organization’s recruitment function is structured can have a lasting effect on a company’s reputation, attracting or repelling vital talent.

It’s important to utilize social media as a way of brand development. With so much brand visibility now seen online, ensuring candidates are treated well during the recruitment process will reflect positively across these channels.

2. Innovative recruitment strategies. The recruitment process is one of the most direct and meaningful contact points between any individual and a brand. It represents the moment of transition in which an existing or potential customer is in the early stages of becoming part of the brand itself. It is often an emotive experience for candidates and an opportunity for an organization to demonstrate their brand values.

Research shows that 44 percent of people said in the past a company has lost their custom if they did not contact them following a job application, and 51 percent of employees believe that innovative approaches to recruitment would make them feel more positively about that company overall. A degree of creativity in the recruitment process holds great value with HR professionals and candidates alike who report that creative interview techniques and assessments are likely to have the biggest impact when used innovatively in the recruitment process (41 percent of HR professionals and 44 percent of candidates).

In fact, one of our technology clients has shaken up the way that they conduct their interview process. Rather than repeating the same assessment techniques at each stage, they now use the different parts of the process as a way of getting to know different nuances of each candidate. This includes initial phone interviews, video interviews and group assessments. It provides a more in-depth view of the candidate, and also gives the potential employee a much more engaging experience. That’s good for the employer brand, as it helps candidates differentiate the organization from its competitors.

Another option is to offer ‘taster days,’ which allow candidates to enter the role for a few days to give them a real feel for the company culture, as well as the position itself to see if they are good fit with the brand.

Equally important is the continuous talent management of staff. Frustrated and unengaged employees can have a negative impact on a company’s overall reputation.

3. Mobile approaches. Being on top of the mobile trend shows that recruiters are at the forefront of a modern recruitment strategy that puts the candidate’s needs first. In order to attract and retain the best candidates, recruiters need to make sure they are exploring the latest ways of communicating with job candidates and not rely on the same old tried-and-tested methods.

This is particularly crucial when targeting the Millennial market or Gen Y, who looks toward companies that are tech savvy and forward thinking. Younger candidates are digital natives with high expectations when it comes to technology. Effective recruitment lies in effective communication, and recruiters need to make sure that they are tapping the correct channels if they want to attract top young talent into their business.

It is clear that mobile and social media go hand-in-hand. Organizations should take the proper steps to synchronize social media with their career sites. For example, a Twitter follower may just be the next high performer so it’s crucial to update company job openings and announcements on social media where candidates are browsing. An effective social media strategy can lead to recruiters finding top tier talent, due to the expansion of the talent pool and the brand’s exposure to a whole new audience. Social media provides the perfect platform for recruiters to dive into this base and open conversations with the right people.

A Lasting Relationship

The end of the recruitment process shouldn’t be the end of the journey. Candidates should not simply be forgotten the minute they don’t make the cut, and it is an organization’s job to ensure a positive relationship is maintained with the applicant.

Businesses can keep strategic communities to measure and track previous ‘silver medallists’ skills, as well as to assist with onboarding in the future. Building longer-term relationships by staying in touch via marketing efforts will leave the community member up to date and involved with the brand. Organizations can keep in touch by sending out new samples to receive feedback before a launch or tap into their interest in the brand for market research. This will encourage candidates to apply again, refer the organization to others, and even become a more committed customer of the brand.

With 56 percent of employers who recruited new employees in the last year reporting that a candidate rejected their job offer, it is more important than ever to get the recruitment process right and build positive relationships with candidates.

Creating harmony between marketing and HR departments and following a holistic approach to branding is a key move toward remaining competitive. Ultimately, candidates are attracted to reputable brands. If candidates are treated well by the brand during the recruitment process, they can build a positive relationship with the organization, share their experience with peers, and the attraction to the brand is continued. And so the cycle continues.

Neil Griffiths is global practice leader of talent communications and employer brand for Futurestep. 

Posted September 11, 2014 in RPO & Staffing

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