How to create a candidate experience that mirrors company values.
By Lauren Winklepleck
In today’s candidate-driven job market, more and more employers are recognizing the importance of creating a candidate experience that mirrors their company’s values. According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Culture Trends study, communicating mission and brand during the recruitment process can give employers a significant competitive advantage: 71 percent of job seekers would be willing to take a pay cut to work for a company that shares their values. In contrast, employers with a weak brand often fail to attract the right mix of talent, significantly impacting their ability to grow.
The role of HR and TA professionals in communicating brand throughout the hiring process is integral. From the very first interaction to the follow-up, every candidate touchpoint should reflect the company’s values. In order to form a base from which the brand image can grow, organizations must establish their values, ensure those values are learned, amplified, and embodied by the workforce, and then determine how that should be reflected in the candidate experience.
Establish Brand Values
The importance of building the right employer brand grows by the day. At a time when top talent is highly mobile, employers can’t afford to separate corporate and employer brand. Harvard Business Review and ICM Unlimited found that companies could be spending up to $7.6 million in additional wages to compensate for a poor employer reputation.
Understanding what inspires the workforce to do their jobs day after day is a key insight in establishing an attractive employer value proposition (EVP). In 2015, India-based InMobi’s HR team conducted an employee survey to find out what employees enjoyed most about working there. Results showed that employees valued the freedom to take on new challenges, so the business worked to create an EVP that highlighted flexibility and reduced bureaucracy. By incorporating the survey’s results into its brand strategy and broadcasting its brand in videos, blogs, and social media posts, the organization reduced its reliance on recruitment agencies by 95 percent, resulting in a projected $1.7 million savings in talent acquisition costs year-over-year.
When a company is able to identify what aspects of its culture make it stand out, it can work to clearly communicate those values during the hiring process, saving time, energy, and money in the long run.
Clear communication with employees alongside educational programming about core values is paramount to brand success. It’s one thing to talk the talk, but if employees aren’t walking the walk and representing established values in their everyday roles, they will negatively affect the overall brand. The employer brand an organization shares with the world should be an accurate reflection of what it’s really like to work at the company.
Once an organization has established what it wants to communicate, it must ensure that its brand values are learned and understood by its most important asset—the employees. This is especially pertinent to employees involved in the recruiting and hiring process. They are the first line of communication to candidates researching and applying for jobs, and as brand ambassadors, they are key to providing a positive candidate experience and sending the right message about company values.
Support the Employer Brand
Aligning an organization’s operations to its employer brand to deliver a positive candidate experience can also require support from automated solutions. One common organizational value is transparency, carried out in part by open communication. If applicants are left in the dark or “ghosted” on their hiring status, it goes against the company’s core value of transparency through open communication.
Often, recruiting and hiring teams find their plates so full that “ghosting” a candidate is inevitable. To counter this, companies can use existing tools in the market to automate as many repetitive tasks as possible and find tools to help with engagement and communication, freeing up time for recruiters to focus on the human element of recruiting, building relationships, and finding the correct position for interested and qualified applicants.
But beyond hiring, companies must never forget that employee quality of life matters. While an employer can’t always control what happens outside of the office, it must ensure its employees feel supported and are equipped to handle whatever comes at them day-to-day.
There are many factors that go into determining an employer’s brand value, and the prospect of overhauling that strategy can seem daunting. However, focusing on building a strong foundation of established values and empowered employees is the most important step to refining the candidate experience for long-term success.
Lauren Winklepleck is the director of recruiting at Mya Systems.