Candidate Experience and Employer Brand – An Unexpected Symbiosis

There are a lot of buzz words permeating the recruitment world at the moment; ‘gamification’, ‘recruitment 3.0’ ‘culture fit’. Last week we considered one of the most hotly contested of the lot: ‘passive candidates’. This week we’ve decided to tackle two more: ‘candidate experience’ and ‘employer brand’. The result revealed a surprising, but perhaps not entirely unexpected, symbiosis.

The Genius Team starts us off by posing the all important question, ‘Why is Candidate Experience important?’

If it is the ‘employers and recruiters who are in the driving seat’ and the job seeker looking to make a positive impression, then why be concerned with ‘what they want’ or how they experience the selection process?

The answer lies in the impact this experience could have on your company’s employer brand. The recruitment department could well be the first contact a candidate has with your company brand – make a poor impression and it could have lasting consequences. Key offenders for TGT include frustrating the candidate, having a difficult to use application process and misleading job advertisements.

As the Wall Street Journal cautions, ‘unhappy candidates are unlikely to become happy customers’ and an ‘angry, alienated applicant’ could cost the company in unforeseen ways through derogatory tweets, Facebook comments or offline discussion.

Thankfully, both articles offer suggestions as to how this can be avoided. For TGT ‘paying attention to the candidate process is key’ and the WSJ expands on this by suggesting you test out the recruitment function yourself, by ‘submitting your own resume much the same way as a mystery shopper’ would. Identify the ‘roadblocks and frustrations’, the barriers to the best talent coming through and seek solutions to rectify them.

The most important thing is to ensure that your applicants, “whether they’re hired or not, come away with a positive impression of your company”.

Conversely, make a good impression and it could have unexpected benefits. For example many companies, such as Ikea, Google and McDonald’s, are now coming to realise that their loyal customers are ‘the perfect recruiting targets.’ Why?

Because, as Ere.net demonstrates, they are ‘diverse, it costs almost nothing to get a recruiting message in front of them and best of all they already know and like your company.’

If you have a strong brand it is then easy to take advantage of this in creative ways, like Wells Fargo recently did by ‘adding a recruiting message to the receipt printed out by its ATM machines’. We have also previously written on the innovative self-delivering career mailers of furniture giant Ikea. Having put the work into building a vital brand these companies can now enjoy the benefits of greatly reduced recruitment costs while at the same time seeing their candidate quality increase.

The message appears to be clear: candidate experience matters. It is vital that the whole company, including the recruitment resource, comes together to safeguard your EB. Review your recruitment process; maintain positive candidate and customer relations and you could reap unexpected benefits further down the line.

What do these insights mean to you? Were you surprised by this symbiosis or are you already taking steps to integrate your recruitment process in your overall EB strategy? Maybe you have top tips for maintaining positive candidate experiences? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.