Recruiting directly? If so, how are you ensuring you protect your employer, and consumer, brand throughout the process?
It’s a competitive market right now on both sides; brands are competing for the best talent and applicants are competing for the best roles. Especially at the mid-senior end of the market, there’s an unprecedented number of applications to work through. Depending on the role, it’s not unusual for a Senior Marketing Manager or Head Of role to rack up 150-200+ applicants within the first 24-48 hours of a job post hitting LinkedIn. But with great numbers of applicants… comes great responsibility!
Let’s talk through a very real example; let’s say you’ve received 150 applicants for your Head of Brand role. The chances are that you’ll have a strong 5 or so applicants in there that could really be well suited to the role. Providing you can identify them quickly enough and deliver a really positive candidate experience, one of those will likely go on to be offered the role and will hopefully accept, as long as they aren’t wooed by another brand during that time.
Great news but… that’s 149 applicants that will be told no. So when will you tell them no? And how? Will you communicate with every single applicant throughout the process? Keep them updated? Talk to them about the brand and your culture, even though they aren’t right for this role? What about other roles that they might suit in the future? Do you have the capacity and processes in place for registering their details properly and for keeping in touch?
In the example above, a huge portion of your applicants will be operating at a senior level, likely with their own teams and friends/family/network. A poor experience could of course lead a candidate to reject a job offer or leave them unwilling to consider future opportunities with your brand, but beyond this, it could also lead to losing them as a consumer or perhaps prompt them to share a bad experience on social platforms or review sites as well as within their network.
Now think of the questions asked in the initial example and apply that across not one, but let’s say six or more roles that you’re currently recruiting for across the business. The impact of a poor experience on scales such as this really can be huge.
If you’re a larger organisation with a fully functioning internal talent acquisition team and ATS, then you might just be able to leave each candidate with a positive enough impression to keep them engaged and maintain your employer brand. It’s not surprising though that most talent/hiring managers would admit that this is an area for improvement.
So what can you do to ensure your employer brand attracts high-calibre candidates in a competitive market and delivers a positive experience?
Look at your tech – Ask yourself whether the tech you have can handle large numbers of applications. Is it compliant? Does it enable you to respond accordingly to large numbers of applicants? If not, you might want to consider investing in a candidate management system or ATS (applicant tracking system). An ATS is great for automating certain elements of a recruitment process and can even pre-screen your candidates for you, but beware, you could also miss qualified applicants due to the wrong keyword selection and at times they can be unreliable and inaccurate in other ways, such as automatically rejecting applicants due to CV reading errors. An ATS can be a useful tool but it is exactly that, a tool, and you’ll still need a competent team to deliver a personal and positive experience.
What does your employer brand look like? – An employer brand is the way in which organisations differentiate themselves in the market. It’s what enables them to attract, engage, recruit, and retain the right people, so make sure it’s real and communicated well. An employer brand that doesn’t align with candidate experience is likely to have a negative rather than positive impact. Social is important but it needs to match up with your web pages and overarching consumer brand. People want to work for an organisation they believe in and are proud of, so let them know what you’re all about. What your unique values are, your mission, your culture. Do you have strong family values? Are you a sustainable business? What is it that you offer your employees in comparison to your competitors? By really defining your employer brand you can get ahead by attracting the best talent in the market and retain your existing employees.
Capacity – Take an honest look at your capacity internally. One individual hiring manager, talent manager or internal recruiter just isn’t going to have the capacity to manage and communicate effectively with substantial numbers of applicants, especially if they’re managing multiple roles and processes. If your department managers are doing their own recruitment, it’s unrealistic to think that they could deliver an excellent candidate experience whilst doing their day job so bear that in mind.
If you don’t have the capacity internally, then it may genuinely be the time to consider looking for an external partner. Whether that is us or someone else, a specialist recruitment partner will have not only the capacity but the reach and processes to ensure a positive candidate experience for each and every applicant, which in turn, not only protects your employer brand but enhances it.