In today’s environment, candidates have the upper hand in recruitment. So, to attract high-calibre candidates, every employer needs to have a stellar employer brand. When you’re a “great place to work,” you attract, hire, and retain the best of the best.
A poor hiring process where companies fail to share their benefits and strengths can affect an employer’s brand for the worse. Career Arc’s survey has found that 72% of job seekers talk about a bad candidate experience with others, either on social media, websites or directly.
Another survey found that 27% of candidates actively discourage others from applying to a company with which they had a negative experience.
How to know your hiring practices are damaging your brand?
Look for these three red flags. One is a reduction in the number of applicants. Two, applicants don’t show up for interviews or at a later stage. And finally, the declining quality of new hires.
The Impact of a Damaged Employer Brand on Hiring
Employer branding defines the essence of your company, both how it’s unique and what it stands for. It can be the magnet that attracts a high volume of passive and active jobseekers. Presenting yourself in the best possible light becomes a smart filter to get the best matches.
Inversely, a damaged employer brand makes you vulnerable to losing talent. Moreover, it costs. Harvard Business Review estimates that a company with a poor reputation has to pay $4,723 more per hire. Then there is the cost of lost candidates. Even when an organisation with negative employer branding gave a 10% raise, they could only tempt 28% of candidates to join them.
Suffice to say, bad hiring practices like poorly written job ads with irrelevant requirements, not ensuring job descriptions are gender-neutral, or not following up with candidates after an interview can be devastating to your brand. Hence, your recruitment and the bottom line!
How can organisations fix this during hiring?
Several bad hiring practices can impact an employer’s brand. For instance, when the application process is complex or simply too long, 60% of job searchers quit.
Fix it by limiting the application to a one-pager or giving an explicit estimate of how long it would take to complete it. Make the application mobile-friendly and offer ample size limits for file uploads, like portfolios. Here are some other ways organisations can improve their recruitment process for better employer branding.
1. Evaluate the damage caused by current practices
Before you can begin mending, you need to assess the damage hiring processes cause. For that, you need to get the opinions and perspectives of current employees. Ask them what their experience was like when they went through hiring and how it affected the brand for them.
Then research what people external to the organisation think about your hiring practices. A quick way is to survey any applicants that apply. Once you have a measure of the perception, you can start to manage it. An additional step here would be to examine companies that have successfully rebuilt their recruiting practices and turned around their employer branding.
2. Automate and streamline sourcing, screening and selecting
Millennials, who make up most of the current workforce, are used to quick gratification and streamlined digital journeys. In terms of recruitment, they expect the same and want to be kept well-informed during the entire process.
So, if one of your hiring practice is not to respond to all applicants or by necessity there is a long wait time between two stages of the process, you need to rethink them. For candidates, both build a bad experience.
The fix here is to upgrade technology and utilise automated emails to keep applicants in the loop, reduce response time and create better connections. This includes sending a politely worded rejection email. If for every position, 100 candidates apply and you hire just 2, then how you treat the other 98 is paramount to your brand.
To know how assessment tools can help here, read our special series here
3. Think of them as customers, not candidates
Another hiring practice that backfires on your brand is not treating each candidate like a customer. Rather than considering them as one of the thousand applicants filling a cell in your Excel sheet, look at them as individuals.
The fix is to make your communication with every applicant authentic and genuine during recruitment. Rethink your hiring experience and be as meticulous as you would be when onboarding a new customer.
This is particularly relevant for industries where consumer and employer brands go hand-in-hand, such as retail and financial services. Because a person seeking a job today can be a customer tomorrow.
4. Career’s webpage and social media
A hiring practice that silently impacts the employer brand for worse is not paying attention to the career page. Check if it communicates that your organisation is a good employer. It is vital because a candidate’s experience begins even before they apply and it can attract the kind of aspirants you are looking for.
The fix here is not to recycle old job descriptions. Take some time to rewrite them, making them concise, thoughtful, gender-neutral and descriptive.
One more way to put your hiring practices right is to have a chatbot or virtual assistant on the website to answer any questions candidates have at any time. The advantage is dual here.
The automation tool creates a better experience for jobseekers and reduces a recruiter’s workload. The HR team doesn’t have to respond to the same questions over and over again, like when is the interview or what salary the candidate can expect.
Along with the career page on the website, leverage the organisation’s social media handles to constantly and positively communicate during the recruiting process. For example, demonstrating how you support the workforce and using appropriate copy in hiring advertisements.
Rethink your hiring experience and be as meticulous as you would be when onboarding a new customer. Because a person seeking a job today can be a customer tomorrow.
5. Focus on diversity and inclusion while hiring
A hiring practice that damages the employer’s brand is excluding diversity. To counteract this, hire for culture. It means welcoming all individuals, including women and gender-fluid people.
Be vocal about your DEI policy with employees and aspirants. Besides ensuring a diverse and inclusive culture, it will help bring unique perspectives and experiences to a team.
6. Beyond the people’s team
Although the onus of hiring largely lies with the HR team, other employees are included in the process too. And that’s where many organisations wobble.
For instance, interviews use an outdated approach of interrogating the candidate rather than conversing. Or asking questions that allow unconscious bias. These practices can harm the employer’s brand.
Every employee who interviews or contacts a candidate is a brand ambassador for the organisation. They have the power to paint the right or wrong picture in the eyes of the aspirant. Therefore, ensure that all other teams, from finance to marketing, are aware of the right hiring practices like the correct way of interviewing a candidate.
A solid employer brand is crucial
IBM’s research proves that when candidates are satisfied with their experiences, they are more than twice as likely to recommend the organisation to others.
Despite this evidence, 1 in every 4 candidates has had a bad candidate experience. And once they do, many never apply to the organisation again. It makes improving recruitment practices critical for every organisation.
For more such insightful stories and trends, keep an eye on our blog. And don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments section below.