This is the fourth article in the Eight Biggest Recruitment Challenges series by Smart Recruit Online

Establishing a strong company brand is all about reputation and trust in my opinion, and there are two key groups of people that this refers to most.

The first demographic of people are those that either ‘are’, ‘have been’ or ‘have the potential to be’ an employee of the company.

The second demographic, is the set of people that either ‘are’, ‘have been’ or ‘could be’ a customer to the company.

There is some overlap of course, but this article is dealing with the former.

Let’s get straight to the point.

What people say about your company is the very foundation of your brand and reputation and without this, the marketing element (brand awareness) doesn’t really mean anything.

What you do to ensure that existing staff become your brand ambassadors is a major challenge and there are no short term solutions to this.

Outside of existing staff, there is another group of people ready to comment on you and to judge you. This is a group of people within the local workforce and those with the relevant skill sets and the relevant industry experience that would make them potential future employees. They are connected to you already through their personal network of friends, co-workers, social and business groups online. (The average person is connected to more than 40,000 people across their first 2 tiers of connections).

These people form the very same talent pools that new openings in the company want to exploit, so it seems relatively obvious to me that the company should take measures to ensure that they protect and enhance their reputation with these people at every available opportunity.

There is never a better time to do this than during the application process. Every time that you advertise a new opening, you are inviting a small sample of that talent pool in to experience your brand.

Not all of them are going to be spot on for your vacancy, but they all have the propensity to speak about their experience to the outside world, in either a positive or negative way.

So here we go – You can start to build trust in your brand during the recruitment process, by giving each applicant a good experience of engaging with you.

If we thought of every candidate as a potential ‘secret shopper’, I think that most companies would find lots of ways to make improvements.

According to research in this area, the most important factors to take into consideration are:

– A simple and uncomplicated application process

– An acknowledgement that the application has been received

– Information on the recruitment process and time frames

– Notification and feedback if declined

– Communication and respect throughout the screening process

A professional interview process

– Access to clear and concise information about the role and opportunity

– An opportunity to meet more informally, if being offered

– An offer that accurately reflects the advertised job or that meets specified candidate requirements.

We often get clients talking about their company brand when advertising their vacancies, in respect of adding a logo to their advert. By adding a corporate logo to an advert, there is a misconception that they are doubling up and aiding the marketing team’s corporate branding objectives in some way.

There is very limited evidence to suggest that adding a company logo to an advert makes much difference to a candidate’s perception, if you don’t already have a brand that they know and trust.

IMHO, a better strategy would be to improve the way that you write your job adverts in order to increase application numbers and then work more on strengthening the relationship with each candidate after they have applied.

How we do this isn’t rocket science. We can start by responding to their application swiftly, with a well-crafted email, thanking them for their interest in your opportunity and your organisation. We can also provide the applicant with an outline of the selection process and provide them with a company brochure, corporate video and any other collateral that can help strengthen the ‘why work for us’ proposition. This will have a far greater impact in the role of winning the individuals ‘share of mind’ than any logo. Let’s be realistic; those people that skimmed past your job adverts will have forgotten who you are in seconds anyway.

There is often a limited talent pool out there and they do talk to one another. Every job that you advertise is a fantastic opportunity to grow your reputation and increase the number of ambassadors talking positively about you.

You wouldn’t ignore a potential customer that walked into your shop or treat them badly because they didn’t buy anything on that occasion would you? So why do so many companies treat applicants to jobs so badly?

The recruitment tools that are out there make managing the application process and improving the candidate experience relatively easy, so there really are no excuses anymore.

About the Author

This article was originally published on the Resource Library. Mark Stephens has over 20 years of business management experience, across Sales, Marketing, Recruitment and technology environments. Mark is a serial entrepreneur and is the current joint MD of the F10 Group and the founder of Smart Recruit Online, Ask the Experts, Websmart UK and most recently the Recruitment Alliance.

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