Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Manish Dudharejia – Founder & CEO of E2M Solutions. His opinions are his own.
When it comes to branding, most businesses are focused on ways to attract their customers and communicate the right message to their audience. A great brand reputation can ensure that people choose your business over competitors and even increase the amount of loyal repeat customers, too. Effective branding can make your business more memorable, trustworthy, and ultimately, more profitable.
Of course, there is a lot that goes into branding. From choosing a good business name to using recognizable elements like colors and fonts, every detail adds to the perception and sentiment that customers have towards your company. However, what many business leaders and marketing experts fail to realize is how important branding is in the hiring process.
When job seekers are looking for a new opportunity, chances are they will be more interested in a company that they are familiar with, especially if it is a brand they admire. Further, the majority of candidates spend at least one hour researching a company before they apply to the available job.
The impression that candidates get about your business can determine whether or not you are able to hire the best talent on the market.
So how can you create a great brand that naturally attracts great job candidates?
Be Active on Employee Review Sites
Just as the majority of your customers will look to product reviews to help make a purchasing decision, your job candidates will also turn to employee reviews when researching your company. Seeing what former employees have to say about your company can sway their impression about your business. But unfortunately, this can also lead to a skewed perception – since many angry workers will turn to sites like Glassdoor to vent about their awful experiences. In the process, they skip over all of the good things that your business has to offer its employees.
While you certainly do not want lots of bad reviews posted online, there is no need to worry if your business has a few bad ratings here and there from former employees. The important thing to do is to take action, as this will show candidates that your business really cares about its former, current, and future employees.
Be sure to take control of these reviews by proactively responding, especially to negative sentiment, and explaining how your company adheres to complaints and actively tries to improve.
Ultimately, people can say whatever they want about your business. The way you respond and interact often times says much more about the brand than the review itself.
Candidates may make up some creative excuses when turning down a job offer, but one of the most common reasons why they will change their mind is when their expectations are not met. If a job candidate applies thinking that the position entails something that it does not (or vice versa), they may decide to look elsewhere rather quickly.
Seeing a hiring manager being transparent and honest about the way the business operates can significantly help an unsure candidate trust your business. Often times, businesses will focus so much on the perks of the job that they create an unrealistic perception about the day-to-day. While you certainly do want to highlight the aspects of your business that make it a great company to work for, be realistic.
Share real life, behind-the-scenes type content of your office on social media and your website to show glimpses of the culture, highlight fun events, and discuss the things that make your workplace unique.
Squarespace does a great job of using employer branding to give candidates a realistic look into their culture and work environment.
They have a testimonial video on their careers page where real employees share inspiring stories about why they chose to work for Squarespace. They also show images of the workspace on a regular day.
Further, the company makes it a point to share benefits information upfront and touch on extra perks, like flexible PTO and company events. This helps future candidates to really get a feel for the culture before they step through the door, and it also answers many of the basic interview questions right off the bat.
Focus on the Bigger Picture
Employees and customers alike are much more aware of the impact their choices have on the world when it comes to the businesses they buy from and work for. People are more likely to support businesses that share values with them or help to make a difference. This is especially true with Millennials, who currently make up a large portion of the job market.
This younger generation cares deeply about social impact. In fact, 64% would not accept a job if the employer did not have a corporate responsibility program in place. Furthermore, 88% of Millennial employees agreed that they felt more fulfilled in their careers when their employer provided opportunities to support important causes or charities.
Brands like Toms and Patagonia have structured their entire business model around important causes, like donating to people in need or practicing environmental responsibility. While going to this extreme may not be plausible for your business, there are other ways that companies can make a positive impact. This could be through company-wide fundraisers, volunteer opportunities, or simply committing to recycling and reducing waste in the workplace. Let job seekers know all of the ways that your company supports various causes.
Think of Candidates as Customers
Essentially, you are trying to “sell” the idea of working with your company; the same way that you would sell a product. So how do you convince customers? Through marketing content, follow up messages, and personalization.
You can use the same approach with candidates by creating content that highlights the benefits of working for your business. This information can then be shared through marketing-type content. For example, Corrective Skincare used their Instagram to advertise that they were hiring. They shared videos that made their culture look attractive and fun, and applicants could use the “swipe up” feature to apply online directly from the post.
Try to incorporate other marketing elements into the recruiting process to keep your candidates engaged and interested. For instance, sending follow-up text messages or even using AI chatbots to schedule interviews can make the application process easier and more engaging.
First impressions matter a lot in the hiring process, and it’s not just about the initial interview. It is vitally important to focus on the perception that candidates have towards your brand. Ultimately, this can determine the type of talent that you are able to attract.