Brand Awareness & Recruitment

Posted by Lawrence Bond August 30, 2020

Experience Drives Brand Perception

Candidates naturally form an opinion of your entire company based on their experience. It’s human nature and we all do it to some extent.

Most Companies care about how they are viewed, so normally strategise and draw up clear plans to ensure that they are well perceived by those that they have direct dealing with and those that they interact with via other channels

It amazes me that I rarely get asked by new clients, how we will manage the brand experience of the applicants who we are approaching on their behalf.

After all, when recruiting, the people attending interview often know the sector and contacts involved. Regardless of industry experience or knowledge, every external visitor is a potential customer and will know others who are. Their experience drives their perception. Regardless of your desired message, what people are thinking and saying about your brand, is your brand.

Here are just a few simple and potentially obvious questions for you to think about.
 Do you really know how your external consultants are representing your business?

 Do you know what their processes are for passing on information and telling candidates all about your company, the role and your plans?

 Do you know anything about their initial ‘pitch’, especially when top candidates are still in demand by others?

 Do you know how your consultancy is maintaining a positive brand experience for your company during and, importantly, after the candidate’s recruitment process?

These questions are important to me and I hope they are for you too.

With thought and partnership, most of these are relatively easy to plan, monitor and subsequently learn from.

I often worry that it sounds cliché when I tell my clients that we work as an extension of their business, but this is required for an effective process, and it can only work if everyone involved (i.e. the external recruiter and the representative for that business) agrees a framework.

In 20+ years, we have seen the good, the bad and the ugly, the horror stories involving stereotypical feedback to candidates and even no feedback is not uncommon! If you have experienced this as a job seeker, you will know only too well how that turns you off an entire brand. Often, that company have no idea of how you feel!

It’s also common sense to realise that most candidates will become more engaged with a brand as they progress through a recruitment process. This is to be expected as they dig deeper into the history, the ethics, the financials etc of a target company. As an outsider looking in, they invest time learning about the mentality and culture of that business.

When candidates who have become engaged are ‘rejected’ at any point of a recruitment process, what does your business or the consultant do to maintain that engagement or, if at all possible, even strengthen their buy-in?

The Good
I recently had the CEO of a well-respected business, send a personalised note and nice bottle of wine to the unsuccessful candidates who had made it through to the final panel interview. It was simple, effective and as I dealt with this process, I can testify for the huge impact it had on those involved.

He appreciated the time and energy these candidates had invested in his organisation. That was classy and clever, especially as these senior applicants operate in the same sector and their paths will potentially cross in the future.

Why isn’t this approach the norm?

A Few Practical Ideas & Our Approach
When we meet our clients to take in a new brief, we discuss how we are going to ‘sell’ their role or company to potential candidates. Some of these target employees might be actively seeking a new role and only too willing to listen. Others might be ideal applicants but more passive in their search, therefore they require more information and a bigger ‘hook’. Are you comfortable that you have provided the consultancy with enough ammunition to attract and engage the top talent in the way you want?

Either way, the consultancy representing you should know how you want to leave others feeling and tailor their approach accordingly.
This approach is very much a shared responsibility. As with most things, communication is key but for this process to work effectively, it has to be a two-way flow of information. My analogy is that it should operate as if we are in the same building and we are simply able to pop into each other’s office to share ideas, discuss feedback, tactics etc.
Ideas

There are so many areas and touch points that, as experts, we have thought about in terms of their impact on brand perception, and as business is all about trust and relationship, we are happy to share our expertise.

We have thought about the candidate journey, looking at everything from the applicant and client perspective. At the start of any recruitment process, we simply talk to our client. We discuss what message we want to convey, what we are going to say, both verbally and within adverts and other written information.

We often build microsites and landing pages to send to passive applicants as this has shown to increase engagement and interest. We design these to reflect our client’s brand and to achieve this effectively, clear communication is essential.

We discuss upfront how we are going to deal with feedback at all stages so we can pass on clear, honest and constructive updates to candidates. Again, this can only occur if the recruiting client is engaged and on-board with the process.

If we advertise a role (although this is not always the solution), our adverts have to be more engaging and we never call roles ‘exciting’ unless we go on to explain why they are exciting for the applicants.

We are a niche consultancy and we care about the perception of both our client (and of course our own brand). Therefore, we have a well thought out process that allows us to respond to every single applicant with a personalised, engaging and genuine response. This too can be tailored to represent our client’s brand.

Other techniques that we have created include sending a bespoke survey to all candidates who have been through the process. This too reflects our client’s brand and asks them about their views as a result of the recruitment process.

We ask what created engagement at the initial stages, whether they still feel that way, whether they were given enough information, treated fairly and, importantly, how they subsequently feel about the brand at the conclusion of the process. We discuss this with our clients and use that information to further improve where appropriate.

Has this got you thinking?
If you are in HR, a Director or ultimately responsible for recruitment within your company you will care about the ‘brand perception’ of your organisation I am sure. Our role is to help you improve the experience that candidates who are crossing paths with your business will encounter.

This applies to internal and external recruitment teams and it’s not all about vacancy ‘fill rates’.
Get in touch.

Aside from recruitment, we advise on staff retention, forward planning and other related topics.

Let’s start building a working relationship now and if you are likely to recruit (or know someone who is likely), we can help you be one step ahead!

To arrange an informal chat, call me on +44 (0) 7973 101521 or email me at lawrence@bondmoran.co.uk

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