Perspective candidates have access to your employment brand 24/7. When you recruit for an organization that has a solid and stable brand, it’s a thing of beauty. Candidates will click away on your website, fill out that application, and even join your talent network. A good employment brand will pull candidates toward you. A bad one can turn them off; forever.
Not every company is a “100 Best” organization. And for Recruiters who work for these companies, the task of recruiting around a bad reputation can be daunting. There are however; some good practices that can help minimize the impact of a less than stellar employment brand. They won’t fix the problems overnight, but over time they can help repair an online perception.
In order the address the fix, we need to look at the common areas where employers get “zinged” online. The first and most obvious is the laid off employee. Laid off employees of today don’t hold back about how they were treated by their former employer. Even more staggering is that the millennial workforce is twice as likely to sound off on line about their termination. In fact, according to a recent study done by CareerArc: While 38% of fired or laid-off employees share negative reviews of their former employers, a whopping 73% of millennials who reported being negatively impacted by a termination or layoff shared their negative views on social media, review sites, and with personal and professional networks.
To combat this assault on your brand, the best medicine is: fire as well as you hire. If you can manage a soft exit, do it. If HR is better at separations than your inexperienced manager, let them take the lead. You won’t be able to control the reaction of every scorned, former employee. But a respectful, thoughtful exit will change how people experience this life altering exchange.
Another area of employment brand weakness is that some companies just don’t have any muscle online. They haven’t mastered the art of harnessing the power of social media or realized that today’s job seekers are researchers. Consumers of today won’t buy a TV without researching on line reviews of the products performance. Your candidates are consumers and in the CareerArc study mentioned previously, half of today’s job applicants research the online reputation of a company before they take the step of applying. Bad reviews can cost you 50% of your applicant pool.
To find your way out of this tough spot, it all begins and ends with your website. It’s great to have a presence in other channels, but if your company website and the career area of that website is poor, outdated, executed poorly, or simply lacks professionalism, you’ll struggle to get candidates to take your brand seriously.
Some reviews aren’t about employment at all, but they can still cut you off at the knees with perspective candidates. If you sell a product or service and the customers of those products and services leave a poor review, candidates will make the leap, right or wrong, that their employment experience will mirror those reviews. The best recourse, if this is your recruiting reality, is to encourage your organization to respond to bad reviews. This tact, commonly known as “hug your haters”, is the best way out of a bad customer experience. If you have a solid marketing team or good communications person, let them respond with a commitment to make it right. Candidates will see this as a worthwhile effort. You can actually use complaints to strengthen your business.
And finally, because we as recruiters have our own part to play as whether an employment brand is strong or not, let’s not forget the candidate experience. Not informing candidates of where they stand in the interview process can take a huge toll on the reputation of your company. So, take that extra time to send that email, make that call, and keep candidates up to date on the hiring process.
In the end, it’s not the huge marketing budgets and catchy awards that win the minds of perspective candidates. It is the honest, clear, and consistent connection between the company’s brand promise, the candidate experience, and the transparent handling of criticism that will enhance your employment brand. It’s a shared responsibility, and one that offers a huge ROI for your organization.
Sources: brazen.com, forbes.com