Could your Recruitment Strategy be Damaging your Consumer Brand?

“We all know the power of negative word of mouth on image and reputation and what may have started out as an opportunity to communicate a strong employer brand may actually end up damaging it.”

Brett Minchington, Employer Brand International

A recent StartWire survey of 2000+ job seekers asked how a company’s application process affected their view of the brand. Their results confirm the impact that an inefficient, time-consuming process has upon the candidate’s opinion as a consumer:

  • 77% said they think less of companies that don’t respond to job applicants
  • 72% would be deterred from recommending or speaking positively online about the company
  • 58% said they’d even think twice about buying a company’s products or services if they don’t ever hear back after submitting an application

By contrast, research conducted earlier in the year by internal communications agency Tribe Inc reveals that almost 90% of candidates who were ‘treated with courtesy and even a personal touch’would encourage others to join that company in the future.

These statistics show conclusive examples of how a company’s recruitment strategy is intrinsically linked to much more than just the talent that an organisation acquires. The repercussions of an ill-conceived strategy, and implementation of that strategy, can be felt on both an employee and consumer level, potentially resulting in a diminished consumer brand, lower sales revenue and a decrease in positive consumer recommendation, both online and offline.

Alongside this, the experience of one candidate won’t just affect their own impression; a recent survey demonstrates how it will be shared via word-of-mouth and social media. During the Candidate Experience Awards 2012 in Chicago, HRExaminer surveyed 15,000 job seekers to establish how likely they were to share a negative candidate experience: 60% say they were ‘likely to share a negative experience within their inner circle’whilst 22% said they would ‘shout it to the world’ on social media.

This data expresses the necessity for companies to develop recruitment strategies that cover all candidate touch-points from the arrival of an application to the decision of whether or not they will be hired. These strategies must reflect an employer brand message that is consistent with all the other activities within the company.Not only will this enhance the impression candidates receive of the company, it will ensure that each applicant is given an accurate representation of the organisations core brand and culture.

Alongside this, the key to a great candidate, and consequently consumer, experience lands with the people involved in delivering it; their manner, their skill at communication and the quality of their service to every candidate. Research has shown in many industries that consumer loyalty comes from those who the customers are in direct contact with. Consider this example:

"...fliers who consider United Airlines’ employees to stand out, are over 18 times more likely to select United again than fliers with a more negative appraisal of employees. Advertisement has a much lesser impact on customer loyalty. Customers who think United’s advertisement is outstanding, are only six times more inclined to fly United again."

When you place this research within a recruitment context, the affect of a bad candidate experience upon a consumer brand is clear. Candidates, like consumers, respond in line with how they are treated, and if they believe they were ignored, under-appreciated or sidelined this will directly affect their opinion of the company on both a candidate and consumer level.

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