The Online Candidate Experience: Your first impression counts...

How do you communicate with your candidates? Do you know where they first heard of you, what spurred them to apply for the role or what their first impression was? In the vast communications landscape a candidate’s first sighting could have come from an array of sources. They, themselves, probably couldn’t tell you where their first influencer came from. Because of this companies must ensure they’re on top of their image, their brand persona and what these say about their culture.These can be portrayed in a variety of different ways but, in this blog, we’re going to focus on how companies cultivate their online candidate experience. The experience that happens before a candidate even applies. The one that influences the top talent to join an organisation.


How social are you?

How do you connect with your prospective candidates on a personal level? Once this might have been near impossible, but the web and various social media sites have opened up a whole platform for companies to be as creative as they like in the ways that they connect with people. Through blogs, tweets, posts and shares, your company employer brand can be circulated worldwide. However, the social world isn’t just about your company and what it requires, it’s a community sharing space where people can only take as much as they give. So engage with your candidates, find out what motivates them, what do they find interesting and what are their ambitions; but be  creative with how you do this. Use your brand and what it stands for to influence your approach.Entice people to want to find out more.

BMW did just that in March 2012 when they used the new Facebook layout as part of their BMW career journey marketing campaign.


Does your employer brand speak for you?

What does your web presence say about you? Now go internal... your employees are your most influential ambassadors – what are they saying about your company work environment? What do they really think? If it’s not good, if it’s not great, there’s work to be done. By creating a great employee environment your online experience will thrive also because people can’t help but share. A recent survey by Randstad emphasised the importance of a company’s employer brand: ‘Your employer brand is an expression of your organisation’s personality and creates a platform for you to communicate your employer value proposition – what makes you unique and why you are a desirable employer.’ Whatever the size of your company, remember to always be on top of the message you’re portraying through your website and careers site.


Your company career site...

And then we come to the place where all your promotional efforts have led potential candidates. But what do they find? A hard to find, let alone navigate, webpage? A lifeless list of vacancies? Or do they find a window into your company life, what it’s like to work for you and what drives your employees to succeed? Whilst not all companies have a full career site and others use ‘work for us’ updates, remember that this ‘window’ can be created in many ways, social media being the backbone of them all. The more you expose your company culture and motivations to an outside audience, the more the ‘right’ candidate will find their way to your door.

A company whose career site has really embraced the importance of creating a great online candidate experience is Future Publishing. Their careers site is easily accessible and provides a comprehensive overview of their company workplace. They invite prospective candidates in with pages entitled ‘Meet our teams’ and a careers blog with helpful articles such as ‘Top 5 tips when applying for a job at Future’. Everything about their careers site is simple, encouraging and inspiring.


The job advertisement...

This is both the final and the next first step to securing the interest of your field’s top talent. Each job advert can have a huge impact on how a candidate views your company, and if they even apply for the job. Whilst the standard online advertisement is in no way a thing of the past, the fact that job seekers primarily search for jobs online gives recruiters the opportunity to get creative. By thinking outside the box companies can reveal much more about themselves and their work environment. Job adverts should be designed to complement the skills and qualities a company is searching for in their candidate.Take Penguin Books ‘Impress a Penguin’ advert as an example:

Although they could have advertised the position in the standard written way, by inventing the fictitious ‘lonely penguin’ their recruiters have created an amusing way to encourage creative applications. They engage with job seekers whilst displaying the creative and fun side of working at Penguin. Alongside this, by asking for ideas from their potential applicants on how they would ‘get people reading’ the Penguin recruiters can develop an understanding of each applicant’s abilities and what they could bring to the organisation. The ad was an immediate hit generating 1,500 tweets and 30,000 site visitson Day 1 alone.

Another company who have decided to track down their talent in a more unique way is Muse Amsterdam. By using the app ‘Draw Something’ to uncover the creative talents of their applicants, Muse have created a simple way to assess their candidates potential whilst giving applicants the opportunity to show off their talentsinstead of simply explaining their skills and prior experience.


An overview: The online candidate experience...

The key behind creating an influential online candidate experience comes from a greater understanding of your employer brand and workforce. What makes it unique and what are the core motivators of your employees? Now consider how you can convey this message to potential candidates in a way that not only complements and enhances your companies brand and work but that responds to what job seekers want to know as they look for a company that will fit their requirements. A great online candidate experience is honest, open, simple and inspiring.It replicates your company’s ethos and enthusiasm whilst, at the same time, responding to a job seekers enquiries and needs.




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