According to Wikipedia, a brand is the “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s product as distinct from those of other sellers.” In Recruiting, your product is your company, your culture, and your candidate’s experience. You need to pique interest in the marketplace and make potential candidates want to work for you.
In today’s world of Twitter and Glassdoor, your brand needs to be much more than a logo or catchphrase. Every experience your candidates, employees, and former employees have with you will be shared with the world. If you treat people badly, it doesn’t matter if you have a snazzy color scheme on your marketing materials.
So is your employment brand great, mediocre, or truly terrible? Ask yourself these questions:
- Does every applicant for a job get a response, every single time they apply? Or is our application process a black hole? (It’s okay to use automation tools to send mass responses. It’s not okay to not respond at all.)
- Do we respond to applications in a timely manner? Do we string candidates along for months? If there are good reasons for an extended hiring process, are we communicating with the candidate and setting reasonable expectations?
- Are we good listeners? If a candidate shares career goals or salary expectations in a screening interview, does the hiring manager know that information when they conduct an in-person interview? Is this considered when making an offer? Or do we ignore what candidates are telling us?
- Does our corporate culture really match what we’re selling? Do we accurately describe the work experience to potential employees? Would recent hires agree? (Have you asked them? Recent hires can be a great source of feedback.)
- Why do people leave our organization? If we have high voluntary turnover, is it because the expectations didn’t match the reality? If our involuntary turnover is high, is it because we didn’t properly communicate culture or expectations to candidates?
- What happens when people do leave? We can’t stop turnover, but we can try to make the best of the situation. Would our former employees refer friends to our organization? Did they learn something while working for us? Would we consider bringing them back in the future? Or did they escape as quickly as possible, burning bridges in their wake? Learn as much as you can from your former employees and use it to benefit current employees and future hires.
The word “brand” is derived from a term meaning “to burn.” Think of cattle ranchers years ago branding their cattle by burning their logo onto the cow’s hide. Anyone who saw that brand immediately associated the image with the owner. What image are you burning into the minds of your candidates?
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