Will rejected candidates defend your employment brand?

Let’s face it, not every prospective candidate who applies will be selected for a job opening. However,the way in which your organization treats each applicant during the recruiting process may determine whether or not your employment brand can continue to attract top candidates.

A recent blog post on Harvard Business Review entitled “How Coke and Pepsi Are Using Social Media to Build Their ‘Trust Ba... draws the link between social media presence, reputation, and branding. The author argues that in the Wild Wild West of social media, the strong relationship these consumer brands are building with their customers will help them should they face any future trust issues. This concept got me thinking about how the quality of the recruiting process may impact the future recruiting success of employers.

Given the democratization of the publishing platform with blogs, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook; I think that it is only a matter of time before we start seeing candidates openly complaining about poor recruiting treatment. While that would mark a noticeable shift in the currently private relationship between employers and prospective candidates, it is really no different than what already happens offline. The only difference is that depending on the size of an individual’s community or the creativity of the storytelling, an employer may find their employment brand at risk because of existing practices which many candidates already view as inconsiderate. So, what can employers do to establish trust among candidates?

Survey Candidates

Given the potential for employment brand damage, companies need to focus their energies in a couple of areas. First, they need to figure out what about their existing recruiting process is challenging to prospective candidates. A recent post by Susan Strayer highlighted a series of questions that employers should be asking of jobs seekers in order to figure out the gaps between expectations and realities.

Develop & Implement Solutions

Once survey data been collected, employers need to work to develop actionable solutions for candidate concerns. Whether it is through an updated applicant tracking system or increased communication during the process; the key is to implement solutions before they become a problem. There are likely several areas of opportunities that each organization can focus upon to improve the candidate experience. By focusing on the survey data from prospective applications, your recruiting team can determine 1-3 key areas that should be addressed in the short term and an additional 3-5 that can be addressed over time. As these solutions are implemented, an ongoing feedback loop between prospective candidates and the organization should be established. Are the implemented solutions having the expected impact? If not, why not?

Make Deposits Into Trust Bank

Finally, companies need to establish a social media presence so that they can establish bankable trust with prospective candidates. From answering questions about the process, to reducing the time between application and notification; there are numerous actions that employers can take to build trust in the recruiting process with prospective candidates. The key is to have such a great process in place that even candidates that aren’t selected will be impressed with their treatment. While this is a high bar, the alternative is a potential candidate’s perception (real or imagined) that they were treated unfairly which leads to a viral YouTube video or Twitter campaign against your employment brand. Remember, the candidates not selected are most likely to engage in behavior that is destructive to your employment brand.

Given the power of social media and the associated interconnectedness of networks, it is important for employers to understand how their process stacks up, fix those areas of concern, and create groups of candidates who can credibly speak about the quality of your recruiting process regardless of ultimate selection. Employers that do this well will not only be able to internally defend their employment brand, but they will also have a willing group of former and prospective candidates that will confirm a quality recruiting experience.

–Omowale Casselle (@mysensay)


About the Author: Omowale Casselle is the co-founder and CEO of mySenSay, a social recruiting community focused on connecting talented college students with amazing entry-level employment opportunities. For more social recruiting insights, subscribe to our email distribution list or follow us on Twitter.

Views: 165

Comment by Jerry Albright on June 9, 2010 at 11:38am
Semi-Frequent Reminder: There is no such thing as "Employment Brand." That is all.
Comment by Suzanne Levison on June 9, 2010 at 12:04pm
A Few excellent points.
Comment by Dave Hitchman on June 9, 2010 at 12:36pm
What brand?
Having asked that I will tell you about myself...
When a company appears not to have acted reasonably I will tell people - such things as inviting you for a job interview, then saying nothing until I raise enough noise to find out things such as 'the budget hadn't been approved for the position' (Thomson), 'we were merged' (CSR), 'the manager had no authorisation to hire from the agency without going through HR' (certain very large bank who have at least had the manners to repay the expenses so I won't name now)...

If the company just doesn't bother to respond at all and waits for you to get bored and assume nothing gives then I consider them so rude I won't accept another interview (ARM falls into this category).

There are others that have interesting approaches - for example Cambridge Consultants will - if you push hard enough - interview someone with 25 years experience in the exact field they are advertising for even if they don't have the Cambridge 1st (no, an Oxford one, a UMIST, or anyother degree/doctorate etc. is not acceptable), they will usually get around to suggesting that you can have the job at a little under the pay of a car park attendant.

Needless to say when people approach me to apply to any of these the answer is always a full description of why not, can't think it does them much harm but it certainly won't do them any good either.
Comment by Omowale Casselle on June 9, 2010 at 4:12pm

Thanks for your comment. Glad you enjoyed the post.


Sounds like you had some difficult experiences with seeking opportunities. I'm sorry to hear that. Hopefully, these employers have been made aware and are actively taking steps to ensure that other candidates don't have similar experiences.

Omowale Casselle


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