Employer Brand Activation: ensuring a positive candidate experience

By Cathy Hyde

The external activation phase of your employer brand is just as important as the development and launch phases. Candidate experience and candidate engagement will be compromised when it is not done well, yet too often in our experience – and backed up by the results of our recent research – not enough time is spent planning this phase.

External research tells us that a great candidate experience can be critical to improving brand advocacy, reducing renege rates and positively influencing factors such as the diversity of your talent pipeline.

Working in partnership, White Label Recruitment Marketing and Meet & Engage undertook some research among a wide range of Resourcing teams and discovered that:

  • 40% of respondents felt the experience they gave candidates was only Fair or Poor. Just 12% rated the candidate experience offered by their own organisations as ‘Excellent’.
  • 26% track and/or measure the candidate experience offered to potential new hires. Almost all of this was reported as being conducted via online surveys with several organisations stating that they aim to get feedback from candidates that have dropped out of the process as well as the successful ones.
  • 45% of respondents believed that their technology solutions support the candidate experience.
  • 50% of survey respondents felt that the current online media landscape supports the candidate experience with the other 50% believing that it inhibits.

As specialists in talent attraction and employer communications – particularly in the digital and media fields – White Label are supporting more and more organisations to navigate the complicated online media landscape and help them avoid the pitfalls which can lead to a poor candidate experience.

Digital media is going through a major shift. The move to Pay for Performance is growing and digital media options have the ability to be highly trackable if you know what you’re doing. But they also have the ability to work against your candidate experience if they are not understood and used effectively.

What about activating your employer brand during the candidate journey – what effect does that have?

Firstly, it gives your candidates a seamless journey. And the transparency of today’s media landscape – from Glassdoor to Twitter – means there are very few – if any – places to hide from the noise if you give a poor experience to consumers or candidates.  Secondly, believability and authenticity. If you’re being true to the brand, you won’t be caught out.

So, if logic suggests continuing to activate your employer brand throughout the candidate journey is a good thing, what else did our research tell us about our audiences’ current candidate experience.

  • Only 21% of recruiters had an objective or target in place related to candidate experience. If the net £cost of poor candidate experience is in the £millions in some cases, then why isn’t this a measure? It could be costing more than your agency spend or time to hire – which are often KPIs for recruiters.
  • 45% admitted candidate experience depended on the level of hire – and unsurprisingly, there was a direct correlation between seniority of hire and quality of candidate experience. If, in some cases our candidates are also our consumers – take a retailer or telco for example – aren’t our volume customer service hires just as (if not more) important to our bottom line than our one senior hire?
  • And there was a notable gap in the priority placed on positive candidate experience between the HR community and the Exec Board in the organisations we surveyed. For some organisations there was a real disparity, suggesting HR are fighting a battle to be heard on this front. Finding a way to articulate the value of positive candidate experience – or the cost of poor candidate experience – to the organisation is key to getting buy in at Board level.

As Simon Rutter, Global Employer Brand Director, said:

“Poor candidate experience can do irreversible damage to your employer brand. Candidates are consumers, they have networks and they have channels. If you provide a poor experience they will not buy from you or consider a role with you again. And they will tell their friends and family, so the potential impact on lost revenue, talent and brand equity is incalculable”.

We couldn’t agree more.