The latest thinking, news and events from the world of Recruitment

The Talent Repellent: Why your Silence is Putting Off Candidates


The last decade has played witness to significant changes in the way organisations present themselves to the outside world. Technological advancements have created greater transparency and enhanced opportunities for communication that have fundamentally altered the relationship between businesses and their stakeholders; whether customers, employees or candidates.

In this information-driven world, people have come to expect a certain level of access to a company’s inner-workings. Businesses that openly share their mission, values and culture are highly regarded, while those who hide their light under a bushel can be easily overlooked. This effect is particularly prevalent in recruitment, where evolving candidate behavior is creating opportunities for some organisations and real challenges for others.

A prime illustration of this point is the fact that today’s prospective candidates are consulting an average of 18 sources before they apply for a job, according to the CareerBuilder Candidate Behaviour Survey 2015. At the same time, the CIPD Resourcing and Talent Planning 2015 survey shows that competition for talent has increased in 82% of organisations, and two fifths are receiving fewer applications per vacancy.

These findings illustrate what many businesses and recruiters already know: that it’s very much an employee’s market right now.

Silence is not golden

In this highly competitive setting, it’s becoming increasingly important for employers to make it crystal clear who they are as a business and why a potential candidate might consider applying for a job. This extends far beyond providing details such as the salary or benefits on offer. Jobseekers want to understand the DNA of the organisation. They want to gain an understanding of what it’s really like to work in the company, and make an informed decision about whether it’s the kind of environment in which they are likely to thrive.

Candidates gather this information by visiting the company website, reading blogs, following the business on social media and hearing what current team members have to say, either through social chatter or via job sites like Glassdoor, which hosts anonymous employee reviews. This comprehensive research builds a detailed picture of the role and the organisation that goes far beyond the information provided in a traditional two-dimensional job advertisement, or by the majority of recruiters in their day-to-day conversations with job hunters.

As Joe Wiggins, head of communications for Europe at Glassdoor, said during a panel discussion we held in May on the future of the recruitment industry: “today’s candidates are more like consumers, and employers are acting like marketers, or at least they should be”.

The principle of sharing information and taking a dynamic approach to employer branding doesn’t just attract active candidates; it’s also an effective way to reach passive candidates who might be persuaded to make a move for the right opportunity. In order to do this, companies need to be having conversations on social media and sharing interesting content that will filter out into the wider world.

This approach has been shown the deliver results. In research conducted by Glassdoor, three quarters of candidates said they want details on what makes the company an attractive place to work, and 69% said they would be more likely to apply for a role if the employer actively manages its employer brand. A separate study by the Allegis Group showed that the vast majority of employees would consider leaving their current jobs if approached by a company that has an excellent corporate reputation.

Our own research conducted earlier this year among UK HR professionals showed that recruitment marketing delivers a number of benefits, including an increase in the number of applications per vacancy, higher quality applicants and greater diversity among applicants, alongside reduced cost per hire and increased brand recognition. Of those HR professionals, 67% are using social media to distribute recruitment content and many report finding LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to be highly effective in that regard.

Despite this, many organisations are failing to take advantage of the opportunities offered by recruitment marketing and employer branding. For example, while 94% of external recruiters use social marketing, research by CareerBuilder shows that only 39% of employers do the same. Instead, they are sticking to traditional channels and techniques that limit their ability to convey the reality of life within the company. This lack of voice means that they run the risk of being overlooked in favour of employers that do a better job of demonstrating their personality.

Start small and build

With the benefits clear to see, and the value of recruitment marketing unlikely to diminish any time soon, it’s time to start experimenting with these techniques. Here are a few simple tips to help you get started:

1. Create the right image – provide an accurate picture of what it’s like to work at your organisation. Don’t try to be something that you’re not; successful candidates will quickly find out the truth when they start the job. Be honest about your values and working practices; be clear idea of the kind of person who would be right the role and produce the right content to attract that audience.

2. Have a dedicated careers site – pack this with interesting, useful information on your culture and the opportunities within your organisation. Share insights from team members to show what your working environment is really like. This could take the form of personal blogs, podcasts, photos or videos. Find out how your staff would like to share their stories and provide the opportunities for them to do so.

3. Involve your people – your employees are your internal fan base and the most trusted source of company information. Encourage your staff to share recruitment content on social media and provide incentives for those who do a great job of promoting your employer brand.

Shelley Hoppe is the CEO of creative content agency, Southerly. For a free copy of the Recruitment Marketing Insights 2016 report, click here: