At this time of year, many university students across the country are starting to make post-graduate career plans whilst, at the same time, businesses are looking to implement new approaches to attract top talent away from rival companies. And, in order to secure competitive advantage in both the short and long term, it’s fundamental to recognise the importance of employer branding in the hiring process. Why? Because how you manage your employer brand during the recruitment process can have implications on your wider brand.
It’s likely that you’ve spent a lot of time and effort on building your brand, and the last thing you want to do is to damage it by not having an effective recruitment process in place. Yes, it can be extremely daunting when faced with a vast number of candidates applying for a single role, and it’s understandable that you want to filter through them quickly. However, if you do not treat each candidate as an individual this could have a detrimental effect on your business. Each applicant needs to have a positive candidate experience, regardless of how good their application is. This is because, whether they join you or not, they could be valuable either as a future employee as their skills develop or as a potential customer, which you risk losing if you fail to consider your employer brand.
When it comes to designing your assessment process, it’s important to think about its quality in order to present your company in the best possible light. For example, there’s a danger of damaging your brand if you solely rely on one format. A variety of methods is most effective, for example, technology is often used for the screening of applicants, and face-to-face methods can be used for those candidates that have made it through the earlier stages. This not only ensures that all of an individual’s skills can be measured, but a well-structured and varied process also means that candidates don’t feel that it’s too easy to get the job.
Another way to integrate your employer brand into your assessment process is by tailoring your approach. For instance, this may involve incorporating your company values into the process, or customising reports with your logo to make them appear more personal. If innovation is a key element of your brand, then any process should feel innovative to any candidate who undergoes it. Similarly, if one of your values is ‘intimacy/listening to customers’, ensure that the process is two-way, perhaps including human interaction through a telephone interview at an early stage.
It is also important to remember who your audience is. For instance, when looking to hire graduates, many businesses are choosing assessments that are much more technologically sophisticated in order to attract this more tech savvy group. This presents the organisation as being ‘leading edge’ as they are taking advantage of new approaches, and a computer game format in particular can really appeal to this target group.
On top of this, engaging with individuals throughout the assessment process is key. When an applicant hasn’t been successful, for instance, you should ensure that you provide feedback. If possible, over the phone feedback is a useful method as it makes the experience much more personal than an email and the candidate feels valued even though they weren’t chosen for the position. It also gives them an opportunity to understand where they went wrong, and is also a great way to reiterate the key competencies that were being looked for.
Not all of the candidates that apply for the role are going to be right for your company, but that doesn’t mean they should be ignored. In order to protect both your employer brand and consequently your wider brand, all applicants should be treated fairly and should come away with a positive reflection of your company. You never know when you might need them in the future.
About the author:
Ali is a Senior Consultant and a&dc, a leading international HR consultancy. He is responsible for managing the design and development of ready-to-use and customised solutions to help discover, transform and energise talent.