Does Your Talent Acquisition Process Help or Hurt Your Brand? Four Key Mistakes to Avoid

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Finding the talent to fill key roles in your company is a perpetual HR challenge—but if your recruitment and application processes aren’t up to snuff, odds are your marketing pros are feeling the pinch, too.

Your colleagues in marketing work hard to develop and maintain a brand that engages your customers, and compels them to act in your favor. That said, your brand goes much deeper than the copy in your ads or the imagery on your website; everything you do as a company contributes to how you’re perceived externally. Employers make deep investments to market their commercial brands and need Talent Acquisition departments to support this investment in the way they engage job applicants. The way you attract—or fail to attract—the target candidate is an inevitable part of the equation. But how you engage the candidates you do not hire is just as important. These candidates may not be future employees, but may still be consumers and/or supporters of your brand.

Whether the task at hand is setting a social recruitment strategy, developing copy for your “Careers” page, designing the user interface of your online application form, or devising a candidate communication strategy, a positive brand experience is crucial throughout.  According to Linkedin’s 2013 Global Recruiting Trends Study, employer branding can be both a competitive advantage and a liability—depending on how successfully you’re managing it.

There are multiple ways that employers can damage their employment brand, but here are four of the most common examples:

1.   Not being “social” enough. LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends Study emphasized the importance of social media engagement in talent acquisition. Not only does social media offer the functional advantage to employers of promoting their open jobs and the benefits of working there, it more importantly advertises the company’s interests and intentions. The quality and frequency of the content you post will tell an applicant how connected and committed you are to the candidate’s agenda. Consistently post meaningful content and your employment brand will flourish. Turn your social media into nothing more than a job board and get ready to lose your audience.

2.   Cumbersome application process. No one likes battling a machine when they're applying to a job. If you’ve made the inevitable move to automation, take a closer look at the hurdles your applicants have to jump through to provide you with their information. That experience can speak volumes about how you value the candidate experience. Value their time and they’ll value your brand.

3.   Lack of common courtesy. Your applicants need to be focused on making a great impression, and so must you. When an employer has an overload of applications and a complex hiring process to comply with, it’s easy to overlook small details. Always sweat the small stuff. Are you responding to all your applicants in a timely manner (not just the best ones)? Are your candidate communications sincere or clearly “cut and paste” ? Are you following up and actually doing what you say you will do? Follow the golden rule and “Do onto others…” if you want to preserve your employment brand.

4.   Inconsistency. Are your job descriptions consistent across all your channels? A quick way to lose credibility is to confuse your audience.  Make sure job titles and job descriptions remain consistent on all online channels, and make sure Hiring Managers are not posting their own versions of positions at the local level.

Marketing and HR must be 100% aligned on promoting a unified message. Focus on building a strong employment brand—a brand that conveys the best attributes of your overall company brand and makes a memorable and positive impression on job seekers—and you’ll attract the talent your company needs to achieve success.

What has been your biggest challenge in building your employment brand?


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