February 13, 2014

Effective Employment Branding: 7 Mistakes in the Hiring Process

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female chef making a mess with a blenderWe all know just how important your brand is when it comes to recruiting top talent. In fact, research from LinkedIn shows that an employer’s brand is a key driver of job consideration. The study found:

– A strong overall company brand helps with attracting talent. LinkedIn says that if people admire your brand, “they’re more likely to be aware of your company as an employer and potentially think it would be a good place to work.”

– A strong employer brand is critical for attracting junior employees, candidates from younger demographics, and international candidates. Among certain key audiences, employer brand was almost three times as likely to be tied to genuinely wanting to work for a company as company brand.

So, it’s pretty clear to see why your brand is such a crucial component in your company’s talent acquisition strategy (and success). Yet, unfortunately, even though brand is so significant when it comes to recruiting talent, plenty of employers continue to make branding mistakes during their hiring processes, which can lead to a negative candidate experience and an ultimate damaging blow to their employer brand.

laddersA MysteryApplicant.com infographic revealed that 34 percent of job candidates rated their current candidate experiences as poor, while another 12 percent rated them as very poor. And how does this data affect businesses? Well, the infographic also showed that 83 percent of job seekers share their experiences with friends and family while another 64 percent share on social media. And based on their experiences, 38 percent are less likely to buy from or use a company’s products or services.

How you treat candidates during your hiring process matters, and your actions are either helping or harming your brand. So, to help employers avoid creating more negative candidate experiences, below we’ve outlined seven of the most common mistakes employers make during the hiring process:

1. Inconsistency

Branding is all about consistency. Logos, text, colors: these need to all be consistent across the board. Your messaging needs to be consistent as well as the entire recruitment process. If a job ad on your Careers Page says to apply via an ATS system, make sure the same ad on social media sites and/or job boards doesn’t tell applicants to send their resumes to [email protected]. Inconsistency harms your brand because job seekers won’t be able to easily recognize that certain logos, messaging and colors are synonymous with your company.

2. Vague job descriptions

According to the Career Builder report, Peak Performance Posting: Best Practices for Writing a Better Job Posting, 75 percent of job seekers said that the look and feel of a posting influences their decision to apply. So, vague job descriptions lacking details can be a major turn off for applicants, which can ultimately turn them off from your company and brand as they may avoid seeking employment opportunities with your business in the future.

icims video cover letters3. No and/or delayed responses

Tlnt.com reports that “77 percent of job applicants receive no communication from the organization after applying for an advertised position.” The company says this huge percent can mean a lot of missed opportunities for employers—and I will add a lot of opportunities to harm their brands because if there’s one thing applicants dislike during the hiring process, it’s lack of response.

The same is true for a delayed response, i.e. saying you’ll get back to an applicant in X amount of time but you don’t. This is a major turn off for job seekers and could cause them to have a negative candidate experience with your company’s recruiting process.

4. Unorganized and lengthy interview process

If your interview process is unorganized or entirely too long, beware, you could be repelling potential candidates. Companies require a job seeker to show up for interviews prepared and on time, yet many times the interviewer doesn’t return the favor. Lack of preparation is bad for (branding) business.

And having a lengthy interview process is also unhelpful. Employers need to really analyze their current system(s) to see whether or not having four to five interviews is necessary. Not only does this lengthy process deter candidates, it could cause companies to miss out on top talent as other businesses steal them away in the meantime.

5. Overselling brand

This mistake comes from our friends at Glassdoor. Franz Gilbert writes:

One of the biggest mistakes is to oversell the employment brand during the hiring process. This can start with the pictures on the websites, the language and tone used, and how the recruiters describe the work environment and culture.

You want to ensure what you say about your company aligns with what current and former employees are saying via online review sites. And avoid overselling your brand to make your company seem like more than what it is. Gilbert advises to, “Think about your company and what its true strengths are – and whether the employer value proposition (EVP) that is being used matches up with that.”

6. Poor onboarding process

So you managed to snag some top talent; well, now isn’t the time to leave them hanging. Don’t skip the onboarding process and immediately throw new hires into the fire. Be sure to offer them a smooth transition into their new role and responsibilities whether that is through new hire classes, mentors and/or training sessions.

7. Lack of follow ups

The 2012 Allied Workforce Mobility Survey revealed that companies lose 25 percent of all new hires within one year. Ouch.

Along with ensuring you offer an efficient onboarding process, don’t forget to follow up with newly hired workers. Keep checking on them to inquire about their experiences. Ask for feedback and suggestions on what your company can do to make their new role better. I assure you, taking this extra time to show new workers that you care about their success will go a long way in maintaining your employer brand.

A big thank you to this month’s Leadership Sponsors – iCIMS and TheLadders. Please visit their sites to understand how these market leaders can help advance your positioning as a top employer.

Read more in Employer Branding

Marks’ stories have also been published in a variety of newspaper, magazine and online formats including The Arizona Republic, The Daily Herald, Arizona Foothills Magazine and various classroom magazines of Scholastic Inc. Service is her passion, writing is her platform and uplifting and inspiring the community is her purpose. Marks received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication from Arizona State University.
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