Does your candidate experience reflect your brand? 6 quick ways to make sure it does
As some of you may, or may not know, here at Are & Be we’ve recently been through the hiring process. As a creative brand agency, we may be biased, but we believe that branding is one of the most important factors within candidate experience.
In this post, we’d love to share a few ideas to make your candidate experience as thoughtful and compelling as it can be. Because your candidate experience is your brand experience too.
But before we explore this, we first need to acknowledge the context of hiring in 2021.
After Covid-19 hit, the world seemingly changed overnight, and hiring did too. Interviews, previously face-to-face were now over Zoom and Teams, providing a digital learning curve to physical businesses. We learned more about the individuals we were hiring by seeing into their homes and meeting their children or beloved pets.
With remote-working here to stay in the foreseeable, the swift change to digital platforms continues to influence the candidate experience and organisations must keep up to stay ahead of the competition to attract the best talent.
Having a great candidate experience in place is essential whether you hire an individual or not – when it is in place, job rejections create advocates that go on to recall or recommend your brand to others and acceptances create long-term committed and engaged employees.
So that’s all well and good, but you might be asking yourself; what makes a great candidate experience?
If you’re asking this question, you’re on the right track.
Transparency, consistency, values, and empathy.
These four seemingly simple principles, from our experience, are some of the most important things that you must project through your candidate experience to reflect your brand.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where people get tricked and misled, but you don’t have to be a part of this. It can be tempting to exaggerate a job role, the prospects, and the salary, but being transparent throughout each touchpoint will lead to a candidate trusting your brand and feeling comfortable about their role within your company.
When candidates apply for a role within your company, remember that they’ll be looking at your website, your social media, and any other channels that they can find. When you have a consistent brand presence across every platform and touchpoint, you carve out mental availability for your brand and leave your candidate with a strong and powerful impression of your company.
Ultimately, being consistent in your branding is a competitive advantage.
At the very core of your brand is your values. You must be clear on what these are. If you aren’t, how can you expect your candidate to understand what you stand for and represent?
Consider how your values are manifested and transmitted at every touchpoint of the candidate experience. It is vital that your values and messaging thread through each touchpoint as your brand’s values act as a compass for your business.
You do not want to leave candidates feeling lost.
If you learn how your candidates feel, think, or see, you can adapt your side of the candidate experience to meet their personal needs.
People are multifaceted, which makes being able to emphasise on an individual level with each person essential. If you see the best in a person, you will get the best out of them. Set them (and you) up for success by considering their experiences and allowing them to be at their best in a new role.
With these four principles (transparency, consistency, values, and empathy) in mind, we’ll continue by dissecting six candidate experience touchpoints and how you can make them on-brand.
With each step, ask yourself how can I present my brand in the best light?
Six ways that you can improve your candidate experience
1. Job Advert
For you: Encourage transparency from candidates in your job ad. It is best to have reasonable expectations – set them too high, and you may force them to fabricate false work experience only to impress you. Consider the tone and clarity of the job description.
For them: Make it transparent and honest. Consider how your job advert reads and how it is presented. Is there supporting material, does it link to a useful careers page? Be clear on what they should expect from the role so that they can make an informed decision. By being confident and honest in what your company can offer new hires, you will create trust and a positive perception of your brand from the outset.
For you: After receiving CV’s your rejection or acceptance email should be quick. This is an opportunity for your brand, give feedback, give a compliment, or give them a link to a competitor’s company – and always be kind in rejection.
For them: They will continue to assess you. Whatever you choose to respond to their application, be it rejection or acceptance, will shape how they view your company and your brand. Remember, an empathetic and considerate rejection can create a true brand advocate.
3. The Interview
For you: Consider how you behave during the interview, what brand and personal values are you representing and conveying? Are they comfortable with a video or a phone call, what will get the best out of them?
For them: They will want to make sure that the company is coming across as professional (we’ve seen interviewers doing them from their bed), so the location of your call (if video) could be an opportunity to showcase your office?
Make sure the call will be clear because the worst thing is a crackly line or annoying background noise that will distract the candidate. Also, it’s worth considering the time you decide to interview – when will you both be at your best?
However small, all these aspects are continually influencing the candidate’s perception of your brand and the success of the interview.
4. The Wait
This is a waiting period for the candidate AND for you. The wait is an often unseen, unspoken stage. But it doesn’t have to be.
For you: Check-in without being pushy. Keeping in touch with either empathy or utility: ‘How did it go?’ or ‘Check out our Instagram to see more of our company culture’, goes a long way.
Understand the difficulty placed on candidates whether it’s starting a new job or choosing between multiple offers. After all, if they are a great candidate, they will likely have more than one offer. So, make it an easy choice for them by staying in contact and being kind.
For them: This is the candidate’s second investigation into your brand, but this time, they’re looking for deeper content.
They’ll be imagining themselves within your company and will likely have questions that need answering, which may have been missed during the interview. By having contact with you in-between, these questions will be answered whilst establishing that your brand values a candidate’s time.
5. The Offer
So, they’ve accepted the job, what’s next? Surely the candidate experience is over now? No. This, in fact, is arguably one of the most important stages.
For you: Be available to the candidate, how are you delivering the contract? Are you making it easy for them to sign it? Make it transparent, remove any barriers, and tune it in with the branding – presentable, clear?
For them: The offer should feel authentic, and they should feel that they are allowed to ask questions. For example, you could offer your candidate generic benefits. Or if you want to stand out and build trust you could make your company benefits bespoke not just to your company, but to the individual. Even if it’s just one or two elements that make them feel more valued.
6. Setting up for success – Day 1
This period is another wait, before the first day of work. And a crucial time to enable your new employee with everything they need to hit the ground running from day 1.
For you: This time is about getting your candidate on board with your brand without the formality. By giving them resources ahead of time you can also gauge their appetite for the role and see if they are excited to get started.
For them: They want to feel ready for their new role and so they want to receive as much information as they can to feel comfortable, clear, and most importantly excited about their role. Assurances that you have things organised for them, will be a welcome relief and help them get in the mindset of their new role.
These are just a few ways in which you can infuse your brand into your candidate experience and make it a memorable experience no matter the outcome.
If you’d like help with reviewing your candidate experience from a brand perspective, we’d be happy to share our thoughts with you.
Or if you need some help growing your brand, sign up to The Brand Plan.