Employer Branding and Candidate Experience are closely related. If one is weak, this has consequences for the other. Even in Corona times, the employer brand never stops. So how is the situation handled? A strong employer brand is still important in order to stand out from the competition and to be able to recruit sufficient suitable specialists. If the applicant's journey through the hiring process leaves negative impressions, this has an impact on the employer brand.
In times of constant online presence, with the possibility to rate employers at Kununu or Glassdoor and the enormous speed of the internet, a company can hardly afford bad reviews from employees or applicants. Because nowadays it is no longer possible to sweep negative evaluations "under the carpet". If something is not going well in a company, employees do not feel valued or applicants feel unfairly treated during the application process, this experience is very likely to be shared with others. Everything is posted, linked, licked, commented or evaluated on a daily basis. Employers should be so concerned with a positive reputation that they focus on their employees and applicants so that they can make positive comments about their employer to friends and family and recommend him or her. The focus should be on their own employees as well as potential applicants.
When would employees or applicants recommend a company? Only if they themselves had a positive experience with this company. No matter whether a latent searcher who happened to read something about this company or an applicant who received a rejection from the company or an applicant who was invited for an interview. Each of these three candidates can keep a positive image of the potential employer in mind if the company has a positive Candidate Experience. This means from the first contact with the candidate, through the recruitment process, to the employee's resignation, but also beyond. Because even former employees can become employees again. And each of these potential candidates recommends the company to friends and family, or not - that is in the hands of the company.
The frequently quoted shortage of skilled workers was already being felt in personnel departments before the Corona crisis. Just a few years ago, the standard advertisement of a job was sufficient and the companies putting out the job advertisements did not have to worry too much about how to advertise. But in order to receive suitable applications nowadays, companies should come up with something to be attractive to applicants and to keep and satisfy existing employees in the company. Today and in the future, applicants are more demanding, impatient and above all more in demand.
Uniform and fast communication should be a basic requirement for applicant communication. Nevertheless, this is unfortunately still not an everyday occurrence. According to a survey, 34% of the candidates interviewed would like to see better communication between the potential employer and the candidate. This includes both confirmation that the application has been received and information about the timeline of the recruitment process. 40% of candidates even believe that they associate a negative perception with the employer brand if they do not receive a confirmation of receipt after their application. Some candidates report never having received a response to their application.
44% of candidates report that the company did not respond after the interview. And 41% further describe that they were unable to contact the recruiter to ask questions or obtain further information.
14% of respondents also said that they would like to have personal contact following their application. While digitisation and AI are constantly making inroads into the economy and recruitment, applicants seem to want to continue to have contact with human resource professionals.
These facts make it clear how important it is to have timely, applicant focused and informative HR communication. This makes applicants feel valued, perceived and informed. Companies thus leave a lasting positive impression, even if the applicant has to be turned down afterwards. Only then does an applicant decide to apply to the company again or to recommend interesting job offers of the company to others. Communication is also the key at present. If no personnel decisions are being made due to the current situation, you should nevertheless maintain contact with the candidate and inform him or her transparently about the processes. This will certainly meet with understanding. But what can employers do to respond to these trends?
The positive experience begins with the first contact between candidates and companies. The first contact usually takes place via a job posting or a job announcement on the internet or social media channels. The design of the job advertisement alone determines whether a candidate wants to learn more about the company or not. However, a realistic requirement profile and clear information about the advertised position are also absolutely essential to make it interesting for potential candidates.
This is where the Candidate Experience comes in. If the candidate feels addressed and can identify with the company at this first point of contact, then the company has done everything right in its job advertisement. Because then the first hurdle has been cleared and the candidate continues to deal with this potential employer and at best applies or recommends the company to others.
The attractiveness of employers increases above all with additional benefits that offer potential employees added value in both a private and professional sense. With the 80s and 90s born, the so-called Generation Y, there has already been a rethink. The job in itself is no longer the non plus ultra, but it is more important to have a work-life balance or, even better, work-life blending. Quality of life, self-fulfilment and freedom are important for this generation. Their demands on a new employer are accordingly shaped.
Born in 2000, the so-called Generation Z, knows familiar structures from their school days and would like to rediscover them in their professional lives. Unlimited employment contracts, appreciative communication, regulated working hours and clear processes are important for applicants from this generation. Employers must also not forget that this target group is "digital natives" and is used to instant feedback in addition to digital processes. These applicants often expect immediate feedback on their application. Here, mobile-optimised services, such as applicant apps or messenger platforms, can help to send jobs to their target group via push messages and automatic status messages on the application.
After the candidate has applied, an acknowledgement of receipt should be sent in any case. Automated process optimisation makes an automatic confirmation of receipt possible, so that no applicant should wait in vain for a confirmation. This confirmation is sent promptly after the application and, at best, contains information on the further procedure in the application process.
In the further course of the application phase, the company should attach importance to a candidate centred HR communication and focus on friendliness and short reaction times. This will leave the applicant with a positive experience - regardless of how his or her application is assessed.
The Candidate Centricity also believes in putting the applicant in the centre. After all, corporate mission statements often speak of "the customer is king" or "our employees are the centre of attention". But what about the applicants, those who are not yet customers or employees. Those who have yet to be convinced. Which does not mean that existing employees or customers should not be convinced again and again in order to bind them to the company. But Candidate Centricity is all about putting the candidate at the centre of attention. So that they apply and recommend the company to others.
The "World of Work Study" found out that for 67% of HR experts in Germany, their own employees are the most important source of new employees. This also shows the importance of recommendation across countries. The study also shows that for ¼ of the employees surveyed, recommendation by former colleagues, friends or the partner is very important.
Candidate Centricity should be part of the employer branding and be lived. Only then will it be noticeable to the outside world. Important in any case: a strong employer brand can only develop on the basis of a strong Candidate Experience.
At ARTS, Candidate Expierence is lived in every process of HR communication: our recruiting team assures candidates of a quick response to applications and aims to ensure that each candidate has a positive experience throughout the entire journey from initial contact with ARTS through the job posting, communication and entry into the company. Because we are convinced that anyone who focuses on Candidate Experience in addition to Employee Experience in personnel marketing has a good chance of being perceived as an attractive employer. As part of our HR BPO and HR Consulting services, we advise companies on setting up a Employer Branding strategy and always deliver a consistent employer image on the career side, in social networks, in job advertisements and all other communication channels. For the HR strategy to work, all content must meet the expectations of the target group and be as if from a single source.