Tag Archives: employer brand

How a “slow no” damages your employer brand

What is  a “slow no?”

A “slow no” is a communication device used by hiring managers or recruiters for keeping short listed candidates warm as a back-up plan. It involves indirect and opaque communication, which is a death knell to any search carried out with integrity. It might involve no communication at all, or fluff about delays. Sometimes it’s intentional. Sometimes it’s about incompetence, lack of knowledge, training , experience and confidence.  Frequently, it’s about all of the above.

Either way the candidate knows that he or she is not the preferred candidate, but doesn’t know why. No direct feedback is given.

Three of  the most frustrating experiences candidates report relate to the quality and regularity of communication with the head hunter or hiring manager.

1. No updates

Candidates get more upset by not having a status update than being told they are unsuccessful or if there is a delay.  Avoidance strategies damage the employer brand. This is especially true if the candidate is aware of a prescribed process within a certain time frame and they are not included. If second stage interviews are to be held in London in March and it’s now April – they know there is a problem. This is a failed slow no.

Candidate feedback

“Lack of communication is a real problem. I get really annoyed when my emails and calls are unanswered, especially if the head hunter contacted me in the first instance.

2. Delays

Hiring processes are actually becoming slower and longer than ever. As the chain of decision-making becomes extended, multiple interviews are increasingly common. In senior level jobs, candidates commonly report 6 or even 10 interviews as the process (risk responsibility?) is diffused. Read: Why too many interviews is bad hiring practise. To deal with this, candidates need to take vacation days to meet all the necessary stakeholders. This makes the hiring manager seem indecisive and disorganised and clearly impacts the brand.

Candidate feedback

“There are obviously always extenuating circumstances but the hiring process should have a  streamlined time effective process and milestones, which  wherever possible should be adhered to”

3. Evasive responses

Nothing makes candidates more annoyed than evasive responses from the head hunter. This could be because they don’t know the job or client well enough, or they don’t have the information themselves. At that point you have to say you don’t know, but will get back to them. Candidates appreciate transparency and see evasion as part of the “slow no” process.

Candidate feedback

I’m a grown up! Just tell me how it is and allow me to make a decision. You are more likely to lose me as a candidate by being evasive than by being straight”

At the root of this is also, and perhaps more worrying, is a lack of understanding of the cost of an open position to the business.

8 ways companies can put the “inter” back in interview

interview (n.) 1510s, “face-to-face meeting, formal conference,” from Middle French entrevue, verbal noun from s’entrevoir “to see each other, visit each other briefly, have a glimpse of,” from entre- “between” (see inter-) + Old French voir “to see” (from Latin videre;).

After six years of deep recession and demand driven hiring processes, interviews have been about candidates making super human efforts to make the cut. During this time we have let the notion of interviews being a two-way street be side lined. Candidates desperate to create the right impression repressed nagging concerns about hiring managers and some companies simply became complacent. What they forgot is this whole process  to see “each other”  is integral to their employer brand.

Many employers hope that the concept of an employer brand will go away. The reverse is probably true and it will become more important as economies move into recovery. Companies will need to start flexing those brand muscles to attract and retain the best talent for their organisations. A pristine employer brand will be key in any upcoming war for talent.

The interview process can be critical to building up or destroying any employer brand.

Flexing brand muscles

Bad news goes viral faster than Spanish Flu and poor candidate experiences do the rounds at high velocity. So when they complain about bad interviews, it’s not a case of “if” these problems seep onto the wider market – but when.

I hear candidate nightmares every week. None quite as bad as the classic Monty Python sketch with John Cleese. But some come close.  They are mainly small things, but cumulatively they become compounded to form an overall negative impression, especially when the competitor’s hiring team is on point.  Now, in an economic upturn candidates are starting to have choice.

Candidate interview experience

Companies pour millions into product marketing promotions but forget that every interface an outsider has with the company can strengthen the company and therefore product brand. In the recruitment process every level of engagement should be “on brand” and convey the essential message of the key values of the organisation. For many organisations it’s time to put the “inter” back into interview.

Is your company struggling with your candidates’ experiences? Check out services and training to create a strong employer brand

How to put the “inter” back into interview:

  1. Communication – should be timely, positive and effective for keeping the candidate informed and motivated.  Candidates say that the worst part of any process is no news.
  2. Screening – should be thorough, professional, open. Many companies cut corners on low quality VOIP platforms or hurried phone calls on mobile phones with poor signals.
  3. Preparation – everyone from the receptionist to the hiring manager should be aware of the brand image that they convey and should be well prepared
  4. Location –  should be in an appropriate place where all parties can be focused. Interviews frequently take place in bars, restaurants, hotels, airport lounges. At some point they should be in the company’s offices with dedicated time
  5. Trained – all players in the process should be trained in interviewing and selection skills and have an assigned role in the process. Avoiding duplication of interviews and keeping the number of interviews to a reasonable level is also key. Anything more than four or five and the decision-making process of the hiring company is called into question
  6. Interaction –  should be timely, effective, professional.
  7. Use of technology – should be demographic appropriate. Text and social media can be invaluable for entry-level recruitment particularly  – perhaps less so with other generations.
  8. Rejection –  should be empathetic and encouraging paving a way for the future. Unsuccessful candidates can be turned into top brand evangelists if they sing a company’s praises even after being rejected.

An employer brand is intrinsic to the whole spectrum of the recruitment process. It is not just about what companies do that sends resonating messages, but what they fail to that will set warning bells clanging.

As economies show signs of recovery, it could be time for many companies to go through a thorough self-assessment to establish the condition of their employer brands and to remember the “inter” in interview.

The candidate journey and employer brand

Employer brand

Much time is spent encouraging and coaching candidates to create and present a Personal Brand to make the right impression on potential employers. But many organisations are not as in touch as they should be with their employer brands. By that I mean how they are perceived not just by current employees, but by prospective candidates.  For many the concept of employer branding is some part of a passing social media fad which will be replaced by the next fashionable trend within weeks.  To others it’s the domain of large conglomerates with massive budgets.

But like it or not all organisations have employer brands. They just don’t realise it or even know what their brand is. Very often leadership teams scratch their heads in wonder when their company fails to attract the best talent,  blissfully unaware that their brand has tanked to all time lows.

One thing for sure is that the concept of an employer brand is definitely not a fad. It will not go away and will become more important as economies move into recovery.  Companies will need to start flexing those brand muscles to attract and retain the best talent for their organisations.  A pristine employer brand will be key in any upcoming war for talent.

Flexing brand muscles

Today any news travel fast, but bad news travels faster.  Online research allows all information to circulate with speed and unfettered. Poor employee and candidate experiences do the rounds at high velocity. So when  employees complain about long hours, salary issues, lack of strategy, unfilled vacancies, not being able to take vacations, reduced perks and poor leadership, it’s not a case of “if” these problems seep onto the wider market – but when.

Only 13% of employees are reported to be engaged at work. The much touted war for talent is seemingly on the horizon as we move into recovery. More than 66% of employees are categorized as actively passive (executive search speak for open to the right offer!) creating a strong and appealing employer brand is critical in today’s market to maximise a talent management strategy.

Damien told me yesterday that he had been contacted by a recruiter earlier this week.  The consultant made five sloppy mistakes that left him feeling uncertain if he wanted to proceed: he was late for the telephone interview,  he did not send the necessary job profile beforehand as promised,  he called via a VOIP platform where the connection was so poor he couldn’t understand what was being said and  then did not follow-up promptly with paperwork. An interview proposed on the phone has not been confirmed in writing. He has now filled his afternoon.

These are small things,  but cumulatively they become compounded to form an overall negative impression, especially when the competitor’s hiring team is on the ball.

Candidate experience

The candidate journey should be a seamless and incremental process where he/she becomes familiar with the organisation  to such and extent that they are so highly motivated that they are ready and waiting with pen at the ready to sign a contract shortly after receipt of a written offer. Every level of engagement should be “on brand” and convey the essential message of the core values of the organisation.

Is your company struggling with your candidates’ experiences? Check out services and training to create a strong employer brand 

This brand plays an integral role at every stage in the candidate development process and should be firmly embedded for maximum success across every intersection of interaction:

  • Website – easily navigable and informative giving clarity and consistency to the brand image and core corporate values. This is  usually the first point of contact and can “make or break” at this stage.
  • Use of technology –  text, social media invaluable for entry-level recruitment particularly.
  • Application process –   user-friendly and simple to follow with numerous possibilities to save information and modify afterwards
  • Communication  – timely, positive, effective for keeping the candidate warm.
  • Screening –  thorough, professional, open
  • Interview  – everyone from the receptionist to the hiring manager should be aware of the brand image to convey
  • Interaction  – timely, effective, professional
  • Offer –  uncomplicated, ethical and transparent
  • Rejection – empathetic and encouraging paving a way for the future
  • Welcome pack and induction instructions should be clear, informative and motivating
  • Onboarding support – to achieve a seamless transition

The employer brand is intrinsic to the whole spectrum of the recruitment process.  It is not just about what companies do that sends resonating messages, but what they fail to that will set warning bells clanging.

It’s time for many companies to  go through a thorough self-assessment to establish what shape their employer brand muscles are in.