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Managing Your Employment Brand

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Have you ever been on the receiving end of a dubious recruitment process?

Perhaps you applied to a position you seemed absolutely perfect for, but each time you called the contact wasn’t available and they never returned your calls. You wondered if the person ever really existed.

Maybe you went to an interview so short they wrapped it up ushering you out of the door before you could ask any questions. Then later they invited you back for a second interview to “meet the team” with the words, “We’re really keen to move forward…”

Perhaps you sat in a long interview with HR, who left and replaced herself with a division manager who also interviewed you then replaced herself with a ‘team member’ where you almost verbatim repeated the same two conversations you’d just had. And now you’re wishing you'd said 'no' to that glass of water at the begging of this parade.

Whatever the case, as you pondered your experience, how likely were you to pursue this opportunity? How likely were you to recommend the company to your network? Or were you more inclined to deliver a humourous take on it at the bar with your friends?

 

Relate that to your own business today. Your “employment brand” is crucial to you for three main reasons:

  1. One of the most important roles of a leader is engaging the right people.

  2. You can bet you’re competing against other companies – your competitors included – for the best new team member.

  3. For every one employee you eventually hire, you’re likely to have hundreds of other people whose radar you’re now in.

 

Powerful, right? So as a service to you, here are my easy-to-implement tips to manage your employment brand:

 

  1. Take a Walk in Their Shoes

    Take a moment to experience this process through your applicants’ eyes. How can you improve it? If you were the candidate, what part of the process would wish was different?

  2. Regular Feedback

    Even if there isn’t progress to report, communication with your candidates is critical. A mailout advising you’re reviewing applications or a personal email to those who’ve been interviewed and are waiting for feedback goes a long way.

  3. Carefully Consider your Corporate Representatives

    Not all of us are great at selling so you need to be sure you’ve selected the right team for your interview process. If it’s a role where the person who can drill into certain skills is not ‘a hunter’, select a duo who complement each other. There’s no advantage in putting two technical but non-salesy people in an interview when you could put one in alongside your ‘team advocate’.

    And watch out: not all employees are advocates all of the time. Make sure the selected people are in the right frame of mind to sell your company, your team and this role. Engaged.

  4. Develop a Time-Relevant Hiring Schedule - Stick To It

    Decide your timeframe for hire and make every attempt to stick to it. Candidates despise the words, “It’s been delayed.” They don’t care why (manager’s been ill, it’s been hectic, there’s been a fire in the building); they just want to know what percentage chance they have so they can make some educated decisions about their future.

  5. Speed it Up!

    See tip #4 then decide what you can shave off! Remember, good candidates are in demand. You run the risk of missing out on them if your recruitment process is too long.

  6. “We’re So Sorry, But We Wish You The Best” Email

    When did courtesy go out of fashion? I know positions can attract hundreds of applicants; I see it every day. From those, we shortlist maybe 15 phone interviews, take perhaps 10 first round interviews, three to second round interviews. We make one offer pending references and hopefully secure the hire.

    I’ve seen these words on advertisements from both Recruiters and companies seeking staff, “Unsuccessful candidates will not be contacted.”

    When should one assume they’ve not been successful? After one week? One month? A year?

    The statement is designed to save the advertiser time, but it has the opposite effect. Two weeks later, do your hundreds of applicants remember that was written at the bottom of the job ad? Unlikely. You’re more likely to be tennis-balled with enquiries to this effect, “Hi Henry, just wondering what stage you’re up to with…”.

    People just need to know where they stand: if someone took the time to apply to your role, it’s courteous to get back to them. It’s also important to set some realistic expectations with candidates who are not the right fit for the role, and essential to provide feedback to candidates who attended any interviews.

 

Implement a strategy to treat each recruitment process like you would a brand new project and you’ll be well ahead of the pack:

  • Assign it its appropriate importance – What is the impact if we don’t get the right hire?

  • Give it a project team – Who are our best people to assess skill and sell the role? 

  • Set KRAs and deadlines – Start backwards: When would we like this person to start? By when would we need to make and offer and secure an acceptance? Decide when and how many you’ll interview and second interview. Add some ‘hiccup time’ (eg: if there has been no suitable applications), then decide when you should go to market to reach your goals.

  • Develop a Disaster Recovery Plan – What do we do if we can’t find someone? Or the right someone doesn’t accept? Or worse, we hire the wrong someone?

  • Assign accountability and personal KRAs – Get commitment from all stakeholders.

What does your recruitment process strategy look like? Do you think it needs a tweak?