Although the phrase ‘War for Talent’ has done the rounds, it’s still as relevant today as when it was coined, if not more so. This ‘war’ is not only very real, it’s now being fought on 3 fronts: Employer brand, Competition and Compensation (LinkedIn, 2015).
There is no doubt that the employer brand plays a crucial role in recruiting the best talent. But, at what point in the talent acquisition process does the brand come into play, and just how decisive is it at this point?
The CIPD (2015) in their annual report ‘Resourcing and Talent Planning’ point out that there is a…
Widespread focus on improving employer brand - particularly through enhancing and developing corporate websites and making efforts to improve the candidate process.
While the average UK ‘time to hire’ is 6 weeks, a lot happens in these 6 weeks. The successful applicant ends up having swiftly (we hope) progressed from seeing a job advert to the onboarding process. At every stage, however, there is a branding opportunity which, without adequate planning, can be missed.
Key 1: Job advertising
Advertising on job boards, social media and corporate/career sites allows businesses to brand their job adverts. Many businesses miss this opportunity and just go for the ‘vanilla’ option which, whilst cheaper, does not offer any branding advantages. If your goal is to acquire the cream of the available talent then maximising brand awareness, even at this early stage will prove pivotal.
Another useful asset to introduce at this stage (quite possibly on your career site) is the employer brand video. Video consumption now accounts for more online traffic and time spent online than any other activity. According to Diode Digital, "Before reading any text, 60% of site visitors will watch a video if available. (Diode Digital).
Some of the job boards also now allow video content to be included as part of an advert, referring to these advertising packages as 'premium' campaigns. A premium advert can include such 'extras' as a company logo, background image, a large banner image, side bar images and video content.
According to Total Jobs, "Premium adverts typically see a 36% uplift of applications"
We are also becoming increasingly aware of the new and innovative technologies that work in sync with social media platforms that can strenghten Employer Brand. Such technology is aiding business to increase their brand awareness utilising the largest audience worldwide; Facebook! The use of the company logo together with exciting visuals provides companies with the opportunity to 'stand-out' to an audience that can't be found on any other platform.
"60% of all candidates can only be found on Facebook" ...put your brand where they can see it!
Key 2: Application stage
So, new candidates have applied for your jobs, what next? 33% of businesses report losing applicants because of the length of their hiring process. Candidate portals (not to be mistaken with Applicant Tracking Systems or Talent Acquisition Platforms) play such a massive, but often overlooked, role in keeping candidates in the loop in terms of their application. Candidate portals can be branded so that every time a candidate logs in or interacts with the portal, they are reminded of the strengths of your brand.
Key 3: Managing applications
In my last blog, I pointed out that businesses need to stay in touch with candidates as they progress through the application process. A lot of these email ‘touches’ should not only be automated, they should be branded as well. Branded and automated emails are a key feature of Talent Acquisition Platforms.
Key 4: Interviews
By this stage, if you have taken all the branding opportunities along the way, your brand strength should be working for you. Whether it’s a telephone, face to face, video or group interview, there are branding opportunities to be explored. It could be as simple as a telephone salutation during a telephone interview or how the video interview software looks and feels.
Key 5: Hiring
The job isn’t done yet, even at this stage. As I’ve pointed out before, the very best candidates will not be easily prised from their existing jobs - many of them receiving counter offers just when you thought you had bagged them. It’s essential to continue reassuring candidates that they are making the right decision by risking a move to your business. By the way, 87% of new employees will look for another role within 6 weeks of starting a new role.
Key 6: Onboarding
Inasmuch as your new hire has a probation period to negotiate, your business also has a short window in which to impress your new hire. Making the new hire feel included and engaged are key to achieving this goal. Some businesses now use branded Employee Apps to ensure that all their workers are engaged and ‘in touch with the business’ no matter where they are.
In fact, some really innovative businesses introduce the Employee App at the 'Hiring' stage, inbetween 'Offer Accepted' and 'Day 1 start'. This way, new employees feel like they are already part of your business prior to arriving on the first day.