I had an interesting discussion with a client this week about the importance of branding in the recruitment process. They agreed and suggested the role of the ‘recruiter’ was changing and it was now as much about marketing the business back to the candidate as it was about making sure that the right candidates are hired.
The old marketing adage rings true. Give a customer bad service and they will tell 5 of their friends give a customer good service and they (might) tell1. In the same way as someone receiving a rough experience in the recruitment process is sure to feedback the gory details to their family and friends. Which of course doesn’t just reflect on the process itself but the company equally as much. Another client, who manages recruitment for a large retail company always said to me ‘Treat every candidate as a customer and treat every customer as a candidate’ this seemed a bit simplistic to me but it actually makes a lot of sense. If your marketing department can promote your brand to a consumer favourite the correlation to application numbers is directly proportional. Now I doubt the same can be said for the recruitment process and its knock on effect to sales (and it would actually be an interesting study) but in the current climate all organisations need to gain competitive advantage. The above mentioned client had a process of sending out rejection e-mails but including a voucher for money off at their stores. In the ‘good news’ ‘bad news’ stakes its probably not the greatest of leveller – hi sorry we don’t want to hire you, but heres 15% off you next purchase. To some it may even come across as a bit mercenary. But this company did it in such a tactful way thanking the candidate for their interest and what a valued customer they are etc. It really did work.
So branding is obviously a much bigger remit that sending the candidate a nice fluffy email when they get rejected. As soon as the candidate hits your careers area they are being persuaded to buy into the idea of applying for a job and in the same way that ‘e-tailers’ try to add enough information and the minimum amount of steps for a customer to make a purchase theres a similar process in candidate profile attraction. Its especially important if you come from a traditionally none brand oriented organisation, e.g. finance or utilities there needs to be some additional content, areas of interest maybe even a microsite to ensure that potential applicants are engaged and excited about the thought of working with the organisation.