Once an organization has calibrated their digital recruiting practices as described in Part 1, there are several ways for companies to further enhance their talent acquisition strategies in order to attract top talent. One of the most effective ways for organizations to do this is to strengthen their employer brand. Not only will having a cohesive and positive employer brand that demonstrates your core values assist in attracting top candidates, it will also reduce hiring costs, increase quality of hires, enhance employee engagement and improve retention. For more information on other talent acquisition strategies during COVID-19, please read Part 3 of this series.
An employer brand, however, must be more than a sleek video on your company’s Careers page. It should direct how a company operates and how HR and leadership interact with candidates and employees. During a time when health and social issues are front and center, it is more important than ever for employers to rise to the occasion and truly demonstrate their company values through their work every day; that is truly what fostering a strong employer brand entails.
STRENGTHEN EMPLOYER BRAND AND CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE
Align Practices with Company Values
Fine-tuning your employer brand during this time is critical, not only for effective hiring practices, but to preserve your organization’s reputation. There are many people on social media and sites like Glassdoor and Indeed that broadly share reviews from candidates and past and current employees. It is essential to maintain and manage a strong employer brand while your company receives this extra visibility.
Regardless of what your employer value proposition states on paper, the way your company handles this crisis will have a lasting impact on the organization’s culture and its ability to attract, recruit and retain talent. We recommend that companies showcase how their leaders are handling the pandemic and prioritizing the safety of employees, customers and communities.
An organization’s actions in times of crisis are a reflection of their employer brand. Job seekers will remember which employers rose to the occasion and which employers did not manage and lead well through this crisis. Actions that are not seen as “people-centric” during this time can have detrimental impacts to both consumer and employer brand in the long run.
Ensure Frequent and Transparent Communication
Strong communication throughout the hiring process has always been important. Now more than ever, this transparency is imperative as you adapt to conducting the process virtually. From the beginning of the hiring process, it’s important to be honest with candidates by letting them know what the process will look like. Here are some items you might consider as you plan for the technical aspects of your virtual talent acquisition strategy:
- What will the interview and hiring processes look like from beginning to end? Will candidates be required to pass a background check, take a personality assessment or undergo drug testing?
- Will you be conducting all interviews by phone and/or video conference?
- How long will the call or video conferences last?
- Will there be panel interviews or individual interviews, or both?
- What is the general timeline to fill the role? When is the targeted start date for the new hire?
If your company has put hiring on hold, it’s essential to continue providing positive candidate experiences. Stay engaged with candidates so you can easily pick up the conversation where you left off when you resume hiring efforts.
It’s equally important to continue using rejection letters or messages as it is to keep active candidates interested. When you send this communication after reaching a decision, you can then focus your time on engaging with candidates who are a stronger fit for the position.
Enhance Social Media Presence
Whether your company has continued to hire or paused recruitment efforts, use this time to create or enhance your social media presence. Have you looked at your Glassdoor or Indeed ratings lately? With candidates now searching for jobs and attending virtual career fairs from the comfort of their own homes, company information (good and bad) is at their fingertips. Take control of your company ratings on Glassdoor by reaching out to current employees and asking them to rate the company as well.
Does your company have a blog, Facebook, LinkedIn or other social media page? LinkedIn has over 690+ million members across 150 counties as of May 2020. Use this time as an opportunity to share how your company is supporting its employees during COVID-19. Let people know what you stand for and share your values. Have employees volunteer to tell their stories about what they are doing to keep themselves active and engaged. Ensure the content you are posting aligns with your actions.
According to a LinkedIn livestream run by LinkedIn’s Managing Director, Caroline Fairchild, LinkedIn is a platform that companies can use to showcase the flexibility they are offering for their employees, especially when it comes to working remotely. During this unprecedented time, many companies have seen the benefit of sharing decision-making with consumers through the transparency of their LinkedIn posts. Talk to your social media or marketing team about highlighting your company’s work accommodations on LinkedIn.
Focus on Candidate Experience
One of the most important factors in cultivating a positive employer brand is aligning the brand with a positive candidate experience. Candidate experience is a critical component of every organization’s ability to attract, and ultimately hire, the best talent. Additionally, research shows that the candidates who positively rate their experience with a company before being hired frequently have high levels of employee engagement and greater longevity post-hire.
Fostering a positive candidate experience starts with good communication. The application and interview process for candidates has always been nerve-wracking, and looking for jobs during a recession only adds to the pressure. Communicate with candidates at every step of the way, and if they didn’t get the job, let them know. Not only will they appreciate the honesty, they will view your organization in a positive light—potentially passing that sentiment on to future customers and other job candidates.
Be sure to check out Part 3 of this article, in which we discuss onboarding and integration of talent acquisition activities during this crisis. If you haven’t read Part 1, click here to learn about some ideas and strategies to keep your recruiting practices competitive.
As always, please reach out to our human capital management team for specific questions and additional guidance for your organization.