Today’s consumers and job candidates have something very important in common—how they use technology to interact with companies. As technology continues to evolve, candidates, like consumers, have infinite and instant access to enormous amounts of data, and use that information to evaluate potential employers and job opportunities.
What does this mean for employers? First and foremost, employers must embrace technology and invest in their employer brand in a way that creates a thoughtful candidate and employee experience. If employers take this step, they’ll be able to use technology in a way that better manages the transactional side of the talent journey, so that the humans can make the candidate experience more human.
If you’re unsure on what this means for your company, read below to learn how technology and a clear employer brand can drive qualified and loyal candidates to your organization.
The Big Picture
Meet Katie. Katie is a Director-level marketer who is looking for a new job. She’s in her early 40s and is a highly qualified candidate. Katie is researching companies and keeping her options open for the right opportunity. Now that you’ve met, how do you think Katie is conducting her job research? If you answered one of the following, you’re on the right track:
- Company website
- Careers page
- Social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn)
Katie is representative of today’s digitally-savvy candidates, who are creating a candidate-driven market and leading a “broader attitudinal shift that’s occurring across the workforce today when it comes to finding, choosing and staying with a career” because “people are looking to work with a company, not simply for a company” (Smashfly).
It’s important to note that beyond an organization’s intentional employer brand channels, as listed above (i.e. company website, careers page and social media), candidates are increasingly researching an organization’s unintentional employer brand channels, through sites such as Glassdoor and Indeed—in order to hear directly from current and past employees.
The candidate’s process for evaluating an employer brand is parallel to how today’s consumers evaluate a product before making a purchase. In both scenarios, the reviewer (i.e. candidate and consumer), use resources like online reviews to influence their decisions because they trust the review system and their peers. For example, according to research by Nielsen, “Consumers are 92% more likely to trust their peers over advertising when it comes to purchasing decisions,” much like candidates who are more likely to trust an employee’s review of a company vs. what’s listed on their website.
Why Technology Matters
As technology continues to drive workplace transformation, candidates will continue to behave like consumers, meaning that effective employer brands must elevate their online reputation and adapt to this evolution by putting digital front and center.
Similar to how consumers research a brand online and read reviews, candidates’ use of digital tools to evaluate a potential employer will not only increase, but will have a significant impact on their decision making process. To demonstrate, let’s consider the following two statistics:
- According to a 2017 article in Forbes “90% of consumers read online reviews before making a decision about a company or product.”
- According to a 2016 Glassdoor U.S. Site Survey “The majority of candidates read six reviews before forming an opinion about a company and 70 percent of people now look to reviews before they make career decisions.”
Given technology’s continuous growth, it’s anticipated that these numbers will continue to climb. Which means that organizations who cultivate their employer brand, by prioritizing the candidate and employee experience in a way that is reflective of the consumer experience, “will have the most applicants, thereby creating what the industry calls a pipeline” (New York Times).
How Employers Can Thrive
Based on how digital advancements have evolved, the workplace is pivoting and employers—from small startups to large corporations—must adapt to remain relevant. To accomplish this, there are two primary areas that organizations should focus on in order to attract and retain quality candidates and employees.
- Find (and Share) Your Employer Brand Voice: From improved quality of candidates to employee brand advocates, spending time to create and distribute an organization’s employer brand voice is time well spent. However, before a company can market its employer brand, they need to know what it is first. Companies “need to create an employer brand” in a way that demonstrates value, speaks “to the job as an experience and an opportunity,” and includes a narrative that excites and motivates. If companies rethink how they cultivate employees and candidates via their employer brand, they are more likely to earn “quality over quantity and loyalty over interest” (Smashfly).
- Use Technology and a Marketing Mindset to Your Advantage: Once you have a clear employer brand defined, embrace technology and incorporate it into your talent strategy in a way that targets both employees and candidates. Here are a few how-tos:
- Capture candidate feedback in real time with smart survey tools (like this one: Talvibe™).
- Map your candidate journey and its critical touchpoints.
- Create “marketing” campaigns targeted at both candidates and employees that underline your culture, employer brand, or anything else that sets your organization apart and makes people want to join and stay there.
- Stay in touch with your talent community by feeding them useful content they care about.
- Leverage social media and recruitment marketing tools with partners like Smashfly, Career Arc., etc. to not only increase your reach, but target your reach to make the most of your efforts.
- FOLLOW UP. Not leaving people hanging is what we call “candidate karma”…treat them like your best customer, because they likely are.
- Consider what artificial intelligence, Chatbots, and the latest technology trends mean for your organization. These may be part of the mainstream sooner than we think, so adopting an inquisitive approach rather than a fearful one when it comes to technological disruption can keep you innovative versus out of business. Think of it this way: AI can be like having a personal assistant that could take all of the coordination off your plate so you could focus on having more meaningful conversations. Sounds nice, right?
- And a final mindset shift tip: think of sourcing and outreach as marketing, and recruiting as selling.