The importance of employer branding in attracting and retaining talent

The Importance of Employer Brand in Attracting and Retaining Talent

If you are a company eyeing the best talent in the talent market, then employer branding should be a high priority task for you. Having a reputable employer brand is also important as it helps reduce the hiring and marketing costs, & improve productivity. Companies like Google, Facebook and Apple invariably end up getting the best talent, not because they are offering the best salaries. There are many other organizations that offer competitive pay packages. The difference lies in the brand value that these companies offer to their prospective employees. It’s their brand value that tempts the best candidates to apply and get a job in these organizations. The next question you must be asking is “as an HR what is the importance employer branding?”

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Why candidate experience is important

Why is Candidate Experience So Important?

A great candidate experience has today become the basic requirement for all organizations. Recruiters have to make sure that candidates who become a part of the hiring process do not go away disgruntled with the process.  HR managers have to make sure that employees feel good about working in the company. It is essential to know why candidate experience matters so much and what are the benefits of providing a positive candidate experience?

  1. What is Candidate Experience in Recruitment?
  2. The Impact of Candidate Experience

What is Candidate Experience in Recruitment?

Candidate Experience can be defined as the way job applicants react to employers’ recruitment process that includes sourcing, interviewing, offer, and onboarding process. However, it is not limited to the recruitment process itself, as the interactions a candidate has with the company even before applying to a job there can also be classified as a part of candidate experience.  Candidate experience has been found to directly impact the recruitment performance, which is why it has become a favorite topic of all talent acquisition leaders these days.

(Also Read: How to Measure Candidate Experience )

The Impact of Candidate Experience

About half of the 7000 job applicants who were surveyed as a part of an IBM research responded that they had some sort of interaction with the hiring company even before applying for the job there. The same research tells that job applicants who failed to receive an offer are 80 % more likely to apply again if they had a positive experience with the company. Here are some other points found in the research that tells us about why candidate experience matters:


Positive Candidate Experience increases offer acceptance rate

Companies incur huge capital expenditure in the form of job advertising budgets and other recruitment costs just to get the best talent out there. With the growing competition, these costs are going to rise even further. However, if your candidate experience is sluggish, all these efforts and expenses are going to waste. As per the research, candidates who are satisfied with their hiring experience are 38% more inclined towards accepting the offer. Thus investing in positive candidate experience can not only increase your hiring rate and quality of hire, but also avoid wastage of time and money.

Candidate Experience matters because it is linked to advocacy

A hiring process has the ability to affect candidates in more ways than one. One of the important outcomes is advocacy. Just like satisfied customers would recommend the product to other people in their social circle, candidates who have had a great experience would be willing to recommend the organization to others. The IBM research tells us that candidates who were overall very satisfied with their experience are 34% more likely to recommend the organization to others also. Thus, positive candidate experience is linked to stronger advocacy.

Best in class Candidate Experience enhances Employer Brand

Candidate Experience is not only about the candidate-recruiter relationship. It extends much beyond as candidates most definitely talk about their experiences. Over 60 percent of the job applicants surveyed by IBM share their experiences with others irrespective of whether they had a positive or negative experience or whether they received an offer or not. This word of mouth publicity will have an impact on the employer brand. Needless to say, positive experience will result in positive publicity which will end up enhancing the employer brand.

(Also Read: How to Create a Positive Candidate Experience with HR Technology)

Positive Candidate Experience is linked with Increased Sales

The impact of candidate experience is far-reaching and affects areas other than recruitment also. While these may not be the immediate consequences, we must consider them nevertheless. 53% of candidates who have had a positive experience are more likely to become a customer of that company against applicants who suffered a negative hiring experience (only 25% say they will be interested in being a customer).  This is glaring evidence that candidate experience can directly impact the business metrics such as sales and since candidates will spread the word around, the results can be amplified.

Given the impact of candidate experience on so many areas, it is imperative for organizations to improve their candidate experience whenever and wherever possible.


how to measure candidate experience

How to Measure Candidate Experience?

Candidate experience is of immense significance if you want to improve the employer brand and attract the best talent for your next hiring drive. Most companies keep complaining about the apparent shortage of talent in the market but do not have in place any significant methods to measure and compare the candidate experience they provide. Every hiring strategy has to give due importance to providing a positive experience to the jobseekers and also establishing the metrics that define the success of your strategy.

Why does candidate experience matter?

We are currently living in the age of millenials and Generation Z that spends a huge amount of time on the internet consuming information. Even for buying a small product, they go through at least 5 reviews to finally come to a conclusion. The current generation often trusts online reviews, employer website, and other resources to learn about company culture and growth opportunities even before they apply to jobs. This is the first part of the candidate journey, which is a set of experiences that candidates go through during their job search. The candidate journey happens in steps and at each step, there are multiple touch points which can be used by companies to influence candidates positively about their brand. Making the candidate journey smooth will not only improve the employer brand but also may get you more referrals, increased job applications, and improved quality of hire.

(Also Read: How to Improve Recruitment and Selection Process)

Measuring Candidate Experience

Even the most successful processes always have some room for improvement. Getting candidate feedback through various means and at various stages is the most effective way of measuring the candidate experience. Here are some steps to receive honest candidate feedback.

Conduct Post Interview Survey to measure candidate experience

One of the first opportunities that you can create for candidates to provide feedback is through a brief post interview survey. Create a short post interview questionnaire with generally five to six questions as a general rule that you can ask the candidate to fill anonymously. From asking the candidate to rate the interview process, to asking open ended questions like how can we improve the interview process is a good way of getting honest candidate feedback. You can then collect all the quarterly surveys and share them with stakeholders to get an overview of the candidate satisfaction with your interview process.

Ask Important Candidate Experience Survey Questions

In order to measure candidate satisfaction, it’s essential that you ask the right questions. Designing a candidate survey questionnaire is also a critical process as sometimes these surveys are prone to bias. Ideally your audience is every candidate that you interview, whether you are going to extend an offer or not. There are three major areas that should be covered in the survey; the effectiveness of job descriptions, the first impressions of the office culture, and the interaction quality between candidate and recruiter. So the questions might look like,

  • Did you fully understand the role by going through the job description?
  • Did your interview reflect what was given in the job description?
  • How would you rate the office on a scale of 1 to 5
  • What are your first impressions of the office work culture?
  • How friendly was recruiter in their interactions?
  • Was the recruiter able to explain clearly the steps of hiring process and job requirements?
  • Was communication done timely?
  • How willing are you to recommend applying to this company to other candidates?

(Also Read: How to Improve Talent Acquisition?)

Make Sure Candidate Experience Feedback form is filled

By now we fully understand the importance of candidate feedback and therefore, making sure that all applicants fill the candidate experience feedback form is important. Candidates who are not extended any offer might find it upsetting to fill the feedback form. To get feedback from such candidates, recruiters can send survey emails sometime after the position has closed.

Conduct an overall Hiring Process survey with new hires

Although conducting a survey with new hires is counter intuitive as they will mostly have good things to say about the process, and the company, you can still get vital clues about the steps that can be taken to improve the hiring process. Also, you may get their opinions about the onboarding process. Let them give feedback on their first few days in the company and if their expectations are getting fulfilled or not. Some sample questions that can be asked are:

  • How would you rate the entire hiring process?
  • What would you suggest us to change in the hiring process?
  • What did you like most while applying to jobs here?
  • How smooth was your onboarding process?

Even if the feedback is mostly positive. It doesn’t mean that all of it is biased. This will help you strengthen the things that you were already doing well.

(Also Read: How to Improve Your Human Resources Department?)

Leverage social media and review sites to measure candidate satisfaction

Measuring candidate satisfaction on social media is must as a lot of candidates end up sharing their good/bad experiences on social media channels. Using various monitoring tools to track brand mentions, you can find out what people are talking about your brand. Some of those people may be applicants who had applied to your company or got a call for an opening. Reading their experiences will give an insight into the general perception being created for your brand. You can implement corrective measures accordingly wherever required.

Use data analytics to measure candidate experience metrics

Data analytics if used properly can provide useful clues about the kind of candidate journey you are providing to applicants. Recruitment metrics such as offer acceptance rate, time to hire, click-to-apply ratio provide an accurate picture of candidate experience. A lower offer acceptance rate or a lower click-to-apply ratio is certainly a matter of concern and reflects poorly on your employer brand. This actually means applicants are not getting an optimum experience while applying to jobs for your company. The reason could be anything from a lengthy apply flow to delayed communication to bad reviews on online review boards. Constantly monitoring these metrics through data analytics thus serve a very useful role in maintaining positive candidate experience.

(Also Read: Importance of HR Analytics in an Organization)

Once you get a fair idea of the various hits and misses in your hiring process and the type of candidate journey you are providing to the jobseekers, its to time implement changes to improve and standardize the candidate experience. May be the recruiter candidate interaction needs to be improved or your company career site and application flow needs to be optimized. Data analytics can be really helpful here as it would provide an insight into applicant behavior on the career site and apply flow.  There are many ways through which HR Technology can also help you improve candidate experience.