As the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” This is certainly true when you are recruiting new employees, and your job candidates are forming their first impressions at every stage of the recruitment process. So, what does your process look and feel like, whether the candidate is applying online via your website or a third-party job board, or if they are walking in your front door for a first interview? Is their experience consistent with your brand and corporate culture? If not, we highly recommend making some adjustments to ensure you are not scaring away great candidates before they even get a chance to meet you.
For companies that are outsourcing – or considering outsourcing – their recruiting functions to a third-party staffing company, there is always a worry that the recruiting process may not feel the same to candidates, and a concern that this may be negative to their brand. Of course, most companies choose to outsource recruiting of their core staff, executives, temporary staff, interns or seasonal workers to a staffing firm for two main reasons:
- They can’t find the right candidates (or enough of the right candidates) to fill their open positions quickly, so they are experiencing productivity deficits and need help from a firm that specializes in recruiting to improve performance.
- Their HR staff is spread too thin and cannot focus on core, strategic work because they are buried in recruiting tasks. Therefore, the decision has been made to outsource recruiting to enable staff to focus on other work that cannot be outsourced.
When you are outsourcing to a recruiting firm, there are several key steps to take that will help ensure your employer brand is represented consistently and that all candidates have a favorable impression of your company.
- When selecting a recruiting firm, make sure they are a good cultural fit with your organization by asking key questions about their values, their recruiting style and who they are as a corporation. If they have all of the technical skills that you need, but are not a cultural fit, your brand will be at risk.
- Determine how job postings and recruiting will be branded – as a joint effort, or as the recruiting firm alone. If your brand is to be represented in the recruiting process, be sure when you are onboarding the recruiting firm to provide them with your brand style guide. This way, their messaging in job postings and in verbal interactions with the candidates are representing your firm correctly and consistently, and that all job postings and correspondence look like they came directly from your company, with the correct logo, font and colors.
- Make sure that the recruiting firm prioritizes treating every individual, from your CEO to your maintenance worker, with respect and dignity. If they do not, it is a key signal that they may treat your candidates less respectfully than you desire.
- Make sure that every recruiter the firm has working on behalf of your company can clearly articulate the job responsibilities for your open positions, and understands the industry in which your company competes. You will need to provide them with resources to help them train their staff on your company and industry in order for them to succeed, but they should also be making a strong effort on their own to educate themselves on who you are and how you differentiate your employer brand.
- Require reporting on every step of the recruiting process to ensure that the firm is following through on all of the little things like notifying candidates if they are not selected for a role, in a polite and respectful manner. You may want to ask the recruiting firm how they ensure a positive candidate experience during the recruiting process.
In today’s job market, where top talent is difficult to find, recruit and retain, your employer brand may be the biggest difference in whether a candidate chooses your offer vs. another company. Make sure that your recruiters inside and outside of the company are well prepared to enhance your employer brand in the eyes of prospective employees.