Employer Branding: Interview Process

Recruiters often say that the purpose of a first interview is to get invited back for a second interview. This is because the decision for next steps then rests solely on the shoulders of the candidate, and options are limitless. But does every candidate who interviews with your organization want to be invited back for a second interview? If not, consider the possibility that although the interviewing process is designed to both screen as well as sell, there are ways to maximize the odds of candidates craving an invitation to return.

Every encounter with your brand influences a candidate’s perception of your organization, which impacts your firm’s ability to stay in the driver’s seat when deciding which candidate to hire. Employer brand and candidate experience are inextricably linked, and they matter greatly for recruiting and retaining talent. How can you communicate your brand while simultaneously improving the candidate experience throughout each step of the selection process?

Get on the Same Page
How employees represent the company’s mission and brand is as important as anything said by human resources or leaders during the hiring process. Within the first interview, a candidate needs to grasp an understanding of what is unique about the organization, environment, and opportunity. If a candidate was to ask “why your firm” as opposed to others, do you know how your employees respond? The “why your firm” moment is an excellent opportunity for an employee to communicate the elevator pitch of the organization. Consider providing employees with an example of a strong and succinct elevator pitch script to be used in both social settings as well as the interviewing process. Make sure all individuals involved in the interview have a concrete understanding of the mission of the firm, the vision for the future, and alignment of organizational goals.

Go Mobile
Contrary to popular opinion, prospective candidates do not wait to get home from work to look for new career opportunities or research alternative employers. The most popular day to search for jobs is Monday, and it tapers off throughout the week before plummeting over the weekend. This means that candidates are looking for jobs while at work. Since most users realize their computer use is monitored, those searches are conducted on their mobile phones.

Mobile does not only apply to searching for new opportunities. A recent survey conducted by found that 43% of candidates research their prospective employer just 15 minutes prior to their interviews. However, according to a study by CareerBuilder, only 20 percent of Fortune 500 companies have a mobile-optimized career site. Employers must implement a mobile-friendly experience to create a recruitment strategy that aligns with consumer behavior.

Personalize the Experience
Once upon a time, business was rooted in personal relationships and one-on-one interactions. Then came decades of technology, with automated recruiting, email, job boards, training videos, all of which remove the human element of relationships.
Electronic and telephonic communication works well, but video communication personalizes the candidate experience significantly. As a way to incorporate videos into the hiring process, Sanford Rose Associates partners with a leading video interviewing technology platform so clients can share their stories in their own voices and communicate their brand with depth and personality.

Additional videos can enhance the experience even more. Employees talking about why they love the organization or key customers sharing why they value the firm serve to provide multiple perspectives to potential candidates. Videos with clips from around the office and spotlighting superstars can be an effective way to share “why your firm” to prospects considering applying to your organization.

Create a Compelling Story
Prior to a first interview, provide candidates with an “About Us” packet highlighting the history of the company, growth plans, success stories of employees, and other items that will engage them on a human level. Sharing testimonials from recent hires who can attest to how much they enjoy their new roles and the firm, or snapshots of recent promotions and advancements within the ranks are also great ways to get candidates feeling good about your organization.

Consider having a binder in the lobby for candidates to flip through while waiting for an interview. The binder could be stocked with pictures from company events, parties, charity events, or volunteer initiatives. Including company newsletters, quarterly updates with announcements and achievements, and photos from events and cultural initiatives add a sense of the company’s personality and may appeal to candidates.

Communicate Effectively
Take time to evaluate the lines of communication between prospective candidates and your internal hiring team. When a candidate applies to your organization, is an automatic response sent to notify that the information has been received? If the candidate interviewed and is no longer in consideration for the role, how is that communicated to the candidate? Set expectations and do not leave candidates in the dark; be clear about what your process is, when they can expect feedback, and how quickly a decision will be made.

Finding People Who Make a Difference®
The Sanford Rose Associates® Executive Search Network is comprised of independently-owned firms who are committed to “finding people who make a difference®”. Executive Search Review has recognized the totality of the Sanford Rose Associates network as being one of the Top 11 Search Firms in North America. Sanford Rose Associates has 60+ offices worldwide and is a member of the International Executive Search Federation (IESF). To learn more about how to communicate your brand and culture throughout the selection process, please reach out to your Sanford Rose Associates® executive search consultant today.

—Karen Schmidt

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