In an increasingly competitive global market place, brands need to make sure they don’t overlook a simple and crucial fact: job candidates are customers too.

 

It’s easier than ever for candidates to apply for a role they see online or are signposted to, and so many companies find themselves deluged with applicants, all of which will form a perception of the company based on how they are treated through the recruitment process. There’s very little more likely to get a customer running into the arms of a competitor than ignoring their interest in your business, especially when they are wanting to be part of your company and feel they have skills to help you succeed.

 

In a war for talent, the small improvements, marginal gains and your attention to detail influence the calibre of talent you attract. In some cases, these factors all influence whether you align with their expectations and ensure that they don’t begin to look elsewhere. The reality is, if your customer facing brand offers an excellent brand experience, the potential disparity between candidate and customer brand experience can be fatal.

 

A great candidate attraction scheme can have a hugely positive impact on customer acquisition. More and more brands are starting to realise this, and are making the candidate’s journey part of their wider brand activity. They’ve realised that the recruitment process is as key a part of the perception of their brand as any other touchpoint.

 

It’s well known that there’s opportunity for brands to be damaged by negative social media comments regarding the products or services they provide, but similar damage can, of course, be inflicted by negative comments about the candidate experience, so it makes sense to acknowledge that recruitment is another customer-facing process and pay close attention to how that process works.

 

For example, Virgin Media estimated they were losing over £4m each year due to poor candidate experience. This was based on around 18% of those applying for jobs being Virgin Media customers, (some 7,500 people), that found the recruitment experience so disappointing that they cancelled their Virgin Media services.

 

Virgin Media decided to address this problem by resolving to improve the candidate experience to such a degree that it instead became a chance to strengthen the loyalty of existing customers and win new customers, redesigning the candidate journey so that each applicant was supported to have the very best chance of landing a job at the company. They asked themselves the question, “How do Virgin Media bring their brand to life during the recruitment process, and offer support and guidance to all candidates?”

 

In striving to answer that question a dedicated recruitment advice website was created that provided candidates with advice on topics such how to present themselves, how to prepare for an interview and even how to shake hands to make the best first impression, alongside videos and blogs from existing Virgin Media team members highlighting the benefits of a career with the company, and their journey so far.

 

The content covered all roles including management, and all candidates gained vital skills and experience purely by having applied for a job. Even if ultimately unsuccessful, all candidates were coached and supported and left the process with a much better perception of the Virgin Media brand.

 

Such a holistic and supportive approach sends out only good vibes, with candidate and customer perceptions of the company greatly enhanced.

 

Ultimately, your recruitment process influences the overall candidate and customer experience, determining the public perception of who you are and what you do. If a customer or candidate has a great brand experience with a leading company like Netflix or Amazon, in their eyes, why should a great experience with your brand be any less in demand? Or any less valued? Devising a high-quality all-encompassing brand experience is a necessity, regardless of the size or success of the company.