When companies have a job opening, they need to fill it as soon as possible, and ideally they would have several high-quality candidates to choose from quickly. Why is speed so important? According to Randstad data, each job vacancy costs an average of $500 a day.
However, companies can no longer expect to successfully woo the best job candidates just by throwing money at them. Potential employees are being courted by various suitors, and they’re carefully weighing their options before taking the leap.
A report by the Execu|Search Group reveals that candidates are considering job offers from several companies, and want to know about more than just salaries and benefits. For example:
- 61% of respondents reported interviewing for two or more jobs at the same time
- 50% of respondents spent at least 30 minutes researching a company before applying or interviewing
And, according to GlassDoor, job seekers typically check 18 different sources and read 7 to 8 company reviews before they even decide to apply for a particular job.
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Companies need an elevator pitch, and they need to know how to pitch their company’s brand. But what does that mean? The company’s brand is the company’s story, according to James Foley, senior vice president of employer brand at Randstad Sourceright Talent Innovation Center. “It should be compelling, honest and an idea that people can connect with on a human level.” And since the unemployment rate is currently below 5 per cent, Foley says communicating the company’s brand to a prospective employee is more important than ever.
“Your most important recruiting tactic is, in fact, retention – something you can directly influence with a strong employer brand strategy,” he says.
Corporate vs. Employer Brand
However, many companies don’t distinguish between the corporate brand and the employer brand. Randstad research reveals that C-Suite executives are almost twice as likely as HR and retention managers to believe that the employer brand is excellent. Foley explains that those in the C-Suite tend to associate the corporate brand with the employer brand, and if the corporate brand is doing well, they assume there’s no problem with the employer brand. “However, employer brand is an entirely different challenge and one that requires focused resources to create.”
Foley uses the example of competition among companies. “Competition for a corporate brand would be only people who sell similar products and services,” Foley says. “An employer brand is at odds with any company that hires for the same role.”
Developing An Elevator Pitch
According to a recent survey by Robert Half, 76 per cent of employers thought they would attract higher quality candidates if they promoted their firm as a great place to work. Also, 18 per cent of employers don’t think they do a good job of selling job candidates on the benefits of working at their company.
Brett Good, senior district president for Robert Half, advises companies to take a two-pronged approach. “Identify the reasons your company is a great place to work.” However, he also recommends asking current employers why they like working at the company. “This will help generate ideas on what to highlight to prospective candidates during the hiring process.”
For example, if the organisation has work-life balance initiatives or there are excellent opportunities for career growth, Good recommends emphasizing these points.
Good also recommends the following five steps to bring quality employees to the company:
- Identify why your company is a great place to work.
- Research what your competitors offer.
- Promote your own company’s strengths.
- Move quickly when hiring.
- Consider working with a recruiter.
The Importance of Moving Quickly
It is not wise to drag your feet during the hiring process. “Proactively stay in touch with candidates who stand out,” Good says. “Silence sends the wrong message: 57 per cent of workers say the most frustrating part of the job search is the long wait after the job interview to hear whether they got the job.”
But, it’s not just a case of job candidates being impatient. Good says those who are interviewing with multiple companies might accept another job offer. Even if they don’t, these individuals might lose interest in the company. Good says delays might cause another unintended consequence. “They’ll also question the firm’s ability to make other decisions.”
This piece was originally published on Economist Careers here. Its author, Terri Williams, is a freelance writer who covers leadership topics for The Economist Careers Network.