Candidate experience in the trust economy – go beyond employer brand

A lot has been written about candidate experience and employer brand and at this point, HR leaders are already aware that a poor candidate experience could negatively impact employer brand. However, when it comes to candidate experience in the trust economy, where the difference between gaining access to a service (or convincing someone to purchase from you) is your reputation score, a negative candidate experience impacts more than your employer brand.

Here, we cover a few of the ways you can start taking control of your credibility and go beyond employer brand in an economy where scores and reviews reign supreme.

60% of candidates have a poor candidate experience – and 72% of them will share it online

In a Talent Board survey, 61% of responders who’d had a positive candidate experience said that they would actively encourage their colleagues to also apply to the company, while, of those with a negative experience, 27% would warn associates against applying.

More concerning is that 30% of the candidates who had a negative experience with a company’s recruitment process would be less likely to purchase from that company in future. A real-life example of this in action is Virgin Media, who estimated that they were losing £4M per year as a result of poor candidate experience. 18% of their applicants were existing customers, and more than 7,500 went on to cancel their subscriptions as a result of their bad experience.

Candidates want more, better information about companies and roles

Candidates are sophisticated. They’re taking control of the job searching process by checking multiple channels before applying for roles, which means easily accessible, high quality online content is critical. If you don’t provide the information they’re looking for, they’ll look for it elsewhere or pass over you altogether.

Sufficient information about the company and role is the top type of content that candidates want (feedback and engagement with current employees are #2 and 3). However, they’re not getting this information from company channels – 80% of the information candidates use in their search comes from a third party source. When there’s a content gap between what candidates are looking for and what your channels provide, they turn to channels outside of your control.

Additionally, 61% of candidates are more skeptical of what employers say about themselves than they were a few years ago, according to research from CEB. This credibility gap creates a challenge for employers who want to provide the content candidates are seeking – if employers aren’t trusted, then how can they close the content gap?

Engagement with employees increases the likelihood of candidate application

Employees are your satisfied customers when it comes to the candidate experience, and in the new trust economy, their experience will carry much more weight with candidates than brand advertising. Using these stories will close the content gap by providing the content candidates want (what is it like to work there? What are the teams like? What is the area around the office like?), as well as the credibility gap because it’s coming from a source they trust (Edelman Trust Barometer 2017).

In a survey given to candidates after a PathMotion Live Chat session (a one hour session where candidates can ask employee ambassadors questions online in real time), 94.5% of the attendees rated the topics discussed in the Live Chat session “Relevant” or “Highly Relevant” to them. And, 92.7% of attendees said they were more likely to apply with the hosting company. Offering this kind of live session with candidates, which gives them the opportunity to ask the questions that really matter to them, is a great way to improve candidate experience in a candidate-driven market. 

Have a plan for capturing and using employee stories across channels

Something to consider when choosing a method for gathering and sharing employee stories is how you’ll capture the content and use it across your channels. For example, if you plan to use Facebook Live for a Q&A session, where will that video live after the event finishes? Will you record it and keep it on your website? How will you share the discussions and insights on your careers page? Have a plan for the content you create so it’s possible to share it across all your recruitment channels.

Our research shows that over 99% of the candidates don’t ask questions – they simply consume the content that is already written. Relying on candidates to proactively email your team or submit queries without sharing the answers to questions from previous candidates is missing an opportunity to engage them early and address the content gap. Additionally, being able to store and disseminate employee stories means you’re making full use of the time spent by your employees responding. It’s much more efficient to share an answer so it can be seen by 100+ candidates, rather than keep answering the same questions privately.