How Candidate Experience Can Measure Brand Impact

This is the second blog in the series I’m writing in association with Mystery Applicant on candidate experience measurement. You can find the first blog here.

Despite many recent attempts to simplify it, employer branding is becoming a complex topic which requires an increasingly sophisticated analytical approach. There are two key themes that are driving this complexity.

Firstly in our information rich age, the traditional idea of a single unifying employer brand no longer resonates with potential candidates. This is a particular problem for larger organisations that now need to effectively communicate the nuances of the employment experience in numerous business areas and locations in a way that chimes with the individual viewpoint of the different segments of their audience. A software developer in San Francisco and an accountant in Paris will potentially have very different motivations and using a one size fits all approach to branding is not necessary an effective way of persuading them to join the company

Secondly the communication landscape is highly fragmented with brand perception becoming increasing experiential with online allowing frictionless transition between recruitment marketing and the actual recruitment experience. Candidates have a growing number of entry points into the recruitment process (sourcing, advertising, referrals etc) and the third party social proof from sources such as Glassdoor has recently added yet another dimension.

Many large employers with broad-based businesses, operating in numerous geographies (often operating a matrix management structure which further complicate matters) struggle to gain the insights they need that really represent the landscape in front of them.  In this complex environment traditional ad hoc employer brand research, focus groups and surveys are no longer effective.

Outside of recruitment in the broader marketing world many companies are using technology to survey customer satisfaction and brand impact in real time at scale. In the aviation industry for example airlines are no longer relying on small sample surveys sent a long time after the journey to gauge customer experience, Instead they are surveying larger numbers of passengers via SMS as they wait for their luggage in the arrivals hall. This type of timely high frequency feedback is helping airlines to understand the touch points where they need to differentiate in order to stay ahead in this highly competitive arena.

As an employer who has made a significant investment in their employer brand wouldn’t it be better to measure its impact in real time via the opinions of thousands of candidates that you can then benchmark against similar organisations than trust everything to small sample pool surveyed infrequently. Larger real time datasets are more representative and are better at illustrating and explaining complexity. They give recruiters a clearer opportunity to refine their strategy in order to stay true to the overall brand whilst speaking directly to the motivations of each target candidate pool

Mystery Applicant is a tool that enables real time measurement of both candidate experience and employer brand impact. They have gathered feedback from millions of candidates and there is some invaluable insight within their data.

The first thing their data tells is just how close the relationship is between brand and candidate experience. 67% of the candidates they have surveyed stated that their recruitment experience changed their relationship with the organisation.

Whilst some employers are doing better than other the overall picture round candidate experience shows there is still huge room for improvement. When asked about how they felt about the recruiting organisation after being through the recruitment process 26% felt more favourable, 31% felt the same and 43% felt less favourable.

The data also reveals the potential positive and negative commercial impact of candidate experience. Of those that felt more favourable as a result of a good candidate experience 62% stated they were more likely to buy the companies products / services. On the flip side just over 40% of disaffected candidates state they are less likely to buy a product / service. The implication here is that the ability to access real time candidate feedback and make on-going improvements is something that doesn’t just improve the employer’s candidate experience it will also improve the bottom line of their business

This insight into relationship between employer brand and overall consumer or business brand is a data point that has ramifications for the whole employer organisation. Recently a well-known mobile phone brand did some detailed analysis into this using their Mystery Applicant data as a starting point. They found that just over 30% of existing customers, who had a below average candidate experience did not renew their phone contracts with them. Reassuringly the research has also found a very positive correlation between a good experience and contract renewal. The resultant focus upon candidate experience and customer loyalty has begun to deliver some excellent results

This is vital insight and gives resourcing leaders the chance to provide their businesses with a strong case to unlock resources and develop internal partnerships to improve their candidate experience and enhance their employer brand

Access to this kind of data reinforces the case for sophisticated employer brand measurement and it something that all employers should consider. Properly harnessing the feedback of candidates at all stages of the recruitment process is not only something that can give a new level of insight it is also a powerful tool for improvement and change.

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