chess-316658_640Aligning your brand activity with your candidate’s decision-making process

If there’s a single truth about employer brand, it’s the fact that organisations who have failed to plan their recruitment communications on authentic propositions suffer adversely when engaging candidates – or, in extreme cases, defending their reputation in the eyes of the candidate.

In this sense, the emergence of Glassdoor as an arbiter of your employer brand may actually have a positive impact IF it helps you focus on what candidates need to truthfully hear – before, during and (hopefully) after they make the decision to work with you.

One way of visualising the touch points between you as an employer and the candidate as a potential employee is a six-point pyramid. It’s the journey a prospect or employee makes, from Trigger, Consider and Seek, to Choose, Leap and Honeymoon. It’s a pyramid based on tried and tested marketing strategy – and we’ve summarised the key steps for you below:


‘Trigger’ is a catalytic event that prompts a person to think about changing jobs. It could be a bad day at work, a rumour of impending layoff or yet another corporate merger. Whatever “it” is, it gets people thinking about change.


This is the phase when people begin to think seriously about what they want from a new role – more opportunities for advancement, more flexibility, less travel, etc. It’s at this stage that prospects begin to formulate their employer short-list – identifying which employers are offering the ‘wish list’ that the potential candidate is beginning to formulate.


The ‘Seek’ stage is where prospects begin to examine employer websites and blogs, as well as social and ambient activity. This is where, if your organisation is not well-known (or not known for the ‘right things’), you begin to suffer a real competitive disadvantage. Even if you are a household name in one field, people with a certain skillset may not think of you as a ‘natural’ employer of their talent. As an example, one client we work with is extremely well-known for its high-street service but research demonstrated that no one with IT or other niche skills thought of them as a place to work.


‘Choose’ is where passive prospects become active candidates. They begin drafting their CV’s and covering letters, talking to people they may know at a target employer – and start researching an organisation in earnest. This is where your existing employees can make or break you. If they validate your employee communications (through participation in your recruitment marketing, career website, social media, etc.) then the prospect is encouraged to proceed. If they negate those efforts by talking down your organisation, then only the most needy and desperate job-seekers will continue the process.


Making The Leap is the most emotional stage of the journey. This is where prospective candidates have second thoughts about leaving their current colleagues and are afraid of being caught out by their current employers during the interviewing process. So how do you assuage their anxiety?

Is your reception area discreetly located and comfortable for waiting? Do your hiring managers meet candidates promptly and give them undivided attention? Do you respond quickly to questions about the compensation package or benefits? Are candidates given ‘VIP’ treatment, with preferential parking or a car service to and from the train station (or airport)? If you can’t answer ‘yes’ to all of these questions, reflect on the negative impression you’re making on talent that has given you a single chance to impress (candidates you may also have spent a large budget in attracting to you in the first place). Then go back and talk with all the people who have declined your offers in the last year and see what difference could have been made by treating candidates as customers.


This is the period immediately after the candidate becomes an employee. In most cases, it’s a time when the new employee sees your workplace through rose-coloured glasses. Smart employers leverage this by making sure that the first days delight rather than dismay. Your new employee’s workspace and equipment are waiting, business cards printed – and induction covers the topics of most relevance to the employee. Sometimes, a senior Executive will personally appear at orientation to endorse the new team members’ decision to join.

Again, if your organisation is not doing these things, you run the risk of the relationship beginning badly. So for information about how your employer brand needs to be activated for each stage of the pyramid, get in touch!

About the author:

stevemc_profile_imageBy Steve McNally |

Steve McNally has won a record 36 CIPD & RAD Awards for Candidate & Employee Communications; creating EVP’s in the UK (e.g.: B&Q, Rank Group plc), Europe (e.g.: Airbus Industries) and Globally (e.g. Pfizer). Steve is Managing Partner & Employer Brand Lead for the Employee & Candidate Communications consultancy, 52N Resourcing Solutions.

August 18, 2015 in News, Recruitment, Resource Centre