cvSocial Media and the Candidate Experience

Your internal recruitment or resourcing teams may well have  utilised social media tools to help build and engage with your current and potential talent communities – but how many of you have thought of it as a key element of your employer branding programme?

Candidate experience is key – a potential candidate who has had an unhappy or poor experience with your organisation may, historically, have shared their dissatisfaction with friends over a coffee.  But with social media those messages can be amplified on an exponential level. If you doing nothing else with social media you should at least be using it to listen because as well as being an amplifier, it is also an enabler. If you can hear what those people are saying about you over their coffee – then you can do something about it!

A great example of how social media can destroy an employer brand is the Joey Quits video on YouTube.  This shows Joey resigning his job live from a well-known hotel chain in the US because of poor working conditions.  So far it has had over three million views, and has also led to a website joeyquits.com which campaigns for hotel workers’ rights.  While this video was going viral, the employer was nowhere to be seen and a quick look at their corporate recruitment website revealed some stock photography and general corporate jargon about what a great employer they were. There was no video content of employees, no authentic case studies, no-one saying anything positive with an employee voice  – nothing at all that could counter Joey’s video.

In my view, blogs are a great way of engaging with your target talent communities and by using a blog in conjunction with other social media tools such as Twitter, Your LinkedIn Company page and You Tube, you can very soon start building powerful and impactful viral employer branding messages.

Blogs are a great way of becoming the media yourself and an ideal way to showcase real people talking about what it is like to work at your company.  You get more control over the message you want to get across and you can really bring your employer brand to life, particularly if you use video.

A good example is global architectural firm HOK which launched a blog called Life at HOK as a way of showing the people behind the brand.  The key to the success of the blog was the identification of internal champions – employees who could blog on a regular basis from their own experience of working at HOK.

This gives a range of views and personalities and makes the whole site feel very human – different from the corporate feel of the main website.   HOK has around 30 bloggers from offices around the world and they have a very prominent “opportunities at HOK” button to target potential employees.

It’s so much more powerful than a careers website with the usual template of vacancies and ‘here’s one we made earlier’ case studies.

The HOK blogs content is varied and ranges from a video of the chairman musing about some of the buildings the firm has been involved with to employees reflecting on their day. It has a list of bloggers and their locations and links in to the company’s presence on other networks such as Twitter and Facebook. And very importantly – it’s the voice of their employees – not leadership speak!

However – at the end of the day the candidate experience still has to be first rate – don’t spend time giving out all the right messages if you then make it really difficult for someone to actually apply – in the words of one candidate I know: “I subscribed to their blog and a few months later when I wanted to apply for a job I had to re-register, like three times, it was a joke!”

By Vickie Collinge, Head of HR & Talent Management Practice at Blue Sky PR

November 15, 2013 in Marketing, Resource Centre