Make Your Candidate Experience Story a Bestseller

Posted by Larry Murff

First, you should know that this post is less about how to build an employer brand and more about how to develop an impactful, engaging employer brand. In order to achieve the business results employer branding promises like decreasing turnover by 28% and attracting 50% more qualified hires, you need an attractive, authentic narrative that is consistent across every part of employee engagement.

If you think of your employer brand like a good (bestselling) book, the first chapter is recruitment and candidate experience. Just like a successful author crafts a unique story with interesting settings and memorable characters, companies need to create a unique recruitment narrative with memorable touchpoints to support their employer brand. How do you know whether your narrative is any good?

First, Check Your Storytelling Basics

You ever get stuck listening to a story that drones on forever, but has no point? Your recruitment narrative can do that too. Even in the case of constant candidate communication, if every touchpoint echoes with the hollow ring of software, your narrative has no point. Luckily, any company can improve storytelling with good fundamental skills.

Command of the Language

Please, I beg you: use language real people understand. Candidates will not be impressed by your internal company jargon or dispassionate bot-speak. If your candidate has to ask, ‘what does squaring the circle mean?’ and ‘is anyone actually reading my e-mails?’ your communications are wasting valuable relationship-building time.

For example, Netflix’s promise to its employees is ‘the allure of huge impact’ not ‘the unmatched opportunity to deliver a rockstar-level industry impact.’ The Netflix promise demonstrates a few good principles:

  • Sticks to interesting, but clear language
  • Sets an authentic tone for the recruitment narrative
  • Gives a candidate a taste of the Netflix culture

Not knowing what it’s like to work at a company is a top obstacle for job seekers. Think of each of your word choices and how it can help illuminate an attractive, authentic culture that clears the obstacle of the unknown.

A Few Good Editors

The stories we like best rely on editors to reach their full potential. Anyone can be an editor. I nominate the seasoned and empowered people on your recruiting team. Good editors help uncover the bright, shiny idea buried under useless adjectives. They do not feel any pangs about banishing bland phrases like ‘your experience and background’ that add nothing to the recruitment narrative. Editors are also experts in timing. They have an instinct for when a story needs to ratchet up the action or take a pause and breathe.

For example, when a candidate is filling out an application that feels an awful lot like the information they already uploaded on their resume, an editor understands that the moment calls for an encouraging text message: “Thank you for your interest in joining the ABC Corp crew. Your answers will go directly to the hiring manager’s inbox. Dana can’t wait to learn about you!”

Embracing the Journey

A successful novel has to be more than a series of scenes marching toward a foregone conclusion. Memorable stories have character-building passages and surprise twists to keep the reader engaged. If your word choice illuminates your company culture, the moments you choose for candidate communication bring it to life.

Here are some thought-starters on unique moments:

  • A potential applicant requests job alerts on LinkedIn or joins your openings newsletter. Send an e-mail and secure permission to text so they “know first” about positions where they would be a good fit.
  • You are moving a candidate to the next stage, a digital interview. Let them know who is preparing the details for them and what they can expect.
  • You have scheduled a digital interview with the candidate. Remember that digital interviews may be new to your candidate. Inform them of how they will be evaluated and why you leverage this new, exciting tech.
  • You are overwhelmed with applications. Express gratitude and share an update with how many applications have been received and an estimated timeline.

A personalized recruitment message is more important to candidates than a recognizable company name and friendly faces in the workplace. The power of combining an authentic message with good timing is undeniable.

Next, Put It Where the Sun Shines.

Even the best book won’t sell in a dark, dusty corner. Similarly, you need to pick a good home or channel for each of your candidate communications. Frequent updates e.g., tips and questions for interview preparation are a good match for the less intrusive e-mail channel. Occasional encouragement and reminders are thoughtful and urgent enough to be sent as a text message. Company overview videos and employee spotlights, content that removes the obstacle of the unknown, bear repeating across all social media channels.

A whopping fifty-nine percent of candidates are using social media to research company culture. Your recruitment narrative should be a part of the employer brand story you tell on all social platforms (but, especially Facebook).

If your recruitment narrative is limited to living in e-mail and voicemails, your story cannot live up to its potential and help you close more candidates in the pipeline or attract new top-tier talent to your openings.

Lastly, Never Set and Forget

Your employer brand will evolve as your company grows and your culture matures. Every “chapter” of your employer brand needs to keep up with the times. Remember when everyone was writing about vampires? Like that, but with emojis.

Start with candidate feedback and notes from your empowered editors, both reliable sources of innovation, to find the gaps in your candidate experience that need some story sparkle to keep talent from falling through the gaps.

A unique recruitment narrative is a good investment because it naturally meets the challenge of promoting and communicating employer brand authentically. The story you tell will help capture and keep candidates’ attention, get them invested in the outcome of the hiring process, and create a positive candidate experience. You can apply these tactics across your employer brand story and help your company recruit and retain the top-tier talent that drives business outcomes.

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