CDI Corporation

Is Your Company Demonstrating a Strong Employer Branding During the Interview Process?

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In today’s competitive hiring landscape, companies need a cohesive and well-defined brand to help them stand out from other businesses also hoping to attract top talent.

Many companies spend considerable resources developing their corporate website and social media presence to reflect their external brand. However, what some organizations don’t realize is that the interview process is a critical opportunity to demonstrate their employer brand; their reputation as an employer. If your interview process reflects and strengthens your company’s brand – instead of detracting from it – you can gain a competitive edge in recruiting both permanent and contingent employees. 

Here are some ways that companies can strengthen their employer brand through the interview process:

Revamp your careers page

Nearly every company has a careers/jobs page on its website, or even a separate careers site, but few take the time to create one that spotlights their brand. Don’t miss this important opportunity to reflect your organization’s mission and values through the copy, voice and design of the page. This can be further demonstrated by highlighting top performers within the organization, allowing jobs seekers to learn about featured employees’ career growth and overall experience working for the company. If contract employees are important to your business, don’t neglect showing how they are integrated into the workplace. Ultimately, every element of the careers page/site and its linked job descriptions should mesh with your company’s brand.

Your company website and company review sites such as Glassdoor play an increasingly important role in the way candidates assess your organization. In the 2018 Reputation Management Study conducted by CDI subsidiary MRINetwork, top methods for evaluating an employer brand were employee referrals (59 percent), company website (56 percent), Glassdoor (38 percent) with employee testimonials ranking 4th at 28 percent. “In today’s candidate-driven environment, potential employees typically have more than one option, so it’s important that you align your employer and external brands,” advises John Lewis, director of recruiting for CDI Corporation. “Make sure that the way your employees view your company culture is consistent with the way you present your brand to avoid situations where permanent and contingent candidates quickly move on to other opportunities.” If there is a disconnect between how the organization presents itself to the outside world and how your employees view the company, your brand will suffer from a confusing message that fails to attract top candidates.”

Use technology to make scheduling and follow-up easier

If the interview scheduling process is too complicated or it takes a long time for a hiring manager to contact applicants to set up an interview, candidates can develop a negative perception of your business. To prevent this, some companies are speeding up the process by using technology to make interview scheduling easier.

For example, PricewaterhouseCoopers started using a new online platform that enables candidates to select a time for their interviews, as a LinkedIn Pulse article explained. The platform features a calendar that notes the availability of internal interviewers and then auto-updates after candidates choose their time. Before the process, it took an average of six days to schedule an interview. The online tool, however, has shortened it to just one day.

An efficient, streamlined interview process that engages candidates and keeps them in the loop on the status of their application can also help companies create a more positive applicant experience and, in turn, a more positive employer brand. According to the Reputation Management Study, almost half of candidates (47 percent) feel lack of communication during the interview process is one of the biggest turnoffs. “The details of the interview coordination and process reveal volumes about operating priorities and corporate values,” observes an applicant that responded to the Study. Ultimately candidates want a hiring experience that’s high-tech, but also high-touch and personal. If they’re left hanging in limbo, they’re likely to move on.

Ask more relevant interview questions

Scrap the cookie-cutter questions during interviews and instead see the conversation as a way to share insight with the candidate on your company’s culture. Ask questions that require critical thinking and that relate to your company’s mission and values to gain a better sense of whether the candidate is a good fit for the role. For example, you can ask interviewees to describe a time they overcame a work challenge that is relevant to your company’s ethics. Or, if the ability to collaborate is required of a contingent employee, you can ask them about whether they prefer to solve problems on their own or with the help of others.

It’s also important that everyone involved in the interview process has the same understanding of the position’s requirements. Thirty-six percent of candidates in the Reputation Management Study said that discovering discrepancies among interviewers about job duties was the second biggest turnoff they encountered while interviewing. “Consistency is critical,” said an employer responding to the survey. “The messages that are portrayed during the interview process are such an important piece of the selection process that we’ve hired an HR manager to assist in our hiring processes. Ultimately, the bottom-line requirements of the job should be discussed among the interviewing team in advance, to ensure that candidates will be asked job-related questions built around critical job competencies. Interviewers who have a clear picture of the skills that the candidates need to have in order to be successful are more likely to identify the best person for the position.”

Create a positive interview environment

When candidates come into your office to interview, be sure they’re entering an environment that’s indicative of a positive work culture. Ensure hiring managers or HR professionals start the interview on time, and stress the importance of reviewing the candidate’s resume and drafted pertinent questions before the interview begins. Leave ample time for the interview to avoid a rushed experience, and be sure to cover issues that are relevant to permanent positions, or if the assignment is temporary, to those issues unique to this kind of work arrangement.

Creating a positive interview environment also means selling candidates on the things that make your organization great. Applicants are very clear about the factors that influence their perception of your employer brand. The MRINetwork Study revealed that emphasis on work-life balance and advancement opportunities were highly ranked, at 47 and 40 percent respectively.

“Whether you’re seeking to hire permanent or contract workers, always strive to create the sense that employee satisfaction is a top priority,” says Lewis. “Benefits such as flexible work arrangements or opportunities for career growth can often mean the difference between gaining a valuable new team members or losing them to your competition.”

The interview process is a critical opportunity for companies to present a strong, unified brand identity. Organizations that fail to recognize the importance of their employer brand and the need to monitor it accordingly are likely to find themselves losing out on the best talent, while companies that have great employer branding and offer an excellent candidate experience typically have no problem attracting the best and brightest.

Recent CDI Analysis

“If there is a disconnect between how the organization presents itself to the outside world and how your employees view the company, your brand will suffer from a confusing message that fails to attract top candidates.”

John Lewis
Director of Recruiting
CDI Corporation

Employment Situation (U.S.)

The U.S. saw yet another considerable monthly surge in the size of its labor force in June 2018. According to the Employment Situation Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm payroll across all American industries added 213,000 jobs during the month.

This is slightly less than May’s tally of 223,000 new positions, but a strong number exceeding the median figure projected by a Bloomberg survey of economic experts, who expected approximately 195,000 jobs added.

Although the unemployment rate rose from May to June – coming in at 4 percent after May’s remarkably low figure of 3.8 percent – many are attributing this to growth in the labor force participation rate, which most recently jumped 0.2 percent to reach 62.9 percent. This indicates an uptick in jobless individuals actively seeking work, particularly among prime-age workers (Americans between the ages of 25 and 54). Brookings Institution senior fellow Gary Burtless confirmed as much in an interview with The Washington Post.

"This trend has been well underway," Burtless told the news provider. "We had a very, very long recovery from an extremely deep recession. It wasn’t spectacularly fast, but it has been spectacularly long.”

The field of professional and business services stood well above other sectors of the U.S. economy in terms of increased employment for the month, adding a total of 50,000 jobs. Construction rounded out the group of sectors with five-figure job gains due to the 13,000 new roles it created, and mining added 5,000 jobs.

Speaking with Bloomberg, Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co., offered a largely positive but nuanced take on the newest numbers from the BLS.

"This is a good job-creation number, but on the other hand we see still continued soft wage growth," Feroli said. "It’s positive in the sense that we still have some capacity to grow above trend without triggering too much inflation worry." He added that the Federal Reserve could interpret these indicators as reasons to maintain its current schedule of increases to federal benchmark interest rates, rather than expanding to four rate hikes for 2018 as many economists have anticipated.

Growth in average hourly earnings did slow somewhat during June, with the month’s 5 cent increase representing a 0.2 percent decline from May’s wage gains. Also, concerns persist among some American businesses regarding potential adverse effects of the recent U.S. tariffs on numerous imports, including $34 billion in new levies placed on goods from China as of July 6, 2018. Yet the full effect of those measures remains to be seen, and in the meantime, the American economy is in a positive place, as it has generally been for the past several years.

The full Bureau of Labor Statistics report can be downloaded by
clicking here.

Employment Situation (Canada)

Coming on the heels of a few underwhelming numbers during the previous month, the results of the latest Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada for June 2018 showed signs of concrete progress. Employers throughout Canada, across all businesses, added 32,000 jobs to their payrolls during the month, with some of the biggest gains coming from sectors that had been experiencing some contraction during the last several months. This outpaced Reuters’ economists estimate of 24,000 positions created.

The Canadian unemployment rate rose slightly within the same period of time – reaching 6 per cent after holding fast for four straight months at 5.8 per cent – but this is being attributed to the entrance of more individuals to the labour force. Overall, 75,600 individuals either began a new job or started the process of pursuing one. With an increase in the number of people actively looking for work, it’s possible that more months of job gains could be on the horizon for the foreseeable future.

Construction led the way for the Canadian job market in June with 27,000 new positions created, largely due to a surge for the industry in Ontario. The field of natural resources took the runner-up spot through its addition of 13,000 jobs, in the continuation of a positive trend that began during the summer of 2016. By contrast, the next-largest jobs gain, seen in the Canadian manufacturing sector, represented a considerable reversal of fortune. Businesses in this industry created 11,000 new roles in the last month, marking the first time in 2018 that the field managed to add any jobs. Prior to this, it either lost positions or remained static this year.

Other indicators of positive economic growth were evident during June. Specifically, wages showed year-over-year growth of 3.5 per cent, which represents a significant increase from June 2017. Analysts believe (and hope) that this will galvanize the Bank of Canada to raise its interest rates.

Paul-Andre Pinsonnault, a senior fixed income economist with National Bank Financial, elaborated on this in a conversation with Reuters.

"Overall it is a good number for Canada this morning," Pinsonnault said, according to the news provider. "[As] for the Bank of Canada, the market was already pricing a rate hike so the number this morning doesn’t change that view."

The national bank scheduled July 11, 2018, as the deadline for its decision on this matter. As many expected, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz announced a 0.25-point uptick to federal benchmark interest rates that day, bringing them to 1.5 per cent, according to the Financial Post. The progress seen in the latest Labour Force Survey could’ve been the incentive Poloz and his colleagues needed to go through with the rate hike.

Canadian ES Report:
Labour Force Survey, June 2018

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