Updated: Feb 26
Do you know what your company is known for by your employees? Do you know what your candidates think of your company as an employer?
These are great questions to consider when your company is hiring externally. With the candidate journey evolving, more and more candidates look at ratings, testimonials, and reach out to their networks to hear what people think.
Gone are the days where companies can have the attitude that their consumer brand is so solid that candidates should want to work for them. Think back to the past few years, where we have heard of great brands that everyone uses, but the employees are miserable and the market knows.
It is interesting to consider what has happened in the last twenty or so years, that has so drastically changed people's views on companies.
Let’s put this in perspective:
There were approximately 70 million computers connected to the internet in 1999
There are 7 billion internet connected devices in early 2019
When this was originally written in 2016 there were 3.5 Billion internet users globally
In June of 2019, there are 4.6 billion
Mass adoption of wireless took place in 2003/2004 as we moved away from dial up
When you look at he evolution of social media:
Google started in 1998
LinkedIn started in 2002
Facebook started in 2004
You Tube started 2005
Twitter started 2006
Glassdoor started 2007
Pinterest started 2010
Google+ started 2011
If these internet companies were people, only Google would be legal to drink and only Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook would be able to drive.
Food for thought: the first year of the Gen Z generation is 1995 and this is all they don't know a world without technology, the internet, and social media.
Globally we have had to quickly adapt to constant change and new social connections/technology, but individuals are still pretty much the same. They want to be passionate about their work and enjoy their job. The biggest change is that companies are much more visible, which informs future employees what a company is all about. This has turned the tides to give more power to the employee.
The Millennial Generation also have a different way of looking at their careers. They are no longer an employee, they are talent consumers. They shop for their careers. They research, talk to friends, look at ratings and evaluate the whole market instead of just one "store front." They learn as much as they can and even if they really want a new role, they will not move unless the company aligns with their career goals and values.
Word of mouth is still important and everyone has a voice on the internet. If the voice is good, employees perceive a company to be a valuable asset to their career. When an organization does not live up to these expectations, potential employees will typically move on to consider other opportunities.
As an external recruiter I have a really unique opportunity to hear what “experienced hires” and executives perceive about companies. Since I have no specific affiliation to a company, people are more open to share information about where they may want to work and what they have “heard through the grapevine.”
Many of these shared observations are obtained through word of mouth, a quick overview of a company website, and a view of social media. With future talent/potential employees looking from outside in, it is important for companies to view their brand from that perspective as well as from the inside out.
Some things to consider, that talent observes when evaluating or validating your brand, especially on your website:
They look at your value proposition and how you are differentiated from your competitors.
When you evaluate your value proposition, is it delivering the picture you would be looking for if you were first considering the company as a new employee?
If you were your target audience, do you value and expect what you are seeing? Is something missing?
Does the company look like everyone else or is there something that draws in the talent (a differentiation)?
Is your executive staff listed on your website or just a few key people?
If diversity is key in your hiring, how does your executive staff exemplify this?
If you are branding uniqueness does your executive staff come from the same company or different companies?
If you are branding opportunity for succession, does your executive staff have tenure and moved up the ladder or did they come from outside?
Does your site tell candidates what they can expect if they work for you?
Does your career site talk about your culture and what it is like to work for the company?
Does your site go beyond products, services, legal speak, etc.?
Do you have community events showcased?
Do you talk about exciting awards or accolades?
Do you showcase amazing employees?
Does your site or social media talk at people, like you have something to prove or is it informative?
Potential talent can read through the lines if you feel something is at a deficit and you are trying to create an alternative perception.
If you are taking a position or stance on an industry issue by posting industry news make sure it aligns with your mission, values and culture. Talking about politics or the latest negative industry news defending your position will create a "non-inclusive" feel.
Review your social media presence.
Determine who your target audience is and what you want to showcase.
If you are smaller company it is still important to view what others are saying about you and like, re-tweet, share. This is important for bigger companies too, but most have a group who does this.
Observe what is being said about your company; there are still conversations taking place even if you are not a part of the party.
Updated content about the company and employees shows candidates you are a part of the community; regular content/posting is important.
Check to see if your employees are embedded/engaged and delivering the same message or better on their social media accounts (when they mention their work)?
On the flip side, are your employees complaining or showing signs of frustration with your company?
If you have had a lot of turnover is it visible? Candidates will be able to view this on LinkedIn by looking at profiles
What are other career sites saying about you?
Right, wrong or indifferent the information is out there. If it is positive highlight the information and if it is negative and correct, build a strategy to change it.
Word of mouth
What do employees working for the company say about their work today?
What do your employees say when they leave the company for new opportunities?
If you have laid employees off, have you done it in a manner that shows all employees it was nothing personal, just unfortunate business? Unfortunately, just like a customer who is upset employees will tell two people, who will tell two people and so on…..
Some other things to consider:
Do you support industry affinity groups, community organizations or charities? These will help position your company to specific audiences you are working to attract, who will be excited to see this information and will see this as a differentiation if they are considering more than one opportunity/company.
These questions are not new, but sometimes we are unaware what people are thinking or perceiving about our organization. If we think branding is a one sided presentation and we don’t look from the outside in, we might miss something that puts us behind our competitors.
These questions and insights are a great double check, especially when the energy industry has had many challenges over the last couple of years.
This was originally posted in October 2016 and updated.