"People don't like to be sold, but they love to buy." - Jeffrey Gitomer, International Sales Trainer
Think about the last time you bought a product on Amazon.
Most purchases start like this:
We don't take products for granted anymore. We do our own research and we listen to what other people say (even reviewers we will never meet and may have nothing in common with).
Every decision is more considered. We're more careful with how we invest our time and money.
We like to buy, but we like to buy on our terms.
"Top talent is searching for a company the same way they would any other purchasing decision" - Matt Charney, Editor at Recruiting Daily
The way that we apply for jobs nowadays mirrors the way we buy things. Both brands and products need to make a human connection with us before we are ready to make a purchasing or application decision.
This means that most candidates don't arrive at your careers page "ready to apply". In fact, Forrester research indicates that it can take as many as 8 brand touchpoints to influence a decision.
A touchpoint could be anything from reading a tweet to watching a video on your website. It's simply an interaction between someone and your employer brand.
You need to be able to create these touchpoints. You need content that highlights your EVP, materials that showcase your culture, you need to give candidates the right tools to _educate _themselves.
Recruiting is becoming "self-service" - people want to make their own mind up. If candidates don't have enough information on your company to make a decision they might go elsewhere!
This trend is more pronounced for millennial candidates who are looking for more than just a peek behind the curtain at your company. Often they want real-life examples of what working life is like so they can figure out whether they’d be a good fit.
Longer decisions, better applicants
Clearly, if candidates need time to learn about your company, it's going to take longer for them to apply. In fact, the candidate decision making cycle lengthened by 41% in 2014 and this trend is only increasing.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing though:
The longer a candidate spends in the ‘decision making cycle’, the more time they spend engaging with your brand, the higher the likelihood that they’ll be a standout applicant and make a great new hire
Why does this happen?
Well, the candidate has had time to self-qualify. They actually understand your company, the role, and what you’re looking for!
At a time when recruiters admit that they wouldn’t re-hire 39% of their recent hires, we should be happy that more applicants match requirements and fit personas.
Investing in your employer brand in this "self-service" age is crucial. You need to arm candidates with enough information to decide to apply to your company. Equally, negative brand "noise" can have a serious effect on the likelihood of top talent applying.
Little wonder then, that employer branding ranks as the top investment priority for talent leaders in 2017, with 55% putting it at the top of their list.
If branding is not on your agenda, maybe this is the time to think long and hard about your talent strategy. Recruiting isn't just filling roles anymore - it's the way you handle relationships with people that might be thinking of applying to your company. Brand is an important piece of this puzzle.
For those concerned that brand is "fluffy", this article on the different ways to track employer branding ROI might be helpful.
Talent Attraction Index 2019: A maturity analysis of the Fortune 500
We analyzed and ranked the talent attraction practices of the Fortune 500, and learned how the world's most successful companies attract and engage the best candidates: what they do more of, what they do better, and what marks them as winners in the talent attraction game.