Getting The Brand Back Together | Recruitment News UK

What value are brands in the current recruitment landscape? We look at the difference that a little brand leveraging can make to hires.

The latest ONS jobs market data has been published. See how this month’s data tallies with the long-term trends in UK recruitment.

On-Brand for Better Hires

We look at the impact of reputation and branding in better recruitment outcomes.

The UK jobs market is growing increasingly lean (see this week’s report). As recruiters seek to maximise their performance despite fewer options and resources, we consider an oft-overlooked factor in hiring success.

Namely: Branding. What part does branding play in effective hiring? How can we leverage brands to attract higher volumes of applicants? These are considerations that are likely to become more relevant over time, as recruiters come to terms with tougher conditions. We might be OK coasting for now but, pretty soon, we may bee rushing to snatch up every candidate we can find. By that point, if we don’t have solid brands working with us, we may find that candidates themselves are in short supply.

This week, a new study looked at the impact of brand recognition in the hiring process. It found that fewer organisations at any point in the hiring chain were performing to the best of their abilities in this respect.

On-Message Recruitment

That was the finding of Haymarket Media Group, who recently released data about recruiter branding. The study forms a part of its Employer Branding Insights report 2019. According to their research, too few employers are spending enough time on developing their brand prominence.

Haymarket surveyed 841 jobseekers across multiple industries. They discovered that 46 per cent of these candidates were left unimpressed by potential employers’ brand communication. This is despite almost half of all passive passive jobseekers (those already in work, but shopping around for a better opportunity) stating they would jump to work for “an amazing brand”.

In fact, virtually all (94 per cent) of candidates now research the branding of potential employers before taking a new job. The figure represents a 4 per cent increase within the last three years. The numbers suggest that public image is becoming an increasingly vital element of candidate attraction. For us, as recruiters, our clients’ brands are a crucial aspect of building a good talent pipeline.

Despite this, there can be a tendency to roll our eyes any time somebody comes up with a new way of implementing branding in a seemingly unrelated field: such as hiring. A sense of “here we go again”, and the anticipation of buzz words like “thinking outside the box” tumbling from the latest visionary’s mouth tend to put us off the whole topic.

But let’s look at this another way.

Pipelines, Branding, Candidate Experience

We are always talking about the value of soft skills to employers. Soft skills are those intangible factors which can separate the successful applicant from the rest of the shortlist. We’re talking about things like teamwork, communication. How many of us have pitched to prospective clients without driving home our innate talent for making great cultural matches?

But much rarer is the time we spend discussing the soft factors which attract candidates. Elements which are related to a position, but are not a core part of the job description: location, workplace culture, branding. Is this because candidates’ personal opinions matter less in the hiring process? Not at all. If anything, the outlook of the candidate is the one which individually influences the hiring process more than anybody else’s.

And studies consistently show that these aspects of a job are critical for making successful placements – if, by “successful placement” we mean one that lasts beyond a typical three month probationary period.

In fact, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that branding is among the most important factors to a new generation of job seekers.

But it is not something that smaller enterprises fail at because of a lack of resources. The good news is that very rich companies fail at it, too. We looked recently at the way Facebook’s demographic shift is making it an unattractive workplace for new graduates. It shows that even the biggest enterprises can still get it very, very wrong.

Building Better Brands

The good news then, is that money is clearly not the solution to most branding woes.

But, then, what is?

When it comes to setting the right tone and public image for your company, communication is key. And, in the digital age, communication costs next to nothing.

If we dig deeper into the branding concerns of candidates, many follow a similar pattern. Few want to be seen to work for a vast and faceless multinational, these days. Even if an organisation is vast and multinational, it seems that the “faceless” part is the bit that causes applicants the most heartache. Think: drab and corporate Facebook versus Netflix and its sassy social media posts.

This should all form part of a top recruiter’s pipeline building. We should understand the companies that we are offering placements within – both as employers and brands. Check what reviews say about your clients on Glassdoor. Not the most glowing coverage? Bring this to your clients’ attention. If you have found this online criticism, you can bet that each of your candidates has, too.

Communicating with authenticity is vital. Whether its an aspirational worldview and set of goals, or a cheeky social media comeback. Being inclusive, rather than divisive or controversial. Providing candidates with a reason to want to be on the side of your client companies – not their rivals.

As we move towards an increasingly candidate-led recruiting market, the power of attraction will play a greater part in placements.

Latest ONS jobs data

Figures for February to April 2019 tell a familiar story.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published its jobs market data for the months February to April 2019. This figures paint a familiar picture: continuing the on-going trends of previous months.

• Overall employment remained at an estimated 76.1 per cent. This is half a percentage higher than twelve months ago (75.6 per cent); and the highest since records began (1971).

• In nominal terms, this translates to a workforce of 32.75 Britons in employment. It means the UK workforce expanded by 357,000 in the past twelve months.

•Meanwhile, part-time work fell across the same period. The number of workers in part-time employment dropped by 45,000 in the year to date.

•For the first time, 72 per cent of women of working age were in employment – the highest figure on record.

• Unemployment remained at 38 per cent – low levels not seen since October 1974.

• Economic activity fell to 20.8 per cent compared to 21 per cent a year earlier.

• Average weekly earnings for full time employees increased by 3.4 per cent in nominal terms before bonuses. Adjusted for inflation, wages were up by 1.5 per cent over the year.

• With bonuses, wages grew in real terms by 1.2 per cent.

The figures highlight the continuing long-term patterns of UK recruitment. Talent pools are thinning out across the board. As we reported last week, many recruiters are reporting a fall in candidate numbers at all skill levels.

Need even more jobs market data? The full report is available to download here.

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