The attraction of talent is a key priority for business leaders. With a growing economy and a shortage of skills, recruiters find themselves competing for the best talent, whether that talent is looking for a new role or not. Meanwhile businesses are beginning to operate more and more in a reputation economy, in which many decisions are based on perceptions of an organisation, and of the value to be gained from dealing with them, usually from hearing and reading what other people say about their experiences. Hiring is no different. The recruitment process is becoming driven more and more by connections, culture and reputation - and it is reputation that matters most.
Candidates do their research on prospective employers. They want to find out what the culture is like, the opportunities for development and rewards, and the effectiveness of the leadership. Research shows that 69% of job seekers wouldn't take a role with a company that had a bad reputation, even if they were unemployed. Meanwhile 84% would consider leaving their current job if they were offered another role by a business with an excellent reputation. Reputation is important, particularly to passive candidates.
For a business looking to hire, that reputation is their employer brand. This doesn't mean a glossy brochure, a marketing campaign or a fancy career site, but what people say about working there, the experiences that they share and the way that previous candidates report back on their impressions of the recruitment process. In the age of transparency this is now all available to prospective employees, whether discovered on forums or personal blog sites, comments on discussion threads, or on sites like Glassdoor.
Each candidate's extended personal network may reach to individuals who have worked at the prospective employer before, or know someone who has. The experience of alumni in joining and leaving a business can be particularly potent signifiers of what the business is like as an employer. You might talk about your rewards scheme, career development opportunities and management in your recruitment content or on your career site, but your reputation will be based on whether you deliver on what you promise.
Employer brand isn't about pool tables and posh coffee but what your employees say about how you live up to your employment proposition. Recruitment strategies are increasingly being shaped around the stories employees tell and the way the business embraces, leverages and shapes them to showcase their reputation. In this way the vision, values and purpose of the organisation come to life, and reputations are made. In a competitive recruitment market, with hard pressed recruiters finding candidates with multiple options, it is the corporate reputation that may well influence the candidate's final decision.
All of this information is publicly available on sites like Glassdoor, and companies need to embrace it and own it. At February's InHouse Recruitment Expo you'll be able to hear Lauren Wright, Glassdoor's Head of Global Business Expansion, talk about 'The Business Case for Employer Branding'. She'll be explaining how to manage and shape your corporate reputation and how to justify the investment needed to build it. And she'll look at ways to measure its effectiveness too.
If you're trying to find the best talent then your reputation and brand will be your competitive advantage. Can you really afford not to learn how to own it and use it?