11 Best Practices for Creating Brand Advocates During the Hiring Process

Recruiting outreach is more than just filling a role. It also reflects your brand. It’s a chance to win fans, even among those you have rejected. Recruitment firm Tri-Search advises businesses to use hiring as an opportunity to turn prospects into ambassadors for your organization. Let’s take a closer look.

February 3, 2021 – “You will only be contacted if we see a fit,” is the common recruiting refrain that needs to be abandoned, according to Anthony Fogel, president and co-founder Denver, CO-based Tri-Search. He says it damages a brand’s reputation and may serve to alienate customers or potential customers. Recruitment outreach is inherently marketing; each job posting is an opportunity to advocate the brand, and attract candidates and customers.

“When I was part of a corporate HR team at Pepsi we purchased a family-run business that, to our amazement, had 25 people in their HR department,” said Mr. Fogel in a recent report. “Incredibly, they interviewed all applicants. We viewed it as extremely inefficient; and the HR team was cut to three people. In retrospect, that family-run business understood something very important. They saw recruiting partly as a community service, with all their applicants as customers or potential customers. Why not provide all their customers with the chance to be heard? Why not make fans out of everyone they could, even rejected applicants?”

Interviewing all applicants in person is, of course, not practical for most companies. But, at the same time, ignoring the vast majority of them is bad for business. The good news is that the reverse is also true. The more candidates you have, the greater the opportunity to create brand ambassadors. Tri-Search has laid out 11 best practices for creating brand advocates during the hiring process:

1. Avoid the Black Hole

“I often hear from applicants how much they hate not hearing anything from companies to which they’ve applied,” Mr. Fogel said. “They’ve taken the time to apply, shown interest in the prospective employer and are treated with a black hole of information. All candidates deserve a response and to know where they stand even if it’s early in a high-volume process.”

A good recruiting partner, ATS, CRM, or recruiting tool, should be able to help with this, according to Mr. Fogel. “The further along in the process, the more personal responses should be. I try and remember that the second best thing to a yes is a fast no,” he said. “If you’d like assistance with your employment brand or to partner with a recruiting firm who cares about your brand and how candidates are treated, please let us know.”

2. Be Honest & Fast

Mr. Fogel says that the second-best thing to a yes is a fast no. “When you determine they don’t meet your requirements, let them know. (And why not give them something too, like a discount off their next purchase or an introduction to helpful resources).”

 Tony Fogel brings over 30 years of progressive HR and talent acquisition experience. As president, Mr. Fogel is responsible for ensuring TriSearch is continuously improving, and at the forefront of talent acquisition technology, process, and client satisfaction. He began his relationship with TriSearch as a client. At a subsequent CHRO role that coincided with the launch of the search firm, he partnered with founder and CEO Bob Aylsworth to launch the firm.

3. Be Organized & Professional

Demonstrate what type of company you are by providing an efficient and well-planned recruiting process. “Provide realistic job previews in both written descriptions and in answering candidate questions,” Mr. Fogel said. “Remember that friction reduces completion so eliminate friction from your process. Above all, be courteous and respectful.”

4. Showcase Yourself Too

The recruitment process is a two-way street and candidates will appreciate balanced and comprehensive information along the way. Your website, job descriptions, and other materials should not only be high quality and informative, but brand-centric and consistent; this will impress candidates, said Mr. Fogel.

5. Provide A Frictionless Experience

Simplicity is the new sophistication. “Forcing candidates to sift through a complicated application won’t work,” Mr. Fogel said. “Your dropout rates can and should be reduced – don’t be afraid to experiment with removing steps or making them easier to complete. Soon after becoming CHRO at a company, I applied online and was shocked at how much information we required and how cumbersome we made it for applicants. It was a horrible experience that was certainly driving away the best candidates. After we streamlined the process applicant flow increased.”

6. Be Mobile

The statistics are clear: job seekers look for and apply to jobs on their mobile devices. Mr. Fogel says that If they can’t easily navigate your career site on their mobile device, you will leave a poor impression, and what’s more, you will drive them to the competition. Ask yourself if your career site, application process, technology and overall candidate experience are mobile optimized.

7. Provide Specific Feedback To Candidates

“If you want to create a fan, provide candidates meaningful and actionable feedback,” Mr. Fogel said. “Late-stage candidates will appreciate the reasons why they are not advanced. Legal risks should not be a factor if your requirements and assessment processes are sound.”

8. Help Rejected Candidates Find Other Opportunities

Mr. Fogel says to imagine if your rejection was delivered along with skill-building recommendations, valuable resources, or other opportunities that might be a better fit. “Technology exists in applications like Stella.jobs to re-direct candidates to other opportunities,” he said. “If you want to make a fan out of rejected candidates, provide them this valuable service.”

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9. Provide Extra TLC To Referred Candidates And Your Employees Who Referred Them

Employee, and general referral programs, are a critical source of candidates. “If referrals go into the black hole, if they are treated poorly or provided a painful process, you will not only lose them, you will lose the referral source,” said Mr. Fogel. “Leading employee referral programs not only reward their employees for a successful referral, they keep them updated on the status of their referrals.”

10. Ask For Candidate Feedback & Act On IT

“Showing genuine interest in someone’s experience can go a long way to create fans and turn frustrations into constructive venting,” Mr. Fogel said. “If you are interested in continuous improvement, and you should be, feedback is a gift – so ask for it.”

11. Allow Your Candidates To Show Their Passion & Personality

Accepting videos or other sources of information outside of a typical application or a one-dimensional resume will make candidates feel you truly want to hear from them and see their passion and potential. They will appreciate the chance to be truly heard –and you will certainly benefit too from seeing a fuller picture upfront.

“Never forget that candidates talk,” said Mr. Fogel. “If they have a bad experience, you have not only turned them off your brand, you have likely caused them to denigrate you to others. Positively differentiate yourself by eliminating the notorious and expected black hole of never hearing back. ‘Never too busy for courtesy,’ was the motto of my grandfather’s department store; today, the truth is, it’s costly to be too busy for courtesy.”

Tri-Search is an International full-service talent acquisition, managed services and HR solutions firm. Founded in 2007, with a name change in 2015, the firm provides customized, collaborative and transparent recruiting partnerships, including IT, with deep sourcing, researching, and recruiting capabilities. Core IT practice areas include applications development, IT infrastructure, AI, machine learning and big data. Using proprietary new models, such as Customized Partnership Recruitment (CPR), Tri-Search is able to offer highly customizable and scalable talent solutions that focus on a client’s specific requirements. Tri-Search places professionals at all levels and across all functional areas, throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

Related: Executive Recruiters Roll Up Their Sleeves as COVID-19 Crisis Unfolds

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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