No one who knows me is ever surprised when I start talking about Alabama Football and how they are an amazing organization. I am a Crimson Tide fan through and through, and since the NCAA football season is nearly here, I can’t help but make some associations between football and my other favorite subject – talent strategy. And a huge part of building a winning strategy is building an Employer Brand Playbook (I know, yet another football comparison!). Step one in that playbook is the experience your brand puts out into the community before people even step in the door as an employee.
A lot of companies talk about Candidate Experience (or CX for short) and try to build a strategy to ensure that a candidate has a positive experience when interviewing. Online company review sites like Glassdoor are responsible for driving much of the energy around ensuring a positive experience, and that is great but before you get to the CX, you have to consider the first step of building a sphere of influence.
What does that even mean? Let’s take the example of the Alabama football team. Athletes want to play there long before they are actually scouted or recruited. Athletes know there is a good coach there, a great education, a strong team and a chance at winning. As a business, you want the people who want to win, innovate and give their best for you. You want the people going for a national championship every time. A big part of why this works so well for Bama is the fact that they have created this amazing culture and sphere of influence around their brand. They do this in part by being very active in their own community through football camps for younger athletes and volunteering to help sick kids or build houses for the underprivileged. The community knows the brand and the values that Alabama stands for.
But the brand and the CX doesn’t end with the job interview and a recruit getting the job, just like it doesn’t end for Bama when they decide not to recruit an athlete at first. Sometimes, they might have a different need at the time than a particular recruit can fill, so they go a different direction and that athlete goes to a different school. But there is always the chance that the student will want to transfer later on.
So even if a candidate doesn’t get the job right away – you still want that candidate interested enough that even if they go to another company they still want the opportunity to work for you, and the next opening you have might be the perfect fit for that candidate. Imagine now if that candidate had a bad experience when interviewing for you, or didn’t have the interest in working for you because you didn’t build your brand up enough.
Your brand lives, breathes, and grows within a lifecycle that starts the moment a candidate hits your career page/job description and then continues on from candidate to rejected candidate or employee to “alumni”.
Starting with the job description – do you just list a bunch of duties and qualifications and hope that people are interested enough to apply? Is your application process equivalent to building a rocket ship? Let’s not forget your interview process – do you have the right people interviewing? Are you asking the right questions to understand the candidate’s soft skills? Are you drowning them in a gauntlet or do you have some fun in your interview process? How do you make sure they understand what they are interviewing for and the company? And do you just let the rejected candidates work it out for themselves that they didn’t get the job?
All of these above items we will discuss in the following blogs of the Employee Brand Playbook series. For now, I am going to go read up on Bama’s quarterback selection for the season. Roll Tide!