From Angry Birds to Hog Heaven
Presented by: Doug Douglas – National Engagement Manager at Stark
Branding. It’s no longer just something that cowboys do to their cattle. It’s now a major emphasis for all types of organizations. Think of those huge companies who have the most recognizable logos and names – McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Exxon, Wal-Mart. You don’t have to stop and Google (yet another example) them to see what they do – everyone knows! And even better, you can be driving down the highway at 75 mph and glance up and know their logo in less than 1 second! But have you ever wondered what kind of resources they have poured into getting their name, their logo, and their reputation out there?
Those are enormous amounts of money! What does it tell us about them that they are willing to spend so much money just on branding efforts? They truly must care about their brand! For them, they see it as the difference between getting lost in the crowd or rising above the competition.
But you don’t have to be a major, world-wide, giant in your industry to invest significant money into your brand – small companies do it too. On average, companies will invest anywhere from 3-20% of their sales revenue back into branding or marketing efforts. The small companies are trying to be well known, and the large companies are trying to stay well known.
So, if a company’s brand is that important, I wonder how many consider their recruiting efforts in their branding initiatives? Just go jump on Monster or CareerBuilder for a few minutes and you’ll see that the new start up in Austin, Texas has an ad placed right beside an ad by Microsoft, Dell, Cisco or AMD – all looking for the same type of worker with the same skill set. Who will win in the battle for the best candidate? Do we just assume that the large company always wins?
The Angry Birds
If you’ve been hiding under a rock, Angry Birds is a game that is played by just about everyone with a smartphone or tablet computer. You’ll see and hear it in school hallways, airports, subways, and even in your workplace.
The premise of the game is pretty basic:
You, and the team of people within your organization, have been working to build the best organization possible. You work hard and you spend lots of time, money, and resources to build your brand in the marketplace. You hire sales people with excellent communication skills to go out and tell people about your product/service. You might even have ad campaigns to help the public know who you are and what you have to offer. But there could very well be a weak spot within your organization that has gone unnoticed….your recruiting efforts could actually be hurting your brand!
What is it that makes a job seeker angry? And from a corporate branding point of view, is your process making job seekers angry enough that they will not use your service/product, tell others not to use your service/product, or discourage people from ever applying with your company in the first place?
Alison Green has a blog called “Ask a Manager” and in a recent poll she asked about the frustrations of candidates in the job seeking process. The results showed:
As someone who has been involved in recruiting for several years, and worked with organizations to improve their recruiting processes and technologies, there are some consistent issues that seem to come up that can harm your overall brand as it relates to the recruiting process:
As a recruiter who has worked with all types of companies – big and small – from a wide variety of industries, the largest, most well-known companies do not always have an advantage when competing for the best employees. The company who does the best job of making the candidate feel valued, important, provides timely feedback, and offers the best vision of their future within the company – they typically win in the battle for the best talent.
ERE recognizes recruiting initiatives each year, and this year they recognized Adidas as having the Best Employer Brand. They wanted to understand how their company was perceived, so they conducted a survey of all of their employees, as well as their job seekers. Once they had the results, they coordinated marketing, communications, and HR together to create a “brand bible” that educates people about their brand, and an employer branding toolkit to use in recruitment advertising.
Sodexo was also recognized as they engaged every employee in the company – from interns to executives – as brand ambassadors. They would communicate their brand on college campuses, professional association meetings, and through social media. As a result, they have reduced their costs on paid advertising on job boards because more people are familiar with their brand and searching for them online.
The RPO Impact
By now, you may be trying to figure out how to cover all of these areas when you already have limited time, resources, and budgets. If we go back and look at all of the issues that create Angry Birds, outsourcing your recruiting efforts to a specialized team whose sole purposes are to meet and exceed your established service level agreements could be the way to go. RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) agreements can address them and accommodate for them in their recruiting workflows and with specialized recruiting technologies.
Example 1: The biggest complaint from job seekers is falling into a black hole after applying for a job. Service level agreements could be established with a RPO provider where:
This approach gives the candidate a great deal of feedback at critical stages of the process, and also speeds up the process by allowing the candidate to schedule their own interviews based on the availability of the recruiter and the hiring manager instead of playing phone tag for sometimes days.
Example 2: Providing clear job descriptions is a sometimes slow and tedious process. Gathering and creating descriptions for every role within your organization, formatting them consistently, and then deciding what your “go to market” description consists of versus the actual description with full details, these take a lot of time. Then add to it the process of creating screening guides for each of those descriptions for recruiters to evaluate all candidates consistently and equally. Then there is creating interview scorecards for managers to use when comparing one candidate to another. Depending on the size of your organization, this could take anywhere from a few months to more than a year. A RPO firm can tackle this project during the implementation of a new engagement. Most Applicant Tracking Systems will allow the storage of a library of both descriptions and screening questions.
Example 3: Making the application process as user friendly as possible is a key on the size of your potential talent pool. Having a candidate spend an hour applying for a job isn’t in your best interest. I know that you want information on your candidates, and I believe you can get what’s needed initially and still make the process take a few minutes. The use of technology can make this a quick and easy process, and most RPO firms have several to choose from. Having a candidate enter your talent portal and select the job they are interested in is only the first step, but the talent portal needs to be easy to navigate and quick to load. It should be a simple process to upload a resume. The use of screening questions during the application process is helpful, but make sure that most of these questions are Yes/No, Multiple Choice, or Multiple Select answers, and not essay type questions. You can state your questions in a way that gives you the initial information needed, but also keeps the process moving quickly for the candidate. The more in-depth answers can come in a phone screen or face to face interview between the recruiter and the candidate. Through the use of these technologies, the candidate’s initial answers can be weighted and scored so the recruiter immediately knows which candidates to spend their time on, which are marginal, and which are no fit at all without having to go through every detail on every candidate. By taking this approach, you can make the application process no more than 10-15 minutes and gather a large pool of candidates for the opening you are trying to fill, or for others within your organization. Having a candidate start the application process and quit it 40 minutes into the process doesn’t do your organization any good.
That is how a good RPO engagement can address just three of the issues damaging your overall corporate brand. In a survey from Focused Marketing, they looked at why customers leave a business. They were:
Doesn’t it stand to reason that your business could potentially lose customers by the way they were treated as an applicant? Maybe not 68% of them leaving, but what impact would 20% make? The survey went on to say, “For every complaint a business receives, there are approximately 26 other customers with unresolved complaints or problems.” And that “A dissatisfied customer will tell up to 10 people about his/her experience. 13% of those unhappy customers will tell up to 20 people.”
Alexander Mann Solutions completed a global study of 546 consumers in the US, UK, and China. It found:
With Facebook, Twitter, and other social media avenues available to these candidates – each one can impact hundreds or even thousands of other consumers with negativity around your brand.
How you treat your candidates does matter and it will impact your business. There is a very large, world renowned company in Austin that no longer gets the best candidates because of the way they have treated their candidates, contractors, and new employees. The word is out and people apply there who either:
As a recruiter who has tried to recruit for that company, it was a very tough sell when I revealed who the company was that was interested in them. Many hung up the phone as soon as they heard.
Converting Angry Birds to Hog Heaven
I live in Texas, and we have an expression called “Hog Heaven.” This is when something causes 100% satisfaction or pure delight! Is it possible to have job seekers who are in Hog Heaven? Well, maybe not at 100% because that would require each job seeker to get the job. But as far as making the process easier, faster, and making the job seeker feel valued and important – I believe RPO engagements can give your organization a lift in this area.
A good RPO engagement begins with the provider listening to you and what you desire for your overall recruiting initiatives. If they hear from you that your branding efforts are critical in your strategy, then that provider can build the workflows with that in mind. BUT, I would say that a RPO firm who truly understands the importance of your branding as it relates to recruiting should already have a track record of addressing those issues with other customers. If you mentioning this to them seems to be the first time they’ve ever considered it – buyer beware! You may need to keep looking for another provider.
In recruiting, you always want to cast a wide net. Finding the best candidate out of 100 is always better than finding the best candidate out of 10. Your reputation in the marketplace does impact the number and types of candidates who respond to you. That’s important! You shouldn’t just be interested in the ones who are interested in you. You should be interested in the very best candidate, even if they’ve never considered working for you – and feel confident that once they research your company, they’ll be intrigued enough to continue that dialogue.
Candidates should be seen as customers. Treat them respectfully. Value their time. Do what you say you’re going to do. Communicate with them. Make things as simple as possible. Be honest and straight-forward. When you do these things, you will convert those Angry Birds to a Hog Heaven state of mind!