One of the biggest obstacles that candidates experience when searching for a job is not knowing what it’s like to work for the company they are applying to.
Besides the interest in the responsibilities of the role and job, candidates are looking for information about the culture, colleagues and the environment in their future role.
As a company you have multiple ways of sharing this kind of information about the vibe in your team. One way is through the employer branding campaigns that are usually set up to express how you want your company to be and what management wants to see and say.
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However, employer branding isn’t just about creating the perfect image on paper. Employer branding is about every person in that company and how they feel and work.
It is about openly displaying the reality from inside and what’s happening in the company that keeps the team close. Candidates trust the employees more than the company to provide credible information on what it’s like to work there, one of the reasons being the authenticity of information.
No company is perfect. Authenticity means being transparent even about the less brighter sides of the story too, especially in the recruitment process.
The challenges the company is facing, the things that you are working on, the mistakes that have been made and also the downsides of working in your company must be mentioned to the candidates if you want to create relationships based on trust and honesty.
Having the real, complete information gives them a realistic image of the company before they decide to join and therefore, they are able to make decisions they own up to.
Painting it beautiful but not real can be an obstacle to the success of the recruitment processes.
The downsides of cosmetic employer branding are not limited to the recruitment process. The team may also face some challenges, employees are watching the employer branding campaigns too.
If we are talking about the company in an idyllic but far from reality way, we will probably attract new candidates but create frustration and disconnection inside the existing team.
Being a healthy and performant organisation means you should first take care of employees and how they feel within the company and based on this you can build the culture and then the employer branding.
No matter the company’s dimension, culture is vital and the way people adhere to that culture actually creates the employer brand. Authenticity and organic input from employees are more valuable than coordinated campaigns launched now and then.
People who become brand ambassadors because they like the company can send more powerful messages than any campaign. Focusing on one-time campaigns can pay no result if the culture and authenticity are not there.
Attracting candidates using the perfect image we create can backfire towards us in their first months while setting realistic expectations has a better chance of success because we treat our candidates as adults that know their needs and are responsible for their choices.
I personally always appreciated when candidates are transparent and authentic, when they are clear about their expectations and needs and towards a fair approach for future candidates. I think employer branding campaigns have to be made in order to send the authentic message and not a perfect image of the company.
Ioana Gheorghe is people & culture manager at Bright Spaces