Yesterday we hosted “Employer Branding: The Secret to Attracting and Retaining Exceptional Talent” in collaboration with JobAdder. It was exciting to see more than 200 of you join us live on the day equipped with lots of questions! In fact, you had so many questions we ran out of time to answer them all. Thankfully, Alex and Katie have graciously agreed to answer these questions offline for us. Woohoo! Without further ado, let’s get stuck in…
Question 1: When thinking about employer brand underpinned by your EVP, any tips to bring that to life with existing and potential employees?
When announcing/introducing new employees to the company – include a question about why they joined the business. This is a great reminder of what is unique and appealing about you as an employer to existing employees.
Storytelling on LinkedIn. A simple story, from an employee or about an employee can remind your current employees how amazing you are to work for.
Going back to the points around purpose – as humans we all want to be part of something great. You can never have your leaders communicate your mission and purpose too often!
Employee Advocacy – getting your employees involved in sharing their personal stories, experiences and successes with their networks is a great way to bring your employer brand to life (and it’s free!). Your employer brand should reflect the reality of your organisation and what better way for your future talent pool to engage with your brand than via your existing employees.
Storytelling – every business has so many great stories to tell. Identify the talent pools you are trying to target and understand what stories would resonate with them? Conduct focus groups with your existing employees to understand why they love working at your organization, what are some of the things they never dreamed they would be doing & opportunities they have been given. Once you have identified these themes think about who in your organisation could be an ambassador & have a story to tell.
Question 2: Do you have any tips to encourage your hiring managers to move away from their own individual interview styles and towards a more consistent process, to improve the candidate experience?
Training your managers is vital, giving them a bank of questions to choose from is also really helpful. You’ll also want to train managers to ensure that interviewing is a two-way conversation. Creating rapport and asking questions in a relaxed manner is key. Even if you are using structured questions, you can ask for examples in past roles. You can ask these questions in a way that makes a candidate feel comfortable.
During my time at Google one of my biggest takeaways that Lazlo Bock talked about was consistency in interviewing and ensuring you are rating candidates on the same “attributes or competencies”. At Google, all interviewers interviewed and rated out of 5 on:
General Cognitive Ability;
Role Related Knowledge;
Leadership (not leading a team, general attribution for emergence leadership – stepping up when needed) and
“Googliness” – which meant something different to everyone, however this was the cultural add piece, by asking, “what will this person add to grow and make our culture even better?”
All hiring managers and interviewers should be trained on how to interview and understand their role in contributing to candidate experience. Most individuals have never been trained on how to interview and instead use their prior experiences to guide them. The aim is not for an interviewer to lose their ‘style’, you definitely want the interviewer to feel relaxed and to be themselves (after all the hiring manager is a key influencing factor of a candidate deciding to accept a role), however you want to ensure as a business you are assessing each candidate consistently and fairly to get a rounded view of their experience and role fitment. Aligning to role competencies, providing example questions for the interviewer to reference and having a scorecard which aligns to this can definitely help.
Question 3: You mentioned designing a process for the “disappointed” candidate (the majority who don’t get the job), what are some of the things we can do?
Respond to every applicant. You can use an automated ATS system for different stages and results in the candidate journey.
If you’re videoing or phone interviewing and you know that you are not going to move the candidate to the next round – let them know there and then (you’ll save both them and yourself time in the long-run).
For any candidate who has given time to come in for an in-person interview, make sure you call them to give them feedback. People talk. As disappointing as it is to not be a successful candidate – it is a terrible experience to never hear back and to not be given a reason as to why you were not successful. By treating all candidates with respect and open communication, you may have some of these people apply again in the future with more experience under their belt.
Making every interaction count – from the response candidates receive, thanking them for their application – to the phone screen they have with the recruiter and the receptionist whom they meet when they arrive on-site for an interview. Every interaction should be positive and engaging.
Ensuring the basics are always covered – the interviewer is on time, they are prepared for the interview, they ask relevant questions, they have an open two-way conversation & allow time to get to know the individual (what motivates/drives them? etc.)
Ensuring expectations are managed upfront & throughout the process – an overview of the process (who they will be meeting, what they will be assessing). If you are waiting on hiring manager feedback, call the candidate and let them know – any update will keep the individual engaged, informed and feel valued.
Feedback is key – it should be given in a timely, detailed and constructive way by the right person in the right format. Candidates who have been unsuccessful should walk away (although disappointed) feeling empowered by the feedback with clear, actionable insights & opportunities for their future growth & development.
Question 4: How have you showcased your commitment to diversity and inclusion when it comes to employer brand and attracting talent?
I’ve always found this is best done through content and storytelling. A photo at a company celebration for example, with a diverse group of employees, tells this story without it having to be “all about D&I”. If you hold events, you can showcase your brand and you as an employer by including a broad subsection of your business. Showing diversity and inclusion doesn’t have to be over the top.
You can also show your commitment to this by celebrating events such as Mardi Gras and sharing the celebrations on social media. This also reaffirms your commitment to D&I with current employees.
Question 5: Have you been in a situation where you had to attract candidates to an industry that has a really low public perception around ethics?
While I have not been in this situation, I recommend coming back to always being authentic and honest. You can do this through storytelling and can call out and be honest about the fact that your industry doesn’t have the best reputation (recent examples that come to mind would be banks following the Royal Commission findings).
Use content from a current employee or a hiring manager and tell the story of how your organisation is different with examples of your ethical practices and way of doing business.
Ultimately show by doing, rally the organisation around your values and have them clear for everyone to see.
Question 6: How do you feel about automated video screening (one-way video from the candidate) rather than a traditional video screen?
It is great that technology can now allow this to happen as you get to see and experience “the person”, which is more than just “paper”
However, please be mindful that a lot of roles and people are introverts and may not be comfortable showcasing themselves in a video
You also can’t ask questions, unless the automated section allows this. There are also great new companies emerging, such as VideoMyJob, which flips this concept. This videos people at your company in their job, or talking about their job. This showcases your brand and the job in a more authentic way
Automated video screening is really useful for roles/departments where you have high volume inbound applications. At Uber, we use video screening at the first stage following an application for roles within our Greenlight Hub. The video consists of 4 questions recorded by various members of the team and has had a positive impact on time to hire. The feedback we have received from candidates is really positive. It’s easy for them to use, and they can record their responses at a time that’s convenient for them. It works for the Greenlight Hub as these are customer-facing roles, however, it wouldn’t be suitable for all areas of our business. In these instances, we adopt a traditional video screen/phone screen which is scheduled by the recruitment team.
Question 7: For employer branding, what metrics do you use to measure success? How do you separate these from your marketing metrics?
I’ll put my recommendations in a list because it’s easier:
You have your traditional metrics such as Days-To-Hire
You can use other metrics such as quality of candidates (rather than volume): This may require a short survey of hiring managers) or compare the volume of candidates to shortlisted over a period of time
Increased percent of qualified applicants (compared to having to source candidates)
Candidate experience (you would have to survey candidates for their experience & feedback)
Reduce early non-regret turnover (non-regrettable turnover means you have hired the wrong person and you generally let them go during probation, hopefully well before 6 months)
Increased employee referrals
Increased traffic to your careers website
LinkedIn data such as Followers; Engagement Rates on your content; Unique Visitors to your Careers Page or Job Views
Reviews and ratings on employer review websites such as Glassdoor and Seek
Increased social followers from Facebook or Instagram
Much of what Alex has referenced – followers of your brand and engagement on content shared, Linkedin InMail response rates (this should increase over time as your brand index increases), candidate experience survey, and key recruitment metrics including; source of hire and time to hire.
Question 8: Where do you see your biggest influx of talent from?
Our highest volume of Applicants come from Seek, additionally, LinkedIn gives us our highest passive candidate pool. We also look at internal career development – whether that is a promotion or a lateral move. One of the most amazing things about being in a high growth organisation is that new roles open up all the time and if people are ready we move them into the new roles. If their current role has grown in scope and responsibility maybe it’s time for a promotion and/or opening a different role as a backfill.
We also have employee referrals, where we give a $3,000 bonus for a successful hire. Always your second best source of talent (with internal career development being your first!)
Uber – varies slightly from department to department but averages out as follows:
#2 Internal Moves
Question 9: Is there a model you would recommend when developing an EVP?
Employer Branding sets the stage for who you are & who you aspire to be, essentially it’s the “Why Work for Us”. Give the right candidate a REASON to join you and be honest in this process – for example, if you can’t deal with ambiguity and a fast-paced environment, Employment Hero is not for you.
Your marketing team are the gatekeepers of your “brand”. Just like your company’s marketing brand, your company has an employer brand. This tells the world who you are as an employer. It’s the message you send to future and current employees. Employer branding is also vital to not just attracting the best talent, but also to retain your current amazing people.
If you’re starting from a blank piece of paper, ask your people. This is most effective if you have the time & resources to hold focus groups. Ask things like, ‘Why do you come to work every day?’ ‘Why do you enjoy being there?’. Then look at your top performers and ask them, ‘what do you love about x company?’ ‘Why did you apply for the job/role in the first place?’ (this is also a great interview question!)You’ll be surprised how quickly common themes emerge. These themes are the basis of your employer brand. Now you need to articulate this into a proposition, combined with the marketing team. This will tell you who the type of people that you want to attract to the business are, what matters to them and how the business delivers on those needs for them.
Once you have your proposition, you need to think about where is the best place to connect with the people that you want to attract. This will help you determine what channels you should be using but also, what stories make sense for you to tell people. Remember to be honest – you want to attract the right people for you and the role. Be mindful that your Employer Brand is about more than just ping pong; free food; yoga and beer on a Friday. Finally, put measures in place so you can iterate on what has worked and what may not work. Don’t be afraid to do a retrospective each time you make a mis-hire. This is costly and there will be lessons → did you move too fast for example?
When building an EVP for the first time I consider some of the following themes;
Market Competitiveness – this includes; compensation (salary satisfaction, compensation philosophy, raises & promotions, pay parity etc. ) & benefits (flexibility, leave, equity, health & wellbeing, superannuation etc.)
Unique Proposition – includes; your company’s purpose (mission, vision, meaningful work etc.) & culture (autonomy, recognition, support, people, management, collaboration, social responsibility etc.)
Question 10: Finally, do you think automation is negatively impacting recruitment and HR?
No, I don’t think automation is negatively impacting recruitment and HR, I actually believe it’s having the opposite effect. I have seen such an increase in awesome technology that’s been designed to solve some of the issues and intensive manual tasks faced by HR and recruiting functions every day. ATS (applicant tracking systems) are so much more intuitive than they used to be, solving for calendar management and recruitment reporting – tasks that can consume hours a day for a recruitment function. Not to mention the technology that’s been designed to create an on-brand and engaging experience for candidates in the assessment stage (eg. Weirdly) all the way through to onboarding (eg. Enboarder). It’s a really exciting time for HR and recruiting which I’m keen to embrace – the less time we’re focussing on time-intensive, manual tasks the more time we get to spend connecting with people and creating an awesome candidate and employee experience.
I agree entirely with Katie. HR technology is such a value-add in taking away the manual intensive tasks of people management allowing us to focus on attracting, hiring, retaining, developing and engaging our people. It gives us time to elevate our roles to be laser-focused on our employee’s overall experience. This results in a higher engaged employee and one who is performing at their highest.
It also gives us time to be partners to leadership in understanding the real people levers we have to impact the business’s performance. Moreover, technology has amplified our employees’ experience through paperless onboarding, easy and seamless OKR creation, reporting and elevating the discussion between managers and their direct reports. It facilitates easy reward and recognition of our employees.
I feel as though we’re just getting started and the future is amazing for the positive impact technology is having and will continue to have on People and Culture.