It’s no secret you only get one chance to make a first impression during the hiring process, but when competition for top talent is high, many employers forget that door swings both ways.
While smart job candidates understand that their resume, appearance, digital footprint and interview performance will impact their job-hunting success, some companies overlook the role they play in hiring the best candidates. This includes everything from the initial job posting and what your office environment looks like, to what a job seeker observes while waiting in the lobby. These all play into how your company and brand are perceived long before the first handshake.
Here are three things to keep in mind in creating a meaningful and memorable first impression:
Your office space has a brand.
Just like a homebuyer shopping for a new home, job candidates are taking it all in from the moment they enter the front door. From the brand personality and culture cues a candidate sees from your lobby, to observing interactions among employees walking through the office, these all become checkboxes on a candidate’s scorecard as they begin imagining themselves working for you.
Don’t overlook your office visual brand. Boring, monochromatic office spaces are often seen as a reflection of management’s attitude toward creating a positive and productive work environment. Your office space is an essential component of your brand, so putting in the effort to maximize it can make a tangible difference.
Wall color, artwork, lighting, ambient temperature, office furniture and how furniture is configured are among the most important environmental aspects of productivity improvement, according to studies by The American Society of Interior Designers, as well the Journal of Public Affairs, Administration and Management.
The takeaway: Invest in making sure your office space reflects who you are, and shows you value employee engagement and productivity.
Your online recruitment brand.
According to the Pew Research Center, 54 percent of US adults go online to look for job information and 45 percent have applied for a job online. If for no other reason, it behooves employers to ensure their social channels for recruitment purposes are up-to-date and properly reflect the company’s brand and core values in order to attract the best and most informed candidates.
Is your LinkedIn company profile updated and accurate? Candidates often go to this channel first to look at the company and to search the profiles of key executives. Make sure to post links to recent company announcements or media coverage as well as links to job postings on LinkedIn or other recruitment sites.
When creating online profiles for recruitment purposes, make sure to communicate your core values. Mention them in your introductory paragraphs and reinforce them on your website and on your social channels. Employers achieve better results by attracting like-minded candidates that map to their values and culture, so clearly communicating this is the smart thing to do.
Has your company not posted on Twitter or Facebook for many months? Inactivity on social media channels can send a message to digital-savvy candidates that you either have nothing to say or simply don’t grasp the importance of engaging with your stakeholders online. Candidates who see this may think twice about your company if they believe you’re neglecting this critical piece of the brand equation.
The takeaway: Communicate who you are and what you stand for – and do it consistently online.
Your HR brand.
Along with job search websites, your careers page is among the places candidates go first to find opportunities, and nothing is more frustrating than to find out those positions are no longer active or were filled months ago.
And, keeping your website careers page current isn’t the only thing to consider. Remember that company culture, work environment and growth opportunities are all important to the best employees so those areas need to show up on this page.
The takeaway: Give candidates more to go on than job descriptions and links to an application. Help define what a perfect fit looks like at your company.
With unemployment low, the job market favors candidates. They can be more selective and they will size you up from a host of angles you probably haven’t been thinking about. To us, the best definition of a brand is that it’s what people say about you when you’re not in the room. What is the top talent saying about you?