The job market is volatile and candidates have high expectations, more choice and less competition as unemployment rates fall.

Nearly 60 percent of candidates have had a poor candidate experience, and 72 percent of those candidates shared that experience online or with someone direct. The Candidate Experience Study was conducted by research firm Future Workplace, in April 2016 and surveyed 1,200 total respondents, including 826 job seekers and 374 employers.

Candidates are checking social media to find all they can about your organisation before they apply and are having conversations on channels you can’t control and perhaps can’t see.

Smart job seekers research potential employers to assess whether the organisation and the role are likely to be a good fit for them. They’ll look at more than your website at careers page, they’ll also check Google, social media, Glassdoor, professional associations, and jobs boards to see what is being said about you as well as what you say.

It’s important to make sure your employer brand paints an authentic and informative portrait of the organisation and how you work if you want to attract top talent. Do the research, see what you can find out about your organisation:

• What’s out there about the organisation, what do people say about you?

• Can you find everything you need?

• Is there anything that candidates will find off-putting?

Start with your website, then look at your adverts and at the materials you provide to candidates and interviewees. Check out a couple of your main competitors, too – check their careers sites, their online profile, and their social media activity.

Exploit Information

This is about testing the efficiency of processes, the responsiveness of communications, and the inclusiveness of organisational culture.

Call on inside information – talk to existing employees, why did they choose to join, what do they value about the organisation, what do they tell people about working with you? Talk to recent recruits about their experience of the hiring process,and to leavers about their perception of the organisation and its position in the marketplace.

Do a bit of mystery shopping. If you advertise vacancies have someone apply and report back with a bird’s eye perspective on the process at the sharp end, and an assessment of whether your recruitment materials meet expectations. Culture is key and the organisation has to live the values and qualities that make for an attractive employer, and promote these to stakeholders and applicants alike.

It may be that you hear things you don’t expect or don’t like in the process outline above and you should aim to be open and transparent in acknowledging criticism and tackling shortcomings.

Use employee advocates – a candidate seeking a new opportunity is interested in the potential for career development. So it’s well worth considering posting testimonials from existing employees that reflect your organisational values, mission, culture and employee value proposition.

Culture & High Performance

There is a significant candidate preference for smaller organisations, which means a number of large organisations lose out on top talent to smaller competitors. Impact, vision and culture are deemed more important than pay and this is helping small businesses secure high-calibre candidates (LinkedIn Talent Trends report, 2015).

Aim for a culture where the organisation can:

• Provide transparency and encourage employees to provide real-time feedback on the employment brand.

• Develop employees as effective brand advocates.

• Enable dialogue between employees and candidates via social media.

Promoting a robust employer brand enhances recruitment but you should also aim good internal communications toward existing employees, promote your benefits, training programmes, progression and opportunities and show how the organisation is growing and succeeding and evolving. Talk about teamwork, collaboration and holistic infrastructure to ensure the workforce is aligned with your organisational purpose and that feel they are valued team members. Show you offer a framework, designed with business goals in mind, which enables employees to plan a career with you that will best leverage their interests, skills and capabilities.