Are HR Managers the new Brand Managers?

Don’t ever think that marketing a company is limited to the Marketing Manager only. Whether you realise it or not: every single employee is to some extent a marketer for their company. However, an HR Manager has not just the task of interviewing and hiring people but to make sure that the image of a company is at all times positive. There are many ways on how recruiters can harm their own company’s reputation. For example, by not preparing effectively for the interview, by letting candidates wait for days or even weeks to reply for first time or follow-up interviews, by making last-minute modifications during the interview process regarding job roles and duties, by not being honest to candidates or by treating them disrespectfully.

Word-of-mouth is still the most effective and cheapest way of promoting a business. Thus, companies need to realise that nowadays there are specific websites in which candidates can easily voice their opinion or share their experiences with people from all around the world. Here we are talking about two groups: the ones who tell others how their job interview experience was and the others who share their personal experience on how positive and negative it was to work at certain companies. Let’s not forget social media websites which make it very easy to spread negative comments – instantly and for free! So, do you still think that it doesn’t matter and that it doesn’t have any impact on your company’s image and success?

Let’s bear in mind that every time a job applicant, a current or prospective client, a supplier or any other stakeholder is interacting with a company it leaves a certain impression about a company. The question is: is it a good one or a bad one? Imagine you got invited for a job interview… you think this is a great company but after reading several personal experiences from previous employees you get a completely different view and insight into this company. To be honest, who would not read up in advance what other people have to say about what it feels like working for company xyz before heading to an interview?

The responsibility of an HR Manager is therefore to make sure that candidates during the recruitment process are having a positive experience. Now, that will be a real challenge considering the fact that only one person will land the job while others will need to be rejected diplomatically. How can a company still manage to provide them with a positive experience? Here are some steps you can take to not upset your candidates:

  • Acknowledge the receipt of the candidate’s application, no matter how many you get. If you do it in a personalised way on the same day, you will instantly stand out. Nowadays hardly anyone does it!
  • Shortlisted candidates should get opportunities for a job interview quickly. Respect other peoples’ time and give eventually two options from which candidates can choose when it would be most suitable for them to attend. They would be surprised and surely appreciate having alternatives to choose from.
  • Be consistent during the whole interview process.
  • Be honest in all aspects of the job and the company. Don’t provide misleading information because in the long term it will backfire. It’s not worth it!
  • Provide constructive feedback with relevant details. This is something unfortunately no company does as far as I know, even though an employee could learn a lot from it!
  • Keep people informed about the outcome quickly. (Will the job be offered to the candidate? Was the position filled by someone else? Has the job been put on hold?) Don’t keep your candidates in the dark. It is a time consuming activity but make an effort to be remembered as a professional company which respects people, their time and their interest for the company. It will speak volumes about how you treat people.

Companies are busy in their daily tasks and providing everyone with timely and reasonable feedback is not easy. However, think of potential negative consequences: great talent can be lost, the number of clients might decrease and your reputation (corporate and personal) can suffer. Once I approached a newspaper company for a freelance job as occasional columnist. The fact that this media company did not make any effort at all to reply to my proposal led to the cancellation of my annual subscription. Remember that a poor candidate experience can have an impact not only on your company’s sales figures but also your corporate image. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF TODAY’S LITTLE NOBODIES IN THE ONLINE WORLD! The bigger your company is the more cautious you should be. Seriously!

The marketing and HR department within a company have to work together very closely in order to attract great talent in a quick, professional and effective way in the future. An HR Manager might have great interviewing and specific technical skills but it doesn’t make the person automatically a good corporate brand manager. In this case, offering specific training on “How to be an enthusiastic corporate ambassador” would be a wise investment. The participation of all other employees would be highly beneficial and should be encouraged too. 

Karin Schroeck-Singh
Karin Schroeck-Singh is a passionate Public Speaker, eBook Author, and a freelancing Online Content Producer. She has an MBA from the University of Leicester (UK) and gained 18 years of international work experience in Italy, the UK and India.