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How Candidates View Your Company

Great companies are driven by great people, but is yours attracting – and retaining – your ideal talent?

We’re in a rapidly-evolving age of talent acquisition – the skills gap is widening, the competition for top talent is fierce, and candidates are evaluating your company in more ways than ever before.

So how does your ideal talent view your business? And are they compelled to join your mission?

employer testimonials

How has recruitment evolved?

As competition for the best talent has grown, the nature of recruitment has evolved. In the past, many leading companies invested in strong talent and employer branding. But now, companies that did not prioritize their perception have now realized its importance, too.

But what do job seekers expect from you? A research report from Gartner identified three main trends that you need to keep in mind:

  1. A survey conducted in 2019 revealed that only 20% of new recruits actually have the complete set of skills that are needed for their current job.  Only 23% have the skills required for future needs. This clearly shifts the focus to hiring practices that focus on candidates’ skills.
  2. Traditional talent sources are no longer the best for talent acquisition. 
  3. Employers must prioritize creating a positive work culture and offering a competitive package to attract the best talent.  Research reveals that top talent is becoming more selective about who they choose to work for.

In order to respond effectively to these three trends, companies must implement the following two strategies.

  1. Sourcing and hiring talent based on their potential
  2. Incorporating your best offer into a meaningful  ‘employee value proposition’.  

We’ll explore how you can influence your company’s perception in the last section. But before we get to that, let’s learn more about…

What candidates care about

What motivates them – what do they want from you as an employer? 

Much like customer acquisition, talent acquisition relies on understanding – and emphasizing with – your ideal prospects. Candidates evaluate your company much like you assess them; they’ll hear your employee value proposition (EVP) and decide if it’s for them.

Your EVP is what your company is collectively offering a candidate – which includes both tangible compensation (like salary, healthcare) and intangible benefits, such as a positive work culture and a stimulating environment. 

Making your talent acquisition strategy effective starts with understanding who you’re pitching to. And here are five considerations that today’s talent cares about.

1. Diversity and inclusion

Is a lack of diversity costing your company good talent?

Research conducted in 2017 revealed that 69% of executives see diversity and inclusion as important for companies, and . more recent research found that 76% of employees and job seekers pinpointed diversity as a factor in deciding where to work.  

Job seekers are researching companies and evaluating their commitment to diversity – 37% of workers said they would avoid a company with a negative rating from people of color.   

Companies can’t afford to be lax in their approach to policy; neglecting diversity and failing to create inclusive environments can cost you top talent, and even limit revenue potential.

▶️Read more: Why Diversity Hiring is Vital to Building the Best Workforce

2. Career development opportunities

Top talent doesn’t just care about the job you’re offering and its benefits; they’re looking beyond, evaluating how far your company supports their career progression and development. Research has shown that skills development is a priority for 93% of millennials. So, is your company meeting this need in turn? Do you have upskilling opportunities and relevant L&D programs in place? 

Career development doesn’t just affect talent acquisition but employee retention too – 43% of employees cite leaving their company due to a lack of career opportunities. Thus, L&D should be deeply rooted in your value proposition.

3. Work-life balance

Recent findings reveal that 72% of employees consider work-life balance to be a primary deciding factor in accepting a new job. Does your value proposition fulfill this growing expectation?

Work-life balance is about more than holding off on after-hours emails. It also includes offering reasonable paid time off, vacation time, flexitime, the opportunity for remote work, and paid parental leave.  Studies have revealed that these benefits are highly valued by job seekers, and impact their decision to join a company.

Some companies have taken their commitment to offering flexible work options a step further with the introduction of a four-day working week. 

This initiative followed research that revealed employees are only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes a day, and studies in the UK and Iceland that revealed a four-day week improves productivity by lowering stress levels and reducing the chance of employee burnout.  In the USA 40% of employees have shown a preference for a four-day week, and a software firm in Salt Lake City reported an improvement in hiring after adopting the initiative.

The future of work is balanced.

4. Company culture

A 2019 survey found that 77% of adult job seekers investigate a company’s culture before considering whether to apply for a job.  An additional 56% said that salary was not as important to them as job satisfaction.   

The takeaway? Job seekers are interested in working for a company with a mission and culture that reflects their own personal values.  This is particularly true for the younger generation of workers, such as Millenials.  

Company culture is shaped by certain identifiers that potential employees will use to evaluate your business.  These identifiers may include employee benefits, hours worked, and deeper insights from employee testimonials and reviews, and general indicators of employee satisfaction.

Your identifiers give insights into how rigid or flexible your company is; whether employees have a voice, or if there is a top-down approach. Job seekers are then in a stronger position to determine if your company is for them.

5. Employee experience

Recruiting candidates requires an understanding of exactly what job seekers want, and a good employee experience (EX) is vital to meet talent’s expectations.  

Job seekers aren’t just evaluating your company at the surface; they’re digging deep to learn what experiences your employees receive. What’s your work culture like? What learning opportunities do employees have? How have employees reviewed you on Glassdoor? These are all considerations that job seekers are taking into account. 

The employee experience is shaped by many factors that we’ve discussed – including learning opportunities and work culture – but the pandemic also shaped a new expectation. Employees now expect some flexibility and control over the design of their job – according to a 2020 research survey 42% of candidates now hold this expectation. 

How to improve your company’s perception

Looking to improve your company’s image in the eyes of top talent? Here are 6 steps to help you out.

1. Secure executive buy-in

Revamping your company’s image (and by extension, how it’s perceived by talent) requires deep structural and cultural sifts. These changes can only materialize if leadership supports the initiatives.

For example, consider the changes necessary to make your company more diverse and inclusive. You’ll need to rapidly transform your recruitment process, employer branding, and work to create an inclusive culture. Change at this scale cannot be successful without executive buy-in.

Some important areas which require sign-off include your employer branding, mission statement, and strategy for developing culture in the workplace.

2. Define what you stand for

When an employee joins your company, what mission do they become a part of? What change is your business seeking to make? 

Your company’s goals and objectives won’t align with every job seeker’s values, but it will resonate with some – the talent that shares your vision. Thus, your brand identity should include core values that define your mission and vision; effectively implementing and communicating these values can  improve your company’s performance and instill a sense of purpose in employees. 

So, what do you stand for? Diversity, community, respect, trust? Customer-centricity? Define and commit to your values, and let them influence how talent views your brand.

3. Revamp your employee value proposition (EVP)

Everything that your company has to offer should be baked into your employee value proposition. And then, you should focus on projecting your value proposition loud and clear. 

Parts of your EVP need to be updated based on evolving market trends – for example, are salaries becoming more competitive? Or, has the nature of work changed – e.g., how hybrid work options have gained popularity. 

To improve your company’s perception, it’s important to evaluate your existing EVP, identify weaknesses, and take steps to make meaningful change. Some areas to consider include salary and compensation, additional benefits, working options, work culture, and career advancement opportunities.

4. Communicate your proposition in your talent and employer branding

How do you communicate your value proposition authentically? How do you communicate to your ideal talent persona with the promise: “‘we are for you”?

By integrating your proposition into your talent and employer branding, and spreading your message. Your proposition should be communicated in your messaging – such as in job ads and descriptions. But, equally important, your authenticity should show in the initiatives your company takes.

Do you claim to value career progression for your employees? Then invest in their training and development. Do you claim to prioritize diversity and inclusivity? Then champion it and implement deep structural changes to create inclusive spaces.

5. Leverage employee advocacy

When communicating your employee value proposition, show, don’t tell – and recognize how existing employees are your greatest advocates. Spotlight your employees’ experiences on your blog, encourage them to share their working day on social media platforms, and ask them to review your company on Glassdoor. 

Give potential applicants an inside view of what it’s like to work at your company.

6. Commit to fair, merit-based hiring

You’ve attracted your ideal talent – they’re considering applying. But how do you earn their trust? How do you assure them that applying is worth their time?

By promising them merit-based evaluation. When you evaluate talent on merit alone, you stay true to your core values; diversity, inclusivity, and authenticity take center stage. And equally important, fair evaluations give companies the strongest chance at securing top talent.

improve your company perception

The Last Word

Competition for top talent has become fierce, and your company’s perception has never mattered more. You need the best people to grow your company, and top talent is evaluating you thoroughly – maybe as much as you’re assessing them.

To succeed in attracting top talent, it’s crucial to understand what candidates care about – and offer them something valuable in turn.

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WeCP: What is it?

WeCP: What is it?

WeCP is a 4-click technical hiring software for talent acquisition departments. Our mission is to create a world where anyone can hire techies with ease. WeCP allows you to hire engineers without burdening your engineering department.

  •  Build a talent pool in 1 click
  •  Vet candidates on coding skills
  • Get to know only qualified candidates
  • Instantly onboard candidates

Your next click should end your search for potential tech candidates.

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