Blog Post

The 2 things all great candidate experiences are built from

Peter Gold

Founder, Storifyd

A great candidate experience works like background noise. It adds emphasis and ambience to why your organisation is the right place for candidates. If it's anything less, though, it becomes a bothersome distraction that recruiters are always fighting.

For a successful recruiting strategy, candidate experience must be as front and centre for recruiters as it is for candidates. Two organisations that truly understand this are Wiltshire Council and Epson.

While they operate on different sizes and scopes, Wiltshire Council and Epson partnered with Cornerstone to better their candidate experience in two distinct but related ways — create recruitment resiliency and consistent branding.

How Wiltshire Council created and agile, resilient recruiting strategy during a pandemic

As the unitary authority of Wiltshire in South West England, Wiltshire Council delivers over 350 different services to their community. And that community is not small. According to Georgina Bliha, talent and resourcing manager for Wiltshire Council, "We advertise, on average, around 2,000 roles per year." Her team then has to processes and evaluate over 6,500 applications. And while COVID-19 has led to a few team members' reallocations, this hasn't slowed down her team. "So all of a sudden recruitment demands for social care and public health were at an all-time demand," says Bliha.

With TalentLink from Cornerstone, Wiltshire Council automated offers and contracts plus reminders and notifications to "absolutely amazing" results. Bliha explained,

"Both improvements reduced our time to offer. But also the time it took the team to create a contract reduced from about half an hour to an average of ten minutes." That saved Bliha's team 20 hrs of work a month! The improvements also led to an 83 per cent increase in employment contracts sent out in 48 hours of the start date agreement.

Those weren't the only positive impacts Cornerstone had on the Wilshire Council candidate experience. With the need to pivot to virtual interviews a must, the move was nearly seamless. Bliha says (emphasis mine), "For the first time ever, we have achieved 100 per cent success rate in obtaining the right to work before offer of employment."

While other organisations have spent organisations scrambled to adapt to the new demands of fully remote work, Wiltshire Council had the luxury of creating a methodical roll-out plan with Cornerstone. "Every time we rolled out something new, we provided managers with a user guide and quick links. With really really get buy-in from our managers," says Bliha.

Bliha attributes Wiltshire Council's success to the integrated TalentLink system. "When you make one change in the system, you can immediately see how that functionality can be used elsewhere," she continues. "It opens opportunities up in the system and has this continuous knock-on effect. It saves time. It's a lot easier and a lot more time effective to make other changes as well."

Wiltshire Council has had so much success with TalentLink that they're expanding their agile recruiting strategy to create an internal specialist pool focused on upskilling their people because candidate experience is more than just external.

How Epson focused on creating an authentic employer brand and increased traffic by 400%

Since the 1940s, Epson has been at the forefront of technology, with a lineup that ranges from inkjet printers to 3LCD projectors, watches and industrial robots, the company is focused on driving innovation. It also cares deeply about its employees and making Epson a great place to work.

That is where Amy Edwards comes in. As Employer Brand Manager, Edwards responsibility is to identify all the things that make Epson a great place to work and promote this message both internally and externally. "Employer brand really describes an employer's reputation as a place to work and what we offer current and potential employees, as opposed to the corporate brand, which focuses on products and what we offer our customers and partners," explains Edwards. The "employee value proposition," is a set of values and offerings provided by us in return for the skills and experience that an employee can bring to the organisation."

With people spending most of their time at work, they want to be sure that where they're working really aligns with their values. "78 per cent of people will look into a company's reputation before applying for a job," Edwards continues. "And 88 per cent of job seekers believe being part of the right culture is important." That need to align with the company culture doesn't disappear once a candidate becomes an employee. It remains just as crucial to long-term employee retention.”

When Edwards started Epson's employer brand journey, the first thing she did was to survey the employees. "I really wanted to make sure that building an employer brand was something you could touch. You could feel. That you really got a sense of what it was like to work at Epson as a business. But it also had to be authentic. It had to resonate with our employees and connect with our values. To create a strong employer brand, you have to know what people think about you, the good and the bad.”

There are many aspects that go into building an employer brand and its brand values. For Epson, this included:

  • Gathering employee feedback
  • Internal and external reviews
  • Aligning and evaluating key messages
  • The company’s management philosophy
  • The company’s Principles of Corporate Behaviour

All this work has paid off for Epson. One of the great things about harnessing your employer brand is that you can do so much of it for free. According to Edwards, "You actually don't have to pay a lot of money to put your brand out there and make people aware of your reputation as an employer." The work that Epson has done has led to a 400 per cent increase in page views on its Glassdoor page. 

You can't build a great candidate experience if you don't have a strong employer brand. They go hand in hand. Like Epson, you need to put in the work or as Edwards says, "You need to get the base of the cake right before you can put the icing or sprinkles on top."

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