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When you think about who communicates with people outside of your company the most, you probably think of sales reps, but you should be looking at your recruiters. In fact, they spend almost all their time talking with or about people who aren't employees. Glassdoor says each corporate position receives an average of 250 applicants. Of course, that number is going to vary wildly depending on the position, but recruiters can potentially interact with thousands of people every year.

Even though they aren't public relations specialists or marketing pros by title, a big part of their job is not only to attract and select the right candidates for the right roles, but also to present your organization in the best possible light to individuals and organizations—such as universities or talent agencies.

Because of the sheer number of people they interact with on a regular basis, recruiters play a crucial role in generating a positive impression of your company. Here's how recruiters can serve as marketing agents, brand ambassadors or even PR agents, outside the scope of hiring new employees.

Job Candidates Are Consumers, Too

No matter what your company does, it's quite possible that your job candidates are also your customers. You want every one of those candidates to continue to do business with you even if they don't get the job. That requires treating all candidates with respect and ensuring they know you value their time.

Candidates fill other roles—they're consumers, they work for other firms and they conduct business with your competitors. They have a voice. It used to be that PR reps could control a company's image—now, anyone with a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Glassdoor account can build a following and change the perception of a company.

The Recruiter's Guide to Brand Representation

Knowing that every customer recruiters interact with can have an impact on your brand perception, it's important for recruiters to be truly good brand representatives. To do that, they need to do a better job with regard to candidate experience. Today, almost 60 percent of job candidates say they've had a negative candidate experience, and 72 percent of those have shared their bad experience online.

Here's how recruiters can change their ways, and keep candidates postive about the company:

  • Keep candidates updated and informed. No ghosting!
  • Send rejection emails as well as offer emails. People want to know when they should move on.
  • Reward people for applying. When Hard Rock Cafe opened a restaurant in a new city, they gave a free drink coupon to everyone who applied, and everyone who interviewed got a free meal coupon as well. I interviewed the company about the promotion, and they told me that applicants not only redeemed these offers, but also brought their friends.
  • Treat candidate's time as precious. They have jobs (often), homes and families, so use their time judiciously. Limit the number of times they need to come in for face-to-face interviews. If you want to see sample work, work with hiring managers to create a manageable assignment that will take less than an hour.

Doing these things gives people positive feelings about your company, regardless of whether or not they get the job, and that's good for your company's brand. When your company has a great reputation, not only will people want to do business with your company, they'll also want to work for it.

Photo: Creative Commons