Candidate communication in modern employer branding [podcast #62]

#62 Candidate communication in modern employer branding - Building a modern employer brand podcast with Susanna Rantanen

Candidate communication can be so much more than an automated thank-you-we-received-your-application and the no-thank-you rejection most of your applicants are going to hear or read in your recruitment process.

Everyone who has worked in talent acquisition knows how hard it is to get quality applicants to your process if the business you hire for is unknown or has a negative employer image.

This would be the equivalent trying to meet your sales quota with a product that doesn’t work.

While employer branding has become a buzz word there is much more to employer branding than an occasional campaign promoting you in ways that pleases and resonates in you. 

For example, effective candidate communication to build positive candidate experiences and an attractive employer brand.

Good candidate communication can be surprisingly effective

At the end of the day, all your candidates wish from you is empathy and being kept informed.

I once had a key note at a college and I asked the students how many of them assume they get the job when they apply. Most of the people said they assume they won’t.

People get rejected, but what makes it a great experience is to reject elegantly.

The key ingredients of good candidate communication

Truly, good candidate communication is mainly informational, helpful and encouraging words and pretty brief messages distributed on a weekly basis.

It does not cost the company anything more than your time. And when you have a plan for it and message templates ready, it’s a pretty fast job generating significantly more return than what you invest in it.

When I still worked in talent acquisition and later also as a recruitment consultant, this is how I did candidate communication.

The most valuable outcomes:

  • I was significantly able to not just improve but exceed the candidate expectations.
  • And I was able to also decrease the drop outs from the process when for it was taking a longer time from hiring manages to make decisions.

Candidates started to proactively keep in touch and give good feedback even when they didn’t get the job. And they also gave the feedback to our clients.

The rejected applicants gave a valuable lesson. Their feedback confirmed that even a rejection can be made so elegantly, your feel respected and appreciated. And they will share these experiences forward, they will.

Why candidate experiences matter?

Does your organization treat your applicants and candidates well because just like your employees, your applicants are customers too. And they have voices. Often very loud ones which you could be using to build a positive reputation instead of a negative.

Think of your hiring process from the applicant’s perspective.

A quality application required a time investment from them.

Application periods are getting shorter and shorter. There is a high probability your applicants simply don’t have enough time to do all the research they should and invest a but of time to tailor their application to your position.

When they do take that time, that time is away from their families, their friends, their hobbies and their night sleep.

Showing our appreciation for their effort will not go unnoticed. This is step one in building your employer brand with the help of candidate communication.

An automated confirmation response is a missed opportunity.

Most companies, especially those who hire a lot, use a recruiting system for managing applications and the recruitment process. These systems have built-in messaging.

What this means is when an application lands in their system an automated message is sent as a confirmation.

The problem here is that most of these confirmation messages lack personality, empathy and are a missed opportunity for starting a great candidate communication process.

Rejection comes so late it is nothing but salt in your wounds.

You don’t even believe how common it is still, in 2021 to send the no thank you as a bulk email 4-6 months after the arrival of the application.

What I’m asking is why even bother at that point?

The thing here is that if I sent an application by the deadline, got a confirmation you received it and the next time I hear from you is 5 months from now, I do now I was not successful.

If I really wanted the job I already spent my moment feeling sorry for myself about 4 months ago.

Just as I had forgotten about you, you appearing out of nowhere, slicing my wounds open and pouring a whole container of salt in them is not going to be a pleasant experience. I won’t like you any more now. In fact, I like you less.

I missed sharing information you asked for. And that’s why you didn’t invite me forward.

Are you familiar with this one? You specifically asked for a portfolio or a salary request and then an applicant seems to have ignored your request.

Some (read many) recruiters reject applicants due to missing information. When they could have been simply helpful and ask again.

I mean, if I still ignore your request, you can pretty much tell I’m not that into your job anyway. Then you do have a solid reason to reject and save your time.

Candidate experiences are just as important to our reputation, our image, our brands as are our customer experiences and our employee experiences.

If you have any doubts about this, go to

The wonderful thing about your candidates are that when you surprise them with a good experience, they are so delighted they want to tell everyone!

And honestly, it isn’t even hard!.

Listen to episode 62 of Building a Modern Employer Brand podcast

In this episode of Building a Modern Employer Brand, I introduce a 6 step process to plan a simple yet effective candidate communication plan to start building your employer brand candidate experience at the time. This is how I did and still do candidate communication. I used this model as a recruitment consultant and my clients loved it! When I realized how well it works, I created a framework for it.

I do through the framework in the episode, and there will be an entire course on this framework at Talent Marketing School this year.

Episode-length: 34:16 min




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One Response

  1. In today’s increasingly competitive job market, a positive employer brand is critical. Without one, hiring and retaining the best employees becomes challenging and costly. This is a great episode on building a modern employer brand,

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